Pay Per Call: Survival Guide

Pay Per Call

So what is Pay Per Call? Pay Per Call refers to a model of advertising whereby the consumer is prompted to make a call based on a number provided in an advertisement. The advertiser does not pay until they receive a call hopefully from a prospect they are able to convert to a customer. Pay Per Call establishes an immediate and direct connection between you and your customer.

For many, even most businesses, the call is the preferred lead form. Beyond just a stagnant ‘contact us' form on a website, calls usually inspire more interaction from consumers who are looking for an immediate resolution to their problem and are more motivated to purchase. If you happen to be anywhere near a pedestrian-friendly space, you'll observe (with awe and fascination) that people can pretty much do anything while simultaneously looking at their phones. Not necessarily a healthy habit, but it does emphasize the point that mobile devices have changed the way that businesses can communicate with their customers. Call Graph

More and more, consumers are spending time on their phones making informed buying decisions. In addition to actively searching on their phones, consumers are also more likely to take the initiative and go one step further by making a call directly to that business to find out more information. According to The Local Search Association, "76% of calls generated from a search on a mobile internet Yellow Pages site resulted in a purchase, or intent to purchase." Despite the wealth of information online (saturated much?) picking up the phone and speaking with someone has been, and always will be, an essential part of the consumer decision-making process. In fact, over 66% of small business owners still consider phone calls to be a vital part of incoming leads with Pay per Call leading the conversion pack (10-15%) versus web based clicks which typically convert at 2-3%. Here, we take a look at all that goes into pay per call lead generation including: pros and cons of pay per call networks, billable call disputes, managing IVR's and the percentage of calls that result in spam.

Pros of Pay-Per Call Networks

  • Perhaps the biggest advantage of establishing a Pay Per Call (PPC) marketing campaign is that it gives you a targeted, direct connection with a customer who has already "opted in" to hearing more information.
  • PPC capitalizes on the consumer's sense of urgency in solving their problem.
  • Conversion rates are higher with leads from inbound calls, versus outbound.
  • Processes are streamlined as businesses can eliminate the traditional task of having to purchase leads for sales people to follow up on as they silently hope that the consumer will be interested.
  • As a form of digital advertising, PPC marketing is very cost effective as advertisers only pay when someone calls in and goes over the minimum call duration.
  • PPC is also measurable as advertising can track metrics and analyze findings to see what worked and what didn't.

 Cons of Pay- Per Call Networks

  • Without a proper plan, such as limiting the number of inbound calls, call centers can be inundated, which ties up the lines for callers who may not be able to get through right away.
  • Each script that is used by your in-bound call representative should be tailored differently to that of an outbound call.
  • Misuse of time can also be detrimental to the overall bottom line. Irrelevant callers can be tricky to deal with as there is a fine line between alienating them and getting them off the phone quickly so you are only paying for qualified leads.

Managing IVRs

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) refers to an automated system that can gather information and route calls appropriately based on any combination of voice or keypad input from your inbound PPC callers. IVRs can be especially useful for inbound calls from consumers who are looking to verify basic information. Using pre-recorded voice prompts, inbound calls can either be handled via the IVR application, or routed to someone who can assess the data already provided in order to complete the call with the customer.

Billable call Disputes

As with all forms of advertising or marketing, Pay per Call is not without its problems. Without a set criteria to measure exactly what constitutes a billable call or lead, advertisers can get themselves into some hot water if they are not careful. The calls are recorded and caller ID information is collected and tracked with unique trackable phone number. Advertiser should only pay for valid calls that meet certain criteria. There are several different agreements an advertiser can decide upon that would allow for a vendor to charge you for the lead that is generated. New-customer-only calls, rates per call (typically based on minimum call duration like 60 seconds), pre-qualified leads, flat rate, and revshare calls. The most common agreement types are:

Flat Rate

This is a negotiated rate between the vendor and advertiser for each lead acquired. This is usually the cheaper option, but you receive a mix of qualified and unqualified leads. It is advised during the negotiation process to place call filters (i.e. call duration expectations). This would ensure that you only pay for calls that meet your criteria.


Revshare is the most beneficial to the advertisers since you only pay when a sale is made. Advertisers can sometime negotiate what percentage of the sale the vendor keeps or a flat rate for each sale or transaction.

In some cases you will be able to encourage a combination of payout types. You could pay a vendor the negotiated flat rate for calls, plus bonus for longer call durations. The decisions advertisers make regarding the Pay per Call negotiation process is crucial to the success of the campaign. Advertisers should do their due diligence to understand the different methods of Pay per Call agreements to find what's best for their business needs.


In a world with so much information competing for our attention, is it any wonder that spam has found itself a part of our everyday conversations? Much like that one gray hair that won't go away, spam seems to always find itself in the thick of things, infiltrating many of the everyday activities that we engage in.

While a Pay per Call campaign can certainly bring around high conversions and high quality leads, as with all marketing campaigns, proper budgeting, planning and execution is always important. PPC campaigns are best used in conjunction with other campaigns making the most of your marketing agenda. Pay per Call is a smart and effective way for advertisers to drive targeted in-bound calls and increase the number of qualified leads coming to your business.  

DAS Group has the technology and relationships to craft the optimal Pay per Call lead generation program for your business.