Pay-per-call: From Search Engines to Phone Calls

While online marketers are drawn to mobile advertising, many still make use of the pay-per-click concept. What most of them didn’t know is that there’s another search advertising method that can make their phones ring –—literally. Introducing, the “pay-per-call”!

What is Pay-per-call?

Pay-par-call is an advertising method that works similarly as pay-per-click. The only difference is that the ad copies designed for this marketing strategy is made to encourage people to pick up their phone instead of clicking it. Thus, the billable event here is the phone call and not the click.

According to FindWhat’s Senior Vice President Michael Kerans, pay-per-call is the “sweet spot between online and offline advertising.”

“We are marrying the power of the Internet with the power of human voice to close business over the telephone.”

How Pay-per-call Works?

Comparison shopping site FindWhat and technology provider Ingenio worked together to create the first search engine ad provider that offers pay-per-call services. There are various ways how this type of search advertising works with regards to ad targeting, structure, cost and bidding.

Creating Ad Copy and Content

Just like any other search advertisement, FindWhat posts their ads with a link to “Business Page Details.” It lists a business’ name, address, phone number and brief description of its products and services.

A pay-per-call ad displays a toll-free phone number instead of a URL. Ingenio dynamically generates this number, which will be redirected to the advertisers’ actual contact number. The advertiser will know if an incoming call is from a pay-per-call because of its brief introductory message.

Targeting Ads

Instead of using individual keywords, advertisers can select relevant categories for their ads. It will then be displayed on FindWhat’s pay-per-call distribution network, and it can be directed on different location through its geo-targeting option.

Bidding for Ads

Bidding for pay-per-call ads is simple. Advertisers will bid for an ad position, and they will only pay when someone calls. The rates will vary depending on the ad position, and it will be charged for the first 10 minutes of call.


Of course, people cannot call pay-per-call ads as PPC, since the acronym was already used for pay-per-click. However, online marketers are referring to it nowadays as PPCall. Moreover, the distribution network for this type of search advertisement is not that broad. But Ingenio has included InfoSpace, Miva, AOL, AOL Mobile and to its arsenal. Despite the marketing challenges, PPCall provides another way for businesses to generate leads and increase revenue.



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2 Responses to Pay-per-call: From Search Engines to Phone Calls

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  2. Carey Knoell says:

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