Making phone calls on mobile devices is what people do – that’s why it is a natural action for people to make a call following a mobile search or clicking on a search-based advertisement. According to mobile ad network xAd (Q4, 2011), 52 percent of people who click on search ads go on to call the advertiser. Meanwhile Google reports that mobile users are 6-8 percent more likely to click on an ad that contains a phone number.
BIA/Kelsey (June 2012) believes US businesses already receive more than three times as many calls originating from mobile than from desktop search, and predict that the number of calls from mobile will more than double by 2013 to an average of 81 calls per business per month.
As marketers and publishers wise up to the customer willingness to engage with click-to-call ads, BIA/Kelsey forecasts that the market is destined for explosive growth, saying: “Mobile is about to unleash a massive increase in call-based ad inventory.”
LogMyCalls’ own data, gathered from 100,000s of phone calls, shows that leads generated from inbound phone calls are 12 to 15 times more likely to convert than leads from Web-based forms. So the more phone calls you can generate through mobile marketing, the more business your company will win.
At the same time click-to-call advertising is becoming more sophisticated. It’s no longer necessary to pay for mobile search inventory on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, you can now pay on a click-to-call basis with providers including Google – which can be advantageous for the advertiser.
Here are eight tips for launching a click-to-call mobile ad campaign from Jason Wells, CEO, ContactPoint, developer of click-to-call analytics application LogMyCalls. He will be speaking on Mobile Marketing Tactics at SES San Francisco on August 14, 2012 (mobiThinking readers can claim a 20 percent discount for this event using the code MOBI20).
1) Develop a click-to-call strategy
All businesses – or agencies acting on their behalf – should ensure they are prepared before embarking on a mobile click-to-call campaign. Customer calls could double or even triple – do you have the telephony (IVR, routing) and staffing in place to handle that?
2) Consider pay-per-call monetization
Marketing and lead-generation firms who bill on a cost CPC or cost per lead (CPL) basis should consider changing how clients are billed, before the calls start rolling in. Phone calls deliver better leads than Web forms or clicks-throughs – clients will be prepared to pay more for better quality leads.
3) Don’t underestimate the impact of well-planned media buying
Buying mobile media inventory direct from a mobile search engine or via a mobile ad network usually requires using an automated bidding platform. The cost of ad inventory costs increases the more targeted the advertising. It works like an auction – the key words that mobile users are more like to choose when searching will be more in demand from advertisers and therefore will cost more. But the improving the effectiveness click-to-call ads with strategic targeting should deliver more calls.
• Treat each campaign separately. Don’t bundle your mobile and Web campaigns. According to this Google presentation (November 2011) separating the campaigns in Google Adwords can increase click-through rates (CTR) by 11.5 percent.
• 40 percent of mobile users are searching for something local – business, restaurant, shop etc – according to Google, so consider refining your campaign to attract customers who are in your business’ locality using geo-targeting.
• Consider refining your campaign so ads are only shown at the most appropriate time of day or days of the week for your offer. This is known as day-parting. N.B. The best time to get multi-screen/device users on their mobiles is outside office hours when they are away from their desktops.
4) Learn how to write more effective mobile ad copy
Mobile ad copy needs to be catchy, direct and to the point. In addition to including the phone number in the ad itself, ads should include phrases such as “Call Now” or ‘Call Today”. Ads that use call-specific language deliver higher CTRs.
Using click-to-call ads with phrases such as “Book now. Call or book direct on the mobile site”, hotel group InterContinental (see the video case study below) succeeded in increasing traffic to the mobile site by 20 percent month-on-month delivering a year-on-year increase in revenue of over 90 percent through mobile search.
5) Use call analytics
Whether you use LogMyCalls or not, I strongly recommend using a local or toll-free number from a call-tracking provider when you’re running mobile click-to-call campaigns. Using your current business number or a number provided by the search marketing provider will only give you the raw number of calls produced by the ads, whereas a call-tracking number will give you much more insight, enabling you to optimize the campaign to get better results. (Read on to find out more).
6) The more data the better (especially with Adwords)
When you run a mobile click-to-call campaign with a pay-per-call provider, such as Google Adwords, you will be charged every time a call is initiated – i.e. every time the user clicks on the phone number in the ad.
The problem is the number doesn’t tell the whole story, as you don’t know how many of these calls were completed, how many went unanswered, or if they delivered business or not. To find out more we ran some trial campaigns with some of our call-tracking clients, including Holiday Inn Express in Utah, using our tool, LogMyCalls, to extract call analytics from calls initiated from a Google Adwords campaign.
Case study: Holiday Inn Express – Logan, Utah – June 2012
• Campaign spend – US $332.
• Google billed for 60 calls generated via mobile click-to-call.
• In reality, only 29 calls (48 percent) were actually completed.
• Of which nine were qualified opportunities (15 percent).
• And six ended in a room reservation (10 percent).
• The implications: CPC, CPL and CPA (cost per acquisition) are inaccurate measures unless you have more data. If click-to-calls are indistinguishable from your other inbound calls, how can you make any rational decisions on optimization, future spend and choice of ad channels. That’s why we recommend using a call-tracking number.
7) Track mobile call conversion rates
Tracking conversion rates from mobile callers is critical. If you track conversion rates from banner ads and email campaigns to your mobile/Web landing pages, then you should also track conversion rates for mobile calls. The results might surprise – as mentioned earlier LogMyCalls data shows that lead-to-customer conversion rates for inbound mobile callers can be 15 times higher than lead-to-customer conversion rates on inbound Web leads.
8) Start small
Start small with a modest mobile click-to-call campaign run for several weeks, that way you can draw conclusions about what ad copy, keywords, targeting and ad channels work best… but start now.
Case study: InterContinental (February 2011)
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