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Mobile Pay Per Call Advertising

MobileRinging PhoneI’ve become interested in mobile pay per call advertising, based on a couple of simple high level observations:

  1. Many types of businesses are naturally phone-based in their new business generation process.  Think pizza shops, plumbers, lawyers, and pretty much any other type of business that would naturally advertise in the Yellow Pages.
  2. Historically, online pay per call has been has been hamstrung by the need for the end user to switch from the PC to the phone (by dialing a number on their PC screen, or entering their number on their PC and getting called back).  It seems like this PC-phone context switching would lose a majority of the potentially interested callers.  But on a mobile device, the user is just a simple click or finger touch away from making a phone call.  It seems like this would have a dramatic positive impact on Call Per Impression ratios.

Google has recently relaunched their click-to-call capabilities (Google’s Jan 2010 Announcement) on high-end smartphones.  ReachLocal sits in a strong position to use its direct sales force to interface between Google (and other publishers) and the many disparate enterprises interested in generating inbound phone calls. Perhaps a transition from Online Pay Per Call to Mobile Pay Per Call is modest enough that the existing online players will dominate in the adjacent mobile space, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a mobile-specific approach that is more effective than what has been tried by the online players to-date.