Affiliate networks have all be jumping on the Pay-Per-Call bandwagon using RingRevenue’s pay-per-call tracking platform.Â Currently I have seen programs for Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, LinkShare and ShareASale.
What are the advantages of pay-per-call?
The ability for companies to compensate partners for sales calls.
The ability for consultative or high ticket purchase companies to get into performance marketing
The ability for websites to compensate partners for both online sales and sales that turn into calls from the website (typically lost to performance partners and a primary reason performance partners as to have phone numbers removed from landing pages).
These all sound great, but like any other new technology the devil is in the details and the implementation.Â Here are some of the struggles I have run into so far:
Phone# Replacement Code Implementation – The vast majority of the companies offering pay-per-call have not implemented the code to actually replace the performance partner’s unique number into their landing page.Â This seems like an obvious 1st step to implementation, but alas having your number show on the page is currently more of an exception than a norm.
Listed Call Times – Since we are dealing with phone calls, and not all companies can afford to staff their call centers 24/7, each program lists the call times for which they are willing to pay for calls.Â That makes perfect sense, but for one of the companies I was testing, I placed a test call during listed hours, and got a message that the company was taking a day off to go sailing!Â If you are not going to be around, you need to communicate this to your partners so they aren’t wasting their money on campaigns.
Call Leakage – Performance marketers have talked about website leakage for a long time, leakage is paths that consumers can take that end up being uncompensated for the performance partner.Â In fact pay-per-call promises to solve the phone number leakage problem.Â One company I placed a test call to directed customers to visit their website (a non-compensated url) and then proceeded to place the customer on hold and then every 10 seconds on hold offered the customer the option to enter a call back number and not lose their place in line.Â While that might be very convenient for a customer, it encourages the customer to drop off the call before hitting the pay-out time threshold.
Ghost Calls – If you are focusing your marketing efforts on mobile marketing, you may find that there are a lot of “Ghost Calls”, calls that appear as clicks/calls to the marketing network you are working with but never actually generate a call.Â This can happen if a customer clicks on the “call” option and then doesn’t click ok when their phone asks them if they want to place the call.Â Â This seems to happen a lot in the mobile display advertising space.
Standard Landing Pages – While having the standard landing pages and replacing the phone number is a great first step, it would be great to also offer mobile marketing links with mobile landing pages that are made to look good on the various types of mobile phones.
My suggestion is that this is a very new technology with a lot of hurdles.Â It’s worth testing the waters right now, but tread lightly and make sure to test out the customer experience on the click and the call before proceeding.
About Adam Viener
Adam Viener is the Chairman & Founder of imwave, inc, a leading performance search engine marketing agency. Imwave focuses primarily on building and launching effective pay-per-click search engine keyword marketing campaigns for companies paying commissions on sales and leads generated. In both 2009, 2010 & 2011 Imwave was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies by Inc. Magazine. Imwave recently announced they had served over 5 Billion ads for their clients!
Adam, a serial internet entrepreneur, founded one of the first commercial internet service providers (ISPs) in 1993. He has a deep understanding of internet technologies and profitable internet marketing tactics. Adam currently sits on the publisher advisory boards for Commission Junction and the Google Affiliate Network.