How will smartphone growth change lead generation?

By John EganFebruary 3, 2015

If it seems to you that mobile marketing is taking over the world, you’re not far off.

In 2014, a little less than one-fourth of the people in the world are using smartphones, according to eMarketer. By 2017, that figure will jump to one-third, eMarketer predicts. Leaders in smartphone adoption include South Korea, Australia, Japan, China and the US, the research company says.

Monica Peart, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer, said the smartphone explosion will have a “significant influence” on marketing, e-commerce and media. This trend carries the potential for a significant shift in lead generation.

In 2013, Mobile Marketer reported that insurance companies and cable TV providers are among the marketers using online lead generation that are seeing an uptick in traffic from mobile devices. But marketers are still working out concerns with online lead generation, such as how to deal with the proliferation of spam and how to ramp up adoption of mobile-friendly lead forms, Mobile Marketer said.

“Mobile is becoming increasingly important for lead generation as consumers turn more and more to their mobile phones to search for services and view a greater share of media,” John Busby, senior vice president of the Marchex Institute, told Mobile Marketer.

A report released in April by BIA/Kelsey, an advertising research and advisory company, indicates that one-fourth of searches online now are conducted on smartphones and other mobile devices. Half of those search queries involve “local intent.”

“That means that mobile searchers have a high likelihood of wanting something to do, see, eat or buy in their immediate local vicinity. By comparison, only 20 percent of desktop searches include local intent,” according to the BIA/Kelsey report.

The report says that 28 percent of mobile searches result in conversions, such as a store visit, a phone call or a purchase. Many of those conversions happen within an hour of an initial search, BIA/Kelsey says.

As such, local calls to action are vital in mobile marketing, according to BIA/Kelsey. “Many mobile publishers, developers or advertisers operate in a desktop mindset by delivering more branding-oriented advertising such as display ads without local calls to action,” the report says.

Speaking of calls, mobile search will eclipse other sources and drive 65 billion sales calls to businesses by 2016, BIA/Kelsey predicts, up from 30 billion in 2013. And that’s good for lead conversion: Mobile searches prompt more phone calls (57 percent) compared with desktop searches (7 percent), the report says.

Because of smartphones, phone calls have re-emerged as the most effective channel for generating leads and closing business, Blair Symes, demand generation manager at marketing automation company Ifbyphone, wrote recently on

“The smartphone’s tendency to drive phone calls is well aligned with its appeal to businesses,” BIA/Kelsey says. “Many businesses — especially small businesses without websites or search marketing campaigns — want the phone to ring. It’s a tangible and manageable lead form.”

This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.

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