Mobile Click-to-Call Campaigns: Driving More For Less

By Kieran Dunn, Account Supervisor, Client Services

A friend of mine always jokes, ' handheld computer also makes phone calls!' This reality - that Smart Phone adoption (and mobile internet usage) continues to rapidly grow - has many advertisers wondering how they can take advantage. According to Morgan Stanley research, by roughly 2014, more people will connect to the internet using phones than desktop PCs.

Keys To Mobile Click-to-Call Campaigns
  • Appropriately Staffed Call Centers
  • Driving Relevant Results
  • Tracking Phone Calls
  • Tailored Ad Copy & Account Builds
How Calls Can Lead to Revenue
Turning inbound phone calls into profit is not a new concept. This opportunity involves converting inbound phone calls from the many mobile pay-per-click ads that stem from this growing trend of mobile search. Many advertisers have turned to implementing what's called 'click-to-call' functionality on their mobile ads. Literally, searchers can click the phone number, and a call is then initiated from the mobile phone. 

From the advertiser's perspective, you obviously need to have the appropriate call center to field the calls and further, close (or at least advance) the sales cycle. Optimizing towards calls make more sense the more expensive the product is. Also, if the advertiser has a call center that is only staffed part of the day, applying similar day-parting techniques (serving ads during specified hours) to the campaign is the solution. A solid mobile site is a huge plus as well, because searchers still have the first option to click on your mobile site.  

Key Performance Indicators 
Advertisers often aim to drive inbound phone calls from their television, print, and online efforts.  The primary goal with mobile click-to-call campaigns is the same result, yet can often come at only a fraction of the total cost of other mediums.  The advantage here is: the user has their phone in-hand, so driving warm leads in the form of calls can readily happen at the direct point of interest i.e. the mobile search. 

Of course, instead of driving traditional direct response metrics (think online sales/leads), the end metric involves tracking total phone calls against cost (and mobile site visits).  Essentially, you’re optimizing towards a cost-per-call vs. cost-per-lead or impression.

Unique Phone Number
Ideally, a mobile-search phone number is therefore used to directly track how many calls your campaigns generate.  Google’s mobile ad network can indeed provide how many total clicks stem from each campaign, differentiating between how many clicks-to-call there were vs. clicks to the mobile site. Bing’s mobile network cannot currently differentiate clicks-to-call vs. clicks to the site, but they are looking to update this functionality.

Either way, having a specific phone number in place is the best practice.  The phone carrier can then provide the exact amount of calls that result from your collective mobile efforts.  Remember, some users will simply dial the displayed number on their key pad vs. clicking-to-call, which can’t be tracked otherwise (and is a cost-free phone call for the advertiser).  From there, ‘conversion data’ is reliant on the advertiser, although you can also use directional information – such as call duration – to help determine the value of each call.

Don’t forget to optimize your mobile ad copy to the appropriate call-to-action – don’t say Buy Now if the ad’s goal is to generate a call.  Longer-tailed keywords are less prevalent in mobile searches, of note.  You’ll also want to avoid displaying vanity phone numbers (1-800 Company-Name), so list the actual digits instead.

Consumer Demand Is There – Are You? 
Just as running PPC ads became a no-brainer for advertisers in the last decade or so, having a strong mobile presence – click-to-call included – has become a must.  Advertising supply will always follow the consumer’s place of demand, so jump on board – you can still become an early adopter if you haven’t already.    


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