Leading Pay Per Call provider Ingenio has been in the Internet's public eye for quite some time, and is seeing rapid adoption from some top companies and rightly so - it's one of the more compelling technologies in Web existence. It's essentially a distributed billing and calling infrastructure that allows companies (primarily SMB's) to engage in e-commerce and sell their expertise over the phone. The big companies are paying attention and using telephony as a marketing enabler. Online and mobile distribution channels including AOL Search, AOL mobile and Infospace, to name a few, are jumping on board. Google's version of Pay-Per-Call may be on the horizon, but by all accounts Ingenio has a pretty substantial lead.
How Pay-Per-Call works: Advertisers bid not on keywords but categories and add marketing information (company description, hours of operation) whie Ingenio creates a toll-free phone number on the fly. The user then performs a routine search and is presented with sponsored listings. When those listings are clicked, an intermediary page is persented, featuring a description of the company, and a toll-free number to call.
I spoke with Ingenio CMO Mark Barach this morning about their Pay Per Call technology, which may very well be the next big thing for capitalizing on the local Internet and search market. Barach suggested that mid-market companies are adopting Pay Per Call because they gain the ability to "become personally engaged in the interaction" said Barach, a step beyond what pay per click advertising can provide. It is the qualification that is required and the personal interaction that results that brings advertisers nearer to closing a sale.
Questions abound for many however about the potential for fraud. Barach stated that Pay Per Call is much safer than Pay Per Click as it utilizes a more comprehensive review by implimenting a multi-step process which primarily includes use of the Automated Number Identification (ANI) which means no IP address spoofing as in pay per click.
If you're not yet involved in marketing your small or medium sized business on the Web, here are a few reasons toconsider Pay Per Call. The average billed call is over five minutes - that leaves lots of time to develop a personal interaction with the caller. Close rates are higher. As it's similar to Yellow Page advertising, the statistics are relevant - 33% of yellow page ads convert, compared to a much lower percentage of conversions for pay per click. Not for the faint of heart however, the average cost per call is just over $5.00 (the mode is at $2.00). Pay per call may still be out of reach for many SMBs. For many though, access to the 1.3 billion queries per month, however, is appealing enough.
Learn more at Ingenio