Google’s click-to-call is a form of web-based communication usually implemented on websites. To initiate communication, a person visiting a website simply clicks on an object, such as a picture, button or text, to request an immediate connection via phone call, VOIP, or text.

Will Click-to-Call Change the Organic Search Game?
[Image via Pixaby]
Back in 2010, Google introduced its call extensions, which included a click-to-call feature available to advertisers. It gave advertisers the ability to add their location-specific phone numbers on ads that were viewed on mobile devices that had full internet capabilities.

But, as of March 2016, Google has been testing out how the click-to-call function would work with organic search results. This means clickable phone numbers would appear in search results relevant to what the user is searching for – and not just paid advertisements.

How does click-to-call search results work?

After a user enters their desired search, whether that be a business or service, their results would produce the relevant websites with a phone number appearing beneath the title of the webpage and meta description.

Phone numbers are highlighted in the same way a hyperlink would be. By clicking the phone number, the mobile phone begins the calling process, connecting the user to their selected business.

How can marketers use click-to-call?

Two major goals of marketing are to engage with consumers and to sell goods or services. By eliminating extra steps in the user process, Google makes it as easy as possible for potential customers to get in contact with a business so they can quickly make a purchase.

Not only does receiving immediate answers and assistance streamline the consumer’s path to a purchase, but John Busy, senior vice president of consumer insights and marketing at Marchex, says, “A phone number in a mobile advertisement increases the credibility of your business. There’s that human connection you can have with that place or business.”

Since it only makes sense to display this function on a device where a user can make a phone call, businesses and advertisers can change their settings to have their numbers only show up on mobile devices with this capability rather than including desktops and laptops.

Google also allows businesses to set specified hours of when the business’s number is shown, correlating with when they are able to receive calls. In addition to these customizable features, the cost of a click-to-call will be the same price as a click to visit the website.

This feature can help boost the efficacy of a variety of businesses by implementing call tracking to help determine which questions come up the most often from customers and what answers and methods of communication result in a sale.

Why is click-to-call effective?

According to BIA/Kelsey, a leading research and advisory company focused on local advertising and marketing, calls to businesses from smartphones will reach 162 billion by 2019.

In a Google study of Australian smartphone users, 66 percent of respondents said it is extremely important, or very important, to have the ability to call a business directly from the search results page.

Click-to-call is effective because it is no longer a luxury. Users expect this kind of quick access to communicating with their preferred brands and businesses with minimal effort on their part.

Local services and travel, restaurant, finance, technology, retail, and auto industries can benefit from providing easy one-on-one communication. The same Google study found that 50 percent of all click-to-call activity are for making a purchase, or booking a reservation or appointment.

Click-to-call is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways of advertising to smartphone users since 31 percent of calls translate into revenue within three months, compared to only 2 percent of web leads.

Which brands have tested click-to-call?

Hair Club For Men was in search of better returns on their marketing at a lower cost. This led them to adopting a click-to-call campaign which was able to increase their mobile conversions into six percent of their total sales.

A Place for Mom (APFM) helps seniors and their family find care and living options. Click-to-call helped them boost their mobile call leads by 59 percent.

Since 2014, Twitter has allowed the click-to-call feature for direct responses to advertisements. The button to call is embedded into a tweet. Twitter believes it will prove useful to brands that are attempting to sell directly to consumers.

What do marketers say about click- to-call?

The click-to-call feature is no longer a want for smartphone users, but it’s considered an essential need. Google and many businesses are pushing towards this as a type of advertising and marketing campaign, as well as a convenient solution to engage with consumers.

Some marketers agree that this is one of today’s best ways to boost revenue while maintaining a connection with the brand’s consumer base. According to WordStream, an online marketing software developer, the businesses that should be using click-to-call ranges from plumbers and painters to dentists and lawyers.