Search engine marketing firm iProspect has announced it will offer its pay-per-click customers a way to track offline phone conversions from online ad impressions, filling what studies claim is a large gap in the measurement of the impact of paid search ads.
The Watertown, MA-based company launched its SearchTalk service at Ad:Tech New York. Built on a call-tracking service hosted by ClickPath, a solution owned by Who’s Calling, SearchTalk will let marketers capture and report on inbound phone calls driven by toll-free numbers in pay-per-click ads in Google, Yahoo!, MSN Search and other popular sponsored-listing programs.
In a conversation during the Ad:Tech New York show, Fredrick Marckini, CEO and founder of iProspect, said that tracking offline conversions could be a big driver — perhaps the biggest– behind increasing search marketing spending in the next year or two.
“It’s the one area of search that right now is unmeasured, except in recent studies by comScore Media Metrix and Yahoo!,” he said. “All the studies are showing that 92% of conversions happen cross-channel. While SearchTalk will not measure people who walk into the store, it will measure people who go online, then order over the phone. We think a big thing in 2006 and 2007 will be attributing offline conversions to online spend.”
The SearchTalk service involves adding a line of code to the Web pages of a client’s site. This code causes the ClickPath platform to display a unique 1-800 number on the page. When that page is associated with a unique keyword search engine ad, the service can route the phone calls from that listing to a telephone number of the client’s choice and record the date, time and duration of the call, as well as the caller ID and keyword/ search term combination.
After the call is concluded, the client’s customer representative can punch in a menu of two-digit codes to indicate the outcome of the call — sales, leads generated, requests for information and other results.
“A lot of our clients don’t see a conversion on the Web site, because they’re selling a $50,000 enterprise solution,” Marckini said. “No one buys a 12-month contract for IT integration on a Web site. This will provide a way for B-to-B marketers, among others, to determine the benefit that’s coming from paid search. We think SearchTalk dramatically expands the universe of advertisers who will now buy paid search.”