With as many as 60 percent of all mobile local searches leading to consumer action within the day (depending on the category), mobile consumers are ready to connect with businesses. While calls are a de facto consumer response for smartphones (it is, after all, a phone), only a small number of mobile marketers are tracking the calls generated by their mobile campaigns.
There has been a lot of talk about looking beyond the click for a more holistic view of mobile ROI. Action-based secondary metrics like map views, direction lookups and reservation bookings help confirm which mobile ad channels, formats and creative content are generating engagement, but for many local search advertisers, mobile is all about making the phone ring. The phone call is a “moment of truth” indicating an engaged, ready-to-transact consumer. Whether it’s the local plumber, moving company or auto repair franchise, calls are key to their business.
Some mobile advertisers and mobile ad providers think they are tracking calls with click-to-call programs that measure the number of clicks on a click-to-call button.
But how many of those calls actually connect? How many of them are answered? How many are generating an in-store visit, a sale, a reservation or an appointment?
Tracking Calls Beyond The Click
Marketers that are measuring calls as clicks don’t know the answers to any of the above questions because the measurement stops at the click. They cannot assume that the call connected, was answered or proved to be a valid lead. Tracking phone calls using call measurement technology, however, can provide key consumer intelligence and validate purchase behaviors and engagement.
Also, measuring the call-through rate (the ratio of ad/landing page impressions to calls) for mobile ads in which the entire call session and the associated insights are captured, is essential to optimizing and monetizing mobile.
For one leading mobile advertiser, migrating from tracking click-to-call events to tracking true calls revealed valuable lead quality insights about its distribution partners. While click-to-call tracking showed one distribution partner performing better (based on the high number of clicks on the phone number), further call-through tracking revealed that a different distribution partner was actually generating longer calls — an indication that the consumers delivered by these partners were higher-quality leads. As a result, the advertiser was able to improve its distribution strategy by placing more emphasis on the partners delivering the higher-quality leads, leading to higher overall conversion rates.
Elevating Your Mobile Marketing Performance
Taking this a step further, while click-to-call reveals the total clicks, call tracking can reveal not just the call-through rate but the number of calls answered, call duration, caller phone number and demographics, and call recordings. These operational, lead-quality and conversion insights are essential for optimizing mobile ad programs.
Also, because the value of a call transcends all media, advertisers that incorporate call tracking into mobile measurement can use it in tandem with other media. Calls are a cross-media metric that provide apples-to-apples comparisons of all advertising/marketing programs and can also help simplify performance reporting for advertisers in terms they can understand and value.
Today, too few mobile ad programs truly measure and monetize calls, and marketers that are just tracking the number of clicks on a phone number or call button don’t have enough intelligence available to effectively optimize their mobile ad spend. As advertisers align calls with a successful lead more often than any other consumer engagement point, measuring calls and the associated call-through insights is key to elevating mobile marketing performance.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.