The importance of click-to-call in bridging the online-offline attribution gap

(c)iStock.com/Martin Dmitrov

Easy access to instant information on mobile devices is driving UK consumers to demand immediacy and convenience.

Smartphones have overtaken desktops and laptops as the most popular device for researching products and services, providing a huge opportunity to influence consumers at the beginning of their path to purchase.

However, although consumers today typically begin their shopping journey online, once they are further along in their process, many veer off of the digital path.

Of the £422bn total spent on retail in the UK during 2015, only 27% of the transactions were made online. While eCommerce is on the rise, with this number forecasted to grow 11% in 2016, it proves that offline purchases – in-store or over the phone – are still critical.

So, what does this mean?

On the one hand, it looks like consumers are investing more time and consideration into their decisions ahead of making a purchase. But on the other hand, when push comes to shove, especially in industries like auto, telcos, insurance, travel, home services and professional services, consumers still prefer to make the purchase offline.

However, this presents an attribution challenge, something UK marketers recognise, as nearly half of digital marketing managers consider bridging the gap between online and offline to be a top priority.

Click-to-call

One of the most popular ways consumers in the UK are jumping from online to offline in their path-to-purchase is by making a phone call.

In fact, click-to-call functionality is a critical part of the purchasing journey for consumers with 70% of mobile searchers using mobile devices to research and select products and services, and using click-to-call to make the actual appointment, reservation or purchase. 

And it’s easy to understand why. A phone call is typically quick and easy, delivering answers to questions consumers have in real time.

While some people just want to know something simple like the operating hours of a business, most call during the actual purchase phase of the shopping process, when they need more specific details or information, and tend to call more frequently when they’re ready to make that purchase decision.  

Beyond the call

Let’s look at the insurance industry, for example. Anyone with a new car or home knows that the process takes the traditional online, offline purchase track. Many consumers research insurance quotes online and compare them to other options.

But when they make a decision around which provider to go with, they make the purchase offline, mostly over the phone, as some still have many questions about what the package covers and offers before giving the final OK.

As conversations with a business representative offline often validates a consumer’s intent to purchase, the majority of these phone calls result in rich product and service conversations, and many times actual sales or appointments.

Measuring the mobile path to purchase

Marketers across the UK use click-to-call campaigns to reach their growing mobile consumer base. But, because this strategy takes the consumer from online to offline, it becomes extremely difficult to measure the results of these campaigns and therefore the ROI.

This leaves marketers lacking true visibility into anything beyond the click to determine if the call was positive or resulted in a sale.

To better track which campaigns are driving valuable leads, organisations need to measure the phone calls that actually happen.

By doing this they can garner actionable insights about the phone leads, including tying unique leads back to specific marketing campaigns that worked well or not.

When marketers have access to this level of insight into their customers’ behaviours, they can turn the information into actions that can then drive the campaigns to the appropriate audience at a lower cost, benefitting both the consumer’s experience and the organisation’s sales.

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