Mobile Pay-Per-Call Services May Revisit Billing

by , Jun 25, 2012, 4:31 PM
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DinanBrands may now have to pay for quality mobile calls that were previously not billed by providers. The quality of a lead call will become more important as voice inquiries from ads on smartphones, tablets and even desktop computers rise.

Telmetrics CEO Bill Dinan wants stricter local mobile pay-per-call industry guidelines and category benchmarks to start billing. He is rallying service providers to eliminate telemarketer calls, initiate category-specific benchmarks, stop discounting basic information calls, recognize existing customers' new sales opportunities, and consider local integrated voice response (IVR) drop off rates.

Some pay-per-call advertising providers only bill for 25% of calls; Telmetrics says a minimum of 60% of all calls generated are billable, high-quality leads. That could put money on the table for companies supporting those calls.

Using the identical call durations across all product and service categories to bill clients has become one of the biggest mistakes companies make in pay-per-call billing, Dinan said. Call durations are a reliable indicator of call quality, but what call durations indicate is that a viable lead depends on the type of business.

Run a stop watch, Dinan suggests. "Think about what it takes to ask: Do you have the Michelin XX tire in stock? OK, give me an appointment and I'll be right over,'" he said. "I've asked for inventory, showed intent, and committed to the stock, all within about 15 seconds."

Categories such as restaurants, auto service, nail salons and pizza delivery could have a large number of billable calls that last between 15 seconds and 30 seconds, Dinan said.

Most pay-per-call providers don't charge for these calls. Advertising providers need to review the category-specific sales processes to determine call lengths that are considered leads and get advertiser buy-in to avoid subjectivity around lead quality.

Categories that deal with inventory-type products and categories in the service industry should have a shorter benchmark compared with those related to personal services, like attorneys and doctors.

Telmetrics provides data to clients, but doesn't bill for the calls; it uses call-tracking numbers to measure the ad-driven calls across all media channels. The platform reveals what type of caller activity and leads an ad program delivers.

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