Everywhere you look today the story is that local businesses are moving to a Pay Per Call approach. However if we are to believe the latest Kelsey report on local and mobile media this is just the latest manifestation of a major trend. The Kelsey crew claim that last year of the nearly $133B spent on local advertising 60% was focused on driving leads as calls. The spend is across all media but the focus is strongly on lead generation and that trend is gathering even greater momentum. This trend is accelerated by the breakneck growth of smart phones. Kelsey claims that by 2015 the volume of queries from mobile devices will equal all desktop queries, that sounds credible to me. They also claim that conversion from the mobile device to the paid phone call is eight times more likely than from the desktop. I’m not sure I buy that number as we have always seen desktop view to call at closer to 30% but it makes sense that the mobile devices should convert really well.
Interestingly they claim that only about 22% of those calls were generated through paid search. Certainly we use paid search to drive calls but other media such as mobile syndication and even local radio are also extremely effective in driving tracked paid calls. The largely untapped inventory of as yet largely un-targeted local display inventory is another enormous opportunity still emerging. Of all channels we use currently desktop driven search and calls coupled with mobile syndication across the board…mobile search and mobile devices seems to be the most powerful combination.
The rapid drive towards a Pay Per Call based ROI focused approach is even driving traditional publishers. In a world where even the most laggardly local business have figured out that spending money on calls which produce new business makes great sense even traditional print and broadcast media are embracing the paid call as a logical way to prove value. If you are able to drive value people will buy your product. The the adage was that half of all advertising is wasted but you can’t tell which half…now you can.