Lead Gen: What Pay-Per-Call Still Lacks in 2012

At LeadsCon this summer the buzz was about pay-per-call. It seems the mobile boom is finally starting to hit the lead gen industry and everyone—marketers, lead aggregators, affiliates, and lead buyers—is now trying to figure out how to monetize, optimize and maximize phone calls.

Pay-Per-Call: The Basics

We’ll use the most basic example of pay-per-call, click-to-call via Google search. When someone searches for something on a mobile phone, they see ads that contain tap-able phone numbers. If you tap that number you call the business. Google/Bing charge the advertiser for each time the number is tapped.

The only problem is that Google doesn’t measure pay-per-call accurately. I’ve written about this issue previously.

In the lead gen world, pay-per-call is slightly different. Pay-per-call pricing has, basically, two models.

Model 1

Lead buyers pay a pre-determined price for each call generated. (e.g., every call costs $2). This is how Google operates. Every call has a pre-determined amount based on the keyword.

Model 2

Lead buyers pay a pre-determined price for calls over a certain duration. (e.g., calls over two minutes cost $9 and calls under two minutes cost $3). The theory is that calls over a certain length are “better” and are therefore worth more.

That’s silly.

That’s like saying a three-hour movie is automatically better than a 90-minute movie. It just isn’t true.

These pricing models are rudimentary and not accurate. They simply ignore the most critical thing about a call when determining its value: the words said during it.

Let me say that again: what is said during the call is more critical than the duration of the call. And yet, duration is the current determinate of call quality, call value, and call pricing, in the pay-per-call world. Mobile marketers, lead generators, aggregators and buyers are basing pricing models and call quality on call length.

Our message is simple: there is a better way to measure success.

Most lead buyers would tell you that they would gladly pay more for a lead with a very high lead score—determined by what the lead actually said on the call—than they would pay for a lead with a low lead score. If a caller indicates he or she is ready to buy, wouldn’t it be incredibly useful to score that phone lead in a way similar to what Marketo and Hubspot do for web leads?

Some examples of calls in the pay-per-call world.

Example 1: Jim calls Big O Tire to ask about new tires. He says he has a big truck and needs four new tires. He says he likes to drive around in the mud, so he needs big mud tires. He also says he needs a full alignment and new shocks. This call lasts 90 seconds.

Example 2: Roger calls Big O to ask about tire. He says he drives a Honda and he isn’t sure what he needs. He also says he’s just shopping around and he needs to talk to his wife first. This call lasts around 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

Which call is better? The answer, quite obviously, is Example 1. Strangely, however, current pay-per-call models would charge more for Example 2.

This model seems rather antiquated in 2012.

If you are anywhere in the pay-per-call world, start using conversation analytics to track pay-per-call. Don’t view lead scoring and analytics as something only online marketers are privy to. The pay-per-call world can have firm analytics surrounding leads as well.

About Jason Wells

Jason Wells is the CEO of ContactPoint. Their flagship product, LogMyCalls, provides inexpensive tools for businesses seeking to optimize marketing, lead quality and minimize lost leads. These tools—phone call tracking, call recording, mobile marketing automation and call performance scoring—allow businesses to determine which advertising methods are effective and improve their ability to secure business over the phone. Prior to leading ContactPoint, Jason was Senior VP for Sony Pictures Television where he led the creation and international expansion of the mobile business line from London. For more information, visit www.logmycalls.com or call 866-811-8880.

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