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.

Yelp Adds Direct Messaging to Local Business Listings

Yelp has just announced a new messaging feature for businesses using the local marketing platform. Now, customers can message business owners directly from the company’s Yelp listing.

Business owners will receive an email when they get a message from a visitor to their Yelp profile and can respond directly from the email. The owner can also set an average response time, which will be displayed to consumers as they leave their message.

Yelp adds direct messaging for local business owners

While some customers prefer to pick up the phone, others would much rather communicate via a keyboard, so this feature adds one more way to reach out to businesses, while giving business owners another opportunity to close the loop and receive even more leads,” wrote a Yelp product manager in the official announcement.

Business owners who do not want to take advantage of Yelp’s messaging feature can simply disable it from within the admin dashboard.

To date, there are over 57 million local business reviews spanning 27 countries on Yelp.