Mobile-only media such as mobile search and display are the source of a majority of phone calls to businesses, according to an Invoca analysis of 32 million phone calls throughout 2014. But are these media referring high-quality calls?
Looking at the top marketing channels driving calls, the study indicates that mobile search was by far the largest source of calls, referring 45% of the study’s sample over the yearlong period. While the results may be specific to Invoca’s platform and therefore not necessarily broadly applicable, it isn’t surprising that mobile search is such an influential driver of calls given its convenience and the popularity of click-to-call functionality in search results.
Beyond mobile search were desktop display (11% share of calls) and desktop search (9%), followed by mobile display (8%). So while mobile trumps desktop by a large margin in search-driven calls, display-referred calls were slightly more the realm of desktop than mobile.
In looking at the discrepancy between search- and display-referred calls, it’s worth noting that research released several years ago found that mobile local search ad clicks were most often followed by a phone call, while display ad clicks were most frequently followed by accessing maps and directions.
Returning to the Invoca study, the analysts note that call durations are an indicator of high buyer-intent, such that the duration of a call is a key indicator of call quality. Mobile trails on this front, with mobile search-referred calls lasting 3 minutes and 58 seconds on average and mobile display-driven calls 2 minutes and 58 seconds, both shorter than the overall average of 4 minutes and 7 seconds. That may not necessarily reflect low-quality calls, though, instead perhaps being indicative of the on-the-go mentality of mobile callers, whose searches often convert quickly.
Nevertheless, offline channels – which drove just 16% of the calls analyzed – generally averaged longer durations. Newspaper-referred calls, for example, averaged 6 minutes and 10 seconds, more than a minute longer than desktop display, the best-performing online source. Calls driven by magazines, direct mail and directories also saw durations higher than the average. As the study authors note, the level of effort in calling from a print ad reflects high buyer intent.
In other interesting study results:
- Tuesdays received the highest volume of phone calls, 48% more than Sundays, which had the lowest;
- One-quarter of calls came from landlines;
- The recreation and leisure and insurance industries had the highest call volume;
- The home services industry had the longest average call duration (6 minutes and 48 seconds), followed by the insurance industry (5 minutes and 26 seconds);
- Notably, while 79% of automotive calls came from offline channels (with TV a prime source), automotive calls lasted just 1 minute and 52 seconds on average;
- Offline sources also accounted for an above-average share (44%) of financial services calls, although mobile search was the single largest source of calls (21%); and
- Radio accounted for 7% of insurance calls (versus 6% of calls overall), with insurance being a key advertising vertical on radio.
About the Data: Invoca analyzed 32 million phone calls, a representative sample of calls that ran through its platform between January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. The calls spanned over 40 verticals and sub verticals.