Click to Call: Google releases another innovative advertising tool

With over 97% penetration of mobile phones in South Africa and almost 9-million people capable of surfing the web on their phones, it is only natural that marketing via the mobile phone is on the rise. With this hefty number of surf-capable mobile users comes an even heftier proliferation of mobile devices with different specs, making it a challenging environment for meaningful engagement between users, brands and their products.

Google, for example, has recognised that the user experience across such a wide range of devices varies and has, therefore, allowed for advertisers to choose which carriers and handsets their ads are placed upon. Advertisers can now choose to target iPads, iPhones or even Google’s own operating system, Android.

Added to the marketing conundrum is the fact that South African businesses and, particularly, their webmasters, still haven’t cottoned onto the fact that people are searching for products using their mobile devices.

When a business does have a mobi site, more often than not the load times are very slow. Phone load times can be up to 30 seconds for an average site. The consequence is that visitors are less likely to click an ad on the mobile phone; the time cost is just too high.

The idea, then, behind being effective in this environment is to publish your business’s phone number and make it easy for the user to call your business. Google has been experimenting with Click to Call ads since 2005 and has recently launched an Adwords feature that allows businesses to place their phone numbers in the results page of their search.

This feature allows users to call a business directly, and studies have shown that conversion rates (ie: the amount of people actually buying your product or service) rise by up to 40% in comparison with your normal web conversion with the introduction of a phone number.

The fact that Google South Africa’s mobile advertising real estate is nowhere near as saturated as its desktop counterpart means that CPCs (Cost per Click) are relatively low when compared to desktops. For example, the CPC on the term “life insurance” on Google South Africa’s desktop could be as high as R250, whilst on the mobile auction it sits at only R100, which is more than 50% cheaper than desktop search.

Many consumers prefer having their hands held during the buying process. We see this specifically with regards to high-end products like travel and insurance. Consumers like to speak to someone “in the know” when making decisions that have a high impact upon their lifestyles, wallets and conscience. It is vital that whomever the user is speaking to within your business knows exactly what they’re talking about, with regards to a product and can provide a great user experience.

Obviously, this works incredibly well for businesses that have invested heavily in call-center infrastructure.

To close the tracking loop on this feature, Google launched Call Metrics as an integrated mobile calls tracking feature within its Google Ad Innovations.

Call Metrics shows you the number of calls that you receive from your campaign – allowing you to work out the return on investment from this new channel.



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