New research from Google today reveals that 94% of UK smartphone users have, at some point, needed to call a business directly when searching for information on a smartphone. Of the 1,500 respondents surveyed, just under one third (32%) regularly need to call a business when searching for services or products on their smartphone.
The research, which was commissioned to understand the use of the click-to-call option in mobile search, found that almost half of those surveyed (42%) had used this function, with the need to talk to a real person stated as the main motivation. Wanting answers more quickly and needing more information than a website could provide were the other main reasons provided for using click-to-call. The average click-to-call conversation is six minutes, suggesting the option can lead to high level of engagement for companies.
Click-to-call is seen as most important for mobile searchers in the purchase phase. 48% find it extremely important to be able to call the business when they are about to make a purchase and 36% need it when researching an item or service.
The findings also suggest that businesses that do not offer the option risk damaging their brand image and could lose customers. 36% of mobile searchers indicated they would be more likely to explore other brands if click-to-call was not offered. 32% would feel frustrated or annoyed and 30% would be disappointed in the brand.
The business value is further highlighted through previous Google Adwords research, which found that the service increases average ad click-through rate by 8%.
Ian Carrington, Director of Performance Solutions & Innovation at Google, comments: “Globally, we know that 40 million calls are driven by Google Ads each month so it’s fair to say that click-to-call is a clear sales driver. Moreover, for businesses that haven’t yet built a responsive or mobile site, click-to-call is a great way to ensure consumers can still reach your business easily, showing that mobile advertising doesn’t just have to be for the mobile-ready.”
The research also compared behaviours across different verticals. It found that consumers use click-to-call across different sectors but are most likely to need the capability for local services (63%), automotive (42%) and tech (38%) businesses. Travel (36%) and hospitality (27%) followed.
Case Study: sk:n
sk:n, the UK’s leading provider of non-surgical skin treatments, used click-to-call as part of an AdWords enhanced campaign, resulting in a 42% increase in calls. The business changed their mobile search result messaging to encourage consumers to make calls rather than visit the website. Results showed that click-to-call conversion rate was 26 times higher than that of the standard mobile campaign while the enquiry-to-consultation conversion rate for the click-to-call mobile campaign was 2.2 times higher compared to all search channels.
Sri Sharma, Managing Director of Net Media Planet, sk:n’s marketing agency, commented: “sk:n offers a range of services which address personal, sensitive topics. Mobile enables clients to research sensitive subjects at times and in places that are convenient to them on their terms. The majority of sk:n’s clients are busy working people who are on the go, and importantly, would prefer to speak to a consultant rather than fill in website forms. Mobile offers a way for clients to connect with sk:n at a time and place that is convenient to them.”
Myles Tippett, Digital Manager at sk:n adds: “A sound understanding of our business challenge combined with the latest mobile innovations has enabled us to better meet the needs of our clients and achieve outstanding results. As a result, mobile is now considered an essential lead channel for the business.”