Panel on Pay-Per-Call 101

Mike Ostrom, national sales director, Ai Media Group, moderated a session this morning on how pay-per-call is evolving to a new media selling and buying approach. Panel participants included:

  • David Read, director-Sales-Pay-Per-Call, AT&T Advertising Solutions
  • Daniel Shaked, founder and CEO, NO PROBLEM
  • Craig Hagopian, CMO, xAD
  • John Elliott, VP and GM, Ziplocal

As background, pay-per-call is a performance-based offering in which advertisers only pay when inbound phone calls are received. These phone calls-which can come from a combination of platforms including online, mobile, and direct mail-typically must qualify in some way to be a quality lead. The cost per call paid by the advertiser to the provider is related to the revenue the former is expected to generate from the opportunity.

Read discussed AT&T’s efforts over the past three years to build out its pay-per-call offering, which he said is proving to be a valuable addition to sales teams in attracting new advertisers. Read described the differences between AT&T’s fixed cost per call rates – which apply to specific headings and categories with more straight-forward, standard pricing – and its bidded rates that are more open and apply across a variety of industries.

Shaked talked about the importance of providing a comprehensive platform that allows both consumers and advertisers to interact with one another. Shaked said NO PROBLEM allows consumers to post their service need, and then enables advertisers to bid on the service in real-time based on their immediate new business demand. Each advertiser’s cost per call is based on their unique bid for the job. The advantage of this approach is that if an advertiser decides not to bid on the job at all (e.g., they’re too busy with existing business), they do not have to pay anything.

Hagopian brought up the importance of qualifying advertisers and their ability to convert calls they receive into sales. He said providers need to have an understanding of how advertisers are handling incoming calls so they are not held to account if the business does not generate news sales from calls they pay for. Hogopian also said providers should provide customized, incremental offerings to advertisers, who may have other lead generation services already in place and do not need duplicated services.

Elliot said that advertisers want to pay for results only, and so proof points for results are extremely valuable. He explained that Ziplocal listens to and qualifies every single call and provides its advertisers with the ability to also listen to both qualified and unqualified calls using a personalized dashboard.

Overall, I found this to be a very interesting session — and it was highly attended! Pay-per-call is clearly an offering that our industry sees as having great potential for the future.

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