Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era
By 2018, BIA/Kelsey estimates that mobile search will generate 73 billion calls to businesses in 2018, up from 30 billion in 2013. This trend indicates a major shift is underway in the tech and media worlds: the tighter embrace of phone calls as a lead form for paying advertisers.
This tremendous increase in commercially oriented call volume to businesses and the resulting opportunities for local media companies is the primary focus of a new BIA/Kelsey insight report, Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era.
The report explores the increasingly sophisticated world of call monetization, from how to capitalize on it to best practices and its potential value in the coming months.
“Calls have always been highly valued by small businesses and now the notion of calls as currency has accelerated in the smartphone era, where search has fused with the phone. Businesses that get in front of consumers with the right messaging and calls to action, like mobile click-to-call, can drive high-quality leads and achieve high return on ad spend. Tech and media companies that can help them get there are likewise well positioned.”
MICHAEL BOLAND, Report Author, VP, Content
and Senior Analyst
Key Report Findings
After a decade of media adoration, clicks and impressions aren't valued as highly as a ringing phone to businesses. Calls have become a valuable currency in a world where growing smartphone penetration pairs low funnel purchase intent with a device (the phone) that is ready to make a call.
The report, Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era, offers a comprehensive review of pay per call, call monetization, performance-based advertising and mobile advertising, by examining the significance of the call monetization opportunity and how to capitalize on it.
A few of the report's key takeaways include:
BIA/Kelsey estimates $64.6 billion is spent annually across media on localized ads to generate calls to businesses.
The growth in call volume works well with local business' sentiment towards calls, with SMBs naming them the most valued form of incoming leads according to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ survey.
BIA/Kelsey predicts an explosion in commercially-oriented call volume to businesses. Mobile search alone will drive 73 billion calls per year by 2018.
One of the driving forces behind the growing importance of calls as currency is the growing sophistication of call analytics, to measure call quality and gain strategic insights from call data.
The value assessment of calls is highest in local verticals that place a high value on new customer acquisition, for example appointment-based local verticals such as financial services, home services, and professional services (lawyers, doctors)
A key value of the report is a detailed examination of the opportunity for ad tech and local media companies to position advertisers to capture high-value phone leads effectively and drive ROI.
As noted by report author, Michael Boland, "We're still early in the evolution of monetizing incoming phone leads. And it will be a major force in the multi-headed beast that we all call 'local.'"
The is a useful resource for companies that actively follow the development of local media advertising models; sell to SMBs, multi-location businesses and national brands; and invest in the local media space.