Ingenio has released a new application programming interface (API) for its pay-per-call technology, allowing marketers to more easily manage pay-per-call campaigns with their existing bid management software.
Similar to the APIs Google and Yahoo offer to users of their paid search services, the Ingenio API will allow interactive marketing agencies, search engine marketing (SEM) firms and third-party technology providers to enable and manage pay-per-call advertising campaigns for their clients alongside existing pay-per-click campaigns.
Several agencies manage pay-per-call accounts for their clients on the existing self-service platform, but the API will allow them to access more features in a more efficient way, according to Mike Fordyce, director of business development at Ingenio.
"When we first started rolling out pay-per-call, we knew agencies were going to be important partners, and we knew building them an API would be crucial to our success," Fordyce said. "We don’t have the 'feet on the street' to reach SMEs, so we rely on agencies to bring them into our platform."
The API gives access to ad creation and geo-targeting functionality, auto-scheduling capabilities, customizable reports, and real-time visibility into the advertiser's competitive bid environment. Developers can also use it to create and customize new applications around the campaign data. Ingenio will begin developing a support infrastructure for developers who want to use the APIs, including developers' forums and user groups, Fordyce said.
Ingenio's pay-per-call ads are distributed on networks like AOL and Miva, with plans for other distribution deals in the works. Advertisers bid a per-call price they will pay for phone calls resulting from the ad. The average bid price is between $6 and $8 per call, which varies by keyword.
"Pay-per-call is a perfect example of the 'reverse direct marketing' paradigm shift that's going on, where the prospect is seeking the business," said Sara Holoubek, chief strategy officer at icrossing. Holoubek said that icrossing has been running pay-per-call campaigns for a few clients, and recently brought the technology to their clients' attention at an event in July.
Holoubek expects pay-per-call to appeal most to icrossing clients looking to reach a local audience, especially clients with local franchises or local marketing budgets, like insurance or car rental companies. It's especially good for a business like insurance where customers have to share private information, and may not want to do that online. "It's great for any area where there is a segment of customers who feel more comfortable making a phone call," she said.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.
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