• http://www.AlchemyUnited.com ChiefAlchemist

    Well stated Matt. Mind if I share a couple observation of my own?

    —The strictly online click to (immediate) conversion construct was artificial. It defined the clickers’ thought funnel in a way that was not in line with reality and expectations. Phone calls are obviously not new. What is new is the understanding that they still matter to many people. It’s an acknowledgment that the funnel is more complex then Click A should immediately lead to Conversion B.

    —That said, the attraction of phone calls could also be indicative of weakness in a website. Are people phoning because they feel they have to, or because want to?

    —We are ultimately local beasts. Sure we all love the convenience and ubiquity of the internet, However, the majority of our real world tactile connections are local. It’s still natural for many to gravitate to that collective unconsciousness. That could certainly fade but for the moment it still seems to exist today.

    —I think sometimes internet industry types forget that not everyone is as internet-y as they are, nor do those others really care to be (that geeky?) . At some point it’s wise to separate the hype from most people’s reality. Phone calls might not be new or sexy but for many they are still a viable channel of communication.

  • http://www.organicSEOconsultant.com/ Miguel Salcido

    Matt, great piece. Do you know of any companies that can track phone calls to organic keywords? I have heard Marchex sales people claim it alot but have yet to get confirmation from anyone in the industry and am still confused as to if it is possible and how.r

    Also, how do you overcome the issues of a local phone number on your site as a local ranking factor and that if you syndicate your contact info and phone it should match your site and google Places account? I meant that in the context of using tracking phone numbers.

    Can that be overcome? Serving Googlebot the same number but serving a different number for call tracking to everyone else is sort of against their TOS. Although one could argue that the visitor ends up at the same place no matter what number they call through.

  • http://www.centuryinteractive.com/stephen Stephen Cravens

    Great post, Matt! The handwriting is on the wall that advertisers will come around to paying for calls directly and bypass paying for intermediate conversions.

    Miguel, you bring up fantastic queries. I know for a fact (because I work there!) that Century Interactive can track phone calls to organic keywords. We have hundreds of clients doing this, and it’s dynamite for keyword discovery.

    Also a great question on putting a tracking number in your Places entry. Google doesn’t prohibit tracking phone numbers in your listing, however, it asks that the ring-to be the place of business represented in the listing. It wants to prevent out-of-area businesses from establishing a ghost presence in your city.

    http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=107528&rd=1

  • http://www.qualitywebsitetesting.com mgammel

    I just wanted to share some problems my clients had with tracking phone numbers. I work primarily with small businesses providing organic SEO services. What my clients run into is that they try out an internet marketing service. That service sets up tracking phone numbers and creates profiles on Google, Yahoo, and other directories with the tracking phone number. Other online services and databases can also pick up the tracking phone number.

    The problem occurs when the client cancels the internet marketing service and the tracking phone # remains in the profiles. But the phone # gets reassigned. The client doesn’t realize this till months later. It can take awhile to clean this up. In one case, the tracking phone # assigned to my client ended up being redirected to a questionable dating service.

    While tracking phone #’s have some good qualities, companies should be wary how they are used.

  • http://www.centuryinteractive.com stevecravens

    mgammel – that raises another pesky issue with call tracking, the need for you to own your own phone numbers! It’s not hard to set up an account, with say a Century Interactive, and by doing so, you have the autonomy to provision/cancel numbers at your whim. Thus, eliminating any risk those tracking numbers will ever be published elsewhere. Great comment!

  • http://www.PhoneFromHere.com phonefromhere.com

    Hi Matthew, Really interesting post, you share our thoughts on converting Web interactions to voice leads. PhoneFromHere.com may well be able to supply you with services to help you achieve your web to voice lead aspirations including all the analytics you need to track lead origination. Get in touch in the New Year and lets see if we can work together.