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Phone Calls from Mobile Search Will Top 73 Billion in 2018

Jun 4, 2014

New insight report explores value of phone calls to small businesses in the smartphone era

CHANTILLY, Va. (June 4, 2014) – Mobile search will generate 73 billion calls to businesses in  2018, up from 30 billion in 2013, according to BIA/Kelsey’s latest mobile local media forecast. This tremendous increase in commercially oriented call volume to businesses and the resulting opportunities for local media companies are the primary focus of a new BIA/Kelsey insight report, “Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era.” The report explores the increasingly sophisticated world of call monetization, from how to capitalize on it to best practices and its potential value in the coming months.


“There’s a shift underway in the tech and media worlds marked by a tighter embrace of phone calls as a lead form for paying advertisers,” said Michael Boland, report author, senior analyst and VP of content, BIA/Kelsey. “Calls have always been highly valued by small businesses and now the notion of calls as currency has accelerated in the smartphone era, where search has fused with the phone. Businesses that get in front of consumers with the right messaging and calls to action, like mobile click-to-call, can drive high-quality leads and achieve high return on ad spend. Tech and media companies that can help them get there are likewise well positioned.”

Among the report’s key takeaways are:

  • BIA/Kelsey estimates $64.6 billion is spent annually across media on localized ads to generate calls to businesses.
  • The growth in call volume works well with local business’ sentiment towards calls, with SMBs naming them the most valued form of incoming leads according to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ survey.
  • 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.
  • The value assessment of calls is highest in local verticals that place a high value on new customer acquisition (e.g., appointment-based local verticals such as financial services, home services, and professional services such as lawyers, doctors).

The report also examines the opportunity for ad tech and local media companies to position advertisers to capture high-value phone leads more effectively and drive ROI. Boland added, “We’re still early in the evolution of monetizing incoming phone leads. And it will be a major force in the multi-headed beast that we all call ‘local.’”

Availability of ‘Phone Calls: The New Currency of the Smartphone Era’

The 30-page report is a useful resource for companies that actively follow the development of local media advertising models; sell to SMBs, multi-location businesses and national brands; and invest in the local media space.

In particular, the report offers a comprehensive review of pay per call, call monetization, performance-based advertising and mobile advertising, by examining the significance of the call monetization opportunity and how to capitalize on it.

Grounded in BIA/Kelsey’s research and analysis, the report was developed using findings from the company’s mobile ad revenue forecast (U.S. Mobile Local Media Forecast (2013-2018), proprietary Local Commerce Monitor study of the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and mobile coverage. The report also includes summaries from interviews with key mobile companies.

BIA/Kelsey advisory service clients can download the report in the client portal. The report is available for purchase for $495. More information about the report and how to purchase it is available at

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through consulting and valuation services, research and forecasts, Custom Advisory Services and conferences. Since 1983 BIA/Kelsey has been a resource to the media, mobile advertising, telecommunications, Yellow Pages and electronic directory markets, as well as to government agencies, law firms and investment companies looking to understand trends and revenue drivers. BIA/Kelsey’s annual conferences draw executives from across industries seeking expert guidance on how companies are finding innovative ways to grow. Additional information is available at, on the company’s Local Media Watch blog, Twitter ( and Facebook ( Stay connected by subscribing to the firm’s bi-monthly newsletter.

For more information contact:

Eileen Pacheco
For BIA/Kelsey
(508) 888-7478