Case Study: How Google Fails to Measure Mobile Marketing

Drew’s note: Here’s a fascinating guest post from the folks at ContactPoint.

We are not a mobile marketing company, but for testing purposes, we recently started conducting some click-to-call campaigns for some of our call tracking clients. We wanted to determine two things from these tests:

  1. How many calls do click-to-call campaigns actually produce
  2. What is the ‘quality’ of the calls that come from click-to-call campaigns (i.e. how good are the leads)
  3. How many clients eventually purchase due to click-to-call campaigns

One very interesting test was with a Holiday Inn Express in Utah. Let me explain what we did and why it was interesting.

But first, let’s discuss what click-to-call mobile marketing is and how it works.

Mobile Click-To-Call?

Mobile click-to-call ads are ads that appear with a ‘tap-able’ phone number. You see the phone number in the ad and you tap it with your thumb (or any other appendage) and you can call the business immediately. The most common way to serve these ads is via Google Adwords. These ads appear after a Google search. Again, there is a phone number within in the ad itself. Google then charges the advertiser on a pay-per-call basis (each time the phone number is tapped) rather than on a pay-per-click basis.

This gives Google a way to monetize phone calls via mobile. And it gives advertisers a way to generate phone calls.

The Test: Background

When you set up Click-to-Call in Google Adwords (Google calls them call extensions) you have to input a phone number you would like to use in the ad. Most businesses simply use their regular phone number. But you can use any phone number including phone numbers that from call tracking providers. The calls are still auto-routed to your business.

The Test

We began the test in June 2012. We used local phone numbers provided via our SaaS, LogMyCalls, as the call extension number within Google Adwords. Thus we were able to extract call analytics from each call.

Holiday Inn Express – Logan, Utah – June 2012

  • Results
    • Spend – $332
    • Calls Generated – Google charged us for 60 calls generated via click-to-call. This means that 60 people tapped the phone number in the ad. Google bills for all of these taps because it believes they are actual phone calls. (Note: Most mobile marketers are stuck with this information and this information only).
    • Calls Completed – Only 29 calls (48.3%) were actually completed and made it to the hotel. The rest were abandoned before the phone even rang. (Note: The only way we knew this is because we used a call tracking phone number to measure call analytics).
    • Qualified Leads – Only 9 calls (15%) were actually looking for a hotel room. The rest were merely wrong numbers, confused or had a question about booking a future room. They were not qualified, sales-ready leads. (Note: Again the only we knew this is because we used a call tracking phone number and call analytics).
    • Closed Deals – And 6 ended in a room reservation (10%).

Implications of the Test

    • If we had relied just on the information Google Adwords provided, our CPL, CPA and CPC would have been grossly inaccurate.
    • This has huge, huge implications for optimization, future spend, and of course assumptions about ad channels.
    • Mobile Marketing is Very, Very Effective – Even though only 10% of the phone calls resulted in room reservations, the marketing spend was still effective. Those 6 calls generated over $600 in revenue. The spend was only $324.

Bio: Jason Wells is the CEO of ContactPoint. Their new product, LogMyCalls, represents the next generation of intelligent call tracking and marketing automation. Prior, Jason served as the Senior Vice President of Sony Pictures, where he led the creation and international expansion of Sony’s international mobile business line from London.

Jason holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

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QR Codes – your destination should not be a dead end

According to the most recent statistics, 3 bazillion QR codes are scanned every minute. (Okay, maybe I’m off by a half bazillion but you get the idea) And truth be told… most of the destinations suck.

Come on ad agencies, big brands and web gurus — stop creating QR code campaigns that drive the user into a dead end.

What do I mean by a dead end?  A destination where I get stuck.  I watch your video, look at your desktop site (come on people!) or view your print ad (seriously?) but have no where to go from there.

How do you avoid creating a dead end? Remember that marketing is a series of “next steps” so give me one to take.  Try one of these on for size:

  • Invite me to sign up for your e-newsletter
  • Give me a chance to win something worthwhile
  • Ask my opinion (let me vote, rate or comment)
  • Give me the chance to share your destination with my social networks
  • Let me request a sample
  • Offer me a coupon to download or email to myself
  • Make it possible for me to call your store/office
  • Let me do some product research
  • Entice me to buy something

If you can get me to actually scan your QR code, I must have some interest in what you have to say.  Don’t create a stunted, one-way conversation.  Give me a chance to continue the dialogue.

If we don’t start getting a whole lot smarter about the QR code campaigns we create — we’re going to train people that scanning one leads to a frustrating, unsatisfying experience.  Which means that pretty soon, they’re just going to be more noise.

Stop creating dead ends.  Instead, create a real conversation.

 

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Are you falling behind when it comes to mobile?

I think it is fascinating in a “I don’t get it” sort of way.  We all know that mobile is where digital is headed.  We’ve all repeated the “by 2015, the #1 way we will access the internet is through our smart phones” and yet… it seems like most people are lollygagging along when it comes to getting onto the mobile train.

Is your website mobile optimized?  Are you learning more about mobile ads?  Are you thinking about how you’re going to accept mobile payments?

Or do you look like this infographic?

Browse more infographics.

 

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Mobile banking — trends for 2012

I recently gave a presentation to a packed house of bank and credit union professionals about mobile banking and where it’s heading.  And the “theme” of my message to them was — if this isn’t your top priority for 2012, it sure better be for 2013. (I’ll bet my pal CK Kerley would agree!)

The Federal Reserve just released some really telling research that not only shows how many of us are already using mobile banking – but how many people changed financial institutions so they could use mobile banking.  (download PDF of the research by clicking here)

Here were some of the key takeaways from the presentation (which you can click through below.  Email subscribers…click here.)

  • 20% of financial instutition customers are already using mobile banking
  • Another 13-20% say they will be by the end of 2012
  • 60% of new customers said that being able to use mobile banking influenced their decision to switch
  • 11% of users are using their phone’s camera to remote deposit checks

This isn’t optional for financial institutions that want to be in business in 2020.  It’s really that simple.

Here’s my presentation — I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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Do you SoLoMo?

I know — it sounds like a line dance but it’s actually a quickly emerging marketing trend that you need to have on your radar.

SoLoMo is the combination of social, location and mobile. It takes the form of mobile phone apps that combine social networking and location data.

The blend of these makes perfect sense. We know that social is working for local businesses. A business with 100+ fans are experiencing a much higher engagement and click-through rates.

20% of all searches has a local intent, and more and more of them are happening real time on a smart phone (I’m looking for a shoe repair place near me and I have the shoe in the car with me.)

In fact, 70% of all searches done on a smart phone result in action within one hour. (read that stat again if you think you don’t need a mobile optimized website)

So people are using their phone to find what they need/want NOW. That’s where SoLoMo fits in perfectly.

Probably the SoLoMo app that most people are familiar with is Foursquare. You have an app on your smart phone that uses its GPS capabilities to allow you to “check in” when you’re at a specific location. Many people who don’t foursquare will often say…why would I do that? What’s in it for me to check in?

Beyond the ramification aspects (badges, mayorships etc) that Foursquare built into the app, there are often advantages that come through the merchant. For example this morning, I have a meeting at Gateway Market. When I checked in, I was greeted with a coupon for Gateway that I could redeem at that moment.

That’s SoLoMo in action. Offering the user an immediate reward for being in a specific place.

Another example of SoLoMo would a smartphone app that determines your location, suggests businesses close by, and even provided ratings/reviews of that business. After going there, you could post your own ratings/reviews and photos on their system or places like Facebook or Yelp.

One of the coolest applications that I’ve seen adds a geofencing factor. Geofencing is the ability to draw a virtual perimeter around a specific area. There’s a real estate company called DDR Corp that owns a ton of U.S. shopping centers and they’re using this technology in 25+ open air malls.

Their program is called ValuText and here’s how it works:

A shopper enters the mall’s borders (geofencing) and if they’ve opted in, they’ll receive text messages from specific stores about sales and promotions happening at that very moment.

Think of the win/win here.

  • The retailers love it because they can communicate with people who are literally a few steps away from their store.
  • The shoppers love it because they’re being served up deals they can take advantage of instantly.
  • The mall must love it because I have to think occupancy isn’t a problem when they’re offering their merchants this kind of perk.

One of the nice features of this tool is that it doesn’t even require that the user have a smartphone. By using text messages, it simplifies the technology requirements dramatically.  What could you do with technology like ValuText?

We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with SoLoMo.  I can remember watching the movie Minority Report and marveling at the mall scene, where Tom Cruise is being “detected” by advertising and it’s changing based on his preferences.  At the time, it seemed like black magic.  Today, it’s just SoLoMo at work.  (Granted in an advanced state)

Check out this :30 clip from the movie to see it in action. Listen for when the ads actually call out his name.  Incredible.  (Email subscribers — click here to view)

Want to learn more about SoLoMo?  Check out the SoLoMo manifesto by clicking here.  This is where were headed folks, so don’t get caught off guard.

 

P.S.  Full disclosure:  I know the agency that created ValuText and was awed by it when they shared it with me.

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