Datalot’s Josh Reznick dials up the pay-per-call marketplace

By Shahnaz MahmudAugust 11, 2014

“Pay-per” is the new black. We’ve got pay-per-view, pay-per-click and perhaps the newest black: pay-per-call in the mobile ad space. And it’s this pay-per-call marketplace that Datalot is actively promoting. Advertisers can log in and buy calls as simply as you would buy clicks on Google, explains New York-based Josh Reznick, founder and CEO of the customer acquisition platform-based company.

Datalot is a co-sponsor of LeadsCon New York.

Moving away from the agency-type structure more common in the market, where things like filters and call notes are used for pay-per-call marketing campaigns, Datalot is taking it steps further. Reznick refers to it as being completely “self-serve” because the advertiser can dictate when they want calls, turn it off and hours or days later request more calls. “The ability to control it like that is really something that isn’t available anywhere,” says Reznick. “It’s a kind of self-serve call marketplace.”

As a company well-known in the marketplace for running a great deal of Web-to-telephony infrastructure, Datalot has worked with numerous pay-per companies, the majority being large companies, such as insurance carriers. Its aim now is to target smaller businesses that have a similar bent.

The link to lead generation

Reznick makes the link to lead generation. “When people are buying clicks or leads, what they are really buying are proxies for phone calls,” he says. The goal isn't really getting a click to their website so they can hopefully have the user fill out information so they can call them back. Further, they are not buying a lead because they want to buy a lead. They want to try and call them back and get them on the phone. “Up until now, there really hasn’t been a way to kind of sell phone calls like this – live customers in an easy way to track,” Reznick points out. Given the option, most companies would prefer to buy live phone calls rather than something earlier in the sales funnel.

With lead gen, most people only want the phone call at the end of the day, “and that to me is very compelling,” he says. Pointing to how mobile is taking over so much for this traffic, the key here is through this medium, it skips all of the cumbersome steps just to get someone on the phone and leads you straight to search – and then to a live voice. Who hasn’t been asked to fill out a form asking for too much information? “That’s incredibly powerful because so much of it is friction and all of these steps that the advertiser doesn’t really need, and the customers find it intrusive without it being necessary,” says Reznick. What this boils down to is you don’t have to move between different devices just because you want to get on the phone. Through the pay-per-call platform, now there exists the ability to be much more streamlined in the process.

Real-time auction marketplace for calls

Datalot’s platform essentially runs as a real-time auction marketplace for calls. Similar to buying Google Ad Words, you are bidding for phone calls. “This is actually exciting for advertisers because they don’t have to worry about all of these different optimization points,” says Reznick.

Reznick says it’s kind of taking the simplicity of how the Yellow Pages used to work, where you would put an ad in the Yellow Pages and you would get customers. “That was great as long as it worked,” he points out. “What it lacked was the ability to optimize and target and segment. You couldn’t decide exactly when someone was going to call you but with our platform you can. You’re kind of getting the best of both worlds. You’re getting that kind of simplicity of the inbound customers along with all of the quantitative functionality you can get from buying clicks on Google and so forth. And that’s really a very powerful thing for businesses.”

A veteran of the Internet advertising world, Reznick had the foresight to understand that mobile was going to be the next big thing in advertising when he created Datalot in 2009. He and his team didn’t know exactly when, surmising a year, maybe even 20. Sure enough, within 18 months mobile had arrived with tons of traffic and customers using their handheld devices, which, of course, spelled good news for the company.

Reznick says what excites him the most is the essence of the technology Datalot has created: a platform that is functioning on the website and the phone. No longer do you require, at a minimum, three different pieces of software and three applications to accomplish your goals. “When you have one platform that gets you all this, the ability to optimize is so much greater,” he says.

LeadsCon NY 2014 will take place at the Marriott Marquis in New York City Aug. 14-15.

This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.

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