For ages there has been an inherent disconnect between the promotional method an incentive affiliate uses, and the end goal of every pay-per-lead program — or that of generating “potential sales contacts“. After all, when the chief end-user motivator is cashback, points, virtual currency, or anything of this kind, it is very hard to reap quality leads (read: contacts that are truly interested in your product/service).
Now it looks like we finally have a good solution to the problem. Don’t know if you’ve seen RingRevenue‘s latest press release,
which was easy to miss as it came out concurrently with the last day of Affiliate Summit West 2012, but take a look at this before you read the rest: Tapjoy and RingRevenue Partner to Deliver Innovative Call-Based Advertising Program.
Of course, it’s a huge advance for mobile, but it seemed to me there was potential beyond mobile in this. So, I reached out to RingRevenue, and asked Drew Thorne-Thomsen (DT), the company’s VP of Customer Development, three questions:
1. Your new partnership with Tapjoy seems like a tremendous advance for mobile. The path from using a mobile app to placing a call is clearly significantly shorter/easier than that between using a website and placing that call. Are there any other specifics that you’d like to emphasize in connection with this new development of yours?
DT: It’s true, the path from mobile app to placing a call is shorter than that path on the web. One of the things that makes mobile and call-based advertising so perfect together is that the mobile phone at its most core function is a phone. But the really exciting thing here is for advertisers who value phone calls, because it changes the game for them. If you look at industries such as insurance, financial services, and education, the “form-based lead generation” industry was basically created to help them get more prospective customers on the phone. The consumer fills out a form and someone calls them back. But this process has never served the advertiser or the consumer well. Advertisers deal with declining re-contact rates and the consumer deals with having their personal contact data sold off to who knows where (being contacted when they are busy). When all either party wanted to do was talk on the phone. When you add in mobile phones and only 3 inches of screen real-estate… consumers don’t want to fill out forms on their phones. With call-based advertising, we cut all of that out and make the experience seamless for all parties involved. We shorten the time it takes for a consumer to be connected and provide highly-qualified leads direct to the advertiser’s call center. And by using unique phone numbers that tie each caller to the action they are taking, we make it really easy for the loyalty member to get their rewards. Once their qualifying action is taken via the phone, for example an insurance quote, we immediately notify the loyalty program — like Tapjoy’s — so they can issue the rewards.
2. For those not familiar with how exactly pay-per-call programs powered by RingRevenue work, could you specifically elaborate on the different levels of filtering available to merchants (to refine the qualification process)? Naturally, filtering makes a world of difference.
DT: Filtering is certainly the key to making phone calls work with affinity and loyalty programs. The goal is to ensure when a caller hits the advertiser’s call center, they are equally motivated to buy or sign up as someone who comes in via search for example. Starting with the advertiser’s ability to define the profile attributes of their target audience to setting qualifying criteria in a specific campaign, the advertiser is in control of defining their ideal caller. We create transparency between the advertiser and the loyalty publisher to make sure they are aligned with what makes a quality call.
With our platform we provide quality filtering via our technology that includes criteria that automatically filters out callers based on targeting, but also through our highly customizable interactive voice response (IVR) system we can apply virtually any level of filtering a client can imagine. In the case of Allstate for example, they only want to talk to a consumer who is serious about an auto insurance quote, and meets some very basic criteria such as owning a car, possessing a drivers license and living in a state where the offer is valid.
3. Similarly to Tapjoy in mobile, many online affiliates employ similar principles of rewarding the end consumer for the action the affiliate desires to see. However, be it with social games or various incentive affiliates, I’ve always had a problem with making them work for pay-per-lead programs. It seems that this solution is also a big step towards helping an affiliate manager make incentive affiliates work for PPL programs. Have you thought of it in this light too?
DT: You are exactly correct. This problem with PPL programs and affinity programs has been quality. Couponing and loyalty represents a large percentage of traffic across the performance marketing networks. The opportunity for advertisers to get broad distribution is huge. But there is always the question of quality. This is why calls work so well with affinity and loyalty programs. The quality filtering we are able to apply ensures that when the caller gets to the call center agent, they are sufficiently motivated and likely to complete the action. In the case of the Allstate campaign, once the caller makes it through the qualification process, they are staying on the line with agents for an average of 15 minutes or more. So if you look at call duration as a function of call quality, the calls being connected are very, very good and are resulting in quotes for auto insurance.
For other types of advertisers, take a floral delivery company for example, they already know that phone calls are their top converting channel. Now we can help them get additional reach and distribution through their affinity marketing partners without sacrificing quality. For the loyalty publishers, the benefits are pretty significant as well in terms of revenue they are missing out on right now. All of the performance marketing networks using our platform have high-value offers that loyalty publishers can easily start promoting and earning revenue from today. Plus, our account team is happy to help them get set up and make sure their promotions are optimized for this type of campaign.
So there you have it… Looking forward to trying it first-hand.