Display Ads Prompt 60 Times More Phone Calls Than Click-To-Call, Study Finds

Display ads influence 60 times more phone calls than a direct click-to-call, according to a report released Tuesday. On average, the report finds that approximately 2% of phone calls occur as a direct result of display ads or landing pages, and the remainder occur in the days or weeks following a consumer's exposure to the advertisement. Without the proper attribution tool it becomes impossible to track the results.

The Marchex report analyzes why display advertising doesn't get the credit it deserves for inbound phone calls. With click-to-call commerce estimated at $1.12 trillion in 2015, per Marchex, the study shows that more than $600 billion in telesales goes unattributed today.

Marchex wanted to determine whether display ads make the phone ring in its study, titled "The Missing 98%: Why Display Advertising Isn't Getting the Credit It Deserves." A paid-search campaign that uses call extensions may see call-through rates as high as 20%, according to Marchex research. The research shows it can take an average of 500,000 impressions from a display ad with click-to-call functionality to generate a quality phone call.



Data from beta customers of Marchex Display Analytics also reveals that it can take an average of 8,000 impressions from a display ad to influence a phone call within two weeks. Few of these phone calls are tracked. Traditional call analytics products are limited to measuring when consumers make a phone call directly from a display advertising unit or landing page, many of which are supported by search engine optimization professionals.

Christopher Stanger, group account director of strategy, OMD Worldwide, began using the Marchex platform initially for paid-search campaigns, and began testing the latest feature in October to track inbound calls from display. "Phone orders contribute about 70% of the conversion volume coming from search campaigns," he told Search Marketing Daily. "It made us realize how much insight we lost not having call tracking in place."

Stanger learned during a test with a telecommunications company that about half of the conversion volume previously unaccounted for comes through the call center, skewing attribution reports provided to the client. Without the ability to track inbound calls, he says the role of display advertising is under-represented.

The research supports Marchex's development of an analytics tool that allows enterprise marketers to measure when an inbound phone call to a call center or store is influenced by a display advertisement on a desktop or mobile device.

The tool, called Marchex Display Analytics, measures real-time views through conversions for inbound phone calls. An early test with OMD demonstrates the insight gained, giving the agency reps a better understanding of actual cost per acquisition of the amount spent for digital advertising. Given this early success, OMD has decided to expand Display Analytics across all digital campaigns.

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