Phone Calls from Mobile Search to Top 73 Billion in 2018

In 2018, mobile search results will generate over 73 billion calls to businesses, according to BIA/Kelsey’s latest mobile local media forecast. This means a more than doubling of the 30 billion calls from mobile search in 2013 and marks a huge opportunity for businesses – but also a necessity to get ready.

BIA Kelsey Local Phone Calls from Search

In a report titled “Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era,” BIA/Kelsey researchers explore methods of capitalizing on call monetization and the value of phone calls as a lead form for paying advertisers.

Phone calls have become increasingly important as call analytics have become more sophisticated, allowing local businesses to better measure call quality and take strategic insights away from phone activity. In fact, SMBs recently indicated to BIA/Kelsey in another survey that phone calls are their most valuable source of incoming leads.

“We’re still early in the evolution of monetizing incoming phone leads. And it will be a major force in the multi-headed beast that we all call ‘local,’” said Michael Boland, report author, senior analyst and VP of content, BIA/Kelsey.

“Calls have always been highly valued by small businesses and now the notion of calls as currency has accelerated in the smartphone era, where search has fused with the phone. Businesses that get in front of consumers with the right messaging and calls to action, like mobile click-to-call, can drive high-quality leads and achieve high return on ad spend. Tech and media companies that can help them get there are likewise well positioned.”

Marketers should look into options like Google AdWords click-to-call ad extensions to make it easier for consumers to get in touch. The extension adds a clickable phone number to ads that appear on smartphones. Clearly, consumers are indicating this is a preferred method of contact and any barriers to connecting should be removed where possible.

Each year in the U.S., advertisers spend approximately $64.6 billion across media on localized ads to generate calls to their business.

The full Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era report is available to download from the BIA/Kelsey website.

Avoid the Small Business Marketing Scams that Cost Companies Millions

Prevent small business fraud and protect your business.Small businesses are a tempting target for scammers. By nature, small business owners and entrepreneurs are often pressed for time and many lack the resources to thoroughly investigate or fight fraud.

Just how great is the risk? According to the Federal Trade Commission, marketplace scams were responsible for depleting the U.S. economy of over 1.4 billion dollars in 2012, the first year that it received over 1 million marketplace fraud complaints. Even though the FTC has taken steps to reduce the risk to small businesses and occasionally shuts down a scam operation, it seems many more are just waiting in the wings for an opportunity to pounce.  [Read more...]