Is Mobile the ‘Sweet Spot’ for PPCall?

Ingenio today is announcing a relationship with “white label” mobile search vendor JumpTap:

Ingenio Pay Per Call advertisements appear in response to consumer queries on devices that leverage JumpTap’s carrier-branded offering. Leading carriers, including Alltel, use JumpTap’s mobile search solution to drive revenue while providing a comprehensive mobile search experience for consumers. The Pay Per Call advertiser only pays when a consumer initiates a call to the business from their mobile phone, thus providing measurable advertising-driven results.

Here’s ClickZ’s article on the deal.

JumpTap’s value proposition is that it can offer a complete mobile search and monetization package to carriers to make their mobile search capabilities competitive with branded search engines that are now aggressively moving into the mobile space. Until recently the conventional wisdom had been that US carriers wouldn’t do deals with search engines because they were fearful of becoming merely a “dumb pipe.” However, the recent Microsoft-Sprint alliance calls that assumption into question. AllTell Wireless is JumpTap’s highest visibility partnership. (Medio is a JumpTap competitor.)

For JumpTap, the Ingenio deal offers a ready supply of advertisers. For Ingenio it offers another mobile distribution partner in a growing list. Ingenio also has mobile distribution through Microsoft (via mobile search and the Sprint relationship.) It also has mobile distribution relationships with AOL, go2, UpSnap and Jingle Network’s 1800 Free411.

Mobile, at least in the near term, is the emerging “sweet spot” for PPCall. There are some challenges with PPCall on the desktop that go mainly to query volume. Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft, which control the bulk of online search traffic – mostly Google and Yahoo! – have yet to adopt PPCall online. Google has implemented “click-to-call” and so has Microsoft. However, these click-to-call offerings are not currently PPCall, although they could support it. Yahoo! has tested PPCall but has yet to implement it online.

Recent research from Nielsen and WebVisible shows that the majority of consumers are inclined to use the phone to contact local businesses they discover online vs other contact methods:

  • 68% said they would most likely use the phone number on the website to contact a vendor
  • 16% said they would contact a vendor by email
  • 11% said they would most likely contact a vendor via an online form
  • 6% said they would visit a vendor in-person

Despite this consumer behavior and the promise of PPCall, it hasn’t yet penetrated to where the volume of local search traffic is today online. Ingenio has built an impressive network. However AOL, which controls only about 6% of monthly search traffic — about 390 million queries, with 78 million having a local intent (let’s say) — remains Ingenio’s largest volume distribution partner. (These are obviously meaningful volumes, but not the billions going on over at G and Y!.)

Until PPCall kicks in on Google and Yahoo! the currently circulating forecast numbers are too aggressive. The original forecast The Kelsey Group’s Neal Polachek and I did for PPCall in early ’05 was based on various hypothetical scenarios and assumptions that have yet to come to pass. In other words, everything changes for online PPCall when it is adopted by the engines driving the greatest query volume.

That stands in marked contract to what’s going on in mobile. There, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft are in various stages of deploying PPCall. Merchant contacts (conversions) in the mobile context are significantly higher, from about 4% to over 20% in some cases. This is based on the fact that there’s less “competition” in a small-screen mobile (or DA) environment, and typically one relevant ad is served. Thus the device, the use case and the contact method (calling the merchant) are all aligned for PPCall in a mobile environment.


One Response to “Is Mobile the ‘Sweet Spot’ for PPCall?”

  1. Telmetrics: PPCall Growing ‘Explosively’ « Screenwerk Says:

    […] two somewhat unexpected sources: traditional media and mobile. A couple of years ago I asked “Is Mobile the ‘Sweet Spot’ for PPCall?” PPCall is “organically” suited to mobile advertising on smartphones, where […]

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