Top-5 reasons for an e-commerce intermediary to track & mask calls

Anna Sopova

For many industries, the #1 most frequent response to a marketplace/classifieds listing is calling. The ability to track calls between the supply and demand sides offers numerous benefits for both the marketplace and its users. If you are looking to get the most out of your call tracking here are a few things to think about.

First, why are you tracking calls?

At Apifonica we use five categories to help marketplaces define the goals they expect to hit with the call tracking.

  • Analytics to help you prove the real value of your platform to your users
  • Lead exchange to introduce the complementary stream of monetization for your marketplace
  • Privacy protection to keep your user data safe and grow trust across the marketplace
  • Upgrade the user experience to put you in the position where you could curate and optimize the experience your users have
  • Control to minimize the number of transactions completed off-platform


The marketplace’s job is matching supply and demand sides. Every user interaction is a signal of how good you are doing it. But not all signals are equal. Compare the value for your seller of “5 show number clicks” and “5 unique calls” that have recordings and caller numbers. Quite a difference.

Measuring the number of calls is the most frequent reason a marketplace starts to think about call tracking. The most common approach to this is replacing a seller’s real number with a virtual number. When the latter is dialled, it forwards the call to the seller. Behind this assigned number is a technology that can capture detailed call data including:

  • caller phone number;
  • call time and duration;
  • call recording;
  • the ID of the ad that generated the call

Communicating this data to sellers is a very convincing way to demonstrate the real value you generate for them.

Lead exchange

Lead exchange is an emerging model born out of the need to minimize lost sales that happen when sellers don’t respond to buyers’ requests. In this approach, a marketplace identifies calls that are not answered and, with the consent of a buyer, redirects their call to an alternative seller. This is how it looks step by step:

1. A buyer dials a seller’s number.
2. Call tracking system monitors the status of the call in real-time. If a seller doesn’t answer, the buyer hears a voice message prompting them to talk with another seller who has a similar offer.
3. If they agree, the call gets automatically forwarded to a group of sellers with similar offers. The first who answers the call gets the lead.

In addition to increasing the volume of successful transactions, lead exchange is how a marketplace may generate more hot leads for sellers. Many platforms see it as an additional stream of monetization, charging sellers for leads they forward to them.

Trust and privacy protection

Let’s make it clear: showing your users’ phone numbers on the internet is a bad idea. A mobile number is a user’s global locator and identifier. And a welcome prey for all the bad actors on the Web.

That’s where phone number masking comes into play, protecting sellers from unwanted calls. There are two approaches to number masking:

1. Replacing a seller’s real number with a virtual oneEven if this assigned number starts receiving unwanted calls, it’s easily disposable and replaceable.
2. Not showing numbers at allInstead, consider implementing an automated call-back. To connect with a seller, a buyer clicks “Call me now” in the ad and types in their number. Call-back triggers a call to the seller, then a call to the buyer, and connects both in 20 seconds or less.

Number masking ensures that sellers only receive calls from your efforts while they are using your marketplace.

Upgrade the user experience

It may seem obvious that quick response and consistent quality of service is a seller’s responsibility. But at the end of the day, it is the marketplace that buyers blame for the poor response times of sellers. If you are striving to improve the quality and consistency of seller response times, consider a Call-back solution.

Call-back connects buyers to sellers in 30 seconds or less. Once a buyer clicks the “Call me” button in the ad, the Call-back capturs their phone number and calls the seller. When the seller answers the call, the Call-back automatically calls the buyer and connects both parties. Calls are placed automatically, the parties have only to pick up the call and do the talking.

“Wow, you called so quickly” is the most common reaction to the “call-back magic”. In addition to improving seller response times, it creates a wow experience for buyers (and ultimately results in higher Trustpilot scores for marketplaces).


Enabling users to get in touch with each other is essential for marketplace success. From requesting additional information to specifying delivery details, conversation has always been - and always will be - a core part of commerce.

But direct communication between marketplace users has its downsides. too. Sometimes the desire to avoid platform fees motivates users to abandon the marketplace and conduct the transaction elsewhere. They get in touch, they get each other’s contact details, then they’re gone.

With Call tracking and Number Masking, marketplaces keep conversations between sellers and buyers under control. Virtual numbers assigned to each user enable platforms to track and record every phone call. Combined with marketplace efforts on order protection and payment management, this tactic delivers excellent results in preventing off-platform transactions. Besides, listening to calls is a quick way to learn a lot about user experience and spot opportunities to optimize it.

Be it measuring the call activity, creating an exceptional user experience, or finding new opportunities for monetization, Call tracking and Number masking are two easy ways to tackle challenges a modern marketplace faces.

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