May 28, 2012

Explosive growth in call-based advertising, driven in part by mobile proliferation, will lead to major advances in call analytics and call quality, according to a new report by BIA/Kelsey titled, "Call-Based Ads: Eliminating the Unknown From Advertising." In the report, BIA/Kelsey analyzes the issue of call quality, which the firm anticipates will lead to category-level targeting for redirecting telephone leads to businesses.

"We universally hear from call-based businesses that while call volume is growing, getting enough high-quality calls to businesses is the single largest challenge," said Matt Booth, chief strategy officer and program director, Interactive Local Media, BIA/Kelsey. "The massive influx of calls combined with a high percentage of unwanted calls, opens up a new and critical business segment around call analytics and call quality."

BIA/Kelsey recently reported that in 2011 the average U.S.-based business received 10.9 calls per month from desktop search (and all downstream properties through SEO) and 34.7 calls per month from mobile (including mobile search). In 2013 the average U.S.-based business will receive 13.8 calls per month as a result of desktop search and 80.9 calls from mobile.

"Like BIA/Kelsey we expect mobile call volumes to increase significantly, but the key will be optimizing programs for quality calls," said Bill Dinan, president of call measurement company Telmetrics. "Businesses are already using mobile call-based ads to capitalize on consumers' expanding mobile usage. From Q1 2011 to Q1 2012, we saw an increase of more than 30 times the number of mobile pay-per-call ads on our network."

Defining the 'Purchase Intercept Market'

According to the report, locating call sources across mobile, local, apps, voice, search, etc., and then using category-level targeting to redirect interest to a new business is a complex, yet worthwhile, undertaking. BIA/Kelsey calls this the "purchase intercept market," because these consumers are far down the purchase funnel, making these calls highly valued.

By 2016 BIA/Kelsey estimates close to 4 billion calls will be intercepted and redirected to businesses that want these leads. The purchase intercept market call volume will grow at a 52.1 percent CAGR from a base of 144 million calls in 2010 to 3.78 billion by 2016. BIA/Kelsey expects the combination of mobile and ad targeting to cause the U.S. purchase intercept market to be worth $4.9 billion by 2016.

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