This post was originally published on Street Fight on January 15, 2015.
Basic pay-per-call campaign optimization strategies run the gamut from scheduling ad play according to hours of operation to selecting the most accurate categories for ads to play in, and even taking full advantage of the analytics that PPC campaigns can provide. These optimization strategies help increase both the volume of calls that a business receives and the duration of those calls.
Inbound calls from mobile search are expected to grow to 70 billion by 2016, up from 40 billion in 2014, according to BIA/Kelsey. Lead quality is a major reason for this increase, as small business owners continue to discover that call-based leads drive more sales than those leads coming from social media or email.
Among SMBs who have taken advantage of call-based leads, 18% consider them to be “fair quality,” 33% consider them to be “good quality,” and 35% say they’re “excellent quality.” The difference between these three groups has to do with optimization. Businesses that have optimized their PPC campaigns through dynamic call tracking and measurement of analytics are much more likely to report high levels of satisfaction.
Some of the best ways for businesses to optimize their PPC campaigns include:
Scheduling Ad Play
Unless a business has someone answering the telephone 24 hours a day—a rarity among SMBs—there are certain times when calls are more valuable than others. Scheduling ad play according to a business’s hours of operation is one of the simplest ways to optimize a PPC campaign without impacting the budget.
Rather than expecting customers to leave messages when they call during off-hours, businesses should use dayparting tactics to ensure their ads run only during the times when their employees are available to answer the phone. In other cases, it may be more effective to pause ad listings during periods when a business is closed. Some merchants may also want to run staggered shifts to fully meet the demand during periods of high call volume.
Business owners with advanced marketing skills should look closely at the hours and days when customers are most likely to make high-value purchases. Using this information, merchants can identify areas of opportunity and schedule their campaigns to run during those days and times when inbound leads are most likely to convert.
Selecting Accurate Categories
Nineteen percent of inbound calls are considered quality leads, according to BIA/Kelsey. One way that businesses can increase this figure is by selecting the most accurate categories for their ads to play in when setting up their PPC campaigns.
Ads that are not placed in the correct categories—for example, an ad for an electrical company that’s placed in the auto category—may not be selected by consumers as frequently, because it does not match the caller’s intent. As a result of an ad not being selected frequently enough, the ad’s priority will go down. Additionally, including a geographic category where the ad should appear, down to the regional or local area, is a smart way for businesses to optimize their strategies for maximum value.
Taking Advantage of Analytics
Analytics are a key component of any PPC campaign. As such, businesses that implement call monetization strategies without utilizing the resulting analytics are missing out on key drivers of revenue. Businesses should be analyzing their inbound phone calls to determine which PPC campaigns are producing the best leads and immediate conversions.
Offline conversations should be taken into account when looking at online analytics, as well. If analytics show that a business has low click-through rates in its online ad campaigns, but high telephone conversion rates, that may indicate that the business needs to optimize its campaign to capture more consumers on their mobile phones.
Account managers can be a valuable source of information when setting up a successful PPC campaign, since these are the people most knowledgeable about how to maximize the benefits of the individual platforms they represent. Depending on the platform, account managers should be able to provide clients with detailed logs showing the duration of their incoming calls, along with real-time feedback and information about the purchasing decisions that resulted from various conversations. Based on the recommendations that an account manager provides, along with the analytics he or she uses to back up those assertions, businesses can maximize their PPC campaigns for optimal success.