Forget Pay For Call…BFC Is Where It’s At

When Click-to-Call came out, it was a big deal. Think of the thousands of products and services that customers prefer to directly inquire about over spending hours scanning websites for the appropriate information. Whether it’s placing an order or simply making a dinner reservation, Click-to-Call had numerous advantages for (especially) local advertising – and it was easy! Add location extensions to your campaigns, provide your unique business number(s) and boom – you’re done. Clickable, location specific phone numbers at the tip of your customer’s hands (provided with a pretty map, too.)

Since the early days of Click-to-Call, we’ve not only seen vast innovations for Mobile marketing but also strides by Google to urge PC and Tablet users alike to “pick up the phone.” Though many SEM professionals had probably foreseen the introduction of a Bid For Call system, Google recently introduced the product – albeit, rather subtlety – yesterday, 10/25 Re: “Google Introduces Bid For Calls on the PC.” Formally a Pay Per Call product for desktop, this product is distinct from our well known Click-to-Call offering for mobile users. Launching first in the US and UK, Bid For Call relies entirely upon the Call Metrics platform.

Call Metrics is a primary component of the Bid For Call system – in fact, advertisers must use Call Metrics and a Google Voice generated phone number to participate in the offering. This is beneficial for advertisers – Call Metrics provides a flurry of useful statistics we can all take advantage of such as Call Start and End Time, Call Duration, Call Status (Missed or Received,) Caller Area Code and so on. Admittedly, Call Metrics provides a little more information than scanning a Click Type report – cheers to that! But enough with the technicalities, let’s get to the cool part.

Instead of paying a $1 flat fee per tracked call to your business, advertisers now have the flexibility of distinctly bidding on these phone calls (yes, Google will finally allow us to spend more money.) Bidding does have its advantages. Depending on the call volume, Google will now start to factor in calls to your ads quality score – that’s pretty cool. And if you don’t participate in Bid For Call, your ads QS remains unaffected.

Bottom line: If your ads generate lots of calls, you will see better rankings. Call Through Rate will become a crucial metric for advertisers trying to generate calls to their business by landing a high position on the SERP.

Lastly, an important metric for advertisers to keep in mind is your phone quality score as it will drastically affect the number of phone calls driven to you or your client’s business. Distinct from quality score for clicks, the most important factor in phone QS is the historical phone-through-rate (number of phone calls received divided by the number of times your phone number is shown.) Coupled with the QS for clicks, your phone QS determines the ranking of your ad.

In other words: Ad Rank = (max CPC bid x click QS) + (max CPP bid x phone QS)

Depending on which platform and product you take advantage of, the ability to drive calls to your business is available – now more than ever. Just be smart about it – track and analyze your spend to ensure a positive return. Happy hunting ~

Bid for Call

Dustin Lewis About the author
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