Marchex To Provide Call-Tracking To Mobile Ad Networks

Expanding into the mobile arena, local online advertising company Marchex will provide call-tracking services to mobile ad networks AdMob and 4INFO.

For pay-per-call campaigns running on the mobile networks, Marchex will report which ads generated calls, as well as tracking the location, time of day, and duration of calls.

We believe that the mobile advertising opportunity is significant and is poised to realize tremendous growth over the next five years," said John Keister, president and chief operating officer of Marchex, in a prepared statement.

The tracking services are provided through Marchex's call-based advertising unit, VoiceStar, which it acquired last year for $28 million. The move added more than 100 local advertiser aggregators--including Comcast, The Cobalt Group, R.H. Donnelley/Dex, and YellowBook USA--to Marchex's roster of partners.

It also enhanced Marchex's ability to directly monetize its proprietary network of Web sites, reducing dependence on third parties and increasing the revenue yield from its sites.

In addition to call tracking and analytics, Marchex will also power pay-per-call advertising on AdMob, allowing the network to bill advertisers for calls it delivers. AdMob serves 2.5 billion banner and text ads per month across 4,200 mobile sites, including those run by TVGuide, CBS and Maxim.

In a recent report on online local advertising, Piper Jaffray forecast the demand for call-based advertising will accompany the growth of click-based ads. That's because less than 60% of the nation's 15 million small and medium-sized businesses have Web sites or engage in online marketing.

But nearly all connect with customers over the phone every day. The Kelsey Group estimates the pay-per-call market will reach $4 billion by 2009.

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