Marchex: Marketers Spent $4B on Mobile Search Ads To Drive Calls In 2014

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MarchexIn the digital marketing industry’s quest to ditch the click, the call has emerged as a critical alternative to measure offline activity. Now, Marchex, a call advertising firm, estimates that marketers spent over $4 billion on mobile search ads to drive calls last year alone. And yet, the company says marketers have had no way to know which keywords produced the calls.

In conjunction with the study, the company introduced a new product, Call Analytics for Search, that allows marketers to track and measure which keywords drive sales from mobile consumers who call businesses directly from click-to-call on their smartphones. The product addresses a problem in reporting, and joins the rest of its mobile ad measurement platform.

John Busby, Marchex’s SVP of Consumer Insights, said the new feature is a response to consumer demand.

“Our clients and customers were saying to us that Google doesn’t provide the keywords that drive the phone calls, and we needed to develop a solution that addressed that blind spot,” said Busby.

Marchex’s new technology gives enterprise-level advertisers 100% keyword attribution from phone calls, real-time data conversion using Marchex Call DNA and automated setup and synchronization.

“For local marketing, this is going to be huge,” said Busby. “As mobile traffic continues to grow and consumers adopt mobile, they’re picking up the phone and calling more.”

The new features are geared to help businesses of all sizes get the most out of their click-to-call keyword optimization. Product Manager Matt Greff offered a local insurance company as an example.

“Lets say it’s an insurance company in the Seattle area,” he said “There might be a number of agents that need to get a certain amount of traffic, and they’re all managed in a single campaign. Those campaigns drive a ton of phone calls. … For the first time, [they] will get visibility into which keywords drive calls to which agents.”

The new service will also help large corporations calibrate their campaigns for different markets. Marchex’s research shows that different keywords drive calls at different locations.

“There’s a huge difference between the way you would set up in a suburb city versus a large city,” said Busby. “So it’s it’s not just the content of the keyword, it’s the geo-modifier.”

Busby said one of the biggest surprises so far is how helpful it is for companies to learn what keywords don’t work.

“It’s not always about finding which keywords work best,” he said.  “Sometimes it’s about eliminating the 25 to 30% of keywords that don’t work at all. You get massive lift.”

When marketers can’t identify the keywords driving calls, Busby said, that often leads to an increased number of campaigns to drive phone calls. He said that sends complexity “through the roof.”

“What we’re trying to do is provide a very simple solution,” said Busby.

Mason Lerner is a contributor to Street Fight.