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Brands must incorporate click-to-call functions on mobile, says Marchex exec

NEW YORK ? A Marchex executive at the sixth annual Mobile Marketing Day cautioned brands to make sure that their mobile applications and sites offer click-to-call functions so that consumers can easily receive immediate assistance without disrupting their path to purchase.

Marchex, a call analytics and mobile advertising technology platform, advised marketers to keep in mind that the majority of sales from online marketing actually occur offline. Therefore, it is imperative to offer a cohesive experience across all channels, but ensure that mobile can easily connect customers with sales associates.

?In addition to being a new paradigm for experiences, it?s also a new paradigm for consumers? path to purchase,? said John Busby, senior vice president of consumer insights and marketing at Marchex, Seattle, WA.

Mobile Marketing Day is a Mobile Marketer event jointly hosted with the Direct Marketing Association.

Natural response

Mr. Busby claimed that click-to-call is a natural customer response to mobile search. As many consumers prefer to browse via tablets and smartphones, transitioning to speaking to a brand representative after becoming interested in a product is a logical next step.

Marchex found that 60 percent of consumers browsing for cars via mobile were either extremely or very likely to call for further assistance, compared to 46 percent for home goods and 58 percent for hotels.

On Google alone, marketers are already spending an average of $4 billion on mobile phone calls. Google?s decision to give brands sans mobile platforms a lower ranking on search pages by April 2015 also function as a reminder for marketers to ramp up mobile efforts.

A recent report from Contact Solutions corroborated this belief by proving that in-app product recommendations and sales assistance are crucial for combatting shopping cart abandonment and streamlining the consumer purchase journey (see story).

Listening to rankings
Brands should also ensure that they are taking rankings and call analytics into account when developing their mobile sites and apps. Marchex has discovered that the most likely age group to engage with a click-to-call ad is millennials, a fact that marketers should take note of.

The company also ranks users based on interactions.

?We associate behaviors or life events with callers who are actually making purchases,? Mr. Busby said.

Marchex claimed that for a major home service provider, the most likely behavior behind the call was moving up the corporate ladder, prompting the brand to post much more aggressive advertisements on job sites such as LinkedIn.

For hotel marketers, consumers that eventually made reservations often first called to discuss the property?s fitness center and room view availabilities.

In the car industry, there was often no attempt from associates to offer consumers calling an appointment for a test drive or service function. If car marketers can turn this behavior around, they in turn will receive much more return on investment as well as higher customer service rankings.

Ultimately, adding a click-to-call button on a mobile ad or app can only enhance a brand?s chances of gaining new customers and pleasing existing ones.

?A phone number in a mobile advertisement increases the credibility of your business,? Mr. Busby said. ?There?s that human connection you can have with that place or business.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York