The following is a piece by Bill Dinan, President of Telmetrics, about Google’s recent expansion of its Click to Call mobile advertising program and its potential larger significance in the market. The opinions are solely those of the author . . .
While search monetization for Google has always been about clicks and measuring online activity, this move validates the complementary relationship between online search and offline consumer purchasing behavior. Online drives offline, so clicks and calls go hand in hand. Add mobile to the equation and Google recognizes a revenue opportunity in tracking the connection between mobile searching and the resulting calls. Advertisers benefit because they get a more complete view of the response generated by a mobile advertising program.
But Google’s approach is different–other providers’ monetization models price calls separately and typically higher than clicks. You have to wonder why Google has come out with a lower price for calls, when industry experience demonstrates calls can be monetized at higher levels than clicks. Our guess is that they wanted to keep the mobile model simple for advertisers that are already comfortable with paying for clicks while still developing a revenue stream that accounts for the offline connection.
Does Google’s move into click-to-call hurt other online properties offering pay per call solutions?
No, because Google’s move is consistent with their click-based model. Google’s model is not pay per call – it is a complementary model on the mobile device but it is still pay per click. Click-to-call doesn’t automatically translate to pay per call. However, Google’s move reinforces the need to track consumer online-offline searching and buying patterns.
Have national advertisers showed interest in mobile click-to-call or pay per call ads?
National advertisers have showed interest in mobile advertising, but more importantly they are looking for more transparency and performance-based advertising across all traditional and digital mediums to validate their ad spend.
Click-to-call provides similar data to a click-based model and those advertisers already used to pay-per-click via Google will find that click-to-call is a natural extension and complementary. Those advertisers already using call-based metrics either through pay per call or subscription programs will still be looking for true call response data which by virtue of the information attached to calls provides richer data about consumer behavior.