Marchex and Skype are hoping to bring pay-per-call advertising to a completely new level or at least give it some renewed legitimacy.
Click & Call Advertising from Marchex enables customers to make free phone calls to participating businesses using Skype. Advertisers opting into the program will see graphically-enhanced advertising listings appear on search engines and review sites in the Marchex network. Since Skype has over 500 million users this could be immensely attractive to advertisers.
Advertisers will need to agree to pay a fixed amount per call (rates are determined based on advertising categories), and set a budget (advertisers only need to pay for completed phone calls). Call volumes are tracked by Marchex so advertisers can monitor campaign results and detailed call analytics.
The downside of course is that the whole program relies on users having Skype software installed on their PC (Click & Call Advertising is currently not available on Mac or mobile versions of Skype software). The other obvious question is whether users will actually call advertisers through the system – something which based on my experience has been none too successful with other pay-per-call programs.
“We believe advertisers have a strong demand for generating inbound phone calls and Skype is a promising customer acquisition channel that offers a large base of users who are typically familiar with making calls from a PC,” said Pete Christothoulou, Chief Operating Officer at Marchex. “Today, we are seeing a shift in the way consumers find phone numbers, the way they place calls and how those calls are paid for. As a result, coupling Skype’s reach with Marchex’s call advertising technology, sales team and service, we believe we can offer a high quality solution to large and small advertisers.”