Pay Per Call Ad Could Give a Competitive Edge to a Business

Pay Per Call has taken online marketing one notch further by enabling users to connect with sellers through a telephone line in real time. The whole arrangement has similarity with the Pay Per Click (PPC) we all are familiar with, but if there is a difference those who have subscribed for the PPCall use an a text ad that has a telephone icon beside it, or instead of the usual URL it has a 1 800 number to click on, and users do not pay for only clicking on the ad, they have to talk with the advertising business. If the advertiser has URL it could be included in the ad text.

When the user clicks the 1 800 number there would be a connection established through the 1 800 number that will call the phone number the business or the vendor has provided. There is no related cost for the caller, however, the advertising business pays according to the initial arrangement and bidding on keywords is involved like in PPC ads, where those that are bidding high are the ones that have the chance of appearing on the sponsored search results often.

The pioneering company Ingenio is using a 1 800 number to connect both buyers and sellers and the company works with AOL, go2.com, and Askwhat that are currently displaying the company’s ad on their search results and it will share the revenue generated with them.

Google also has been trying a similar service for a while now with its own version, where when the users click the phone icon that appears beside some text ads, those being subscribers for the program among the other advertisers; Google will make the phone call on behalf of the users with no charge after the users provided a phone number, except for mobile phones that could be charged. Of course, Google will charge the advertising business that will pay depending on the arrangement made. The program is still on its beta stage even if there had been news that Google had applied for patent for a similar technology that Ingenio is using. Yahoo is also trying similar program with Ingenio, but the company is not saying much except that it is experimenting with the system.

The cost is much higher than PPC and it could be between $2 -$20 per call depending on how much the business agrees to bid for every call. Moreover, as far as facilitating business is concerned the assumption is that PPCall will make a big difference in the long run and by the year 2009 according to some sources, this new industry could generate between $1.4 and $4 billion. According to similar reports there are close to 14 million businesses that do not have their own Web site online and that could make them lose out from what the Internet is availing for all sizes of businesses. The presumption is PPCall will change that by giving many businesses the ability to participate in the search results without going through the arduous task of setting up a web presence, which does not come cheap either.

By simply submitting a text ad stating what the businesses are doing, when users encounter their ads all they have to do is click on their phone connection to have a direct access to them. The best customers that will benefit from the arrangement are big financial establishments that will have a direct contact with customers rather than relying on email interaction. Mortgage companies are also in the list among those that will benefit from a PPCall arrangement. The same goes with real estate companies that will not have a problem of absorbing the expense they will incur.

All in all, even if PPCall has appeal for a nationwide or regional use, it is said that PPCall is more useful for local search that being the area where urgent needs might come into the picture that require immediate attention. One cited example was a leaking pipe where instead of waiting to get help through email, which would take time, the customer has no choice other than picking the telephone and call a number from the yellow pages. Local users usually look for a local business when they have real urgent need for something and are ready buyers for the most part.

When PPCall is compared with other kinds of online ads it could be expensive, especially when compared to PPC, but there could be businesses that could justify the expense, because of their sheer size and the volume of business they are doing. According to a study made the conversion rate of PPCall is one day, whereas PPC could take up to 14 days, which means except the involved expense, which is much higher, it has a much higher payoff for businesses, because there is no reason in some cases why the one day conversion cycle cannot come down to onehour. The potential could be exponential for any business that can afford it.

One other advantage from the advertisers vantagepoint is, up to now, it is possible to have three ads from the same advertiser appearing on search results at different positions. A site with its organic optimization done that would be found according to search engine algorithms, another ad that is using PPC, and of course, another ad using PPCall can be popping up at different spots in the same search results. It makes sense because those who are using PPCall might not have Web sites for the most part, but if they have they can add the URL into the text ad, opening another access to a Web site that might do a good job of converting visitors if it is well designed and has a good copy.

Currently, because it is only AOL that manages the PPCall at a substantial size, it might not mean a lot, yet that potential is there when the other major search engines adapt the system broadly. Because those businesses that have Web sites also want their customers to visit them so that they could get firsthand exposure to what the offering is. It might be better than getting it from a call center representative who might be looking at the Web site while making calling-customers familiar with what is offered. In fact, it has a much more far reaching advantage to do the call from a Web site, which means there has to be similar mechanism where users can call from a Web site instead of from a text ad that does not have much to tell customers, even if most sites offer a 1 800 phone number.

A few preparations are required from the advertising businesses, because whether the calls came to a fruition or not they will have to pay for the calls, which requires a well-equipped call center to take advantage of the incoming call. At the same time PPCall might be good as another source of leads, which means with few exceptions, the phone might not ring off the hook immediately. What this suggests is there has to be some kind of a balancing act because it might not make sense to sit around and wait for calls that might not make it through. Yet, when they make it through, all effort will have to be there to convert them into buyers, which brings us back to PPCall might be more suitable as a back up system for other direct marketing channels, and might need mixing it with other kinds of ads until it can stand by its own two feet.

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