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Today, mobile ad tech company Marchex is releasing its Call Analytics for Search, which it says is the first solution to tell marketers which search keywords are the most popular for click-to-call in ads.

To understand why that may be important to marketers, let’s say you search on your phone for “car policies.”

Ads for local insurance agents show up at the top of the search results, so you click a “click-to-call” link in one. It immediately dials the agency, and you have a quick voice chat about next steps.

Unless the agency asks you, it has no idea what words you entered in the search. Although click-to-calls come from motivated potential customers and are more likely to result in a sale, the agency’s marketing agency hasn’t been able to know which search keywords or keyword phrases are more effective at generating mobile click-to-calls from search ads.

Previously, they and others have been able to track keywords for click-to-call in landing pages that users might go to as the result of a search.

The Seattle-based company, which offers mobile ad technology and mobile call analysis, says its new solution addresses the “blindspot” in the $4 billion spent last year on mobile search campaigns to drive phone calls.

“We’re [now] able to tell you which keywords are driving the most calls” from search ads, senior vice president John Busby told VentureBeat.

The company’s solution involves a custom model that infers the most popular keywords from such indicators as real-time assignment of phone numbers, timing signals, and ad groups. It works for Google, Bing, or Bing-powered Yahoo searches.

Its availability means the marketer can now tell which keywords generated the most click-to-calls from ads as well as from landing pages, although it doesn’t have the capability yet to pinpoint the specific keyword that drove a specific call.

But that’s still important information for a huge and growing marketing channel. Through its Marchex Institute research arm, the company estimates that more than one billion click-to-call phone calls will be made this year from mobile search ads.

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Call Analytics for Search integrates with ad bidding management platforms like DoubleClick or Kenshoo, so the marketer is able to adjust keyword-based campaigns in real time.

Other call analytics providers like Invoca can determine keywords driving click-to-call traffic from mobile landing pages, Busby told us.

But “we’re the first to market with the ability to track [mobile] click-to-calls at the keyword level” from mobile search ads, he said.

There’s also the question of whether the call actually resulted in a sale. The company’s existing Call DNA technology is used to parse metadata such as phone menu choices and even conversation attributes to determine if it is likely a sale took place.

Busby said this conversation-tracking tech is “not understanding words,” but is listening for clues like whether a conversation is taking place between two different voices, or if sale-related phone menu choices were made.

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