Your Best Guide To Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing in 2024 and Beyond

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
16 minute read
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer
16 minute read

Equally popular among baby boomers and Gen Z, phone calls haven’t ceased to be an affiliate marketing powerhouse, now propelled by AI technologies like voice assistants and natural language processing. Whether online or brick-and-mortar, businesses are still eager to harness good old phone calls within their pay-per-call campaigns to increase exposure and grow their bottom line.

But it’s one thing to run a pay-per-call campaign and another thing to run it effectively. The competition is getting easier, leaving Luddites empty-pocketed.

  • Whether an affiliate, advertiser, or affiliate network, you need deep knowledge of pay-per-call affiliate marketing and cutting-edge lead tracking software to get more bang for your buck and stay afloat.

So what does it take to run a successful pay-per-call affiliate marketing campaign?

Hold your breath – we’re about to do a deep dive into pay-per-call affiliate marketing and unearth treasures.

What Is Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing?

Pay-per-call affiliate marketing revolves around a well-known truism: supply meets demand at a specific price, creating a market. Advertisers drive the demand, whereas affiliates are in charge of the supply. Optionally, the trade involves a moderator – an affiliate network – that creates the market and ensures everyone is better off after the deal.

  • Pay-per-call affiliate marketing boils down to generating and selling qualified phone calls in exchange for a commission. The process includes a buyer, a seller, and sometimes a mediator that creates the market.

It’s worth noting that the common idea of affiliate networks as mere mediators is not correct. In addition to creating a pay-per-call market, many networks buy and sell leads for their own purposes, including directing them to their own product.

The Samsara Wheel of Pay-Per-Call Marketing

In a way, affiliate marketing is a closed loop, and its pay-per-call dimension is no exception. Having set up the process once, you can enjoy a continuous influx of high-intent calls with only small adjustments down the road.

Here’s how pay-per-call affiliate marketing works from an advertiser’s perspective:

  • Find your call suppliers, buy the calls you need, and convert as many calls as possible. Then rinse and repeat.

That’s how your well-oiled pay-per-call marketing machine works from a distance. If, however, we zoom in, we’ll discover six basic stages within every affiliate marketing campaign, from start to finish.

Let’s explore these stages.

Stage 1 – Affiliates and Advertisers Join the Network

The minimum viable product for every affiliate network is its affiliate program. Day by day, through advertising their enticing offer, affiliate networks grow their pool of advertisers and affiliates to create a high-demand, high-supply market.

  • The size of the market is crucial for a pay-per-call affiliate program, as advertisers want instant access to qualified and reasonably priced calls. On the other hand, affiliates seek lucrative advertisers that will pay them their worth.

Smaller networks often struggle against affiliate behemoths, but not if they provide unparalleled lead tracking, routing, and analytics, the three most important instruments in performance marketing. But then again, all things being equal, a bigger network always prevails, just like a good big man always beats a good little man.

Stage 2 – Players Set Their Goals

Once within a network, players set their goals, including the type and quality of calls they want to trade, alongside multiple specific parameters.

  • As an affiliate, you can change more for longer calls. Say, a $10 extra for all calls longer than 120 seconds, or a $5 extra for every 30 seconds for calls longer than the minimum benchmark. According to Statista, the average phone call duration is around 275 seconds.

Smart goal-setting will allow you to draw more revenue from quality calls. On the other hand, as an advertiser, you can block low-quality calls to improve budget allocation and agent performance.

Are you struggling to find your affiliate marketing revenue boosters? Here’s how you can increase your revenue per lead with no risk.

Stage 3 – Affiliates Receive Call Tracking Numbers

Before affiliates unfold their pay-per-call campaigns, they empower each traffic source, from pay-per-call ads to traditional TV and print media, with unique call tracking numbers that track callers back to them.

  • Static call tracking numbers remain unchanging on a specific advertising channel, displaying as the same phone number to different callers.
  • Dynamic call tracking numbers change for every caller depending on where the caller came from. For example, paid search ad callers will see a different phone number than social media callers.

Range-wise, call tracking numbers can be local, international, or vanity.

Call Tracking Numbers: Local, International, and Vanity

Local Phone Numbers With 75% of consumers naming brand origin as the key purchase driver, local phone numbers are perfect for pay-per-call local lead generation, whether digital or brick-and-mortar.

Here are your 7 lead gen strategies to acquire and convert more leads.

International Phone Numbers Catering to global audiences, international phone numbers draw callers from different countries and language groups. International phone numbers emphasize the company’s ability to handle a phone call of every origin and complexity.
Vanity Phone Numbers Catchy and easy-to-remember phone numbers like 844-PHONEXA imprint your name or idea into the caller’s mind, increasing brand recognition and customer engagement.

Take some time to learn everything you need to know about call tracking.

Stage 4 – Affiliates Generate and Qualify Calls

Having received tracking numbers, affiliates promote these numbers using all their pay-per-call advertising resources but strictly within the boundaries of the affiliate agreement. As a result, they generate quality calls for multiple buyers.

  • Selling callers to multiple buyers makes sense because you can ensure a decent match for all your calls, translating into a reasonable payout. After all, you can’t sell calls cheaper than it took to generate them.

Stage 5 – Qualified Calls Connect to Matching Advertisers

The pinnacle of the journey is a caller’s connection to a sales agent, whether directly or through an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Once the caller connects, they are attributed to the source affiliate so the latter can receive due revenue if the call converts.

The attribution models may differ, from a simple advertiser-affiliate connection to more sophisticated models highlighting details like keywords. Still, the gist is the same – everyone involved in pay-per-call endeavors can unmistakably identify a buyer, a seller, and a caller within a particular deal.

Learn to circumvent channel attribution risks and hurdles in affiliate marketing.

Stage 6 – Affiliates Receive a Commission

After the call is sold – sometimes only long calls count – the commission is issued to the affiliate, and the deal is closed.

Then the cycle repeats.

Want to know more about pay-per-call marketing? Here are the most popular pay-per-call questions that might be weighing on your mind.

The Superiority of Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing

High Conversion Rates Call conversions are just on the next level.

For example, e-commerce websites convert around 2.5% of leads, or 15 times less than phone calls. Even conversion-prone industries like food and beverage convert only around 5% of leads, a fraction of what you can get with phone calls.

High Payouts: Not all leads are created equal, but call leads are the least equal of all because they offer much more. Advertisers are eager to pay for high-intent phone calls more than the price of an email or form lead.

At the same time, the pay-per-call market is quite flexible, with affiliates adjusting prices depending on multiple factors, such as the source of their leads. Calls sourced from exhibitions, trade shows, and on-site events may cost up to 10 times the price of calls from online ads or forms.

Granular Tracking With trackable phone numbers at the core of your pay-per-call marketing, you can collect caller data to improve call routing and ensure a fair payout for every call.

  • An up-to-date call tracking software will unlock valuable marketing, call, and caller data. Knowing your callers means buying or selling them at the best price while maximizing your marketing potential.

Uncover the business potential of call analytics in this exhaustive guide.

Caller Screening You can pre-screen calls to ensure they meet your target demographics, psychographics, location, and other demands.

  • As an affiliate, screening generated calls will bolster your reputation within the network.
  • As an advertiser, screening purchased calls will ensure you get the calls you’ve paid for.

Wondering how location-based call tracking works? Here you go.

Mobile Focus Pay-per-call campaigns allow customers to tap-call a business from any location and on the go, leveraging the ever-growing mobile audience.

Industries like finance, home services, and insurance are prone to phone calls and extensively use call tracking to overcome marketing hurdles.

Unlimited Pool of Partners Even a single affiliate network may fully cover your needs and wants. However, you are not limited to a single affiliate program. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 94% of publishers partake in two or more affiliate programs, with 20% running more than five programs simultaneously.
Sub-Network Opportunities With a multi-tier affiliate program, you can earn a commission from calls generated by your sub-affiliates. There’s no limit to your passive income: the more calls your sub-network draws, the more you earn.

Learn whether pay-per-lead marketing can provide a winning formula for your business.

5 Steps To Maximize Your Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing Potential

1. Choose the Right Niche

As profitable as phone calls are, some businesses are not a good match. For example, low-value retail products may cost less than a phone call itself, rendering such pay-per-call marketing trade unprofitable for both parties.

On the contrary, some industries are a match made in heaven. Finance, insurance, and home services easily marry pay-per-call affiliate marketing, offering lucrative profit margins to advertisers and affiliates.

Best Industries for Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing

Finance Even though phone scams are eating away up to $20 billion annually in the United States alone, agent-customer conversations are still considered reliable in fraud-stricken niches like credit, debt, and mortgage.

On top of that, the rapidly developing finance industry – an impressive 11.36% CAGR – bears high-value transactions, countless sub-niches, unceasing demand throughout the year, and a high customer lifetime value.

Insurance Unlike finance, the insurance landscape happily doubles down on seasonal opportunities. Take, for example, tax season: from January 1 to April 15, people extensively seek essential insurance policies like liability and health insurance.
Home Services Encompassing time-sensitive and localized niches like HVAC repair or pest control, home services are prime real estate to purchase-ready callers who crave urgent service.

Want to capitalize on HVAC marketing? Here are your 7 failproof strategies.


2. Choose the Right Software

With affiliate marketing spending growing at a breakneck speed, affiliate networks try to stand out with a gigantic pool of advertisers and affiliates, low commissions, and a free lead-tracking software.

  • Affiliate software is arguably the most important criterion for choosing an affiliate network, especially if you don’t run your own lead-tracking system. After all, you need a market that satisfies your demand and, more importantly, customer insights that can improve your marketing strategies.

Ping Post Software for Calls: Creating a Fair Pay Per Call Affiliate Market

With most affiliate networks, the market – called a ping tree – is created with a ping post lead distribution technology, which discloses some caller information before selling the call.

Here’s how a ping tree pay-per-call marketplace operates:

It should be noted though that not all ping post lead distribution methods are the same.

The original ping post lead distribution process only discloses caller info to a buyer, leaving affiliates out of the game. With no access to important details on the bidding structure and the call duration, they leave a significant portion of their revenue on the table.

This is why Phonexa has developed Ping Post Calls 2.0, an improved ping post system that gives affiliates access to crucial – dynamically changing – call information:

  • Bidding structure
  • Pricing method
  • Buyer phone number
  • Call duration to sell

Integrated with Phonexa’s proprietary call intelligence platform Call Logic, Ping Post Calls 2.0 offers new opportunities for advertisers, affiliates, and affiliate networks.

Learn more about how Ping Post Calls 2.0 reinvents live transfer calls.

Managing Phonexa’s Advanced Call Logic Ecosystem

Enabling a unique affiliate call market, Phonexa’s Call Logic serves as a missing ingredient to executing your campaigns.

Here’s how Call Logic works in general:

Here are some popular terms you need to grasp for Phonexa’s ping post lead distribution software:

  • Post (incoming ping): data – for example, information about a call lead – sent to the system by the publisher. Every data submission by the publisher is a new post, even if this data is identical to one of the previous submissions.
  • Post (outgoing ping): data sent to the buyer as an offer. An incoming ping usually spawns multiple outgoing pings.
  • Lead: data provided by a publisher and identified by an attribute like phone number, email, etc. Two posts with the same unique feature count as one lead.
  • Ping: a request regarding an offer (whether the offer is active, the payout structure, etc.).
  • Pre-ping: a request as to whether the traffic meets the advertiser’s or network’s criteria.

Knowing these terms will help you navigate the Call Logic system and its unique features like call duration-price ratio, blocking a number, and unreserving a number.

Call Logic Features

Duration To Sell You can vary the price of a call depending on its duration while ensuring a minimum price for all qualified calls (calls that last longer than a specified benchmark of, say, 30 seconds).

Example: The minimum price for a qualified call may be $10, with an extra $5 for every 15 seconds. This way, a 60-second call would cost $20, a three-minute call – $60, and so on.

Temporary Deny List You can block a specific phone number for up to 24 hours within your IVR flow (learn to create an IVR flow) to prevent irrelevant calls, spam, or calls from customers who repeatedly dial the wrong number.
Unassign a Number Whether your business objectives have changed or certain traffic sources underperform, you can unassign and delete unprofitable numbers from your campaigns. Cleansing your system from irrelevant and outright fraudulent calls will facilitate call management and improve agent performance.

Need more information on Call Logic? Navigate our help center or ask us directly at

The Right Cloud Phone System to Convert and Analyze Inbound Calls

If you buy calls in bulk, you may want to automate and scale your calls with a dedicated cloud PBX phone system. From uninterrupted service to call scoring, an up-to-date virtual phone system will make you the king of your call center.

3. Ensure Elaborate Call Routing

A successful pay-per-call affiliate marketing campaign means routing callers to the right agent. For this, you need an automatic call distributor and interactive voice response (IVR), two technologies that merge into an effective call lead distribution system.

Here’s how an IVR works:

But then again, merely installing an IVR won’t cut it – you also need a data-driven call routing algorithm. In other words, you need to discover who your callers are and what they want and interpret these insights into a customized lead distribution platform.

Naturally, you don’t have to rely on a single criterion but can consider all of them within your automated lead distribution system. At the end of the day, your goal is to deliver callers to the destination point, and you can use all available means for that.

4. Track Your Callers

Сonverting a caller is only half the job – the other half is interpreting collected data into profitable marketing strategies, whether purchasing the right phone calls or routing them to the right agent.

  • Your pay-per-call affiliate campaigns are as good as your call tracking.

Learn to interpret your call tracking results into striking affiliate campaigns.

When it comes to tracking callers, the world is your oyster – you can choose from myriads of call lead tracking solutions. Advanced call intelligence platforms like Call Logic will unlock customer data across three major dimensions:

  • Marketing data – the marketing channel, advertisement, and keyword that triggered the call.
  • Caller data – a caller’s demographics, psychographics, history of purchase and interactions, whether the caller is new, etc.
  • Call data – the duration and result of a call, key phrases, and more. Learn more about call logging.

For those willing to dig deep, you can also set up call recording and revisit previous phone conversations for quality assurance and reassessment.

Advanced Call Recording Features With Call Logic

Full Call Recording You can record all inbound calls without exception and under no extra conditions
Random Call Recording You can record calls randomly, for example, a random 15% of your inbound calls.
Customized Call Recording You can choose where to start and end the recording or disable call recording for specific campaigns

Caller Behavior Insights with HitMetrix

Your marketing mix can’t be full without caller behavior insights, a feature available with Phonexa’s proprietary behavior analytics tool HitMetrix.

HitMetrix will dissect your callers across all touchpoints, giving you an edge in the age of multi-channel journeys.

5. Simulate Future Scenarios

No one has a crystal ball to predict the future, but you can make a data-driven guess with predictive modeling software. Whether exploring untapped markets, expanding to new locations, or cutting corners with your campaigns, you can simulate an outcome without risk or hefty investment.

With predictive modeling, you can simulate hundreds and thousands of outcomes before you choose the ones you’d like to give a go. Similarly, you can compare your results with a simulation to bridge the gap and reveal room for growth.

Catapult Your Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Marketing with Phonexa

Implementing tools for pay-per-call affiliate marketing may seem daunting, but not with an all-in-one software suite that covers your marketing needs from A to Z.

Source: Friends

Phonexa Marketing Automation Software Suite

Call Logic Call intelligence platform for call tracking and distribution
LMS Sync Lead management system for lead tracking, distribution, and analytics
Cloud PBX Virtual phone systems for greater control over incoming and outgoing calls
Lynx Click tracking and analytics software, including affiliate campaigns
E-Delivery Email marketing platforms for greater inbox performance
HitMetrix Customer behavior recording and analytics
Opt-Intel Suppression list management and email cleansing
Books360 Automated accounting software with an invoice generator

Choose your subscription plan now or schedule a free consultation to learn more about Phonexa.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is pay-per-call lead generation?

Pay-per-call lead generation is a process of generating phone calls and selling these calls to advertisers directly or through a pay-per-call affiliate network.

Here’s a simplified model of pay-per-call marketing:

  1. An affiliate places unique pay-per-call numbers on their traffic sources – tailor-made pay-per-call landing pages, pay-per-call websites, Facebook, email, TV, billboards, etc.
  2. A caller dials one of these numbers and is routed to a matching agent.
  3. Converted calls – ones longer than, say, 30 seconds or other agreed-upon duration – generate revenue for the affiliate.

Pay-per-call lead generation usually involves lead management software that tracks, distributes, and analyzes calls. Top pay-per-call networks may provide pay-per-call software for free.

How to set up a pay-per-call number

Before you assign your pay-per-call numbers to affiliates, campaigns, or traffic sources, you must acquire those numbers.

As an advertiser, you can get pay-per-call numbers from:

  • Your pay-per-call affiliate network.
  • Your call tracking provider (Phonexa provides toll-free vanity phone numbers to its clients).
  • Your phone service provider.

Not all types of phone numbers are always available with all mentioned sources, so make sure to research the issue in advance.

What is a pay-per-call affiliate program, and how does it work?

Pay-per-call affiliate programs are call-generation programs run by pay-per-call advertising companies directly or through a pay-per-call network. Within a pay-per-call campaign, publishers and affiliates generate and sell calls to advertisers who, in turn, pay back a commission from converted calls. If the process involves an affiliate network, the latter also charges a commission per sold call.

How can pay-per-call software help grow affiliate marketing revenues?

Pay-per-call tracking software in an overarching term uniting lead tracking, distribution, and analytics software. Pay-per-call software can automate your marketing and sales and help you know your callers better, leading to customized call routing and advanced sales techniques.

Got Questions?

Get in touch! We are available 24/7.

Oleksandr Rohovnin avatar
Oleksandr Rohovnin
Content Marketer

Oleksandr Rohovnin is a Content Marketer at Phonexa. His passion is digital marketing, innovative technologies, and – above all – distilling vast amounts of complex information into engrossing narratives anyone can relate to. At Phonexa, Oleksandr stokes passion for marketing automation and lead generation in every story he curates.

Education: Zaporizhzhya National Technical University

Expertise: Digital marketing, affiliate marketing, call tracking, lead tracking, insurance


  • 8+ years of writing and editing experience in B2B and B2C

  • Unconventional synergy of writing talent and technical knack

  • Avid proponent of sports, gaming, and reading

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