The Choices of a Pay-Per-Call Campaign: Should You be Buying Calls, Impressions, or Conversions?

By Kristen EricksonOctober 8, 2014

Pay-per-call campaign management tools are often used by marketers as a way to buy call-based leads. These tools can help advertisers define the type of calls they want, in what locations, and what hours of the day they want to these receive calls. But call-based leads can be purchased in several different ways, so before your business invests in a pay-per-call campaign you should consider the three options for how to allocate your spending: calls, impressions, or conversions. Bid strategy will significantly influence your return on investment, so determining which option is right for your business depends on a number of factors.


Pay-per-call impressions are very similar to web-based impressions—an advertiser pays every time a potential caller hears the ad played or sees a business that fits their search profile. This bid strategy is a good fit for businesses that are focused on getting their name in front of many potential customers.

Restaurants typically benefit greatly from impression-based bidding. In August 2014, our Call Generation Platform offered over 2.7 million choices in the “restaurant” category. That’s a lot of impressions on callers, meaning a lot of potential for a restaurant to get business they may not have captured.

Impressions are most beneficial for advertisers who have a set budget that they would like to use for call-based advertising. With impression bidding, you set the highest amount you want to pay per impression, so your ad spend never varies. The higher the impression price, the greater chance your ad will be played.


On Soleo’s platform, a call takes place when a consumer chooses to be connected to your business by selecting your ad as his choice. Buying call-based leads is valuable for businesses that may not need a long conversation with someone to convert a sale or book an appointment.

If you decide to choose this bidding strategy, it is imperative that someone be there to answer the phone. We suggest making your business hours the designated time that your ad is eligible to play. By doing so, you’ll avoid missed calls and potentially missed leads.


Businesses that choose this bidding strategy typically place a high value on their phone calls. Service-based businesses, like doctors, lawyers, and contractors, are looking to book an appointment from each phone call, so they often choose to pay-per-action, such as a booked appointment. Conversions can also be determined by call duration; an advertiser can choose to pay its affiliate for calls that meet certain criteria, such as, calls that last for a minimum of 90 seconds. Soleo can track the duration of every call to a business from our system. Conversions are typically the highest-priced bids in the pay-per-call market due to the increased ROI to the merchant.

For example, last month the average duration of a call in the overall “loans” category was 121 seconds. This probably results from the caller seeking additional information about a loan, or setting up an appointment with the banking institution. Choosing conversions as a bid-strategy for these types of service-based businesses makes the most sense.

No matter what bid strategy is chosen, those investing in pay-per-call advertising are making a wise decision. According to Street Fight, call volume to small and medium-sized businesses is estimated to reach 65 billion by 2016. Determining your pay-per-call strategy is a great way to maximize this opportunity and take advantage of this growing source of leads.

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