Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New research shows that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results

E-commerce continues to grow quickly with people shopping across a variety of devices, but often times there is no comparison to talking with a live person. Phone calls are still an important channel for research and purchasing, with 70% of mobile searchers reporting they click to call directly from the search results to connect with a business. In fact, Google ads drive over 40 million calls each month. As a critical component of today’s digital path to purchase, it’s important for businesses to understand how, when, and why consumers use click to call features.

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Working with Ipsos Research, we surveyed 3,000 mobile searchers who had recently made purchases across different industries to understand the role that click to call - from paid or organic search results - played in the purchase process. We found that calls are not only an important channel for research and transaction, but also the presence of a phone number in search results can strongly influence the perception of a business’s brand.

Click to call is important to consumers across all verticals.

Across all seven of the verticals we researched (Travel, Restaurant, Auto, Local Services, Retail, Finance, Technology) click to call was an important feature for people looking to find information and make purchases.

  • 62% of consumers searching for auto parts and services would be very likely to use click to call, and 57% would use click to call to compare pricing.
  • 60% of those searching for car rental information on their phone would use click to call, and 44% would call to make a reservation.
  • Within local services, 76% would use call features to schedule an appointment for professional services.
  • 61% of people searching for financial services on their smartphones are likely to use click to call to make changes to their bank accounts. 

Consumers rely on calls for research and transacting.

We broke down the purchase process into its component phases - Inspiration, Research, Purchase, and Post Purchase Experience – to see when consumers are most likely to call a business. We found that calling is most important during the research and purchase phases, where 52% and 61% of mobile searchers respectively say it’s important to have the ability to call. This means that a large number of calls happen when someone is ready to buy or helps a consumer move closer in purchase consideration.

Calls originating from the search results page are valuable for businesses. 

88% of mobile searchers indicated that the length of the call is important to them, so we took a look at our our own internal data and found that almost 3 out 4 calls resulting from mobile search ads lasted longer than 30 seconds, and that calls from ads lasted on average six minutes. This suggests that the majority of calls generated by mobile search ads are not quick informational calls, but instead are more substantive research or transactional calls.

Adding click to call can also boost the effectiveness of your ad, whether it's because users feel more confident in your business or because of the larger ad size due to the call button. On average, AdWords advertisers that implement click to call see an increase of 8% in the click through rates of their ads.

The call button influences brand perception.

The ability to call a business directly from the search results not only helps to drive purchase, but is also an important factor in brand perception. Nearly half of mobile searchers, indicated that the lack of a call option would lead them to be both frustrated with the business and more likely to turn to another brand. Additionally, 33% said that they would be less likely to refer the brand to others and would be less likely to use the brand in the future.


It’s clear from our findings that driving phone calls should still be a priority for businesses in every industry. Businesses can easily help mobile searchers get in touch by attaching call extensions to their mobile search ads. While the presence of the call button in organic results depends on a number of factors, you can schedule your mobile search ads and call extensions to show only at relevant times or only in specific searches. Advertisers can also view call specific reporting metrics from their call extensions to identify areas to further optimize performance.

Additionally, businesses should measure and assign value to the calls driven by their advertising. With AdWords, businesses can now measure calls as conversions, allowing them to assign value to calls that their ads drive.

To explore more of the findings from our calls research visit the Think with Google site or click here to learn how to get started with call extensions now.

Posted by Adam Grunewald, Mobile Marketing Manager