As more consumers turn to the internet when making a purchase decision, business owners may come to believe that the phone is an obsolete marketing tool.
However, according to a recent Google study, the ability to contact a business via phone – and specifically through click to call capabilities on your company’s ad campaigns – is an important factor when a potential customer needs to purchase a product or pay for a service.
Click-to-call survey results
While many associate smartphone use with younger generations, the demographics of study participants illustrates that consumers of all ages use smartphones during their purchase decision making. Google’s study was conducted via an online survey of 3,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 74.
To qualify for the study, participants had to be smartphone users who both owned a smartphone and used mobile search functions a few times a week at a minimum. They also had to have made a purchase in at least one of these study verticals in the past six months:
- Local services
The study was conducted by independent market research company Ipsos. Respondents filled out a 20-minute online survey over the course of a week.
What counts as click to call?
For study purposes, two types of click to call search results were included. One was the call button included on mobile search ads – these are targeted ads that pop up at the top of a Google search. The other was the call button included on Google search results. Both ads allow the customer to place a call to a business without first visiting the business website.
Why do consumers use click to call features?
Study responses indicated that consumers regularly use click to call features. Seventy percent of respondents said they had used a call button in the past, and 39% reported that they frequently needed to call a business directly from search results.
Consumers’ reasons for using click to call varied. When asked why they chose to call a business as opposed to using a website or similar means to answer their questions, survey respondents gave the following answers:
- To get an answer or accomplish a goal quickly (59%)
- To speak with a real person (57%)
- Because they needed information that could not be answered by the website (44%)
- Because they wanted more accurate information than other sources could give (43%)
- Because calling was more convenient (42%)
- Because the cost of a purchase necessitated a conversation (12%)
Consumers who called a business from a search result did so to accomplish a variety of goals. Top reasons for initial calls included checking business hours (52%), scheduling an appointment or making a reservation (51%), and asking about inventory or availability (47%).
Does click to call lead to a purchase?
Conversion rates increase rapidly when customers are given the chance to contact your business by phone.
The study found that click to call functionality was important during all phases of decision-making. However, the ability to call a business in order to make a purchase was very important or extremely important to 61% of customers during the purchase phase.
Placing a call to a business is also connected directly to making a purchase. Study participants made phone calls during all phases of the purchasing process, but they called more frequently when they were ready to make a purchase.
Additionally, 52% of study respondents said that the ability to call was very important during the research phase. Many consumers turn to online search results when exploring their purchase options, and the research phase is a key time when your business has the potential to reach new customers. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that they frequently called businesses with the specific intent of making a purchase or completing a transaction.
How does click to call functionality shape perception of your business?
Of course, as a marketer, it is only logical to focus on what factors make a purchase more likely. As we have seen, having a call button on your website increases customer engagement. Conversely, the lack of a call button, even if you have contact information published on your website, can decrease your chances of making a sale.
The study found that 47% of respondents would be more likely to explore other brands if there was no option to call a business directly from its Google search results. In addition, the lack of calling ability also has a few other potentially negative effects for a business:
- 47% reported feeling frustrated or annoyed when there was no option to call
- 35% reported feeling disappointed in the brand or company
- 33% were less likely to use the company or brand in the future
- 33% were less likely to recommend the brand or company
- 27% were less trusting of the brand or company
Having call extensions enabled also positively impacted search ad performance. The study found that ad click-through rate increased by 8% when consumers had the ability to call a business directly from search results. This result is a logical one: when potential customers view your business as legitimate and trustworthy, they will be much more likely to engage.
The phone: Still a marketing power tool
As you can see, the ability to easily call a business is still important to many consumers. An impressive 40 million calls are driven by Google ads per month, and a customer who makes direct phone contact with your business is much more likely to make a purchase.
Smartphones let potential customers explore your business with the touch of a button, but they also can just as easily click over to a competitor if they have trouble making contact or if they do not perceive your site as reputable. By taking the easy yet important step of adding click to call buttons to your website and search results, you can boost customer engagement and watch your conversion rates soar.
The way your business responds to that key initial call can make all the difference. HelloSells can help you turn calls into sales – give us a call today and let us help you grow your business.
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