ContactAtOnce: ‘Presence Marketing’

Up front I need to disclose that I'm working with ContactAtOnce (CAO) as a client right now. But before doing any work with the company, I'd written about them and found their "presence marketing" capabilities very interesting.

What they do and enable is a cousin of what eBay wants to do widely with Skype, but has yet to roll out in the US. CAO has developed a range of capabilities that can be incorporated into a presence-based campaign to drive leads off of clicks or browsing. For example, the new release of the product enables click-to-call and video in a presence indicator.

CAO previously ran trials with several auto and real estate websites and found some very positive results (25% lift). Particularly in the autos category, someone may not be ready to pick up the phone and talk to a sales rep. but that person may want more information, and email doesn't allow for a real-time response. A presence icon will motivate some number of people to start interacting with a rep. under the cover of anonymity. Some of those interactions will turn into actual leads.

CAO can also plug IM/presence into an SEM campaign, which is also extremely interesting in terms of how it might change consumer behavior or enhance the value of that click. There’s plenty of research indicating that clicks on SEM ads aren’t real leads in most cases (they're research clicks — the comScore research for Google this past December showed an average of 65 searches prior to purchase).

In the SEM context, the system will indicate with different text/ad creative whether a merchant is available in real time. If the merchant isn't there, a different ad shows. If the merchant is present, a consumer might be more likely to click on that link and/or contact the business. The behavior is similar to PPCall, but the prospect might well be inclined to contact the merchant through IM before picking up the phone (that’s an “empirical question” of course). Once “on the line,” the merchant (or call center) has the capacity to convert that prospect.

Obviously, there are plenty of local implications here. If, for example, I'd had the capacity to ask local merchants (w/o the painful process of picking up the phone) whether they had a certain BBQ in stock it would've made life a bit easier. You may say, what's the difference between calling and IMing a business? IM in that case would've been more efficient and if someone was designated to receive those messages and had access to a computer with inventory information, the response might actually be accurate. But perhaps that's asking too much. 🙂

Here's one of two releases that went out today.

One Response to “ContactAtOnce: ‘Presence Marketing’”

  1. ContactAtOnce Announces New Partners « Screenwerk Says:

    […] describes itself as a provider of “presence aware marketing solutions.” I’ve written in the past about the company, which has developed some very interesting ways to combine chat/IM and other […]

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