Pay-per-call (PPCall, also called cost-per-call) is an advertising model in which the rate paid by the advertiser is determined by the number of telephone calls made by viewers of an ad. It is similar to online pay per click (PPC) advertising, but induces the viewer to make a telephone call instead of viewing an external website. It is targeted to local businesses and to clients whose customers wish to talk to the seller before buying a product. Vendors of pay-per-call advertising attribute the growth of the model to the popularity of smartphones and claim that it reduces the costs of on-line click fraud.
Pay-per-call advertising is not to be confused with premium-rate telephone numbers. Pay-per-call is the inverse of a premium telephone number, in that the advertiser who receives the call, not the caller, is charged for the service. Since it is cost per lead advertising, the rates are higher than for toll-free telephone number service. In general, the advertiser is only billed for calls that last at least one minute.
Merchants define their relevant key terms, choose desired categories and a geographic area for the ad to appear (local, regional or national). From there, they create their ad, containing their company name, address, a short description and a trackable toll-free telephone number of the PPCall provider, which redirects to the advertiser's actual phone number. This type of advertisement is popular with Yellow Pages companies.
Call-tracking software allows pay-per-call advertising providers to account for results. It is used to track, record, forward and account for every call. Calls can be automatically forwarded to the advertiser or sent to a call center where potential prospects are qualified before being passed along to advertisers. Average call durations are between 2 and 4 minutes.
Pay-per-call providers have higher rates than online pay-per-click providers, citing higher consumer intent to purchase and a higher conversion rate. Providers also report that captured call-data is more detailed and actionable than click-related data. PPCall extends beyond online advertising; it can be used in print, TV and outdoor advertising. It is available to businesses that do not have a website, because it routes prospective customers to a telephone number.
PPCall has been boosted by click-to-call features on smartphones, which permit a user to call a number by tapping a link, without having to dial the number manually. Apple's Mac OS X Yosemite allows the same functionality on a desktop computer. Affiliate marketing networks have introduced PPCall in the UK.
- "Pay-Per-Call growth attributed to mobile". MediaPost 12 April 2012.
- ”Click Fraud Will 'Compel' Pay-Per-Call Adoption", Media Post Publications,June,2005.
- "Pay-per-Call Telephone Service (900 Numbers)". eNotes, Encyclopedia of Business.
- "Guide to 900 Pay-Per-Call and Other Information Services". Federal Communications Commission.
- ”How Pay per Call Works", Search Engine Watch,February,2005.
- "Understanding Pay Per Call Marketing" Affiliate X Files October 2009
- "Pay-Per-Call and Call Duration". Search Engine Watch, 12 April 2012.
- "Businesses With No Website Statistics". Statistics Brain, 5 September 2012.