Google Tests Pay-Per-Call Ads

  |  November 23, 2005   |  Comments

The search company's ads break the sound barrier.

Google is testing a pay-per-call feature in ads appearing on its search engine results pages.

Some searchers have begun to see a phone icon next to the company's sponsored listings. By clicking on the icon, they can enter a phone number and click a "Connect for Free" button to be linked up to the other party.

Google's system first calls the search user, then dials the merchant and makes the connection.

The company details the offering in a FAQ item on its site. In its description, Google tries to head off privacy concerns, saying it will store a person's phone number and call information for less than four months.

"We won't share your telephone number with anyone, including the advertiser," according to the FAQ. "When you're connected with the advertiser, your number is blocked so the advertiser can't see it. In addition, we'll delete the number from our servers after a short period of time."

It's not clear whether advertisers in the test are paying for the service, whether it's in the U.S. only, or what the bidding/pricing structure for leads it generates will eventually be.

Reached for comment, Google confirmed it is conducting "limited tests" of a pay-per-call model, but declined to give more information.

Blogger and tech consultant Greg Yardley was among the first to spot the feature, and he's posted some screen captures on his blog. Tests appeared on search results for the query "refinance," a keyword likely to attract advertisers that would highly prize phone leads.

Presuming it receives a wide roll-out, the Google service will be a formidable competitor to existing providers of pay-per-call technology, including Ingenio, eStara, VoiceStar and Jambo.

Pay-per-call is widely thought to be a powerful local marketing channel in the making. A JupiterResearch study found almost half of small businesses are receptive to pay-per-call online advertising. Kelsey Group, meanwhile, predicted the pay-per-call market will grow to between $1.4 and $4 billion by 2009.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Technical Business Analyst
      Technical Business Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Technical Business Analyst to our expanding team...