Archive for the 'tracking' Category

Call Tracking is Not Pay Per Call

Whenever I talk to people about call tracking in local advertising, they immediately assume that I’m also talking about Pay Per Call.  I’m not.  Or at least not necessarily.

If you want to charge the customer on a pay per call basis, then of course you must have call tracking.

But just because you support call tracking DOES NOT mean you have to charge customers on a performance basis.  It is perfectly reasonable to continue to charge a customer, such as a small business on a subscription basis.  In fact, many small businesses prefer to pay this way – they can budget for it and they don’t get any nasty surprises.

But those advertisers still expect to know that the advertising is performing well and they will get the Return on Investment promised to them by the sales rep.

The combination of call tracking and subscription is actually a best of both worlds scenario for most small businesses.  Why don’t more people provide it?  It seems like a big missed opportunity to me.


5 ways to re-frame Yellow Pages

At the recent YPA (Yellow Pages Assocation) conference Malcolm Gladwell set the stage from some productive industry discussion by urging participants to re-frame the Yellow Pages.  Neg Norton has a great summary on the YPA blog.

So, in the spirit of continuing the conversation, I humbly submit the following five suggestions:

1. Proof is even better than research

Yellow Page advertising has always been (rightly) sold on the basis of a proven ROI.  Why not build on this position by making EVERY print, online and mobile ad track-able using tracking numbers.  Then you can definitively prove the ROI to EVERY one of your advertisers.  Do it for all your advertisers – even, perhaps especially for – subscription products.

2. Be the mobile maven

Mobile audiences are exploding.  But mobile advertising is slow to catch up.  They really need local advertisers but don’t have access to them.  You do – why not get together?  (And of course, continue to develop your own branded mobile experiences, but also look at how you can reach the mobile audience in other ways.)

3. Be the social connector

People are talking about your advertisers on twitter and Facebook.  What are you doing to help them join the conversation?

4. Recommendations rather than results

Be the matchmaker by helping consumers figure out which business is the right one for them.  Utilize tools like ratings and recommendations but also leverage your reputation.  Make it really easy to use.

5. Yellow pages connect

Unleash innovation by providing software developers with access to your data — and a share of the revenue from the leads they generate.  Wouldn’t you rather be sharing some revenue with an innovator using your data rather than buying your leads from Google?  You’ll make more money and be further ahead strategically.

What would you add to the list?  What would you delete or change?

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.

For Yellow Pages isn’t proof better than research?

The Yellow Pages Association just finished their conference in San Diego — sorry I missed it. There was a healthy degree of focus on measurement:

One key objective of future research is to demonstrate print’s strong usage, and Internet Yellow Pages growth, as compared to other local search tools. It’s important that we have reliable data to communicate about our significance in search.

from the YPA blog.

Right on.

But here’s the thing I don’t understand. Rather than treating measurement as a research task wouldn’t it be better to think of it as a tracking task? That is, replace the all phone numbers and URL’s with appropriate tracking numbers and tracking URL’s. The technology is certainly available to do this. And the data had incredible value to both the publisher and the advertiser.

Is there a reason we aren’t all thinking of this as a tracking task? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.


Yellow Page national advertisers loyal because of tracking

According to a panel at YPA09 (as reported in a post by Peter Krasilovsky) national advertisers remain loyal to print yellow pages. And they remain loyal because of tracking:

Boorink added that it was “all about the tracking. A good CMR (Certified Marketing Rep) will be able to show local advertisers the opportunities that they may be missing out in the local marketplace. (For instance), what books are we not in that we are missing out on? We had an agent in Denver who didn’t know what was out there in the marketplace. By overlaying data, we were able to show which regions we were not covering, even though leads were coming in. That’s a great success story.

They use it because it works and they can prove that it works. Yellow Page publishers could be providing tracking services for all of their advertisers and prove the ROI to them as well.

Clickable enters local SEM fray with new platform

In these challenging economic times local advertisers are looking for proven ROI.  But they are also confused and bewildered by online advertising.  And many have probably had at least one bad experience of over-promise and under-performance.  Which is a shame, because there is an incredible amount of untapped value available online for local advertisers.

Clickable has just announced a new white labeled SEM platform that seeks to make advertising accessible to these local advertisers.

It looks to have the right emphasis on the right features. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has taken it for a spin.

Yellow page publishers to track more calls?

Advertising needs to be tracked even if the advertiser is playing a flat monthly fee because they still want to know whether or not its working.  As an industry, we need to separate the issues of measurement and payment.  People usually link the two.  But all advertisers care about whether or not their advertising actually works.  This is especially true in a difficult economic environment and with some of the negative publicity swirling around Yellow Page publishers.

Over at the Kelsy Group Blog, Charles Laughlin has a post about Bill Dinan assuming the role of CEO at TelMetrics.  Bill is betting that Yellow Page publishers are going to step up their call tracking:

Spurred on by defections to more flexible and transparent “pulse” media like direct mail and search, publishers are increasing their commitment to call measurement (and the new business models this enables).

“The publishers are stepping up this year,” Dinan says. And Dinan says he is preparing for the day the phone rings and a customer asks for “a million lines next month.” The indsutry is changing so much so that a request of that magnitude no longer seems so outlandish.

In particular, Dinan sees a very aggressive push toward performance-based pricing as evidence directory publishers are serious about changing the dynamic of SMB defections to other media, or to no media spending at all.

I couldn’t agree more with Bill. And he might be right that pay for performance will be the initial trigger. But really, the Yellow Page publishers shouldn’t restrict call tracking to just pay for performance advertisers.

RELATED: How do I know if my Yellow Page ad is working?

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