Tracked calls are user generated content

How we think about things matters.  I enjoy finding and creating new ways of looking at things because they generate new insights which can eventually lead to disruptive change.  In fact, this blog is about exploring perspectives on mobile, local search and advertising.

And the seed for new perspectives comes from conversation.  Last week I got a new perspective on call tracking as the result of a twitter conversation (with @sebprovencher).

You can think of tracked calls (or clicks or any user action really) as a form of user generated content. In fact, especially for calls resulting from local searches, it’s an extremely valuable form of user generated content:

  1. EVERY user provides this feedback EVERY time they make a call (assuming you are tracking the calls of course); and
  2. It’s a highly structured signal – the user has taken a very explicit action to contact a business.

And, in the case of calls, you can further strengthen the signal by also keeping track of how long the caller stayed on the phone.

Utilizing User Generated Content

To be sure, this implicit user generated content is different from content like ratings and reviews.  You probably don’t want to display something like “300 people have called this person’s ad” (though, thinking about it that might actually be kind of interesting).

However, through appropriate analysis this data can be used to provide users with recommendations based on their situation and preferences.  For example, by looking at this data you can learn what people are looking for on Friday night versus Wednesday morning.  This is the sort of analysis we’re doing at Predictabuy.

And here’s another interesting thing: combining this implicit data with coventional ratings results in better recommendations than you can get by looking at the ratings alone.

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