Most studies being published about smartphones lately have focused on the interactive features users employ in response to advertising. Despite all the hype, consumers are using their smartphones in a surprisingly old-technology way when an ad interests them. They are making call to marketers and, as a result, this channel is poised for growth.
This news comes from BIA/Kelsey which reports that local advertisers see phone calls from prospective customers to be as important as store visits in generating new leads. Currently, the average small business has the following in-bound call activity:
- Monthly from desktop searches: 10.9 calls
- Monthly from mobile (including mobile search): 34.7 calls
BIA/Kelsey analysts believe these numbers will jump to 13.8 per month from desktop and 80.9 per month from mobile by 2013.
The research firm underscores the importance of this trend by pointing to Google’s shift in managing its online ad system. Online marketers are noticing that bids can now be separated between clicks and calls, “a step which means paying more for calls.” Marchex, which assists clients in pumping up calls from clients, notes that “national brands allocate as much as 20 percent of their digital advertising budgets to generate calls and [we] expect this to continue to grow."
If local advertisers value the business that a call from a client can bring, they will likely try to place new promotions designed to entice customers to contact them via mobile phone. As a result, media companies should be optimizing their offerings to make it easy for clients to accept calls and track the associated analytics.[Source: Call-Based Ads: Eliminating the Unknown from Advertising. Biakelsey.com. 18 Jun. 2012. Web. 25 Jun. 2012]