The Dilemma Facing Pay-Per-Call Leads

By Johnna McCooeyAugust 8, 2014

We live in a world that is increasingly dominated by the mobile consumer.  We’re experiencing what Josh Bernoff, Senior Vice President of Idea Development at Forrester Research, calls the “Mobile Mind Shift.”  He recently coauthored a book, by that name which defines this phenomenon as, “The expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.”

Consider this fact that supports his argument: daily time spent on mobile has grown 613% since 2010. The mobile mind shift is real, it’s happening, and it’s something that marketers cannot ignore. Local businesses must take this dramatic change in consumer behavior into consideration as they think about how to allocate their spending in advertising.

66% of small business owners consider phone calls the most valuable form of incoming leads.  Phone calls have always been a vital part of the consumer decision making process, but now more than ever businesses are seeing a huge ROI in mobile click-to-call.  According to the Local Search Association, 76% of calls generated from a search on a mobile internet Yellow Pages site, resulted in a purchase, or intent to purchase. 

Mobile is also changing the way customers communicate with businesses.  But the fact remains that customers who are motivated enough to call a business are much more likely to make a purchase, than someone who is simply looking for basic information on a website.

No one should be surprised then that pay-per-call leads convert at a rate of 10-15% while other forms of digital advertising, such as web-based clicks, convert at 2-3%.  People like talking to other people.  It’s as simple as that.  So, why are only 4% of advertising budgets allocated to pay-per-call when conversion rates are so high?

The dilemma facing the pay-per-call industry is that small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) can’t buy high quality call-based leads as easy as they can pay-per-click ads.  Call-based leads are typically bundled in with other forms of advertising, some that work and others that may not. Without a robust, self-service platform that serves just the pay-per-call industry, businesses find themselves buying what’s convenient and not necessarily what’s effective.

There is a need in the pay-per-call industry for a call exchange that generates a large volume of call-based leads from a variety of sources and matches the caller’s intent with relevant choices. This exchange needs to be self-administered by merchants and their agencies looking to buy those leads, (including budget controls for how and when calls arrive). To be truly effective, this exchange must also link programmatically with demand-side platforms that are interested in buying calls just like they buy clicks today.

Soleo is working on providing a call exchange that meets these needs. This will allow businesses to buy call-based leads directly, without the need to buy other forms of advertising that may come with them. Our goal is to make call-based leads more accessible for those businesses that can’t buy them today and easier to manage going forward.

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