The Call is the New Click

 

The title of this piece is a little misleading.

It’s not recent news that measuring calls are as important as measuring clicks. It’s just that its significance is still being overlooked. The times are a-changin’ and there’s a new king in town.

In the past few years, we’ve heard a great deal of talk about how “calls are the new clicks” with a substantial amount of evidence supporting this. Michael Boland, Chief Analyst and VP of Content at BIA/Kelsey, has highlighted the fact that calls to businesses from mobile search is rising fast. It’s what he calls “a flood of calls” in the next few years.

The number of these calls will apparently reach 72 billion in 2018. That’s double the number of annual calls from last year. If nothing else, these numbers stress the continued dominance of mobile.

In 2009, Michael Boland raised some interesting points about mobile advertising. In his article, he noted that in the early days of television, commercial advertisements were produced much in the same way as they had been on radio. In other words, early television advertisements consisted of someone standing in front of a camera, reading a script about their product. It’s only many years later that the format of the commercial developed, coming to its own – although, there are still many bad infomercials that exist even today.

That’s where Michael Boland believes we are now with mobile advertising. We’re still in the shadows of the desktop. In his opinion, we see “glimmers of innovation” but marketers are still stuck on the “strategies, analytics and campaign objectives directly from the desktop.”

It’s now seven years later since he offered these thoughts, but many marketers are, more or less, in the same place. We haven’t made much progress as marketers. We still have one way of looking at things. We’re still hanging onto the desktop, placing a great deal of emphasis on the click.

In 2013, Google reported that 70% of mobile searchers make use of the call button that appears in search results. It’s how consumers are connecting with businesses. They’re already on their mobile devices and a call is literally a click away. It’s important to stress that this isn’t an argument about quality versus quantity, because the quality of these leads are high. It’s a matter of utilizing this aspect of the customer journey, which is being ignored as smartphones become more and more popular.

There is nothing better than a live conversation. There is a connection that exists between two people over the phone where questions are answered by real people. If people are choosing this channel of communication, then you must optimize your marketing strategy. If you aren’t measuring your call traffic in 2016, you’re behind the times.

 

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