Landlines in the US are disappearing. About 40% of US households are either mobile only or primarily mobile. The number of HHs without a landline at all stands at 27% according to the US Center for Disease Control.
Against this backdrop it’s interesting that a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found that “24% [of Internet users] have placed phone calls online. That amounts to 19% of all American adults.”
One might be tempted to argue that VoIP calling is all about saving money — and partly it is. But Pew’s demographic breakdown shows the highest penetration of VoIP calling by income category resides in the most affluent group. And a higher percentage of the most educated segment makes VoIP calls than those less educated.
So to a large degree this trend would appear to be about increasing comfort levels with VoIP and the evolution of consumer behavior more broadly. For some, however, it may be a rational effort to save mobile/voice minutes.
Pew also says that “7% of cell phone owners had participated in video calls or online chats with their handheld device.”
Several years ago “Click to Call” online was fairly widespread: YP publishers did it, Google and Microsoft did it and all basically abandoned it for lack of consumer use. More recently Skype (now part of Microsoft) has tried to turn click to call into an ad product. And Google has had great success with Click to Call/PPCall in mobile. Google also released call tracking for AdWords campaigns late last year.
I’m wondering if the foundation is now appropriately laid for the return of Click to Call or PPCall online. Today you can do the latter “manually” with call tracking numbers. But I wonder if we may soon see a renewed effort to enable online calls as an advertising or lead-gen tool for SMBs in the not-too-distant future.