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Being new to the SEM industry, I was intrigued to learn Pay Per Click has a sister, Pay Per Call, who is attracting a great deal of attention within the mobile advertising industry. Whether the younger sister proves to be the more attractive one is yet to be seen.

In short, Pay Per Call is self-explanatory: advertisers pay for phone leads instead of click leads. On March 19th, 2007, mobile advertising giant Medio announced a partnership with Ingenio, a major leader in the Pay Per Call market. As of now Medio has inked deals with cellular carriers T-Mobile & Amp’d for their mobile pay per click services. As the two coalesce, they will offer Pay Per Call advertising on a mobile level. While this all sounds exciting, in my humble opinion, the partners are facing huge obstacles in tapping into this market.

As is with Pay Per Click, the idea is to use highly targeted keywords to reach as specific of an audience as possible. With PPC II, users will be delivered text ads that contain a title, description (sound familiar?) and a phone number. When the user calls the number Ingenio has provided them with, the advertiser is charged a bid rate for the call. While this is a GREAT solution for small business owners without a website, I see three main problems with this strategy.

Number one: when that water pipe burst in your house last night, did you hop on your Amp’d cell phone, get online, and search for a plumber? I think not. If you did, aside from being a huge dork, you probably hopped on your Blackberry or I-phone and searched Google. Let’s see: Medio vs. Google? Number two: the bid rates per call make your neighbor’s home business keyword bids look like chump change. At $2 – $20 per call, those leads better be converting. Number three: PEOPLE DON’T LIKE MOBILE ADS. Released in 2007, ‘Universal McCann conducted a survey among 9,500 people and found that 61% of respondents rejected ads on mobile TV & Internet services.’

While I am in no way, shape, or form opposed to serving niche markets through innovative technology; I do not see PPC II stealing the Beauty Pageant crown from her sexy older sister anytime soon.


2 thoughts on “Pay Per Call – The ‘Other’ PPC
  1. Adria says:

    I hate mobile ads, chain texts, and getting texts that say “k.” If it’s not compelling information or a friggin’ emergency, please don’t text me. I agree, I don’t see the point of this or how people can benefit.

  2. Mike says:

    We never saw the pay per call model work when we tested it in both AOL and Google. The idea of only paying for a call is wonderful, but the application thus far really has not been able to generate much volume.

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