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State of the Pay Per Call Industry

The pay per call industry is growing and making waves, but how is it impacting businesses using it?

I recently spoke with Daryl Cowell from Matomy at a recent affiliate marketing conference. We got to talking about how many companies are seeing great success with affiliates in the space.  Here is my interview with him about what’s going on in the pay per call industry.

What is the current state of pay-per-call marketing?

Pay-per-call marketing is going through a renaissance period. Traditional pay-per-call marketing, which existed via TV, print and radio advertising, has been around for years. Now, though, the game is changing, as the “mobile threshold” has been broken. As more Internet traffic comes from mobile devices, it makes sense for advertisers generating leads to have their leads call in directly to a call center rather than trying to get a consumer to fill out a lead form on a mobile page and attempt to connect with them later.

However, it doesn’t have to be one way or another. We see the largest opportunity for both advertisers and publishers alike by creating multi-action, multi-channel pay-per-call campaigns. This gives the user a choice to either dial in right now or to fill out a lead form. Not only do multi-action campaigns increase performance for the publisher, but they provide the user a better experience by giving users the choice of how they want to connect with the advertiser.

What are the benefits to advertisers to running pay-per-call campaigns?

Pay-per-call marketing is one of the most cost-effective, ROI-focused forms of digital advertising that a company can run. It offers advertisers the benefit of a 100% connection rate with consumers that have already opted-in to receiving your information and/or offer. Our tests have shown that inbound callers received via pay-per-call campaigns convert at least twice the rate than leads that are connected via outbound dialing. Inbound callers also monetize at a higher rate than leads that are sold via outbound dialing.

No longer does an advertiser have to purchase a lead, route it to a salesperson, have that salesperson call the prospect and hope the consumer is able to talk and still interested in the company’s product or service. Pay-per-call campaigns offer advertisers the benefit of immediately reaching a consumer who has taken the time to proactively call into their call center to inquire about and, in many cases, set the in-person appointment and/or make the purchase right then and there.

Which advertiser verticals seem to be the biggest in pay-per-call?

Any advertiser with an inbound call center is ideal. Certain consumer verticals perform particularly well with pay-per-call campaigns, including: Home Services, Health & Wellness, Finance, Insurance, Education, and PC/Tech support.

What are the next verticals to get into the game?

We expect to see increased appetite for pay-per-call campaigns in the following verticals: retail, travel, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, as well as products and services aimed at seniors.

What are the benefits to publishers to running pay-per-call campaigns?

When it comes to the mobile Web many publishers are still figuring things out, especially when it comes to monetizing their site traffic across different devices. They’re discovering that you can’t simply shrink an advertiser’s creative assets and landing page from the desktop Web to fit the mobile Web. The ads simply won’t convert, which will frustrate the advertiser and not serve the publisher well in terms of effectively monetizing their site traffic.

Mobile lead-gen doesn’t work the same way as desktop lead-gen. Pay-per-call marketing provides an excellent opportunity for mobile focused publishers to help advertisers drive customer acquisition while simultaneously improving their site monetization efforts. Even more, advertisers are often willing to pay more per inbound call lead, which puts more money in the publisher’s pocket.

Many pay-per-call marketers want to capitalize on a consumer’s sense of urgency. Whether you need a locksmith in a pinch or have chipped a tooth and urgently need to reach a dentist, pay-per-call offers publishers a way to monetize traffic based on an immediate consumer need that is tied into the content of their site. On most occasions, consumers will turn to mobile search to help them solve these issues.  Right there you have a captive audience that a publisher can turn into a client for the advertiser.

What are the most successful or proven media channels in which to run a pay-per-call campaign?

Success in any marketing campaign, including pay-per-call, largely depends on the industry or vertical the advertiser operates in.

In the case of PC and tech support it’s often the consumer’s computer that has complications. The best place to reach this consumer in need of help is in the spot they’re encountering issues – on the desktop Web.

If I had to choose one media channel that consistently has success with pay-per-call it would be print. There are low barriers to entry for marketers in print media and it delivers great quality of calls (leads) to the advertiser.

Does one media channel seem to yield better calls/customers than the other?

It really depends on the campaign and vertical. A print ad in a local community phone book may target more of a sub-prime customer, while a pay-per-call ad unit on will target a higher net worth consumer. Because pay-per-call can be run in every media channel, both online and offline, it’s more about honing in on the target market that works best for the advertiser than identifying how to hit a target within the channel.

In short, the media channel that is going to work best for a marketer running a pay-per-call campaign is going to be the channel that they know and have the most experience in.

What is the downside or potential pitfalls for an advertiser who runs a pay-per-call campaign?

Advertisers must keep a close eye on where the consumer calls in from whenever they run pay-per-call campaigns. They need to make sure that the ad creative and copy a publisher runs is approved and is focused on enticing the ideal consumer.

Like any marketing campaign, advertisers must ensure the claims they make in their pay-per-call ads are verifiable.

In addition, we suggest advertisers start any new pay-per-call campaign with a test. Cap the number of inbound calls per day at whatever number meets your lead-gen needs. While pay-per-call is certain to drive positive-ROI, the last thing you want is a bunch of “tire kickers” calling in and tying up your call center’s most valuable resource, its sales people.

Where advertiser stumble is by not having a well-trained call center. When running pay-per-call campaigns for the first time, an advertiser’s call center will need to adjust its script so that it’s written in such a way to appeal to inbound callers. This requires a much different mindset and call script than the typical outbound call center uses.

The other issue to watch out for is misuses of the call duration requirements that are part of most pay-per-call campaigns. The call center has to be trained to get random, irrelevant callers off of the phone quickly, without alienating or upsetting the caller (after all, they are a potential customer, or they may know a potential customer) so that the advertiser is paying only for the most qualified leads.

Ultimately, having a well-written call center script tailored to inbound leads, is key to success in pay-per-call marketing.

What can advertisers and networks do to guard against call fraud?

One of the most important aspects of any pay-per-call campaign is to utilize a quality tracking and technology platform, in addition to finding the right marketing partner, preferably one that can provide a single platform in which to manage your campaign across multiple media channels and media sources. Your marketing partner should be able to track calls, insert an IVR and fire a pixel once the call duration has been met. In addition, they will record all of the calls and store them in the cloud. This gives the advertiser or network placing the buy full visibility into the quality and content of each call.

How do you see pay-per-call evolving over the next year?

We except to see a much wider adoption by both advertisers and publisher of pay-per-call. Recently, Twitter announced that it is testing a click-to-call ad feature that will allow direct-response marketers to target Twitter users with specific pay-per-call offers.

As the percentage of time consumers spend on their mobile devices increase, we expect mobile pay-per-call ad spend to increase as well. It’s the best way to capture a customer on the mobile Web.

We are expecting to see more pay-per-call ad units developed by ad networks and publishers. Publishers and networks alike are both struggling to make mobile ad placements profitable. New pay-per-call ad units that can get a consumer to dial in based on their interest and intent, rather that fat fingers, will command a much higher CPM.


Have you had experience with pay per call, how did it work for your business?


Featured Image Credit: Wikipedia

John Rampton Founder at

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. Founder at payments company I enjoy helping people ...

State of the Pay Per Call Industry

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