Google to Build PPCall Marketplace

Google is announcing that its Call Metrics call-tracking offering is going to be generally available to all US and Canadian AdWords advertisers. I’ve written up more detail at Search Engine Land.

The image below shows what Call Metrics call-tracking ads look like in AdWords.

Right now using Call Metrics costs advertisers $1 per completed call on the PC and nothing in mobile.  However this is merely laying the foundation for an eventual PPCall marketplace on the PC.

When call tracking launched in limited beta on Google last November, I wrote Free Call Tracking Comes to AdWords, PPCall Can’t Be Far Behind. And it’s not.

At some point in the not-too-distant future there will be a bid-for-calls marketplace on the PC. Advertisers will be able to bid separately for calls vs. clicks. The mechanics and logistics behind how it will all work need to be determined. But it’s all but certain to happen.

What do you think about this development and its potential for Google and advertisers?

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17 Responses to “Google to Build PPCall Marketplace”

  1. Dev Basu says at

    Pay per call will revolutionize the service industry. That said $1 per call is pretty steep if they continue adopting that pricing model. In my opinion, adding in free call tracking would increase adwords adoption even higher

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    They would move to a bidding model like AdWords. Some calls would be more and some would probably be less than $1. But some would be a lot more. 

  3. Mike says at

    $1 per call would be what I’d expect in some of the more ‘lifestyle’ verticals, like say a restaurant. So I’d expect Greg’s comment to come in to play, that it will be the traditional auction model which would see cost per completed call above $1 per in certain verticals.

    I’ve *heard* of some PPCall services which charge upwards of $20-$30 per completed call for certain verticals, such as legal or medical, so I’d expect that range to eventually be seen in once GOOG’s auction model matured a little.

  4. Will says at

    @Dev The costs for call tracking are not insignificant.  The increased value of a call for small businesses and service groups make this a great way to increase the price of what would have been a click.   
    @Mike $20-30 is completely reasonable in some verticals.  I have a friend in high end painting and home repair that happily pays $50-100 for leads. $20-30 for a call is still inexpensive by some measures.  

    Disclosure, I work on a new numberless call tracking system. Tracking numbers hurt SEO and budgets. So we did away with them.  

  5. Agentix says at

    Wow, that will really improve Business! Hopefully Google will roll it out in other Countries/Languages as soon as possible!

  6. Amichai Zuntz says at

    Hi Greg, for us at No Problem the pay per call solution is a way of life, with several different very happy partners.
    Pay per call required know how and there is much more to it than just getting calls for $1, our solution is based on field experience with thousands of advertisers and includes a dedicated advertiser portal where the advertiser can choose when he would like to get the call, How much he is willing to pay for this call (determine pre-defined price) and have the ability to modify this quote in a real time bidding process, in addition we offer a very detailed analytics tool on a dedicated publisher portal to track this activity, there is a reason why Google is moving to this space and it can be explained by the much higher CPMs that we see on a daily basis…(:>

  7. Greg says at

    Only relatively sophisticated advertisers can manage PPCall bidding or SMB channels that simplify the sale and purchase for the ultimate customer. 

  8. Amichai Zuntz says at

    True, but this is where the directory publisher’s strength is, They have the ability (HR wise) to manage the campaigns for their advertisers and just leave the real time bidding process for the advertiser to manage, All he needs to do is press a number on his mobile phone in case he would like to change his bid in real time and then choose how much (type a number) he is willing to offer, Simple! (and already field proven by thousands of happy advrtisers…)
    By the way, many of the advertisers moves to the self managed option after a while.

  9. Greg Sterling says at

    After they get the hang of it, I can imagine. However most SMBs don’t like dynamic pricing or bidding. 

  10. Amichai Zuntz says at

    I hope we can break a record with this thread (:> my answer to this would be: they can keep the pre-defined price as it is and avoid the real time bidding, at the end of the day it will be the market dynamics an dprices that will dictate the right pricing and they will play the game if they want to stay in business

  11. Mongoose Metrics says at

    In general, I think it is a good thing to monetize call actions, and establishing markets to figure out pricing is the best way to ensure that a good price is arrived at for advertisers. But it’s important to consider that a call is a larger investment than a click, and it can be hard to deliver a value proposition that motivates a searcher to call through a Google ad. For some businesses, where the value proposition is clear (e.g. plumbing or HVAC) PPCall through Call Metrics will likely be effective—especially for those with brand recognition. However, for more complex businesses, and B2B companies in particular, I think a lot more research has to happen before a call is made, and in these cases ads will not likely yield substantial call volumes at the AdWords level. These businesses need the opportunity to educate, and should have call tracking installed on their websites to track offline PPC conversions that occur post-click, to accurately track their campaign effectiveness.

  12. Paul Teitelman says at

    I was wondering when this day would come ever since Google added calling to their arsenal of properties. I’ve done extensive research into many different call tracking platforms and even helped pioneer a white label version with my old agency.

    The best I find in the industry are IfByPhone and MonGoose Metrics. IfByPhone is great, cheap and super easy to set up and get running for small to midsize businesses, plus you have a lot of flexibility in how many numbers or advertising channels you want to track. Mongoose metrics is good but very expensive and more for massive PPC campaigns.

    One of the issues I want to see how Google responds too is the issue of pooling a large number of numbers and assigning it to a specific account. Basically in order to track down to the keyword level for call tracking you have to assign a unique number for every call (to track it as a unique event). Problem I had when dealing with Mongoose was they never really fully disclosed a) how many numbers you would get because it’s based off of traffic levels obviously, and then b) how much that would cost. The other issue is how long they are going to assign those pooled numbers to the account, because it would be a disaster if it was a short timeframe because some people write numbers down and then call up to weeks later.

    Either way the exciting part here is the full Google integration with analytics and call tracking – one of the reasons Ifbyphone and Mongoose are at the top is because of their easy integration with Analytics, but when it’s Google + Google – it’s going to revolutionize the call tracking industry for sure. Great write up and interesting times ahead definitely.

  13. Greg Sterling says at

    Thanks Paul for your comments. I know that “duration” of the numbers is an issue. Have you ever used any of the more traditional call tracking firms: CallSource, Telmetrics, etc.?

  14. Greg Sterling says at

    There are many people who are vehemently against use of call tracking numbers in organic listings for feaure of “pollution” of the core name, address and phone. 

  15. Will Fisher says at

    Hi Greg!
    We see that contamination as a serious problem and are pushing a numberless tracking system right now (maybe the first). Beyond the SEO problems tracking numbers are wasted money call tracking providers and advertisers.

    But, rather than talk about what we do-
    There are a couple of alternatives available for businesses who want to avoid the “pollution” of tracking numbers. The easiest for traditional call tracking systems is to route the “real” number to the call tracking system. Unfortunately, this can be costly as there will be a lot of calls that are not advertising related, and those per minute charges add up. The other problem with this method is that you will need a more sophisticated method of tracking the source of the call. You could use call transcription and business intelligence software. Or, you could match up your information with digital tracking services- like marketo or flurry.

    The other good option dynamic number replacement. Its simple, it keeps search engines clean, but it can’t help you in traditional directories (online or offline) and doesn’t help if the consumer saves the number in their phone.

    Will

  16. Greg Sterling says at

    Will. I will try and follow up with you after a week off. This is obviously going to be a big subject going forward.

  17. Colin Bhimsen says at

    With the pay per call Google adwords implemented over the last few years, many have decided to simply focus on mobile conversions.

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