Who Needs Pay Per Click When You Can Pay Per Call?

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Just when you thought advertisers had run out of ways to profit on the Internet, search engine ad provider FindWhat has partnered with technology giant Ingenio to create the first pay-per-call advertising service offering advertisers a more human approach to online advertising.

In the past couple years, everyone has been looking to jump on the pay-per-click bandwagon, largely because of its success at turning the online world into a veritable limitless, "open-air" marketplace. Many have realized the tremendous success that can be had from word-limited advertising and in outbidding competitors in the Internet's version of the word game.

But with pay per call, marketers, especially those pushing complicated products or services or those who don't have a Web site in which to sell their products, have a whole new way to get in touch with their target group. Pay per call works in much the same way that pay per click does, except that in this case advertisers are charged each time a call is a result of a user clicking on the toll-free number (as opposed to the URL in a pay per click) displayed in the ad. The toll-free number, generated by the software, redirects to the advertiser's actual number and gives the business a brief message before the call is connected, noting that the call results from a pay-per-call campaign.

Currently advertisers bid between $2 and $15 per call for the first 10 minutes. Though the prices are considerably higher than average pay-per-click prices, according to Did-it's Kevin Ryan, while the volume of calls also is less than the number of clicks, the conversion rate of pay per calls more than doubles that of its paid ad predecessor. The value of a sale resulting from a pay-per-call ad is also higher.

But before you ditch pay per click for pay per call, you should know that the service isn't offered in as many networks as pay per click. Also, the ad categories for pay per call are relatively broad, so there is a risk of losing some of the targeted focus afforded with pay per click. Furthermore, the toll-free numbers provided might be a deterrent for consumers who would usually rather call a local number.

So, while pay per call should by no means serve as a replacement for pay per click, at least not at this early stage, it offers marketers more choices as to where and how to spend their advertising dollar.

In this ever-expanding Internet age, the more choices both marketers and consumers are afforded means better ways at getting the right information to the right consumers and the potential for increasing advertisers' profits.

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