Kenshoo Debuts ‘Call Conversion Optimization’

Search and local search platform provider Kenshoo, which competes with Marin software in the general paid search segment and Clickable, among others, in the local search realm has introduced what it calls “Call Conversion Optimization.”

The company has integrated call tracking from several providers into its automated paid search platform. Call Conversion Optimization, according to Kenshoo, automatically adjusts bidding in response to ads that are driving calls rather than resulting in mere clicks. (This theoretically could capture ads that contain phone numbers and deliver a call without generating a click.) The system thus learns to optimize bidding for those ads and keywords that are generating the phone calls.

This was something that Who’s Calling was seeking to do a long time ago, but they never brought it fully to market. Otherwise Kenshoo told me that they believe this capability is unique. Here’s how the press release describes it:

Designed specifically for organizations managing high volumes of SMB, regional, store or dealer campaigns, KENSHOO Local simplifies and automates client on-boarding and ongoing campaign management. Focusing on SMBs, who typically measure ROI from paid search campaigns by actual phone calls received, Kenshoo now empowers agencies to maximize return on the spend of their SMB clients.

Filling the gap between online optimization and offline conversions, KENSHOO CCO allows IYPs, CMRs, agencies and retailers to apply search marketing to the real world interactions of selling their products and services. By integrating with industry-leading call tracking providers, KENSHOO CCO creates a unique closed-loop feedback mechanism between the online PPC campaigns and the phone calls they generate, continuously optimizing keyword bids to maximize the number and effectiveness of phone call conversions . . .

And here is a slide provided by Kenshoo that illustrates the process (click to enlarge):

Todd Herrold, director, product management for Kenshoo Local told me that call tracking can be integrated at “any level,” from ad creative to individual keywords. I pressed him for specifics and metrics, but he said the company wasn’t quite ready to release that type of information about its clients or the product.

However he did describe some pretty interesting work the company is doing with at least one of its clients to integrate with the latter’s CRM system and factor information gleaned by live agents into the process — so moving beyond the call into a subsequent interaction with a sales or customer service rep.


8 Responses to “Kenshoo Debuts ‘Call Conversion Optimization’”

  1. Jozef Foerch Says:

    very interesting stuff…I am more than curious how the automated optimization tool will optimize for the performing keywords. Would this mean increasing the bids, splitting of ads to relate to just that keyword and associated kws?

  2. richard Says:

    Wow. So they are trying to catch up with ReachLocal!!!

    ReachLocal has had this technology for years. Way ahead of the curve…

    • Greg Sterling Says:

      Was unaware. I know Reach did/does call tracking but do you also do keyword and/or campaign optimization on that basis? This is what they’re saying: using calls to drive automated optimization.

  3. Jake Says:

    Reach local ties a call to the keyword via a timestamp. Making the assumption that if a call happens within a certain amount of time after a click, it is that click that must have generated the call. A fair assumption but not very exact for obvious reasons. Meaning if someone cliks thru to a site but doesnt call till an hour later the wrong click would be attributed with the call. Any optimisation based on this would be problematic.

    The only alternative and maybe what Kenshoo is atempting is to provision a seperate number for each keyword. You would need an exponential amount of numbers and would likely need to retard the number of keywords used. Bigger problem here… we currently have a groundswell of merchants anti the use of call tracking numbers, how are they going to feel about hundreds of numbers being used. And who would that number be associated with the next time a consumer calls it?

    The automation of campaign optimisation, increasing/decreasing bids, removal of keywords, moving budget to better performaing campaigns and keywords etc has been solved by a few companies for a while (Marchex, Matchcraft, Reach etc). That is not where the challenge is. Tying the call to a click without the use of an onsite events (mouseovers or click-to-call) is the challenge.

  4. Jozef Foerch Says:

    Out of my own knowledge set here so forgive me but couldn’t the technology exist to have session tracking with analytics involved to see the referring search term and only one phone number to call? Century Interactive in Dallas has promoted an interesting product that offers both fixed number and number pools for it’s clients. I just can’t see how needing to have a number pool would be necessary this day in age.

  5. Jozef Foerch Says:

    Sorry I didn’t read into your response further Jake…I guess that time-stamp is about the best you can offer with just one number.

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  7. todd herrold Says:

    Interesting discussion. I am the Director of Product Management at Kenshoo Local. Hopefully I can shed a bit more light on what we are doing in terms of Call Conversion Optimization. As noted above, we’ve integrated our campaign management and bid optimization platform with several leading call tracking providers. This enables our clients to easily link their ad campaigns to their call tracking accounts and use our bid optimization system to improve campaign performance. Some clients optimize to generate “more” phone calls, while others optimize to generate “higher quality” or “higher value” calls, depending on their goals and unique capabilities.

    “Unlike systems that use fixed numbers and time stamps alone, Kenshoo Local can apply unique tracking numbers, fixed or pooled, at any level of the ad campaign structure, i.e., account, campaign, ad group, and/or keyword and can ultimately track the calls back to the associated keywords. Hope this helps.

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