Chris is a young professional that travels a lot for his job. Just last month, he was on an extended business trip in Tampa, and the unthinkable happened — the airline lost his luggage. To make matters worse, Chris had a really important business meeting just a few hours after his flight landed and his suit was in his luggage.
So he did what most of us would do in that situation — pulled out his smartphone and began searching for a suit store en route to his meeting. There were a few different options so Chris, pressed for time, called the first two and found that the second store had his preferred style and his size.
Smartphones and mobile search have changed the way consumers interact with businesses and Chris’s story is a perfect example. Thanks to our affinity for mobile devices, 25% of overall search queries are happening on mobile. Search behavior isn’t the only thing that’s changing: Google reported an 88% clickthrough rate increase on smartphones in Q3 of 2014.
A whopping 73% of mobile searches result in additional actions and conversions. These “actions or conversions” include things like visiting a store or calling a business. That’s right – consumers are searching and they’re calling. In fact, calls to small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) saw a 15.7% increase in year-over-year call volume in February of this year. This increase in searches and conversion sends a strong signal to marketers — if you’re not optimizing your strategy for the smartphone-obsessed masses, you’re already missing out big time.
Not only are smartphone searches converting higher, but they’re converting quicker: 55% of these conversions occur within an hour of the initial search. In other words, mobile searchers are ready to buy – the ideal target for search engine marketers. Phone numbers on mobile websites and mobile ads give searchers a simple way to take action, which they’re likely ready to do if they’re searching on their phone. Google reports that adding a phone number to your ads increases your clickthrough rates by 6-8%. Considering that fact that SMBs are spending $89 billion annually on advertising, the ROI of a well-placed click-to-call phone number is not to be overlooked.
The problem is that despite all of this data, many business owners overlook the increasing importance of inbound calls on their business. Today’s marketers focus on social interactions, online conversions, and clickthroughs, but often disregard the method by which most customers actually want to talk them. Google Analytics, for example, can’t track the conversions that happen through conversations over the phone. It’s time for a better way of tracking this data.
Call tracking has become the hero in this modern marketing story for businesses like the suit store in Tampa that Chris visited when he lost his luggage. By using call tracking that provisions different phone numbers for each marketing campaign — whether it’s online or offline — marketers are able to determine exactly which message resonated with the customer. Businesses using call tracking technology gain insight into which banner ad, billboard, social campaign, pay-per-click ad, commercial, etc., had the most compelling message based on amount of calls to the respective campaign’s phone number.
In addition to optimizing marketing spend, call tracking can dramatically improve the way that businesses interact with customers on the other end of the phone. When call tracking is enabled, the person answering the phone automatically has access to individualized call information including past calls, caller profile information, emails, and the keyword search or ads that initiated the call. Businesses are able to offer better, more personalized experiences to their callers, ultimately leading to more sales.
There’s no denying that smartphones have transformed the way we interact with the world as consumers. Isn’t it about time that businesses take the necessary steps to get a greater ROI from their phone numbers?
Mark Sullivan is Director of Analytics for CallRail.