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Web and mobile search continue to develop as places where high-intent consumers find local businesses. This is driving a lot of call volume, especially in mobile search where the device itself is also a phone. Meanwhile, SMBs cite phone calls as their most valued lead source according to BIA/Kelsey research. Marchex’s recently launched CallDNA product represents an important area of call monetization: effectively tracking and measuring call quality. This is reaching all new levels in the age of big data. At BIA/Kelsey‘s Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference last week we heard from Ziad Ismail, Senior VP of Product & Engineering at Marchex about this new product.

“Currently we are seeing a new epidemic of call spammers” says Ismail, “receiving calls from various spammers can throw off analytics,” so this is where real-time call analytics comes in. Real-time call analytics is when technology is analyzing calls as they are happening. By doing this illegitimate calls are able to be cut out before they go onto the books. CallDNA also enables SMBs to know there is value in what they are doing. “SMBs need to know what actually worked in the system. Click targets are not very good but when you dig deeper it becomes obvious which calls are good and which are not and that is what is important” says Ismail.

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Call monetization is a huge opportunity for companies in the call tracking world. In addition to Ismail’s discussion about this opportunity, a panel was also held at last week’s Leading in Local: Interactive Media conference to discuss best practices in the industry. Among this panel it was a universal feeling that the term “call tracking” was no longer an accurate description of what companies in the industry do. “Call tracking is a reactive technology” says Irv Shapiro, CEO, CTO and Founder of Ifbyphone, “it allows you to measure tech and re-optimize in the future. Our customers want more hits today so we need a proactive technology, not one for the future”. Dinesh Ravishanker, CEO and Cofounder of CallFire says “it is all about making sure when the call is actually delivered value is added at that time. We need to deliver when it is needed. Call intelligence, bringing intelligence to that phone call is where we are headed”.

On the other hand, the term call tracking is not completely irrelevant. J.Scott Hamilton, GM, North America at Response Tap says “we are all doing an element of call tracking, there is an association. The question is what type of an association is it. What we are focused on is what you want to track in your phone calls and then we will use that data to make or save you money”. Often the information that is tracks will help to improve the consumer experience. “When a consumer engages in a phone conversation, we need to enhance the customer experience. We need to make sure the caller’s digital experience is taken into account so that both parties are on the same page and are able to get their desired outcomes.” says Drew Thorne-Thomsen, VP of Business Development at Invoca.

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