In the Age of Big Data, Sometimes a Phone Call Still Works Best

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Red telephone receiverMore and more, marketers are turning to deep data analytics to measure the relative impact of a local marketing campaign, but call measurement provider Telmetrics says that value can still be delivered by paying attention to a more basic form of interaction: phone calls

The company, which tracks consumer telephone response to advertising and marketing campaigns for SMBs, saw a 160 percent increase in the number of call programs it monitored in 2013, according to a press release.

The growth of call tracking comes as mobile adoption in the U.S. nears 60%, and mobile advertising makes its way down to smaller marketers. Compared to many of the complex mobile metrics which ad technology firms have rolled out, phone calls are practically archaic, and that simplicity of calls remains incredibly important for the small business market, says Telmetrics CEO Bill Dinan.

“Big data creates its own big problems,” Dinan said. “I’d argue that we’re doing is contrary to that. Small businesses don’t have time to deal with big data. There is a strategic role for more exact data, telling them what they’re doing in terms that they understand.”

Dinan said marketers and advertisers who work on behalf of local firms, along with the businesses themselves, are turning to call tracking as a way to provide a clear and concise measurement of return on investment. Part of the value of measuring these interactions is the simple versatility of a phone call in the context of the variety of ways consumers are catered to with advertisements.

“When you’re thinking from PC to tablet to smartphone, a phone call crosses all of those, and it can connect back to broadcast and billboard advertising as well,” Dinan said.

Dinan also says call tracking can help businesses make operational decisions as well. He points to a recent campaign in which a veterinarian’s office used call tracking to reveal that most of their callers were female, and most of the inquiries were about dogs. They subsequently rolled out an ad campaign featuring an image with a female vet and a dog, and they saw a bump in business.

“This is a simple tool that can help you understand the traffic flows to your business,” Dinan said. “These are not abstract queries. No big data, no big noise. Just telling them what they’re getting out of their ad dollars.”

Annie Melton is a reporter at Street Fight.

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