The Value of IYP Clicks vs. Calls

In late January our office was visited by a couple representatives from a major Yellow Pages publisher.  They make these trips periodically to keep us up-to-date on new products and allow for face-to-face meetings to discuss client programs.  During their general presentation, they encouraged everyone to include call tracking lines on their Internet Yellow Pages placements, as it really helps us measure the full value of the product.  The publisher rep even said that often you’ll see Internet Yellow Pages programs draw more calls than clicks, because people use the IYPs much like a phone book—they look up the number they want and call it without even needing to click for more information.

Upon hearing this, I became curious as to how this dynamic was playing out among our testing.  When we project results for typical U.S.-based IYP programs, we estimate that 10 clicks equal one call—meaning, that for every 10 clicks to an IYP listing, you can expect one qualified lead.  In many cases this would be a call at the time of reference, but it can also be someone who contacts the business another way—perhaps in person or via a non-tracked phone number they retrieved later from another source.

In looking at some programs we’re currently testing, I was pleased to discover that the 10 clicks-to-one call ratio is actually quite conservative.  I focused on four programs we have running where all listings have an associated test line (meaning the click/call potential should be proportionate), and in each the number of clicks it takes to produce a phone call is often considerably less than 10.

For example, we have a large IYP program running on YP.com for a major hotel client.  On average in 2012, the program drew nearly 150,000 clicks and over 30,000 calls per month, meaning that the program drew one call for every five clicks.  Another national client, this one in the Auto Repair category, has a program running on DexKnows.com, a major IYP site whose strongest usage is in the Rocky Mountain states and Pacific Northwest.  Their current corporate-level program has only been active for the past seven months, but during that time, they’ve averaged seven calls for every 10 clicks!  I also looked at franchise-level programs for a client in the Home Health Services category, across a variety of IYP sites (the two sites above, plus Superpages.com and Yellowbook.com), to see if the results differ when looking at smaller programs for a comparatively less referenced category.  Across their programs, they average approximately one call for every four clicks.  The placement with the lowest ratio of clicks to calls was just under our normal 10% figure, and the best ratio is one call for every two clicks!

I also looked into one Canadian client, as the IYP landscape and consumer usage differs slightly north of the border.   We usually use a ratio of one call for every five clicks for Canadian programs on Yellowpages.ca, and our franchise-level program for a garage door client bettered that, averaging nearly seven calls for every 10 clicks.  In fact, numerous placements did just what the publisher rep had suggested—there were more calls than clicks, sometimes even double!

This data serves as a strong reminder of how important it is to track the phone lines associated with IYP placements to understand the full value of the medium, because looking at clicks alone only provides part of the story.  It’s also nice to confirm yet again that the figures we use to project results on our IYP programs are realistic, even conservative, so our clients can be confident that their placements are delivering what we would expect, if not more.

Amy Rybczynski, Marketing Research Analyst

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