Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era
Michael Boland, 5/21/2014


This Insight Paper explores the increasingly sophisticated world of call monetization. Calls have become a valuable currency in a world where growing smartphone penetration pairs low funnel purchase intent with a device (the phone) that is ready to make a call.

  • Key to the growing importance of calls is the relatively higher value most businesses place on calls versus other lead forms, notably clicks. BIA/Kelsey’s estimate that $64.6 billion is spent annually across media on localized ads to generate calls to businesses.

  • BIA/Kelsey predicts an explosion in commercially-oriented call volume to businesses. Mobile search alone will drive 73 billion calls per year by 2018.

  • This growth pairs well with local business’ sentiment towards calls, naming them the most valued form of incoming leads according to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor survey.

  • Businesses that get in front of consumers with the right messaging and calls to action (e.g., mobile click-to-call) can drive high-quality leads and achieve high return on ad spend.

  • One of the driving forces behind the growing importance of calls as currency is the growing sophistication of call analytics, to measure call quality and gain strategic insights from call data.

There is a big opportunity for ad tech or local media companies to position advertisers to capture high value phone leads more effectively, and see clear ROI from them.

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