Marchex Launches PPCall ‘Exchange’

Marchex has gone public with a “Pay-for-Call Exchange,” according to a press release out this morning:

The Marchex Pay-For-Call Exchange combines a robust telephony platform with campaign creation expertise and call filtering technologies to create, manage and optimize advertiser campaigns across more than 50 publisher partners in online, offline and mobile media. Additionally, advertisers have access to rich call analytics and customer intelligence, including caller geography and call recordings.

Advertisers that have joined Marchex’s Pay-For-Call Exchange have experienced significant ROI, including an average call conversion ranging from 20 percent to 30 percent for many advertisers, with some seeing as high as 50 percent; typical consumer engagement on the phone averages more than eight minutes, with certain categories and advertisers experiencing up to 12 minutes; and typical advertiser budget increases have averaged 200 percent of their initial commitment. Additionally, companies that have joined Marchex’s Pay-For-Call Exchange have been able to monetize their inventory more effectively.

While still in its relative infancy, Marchex has built a significant, growing customer and partner base for its Pay-For-Call Exchange, including leading digital agencies such as Razorfish, one of the largest interactive marketing and technology companies in the world; ADT, the world’s largest electronic security company; PRIMEDIA, a provider of online, print and mobile platforms that provide real estate rental listings; and Jingle Networks, the nation’s leading advertiser-supported directory assistance service at 1-800-FREE-411.

According to a brief discussion I had with Marchex’s COO Pete Christothoulou:

  • Marchex is acting as an agency in some respects and a network in others
  • The company is buying media on behalf of advertisers offline (including DRTV), online and in mobile
  • Marchex collaborates with advertisers on the creative
  • The company is highly conscious of the “bad calls” problem with PPCall and does “call filtering” and ad buys that seek to maximize good calls

The program has been running in a private beta for awhile. Look again at the conversion data cited in the release:

[A]n average call conversion ranging from 20 percent to 30 percent for many advertisers, with some seeing as high as 50 percent; typical consumer engagement on the phone averages more than eight minutes, with certain categories and advertisers experiencing up to 12 minutes . . .

Impressive.

Jingle Networks, cited in the release, had made an effort to create a version of this at one point. But to my knowledge this is a unique marketplace. I asked Christothoulou about the types of advertisers utilizing the service. He said that currently it’s mostly national advertisers and large advertisers targeting specific markets.

PPCall has never lived up to the early hype (that I helped create) but a combination of factors, including more aggressive use of PPCall in traditional media and the rise of mobile, may mean that it finally gets the traction among advertisers that its value proposition has always promised.

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4 Responses to “Marchex Launches PPCall ‘Exchange’”

  1. Tom M Says:

    Greg,

    I’d be curious as to what they mean by “call filtering.” When I was at Innovectra and we were doing LeadStream, we estimated that a call less than 1 minute wasn’t a valid call. However, if you think about it, if I called and confirmed the address and said, “I’ll be down to buy a bike in 30 minutes,” I’m sure that was less than a minute, but I would be doing business with the company.

  2. SearchCap: The Day In Search, May 11, 2010 Says:

    [...] Marchex Launches PPCall "Exchange", Screenwerk [...]

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    Tom:

    That was the language he used. I didn’t drill down to ascertain what that meant. It may be as simple as call duration. But there’s probably more involved. But what he said was that “Marchex takes all the risk” (buying the media to drive the calls).

    So there are probably a few things being done.

  4. Rich Rosen Says:

    Duration is important, but is not the only metric. Here’s an example of a 2 minute, 40 second call that starts with “Hi local merchant, can you help me with…?” Is this a filtered call, or what FastCall411 calls a HotLead! – a great experience for the caller and merchant?

    Not when it looks like this, which is a call with 2 minutes, 30 seconds of on-hold time.

    http://blog.fastcall411.com/2010/05/this-is-what-bad-call-looks-like_12.html

    Spam call filtering is the first step. FastCall411 takes a deep dive into call analytics to insure the best possible experience for the caller and merchant. Of course, Greg is spot on: Innovation will finally drive ppcall forward.

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