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.



Wikipedia Appears on Page 1 of Google for 99% of Searches [Study]

Google loves Wikipedia. Everyone knows it, and many aren’t that happy about it, especially when some of their poorly written content outranks higher-quality websites on the same subject. But did you know Wikipedia pages appear on Page 1 of Google for 99 percent of searches?

Beyond that staggering number, Wikipedia is the No. 1 result on Google for 56 percent of searches, while 96 percent of searches saw Wikipedia in one of the top five positions. Only eight keywords (Mail, news, trainers, national, sweets, wardrobe, phone, flight) didn’t appear on Page 1.

Wikipedia Top Rankings in Google Search Results

These numbers all come from a new study by Intelligent Positioning, which based their findings on 1,000 unique one-word searches created by using a random noun generator on Google UK and conducted using Google Chrome on Incognito mode.

Author Sam Silverwood-Cope notes that Wikipedia did “extremely well” for geographic and scientific searches (e.g., Himalayan, bird and paediatrician), but also did surprisingly well for searches of food and clothing (e.g., butter, milk mayonnaise, trousers, underclothes, wallet).

“If there was one place taken up in every search by Wikipedia, then that would mean there is one less place in the Top Ten for possible PPC paying corporations,” Silverwood-Cope wrote. “Just a thought, not a fact.”

Of the eight words that didn’t show up on Page 1, Silverwood-Cope noted that “all these words are obviously highly competitive or incorporate the word within major corporations and services (for example National).”

Wikipedia has millions of pages indexed and is considered an authority website by Google – co-founder Sergey Brin has called Wikipedia “one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet” and “an invaluable resource to anyone who is online” and has generously donated to Wikipedia.

But after seeing these numbers, should Wikipedia be dominating Google’s search results to this extent? Tell us in the comments.


Bing Retains #2 Rank Among Search Engines In January

comScore’s ranking of search engines for the month of January were released today and Microsoft’s Bing has held onto the title of second most-used search engine for the second month in a row.

In December, Microsoft’s Bing unseated Yahoo! to become the #2 rank among search engines and in January Bing cemented that second rank a little further. The percentage of shares among all search engines remained largely unchanged in January from December, which if you’re Microsoft is probably good news. Consistency like that demonstrates that Bing’s bump to the second most-used search engine in December wasn’t just a fluke. Also, any argument about how the holidays inflated Microsoft’s market share in December’s would appear to be largely unfounded.

Given Yahoo’s recent top-level shake-ups, it’ll be curious to see if the percentage shares of the search market change much for the company in February.

Lastly, yes, Google remained Boss Hogg of the trough search engines.



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Bing Explains Why Adaptive Search Improves User Experience


Last week, Bing unveiled a new feature in its continued effort to improve the search experience. The feature is called “Adaptive Search” and is designed to make search results more personally relevant to users.

Have you tried Bing’s Adaptive Search? Let us know.

As Stefan Weitz, a director with Bing, explained to us, the technology understands the intent and context of each query because it looks at the user’s search history. For example, if a user typically searches for films and entertainment pieces, when he searches for “Australia,” Bing understands that he is probably not searching for the country. As a result, it would rank the 2008 movie above general information on Australia on the results page.

Weitz told us that Bing is not approaching personalization as a feature of search. Instead, the search engine believes that it shouldn’t be an option since people expect search results to be targeted and personalized to their needs.

“You should just think about personalized search as search,” he said.

While Bing is trying to make results more personal, it also wants to make sure users aren’t locked into the recently controversial “filter bubble.” This concept is essentially the concern that personalization would only return results that a searcher is familiar with and agrees with, and therefore not provide any diversity.

Although Bing takes this concern seriously, Weitz told us that it believes Adaptive Search offers a well-balanced approach for users.

“You can have personalization and serendipity, which is what really the filter bubble is saying doesn’t exist because of the personalization,” he said.

He went to say that Jamie Teevan of Microsoft Research studied this area extensively and found that personalization could actually help serendipity in some cases. According to him, the personalization of Adaptive Search is one step toward developing a human-like connection that search engines need, but have not yet been able to do.

Speaking of other search engines, there have been some that have suggested that Bing’s new approach is similar to Google’s previous query feature. Although Weitz said he has not been able to look at it closely, he did say his understanding is that it is based more on back-to-back queries. For example, if a user searches for a digital camera and the very next query he or she searches for is for Amazon, it is his understanding that Google would return Amazon’s search results for digital cameras.

Based on this inference, he said that Adaptive Search is “much broader… more complex from a computer science standpoint, but more elegant from a user standpoint.”

It’s interesting that this Adaptive Search announcement comes just after Google releases its new travel search engine, which is also similar to Bing Travel. When asked about this coincidence, Weitz made a humorous reference to the incident earlier this year when Google accused Bing of stealing their results.

“I think they’re using the same algorithm to copy our features, I guess,” he said laughingly.

Putting the humor aside, Weitz did tell us that Bing was pleased with its recent gain in market share. According to him, Bing realizes that it’s a long-term game but will continue to illustrate its commitment through new features and innovation.

“We want people to expect more from search, and if they expect more from search… we think we can actually grow the overall pie of queries that are out there, and hopefully, because we are the first to market with a lot of these innovative features, we can attract more people to those features because they are only on Bing,” he said.

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