DRTV advertisers and local business benefit from pay-per-call

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DRTV Advertiser 1-800-Dentist offers a nationwide service that matches consumers with an appropriate dentist.

Recently they made pay-per-call provider Ingenio a tool in their advertising mix.

"Because our brand is also our phone number, viewers of our DR Spots have a 90 day retention rate, whereas in traditional DR spots it's more like 90 minutes," said Larry Twersky, president of 1-800-Dentist, Los Angeles. "This makes sourcing our incoming calls a challenge. With Ingenio, you know what you're getting right away."

Pay-per-call is useful for local business, too. With the advent of "always on" broadband, consumers are turning to online search to find local businesses.

A recent analysis by comScore Networks found that 63 percent of U.S. Internet users (or approximately 109 million people) performed a local search online in July 2006, a 43-percent increase versus July of 2005.

The problem is, a majority of US businesses have no Web presence at all (an estimated 9.8 million businesses) or have a simple brochure-ware site with no ability to transact business (about 4 million businesses). This is especially true of local service businesses like plumbers, electricians, lawyers, doctors and florists.

San Francisco - based Ingenio's Pay Per Call provides a way to bridge the gap between the online searchers and local businesses.

"What these businesses have been lacking is an effective way of buying leads. As long as the leads coming in are of good quality, advertisers are willing to pay the price," said Marc Barach, the Ingenio's chief marketing officer.

These days that price on the Ingenio network averages between $8 to $10 per call. However, businesses such as financial and legal services are willing to shell out up to $80 for a qualified lead.

Benecia, CA-based Radiator.com for example, finds Pay Per Call more effective than pay-per-click. The company reckons 12 percent of the calls from Ingenio are converting into sales, whereas only 5 percent of leads convert online. This is because customers need to be talked through the sale, rather than just click on a car make, model number and year to get the replacement part.

What's more, acquisition costs are lower with Ingenio than with traditional pay-per-click advertising. The cost per sale with Ingenio is approximately $20, while pay-per-click acquisition costs average $34 per sale.

According to Jupiter Research, 85 percent of advertisers surveyed said they know their customer conversion rates from phone calls, but not from traffic to their Web site.

"Pay-per-call advertising ties together pay-for-performance advertising with the direct response nature of a phone call, which, unlike a click, is unique because it can serve as an offline tracking mechanism," said Mr. Barach. "That's why we're building the Ingenio advertising network out to allow direct marketers to purchase phone calls on a performance basis from a variety of media…In an environment where media channels are merging, Pay Per Call is a model that can bridge the gap."

It's not just through its patented technology that Ingenio has revolutionized advertising. "It's also because the Pay Per Call model puts more power in hands of advertisers," said Mr. Barach.

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