Calls as Conversions
For years, I’ve been envisioning a future in which law firms could simply name a price for making the phone ring. A personal injury lawyer could say that they were willing to pay $110 for a phone call from a prospective client. If they were already really busy, maybe they would only pay $50. Such a system would bridge the gap for professional services firms between website traffic and contact with prospective clients. Most law firm websites don’t current track conversions in meaningful ways (unlike an eCommerce website where you can directly track sales). It would also allow many firms to move away from using website forms as the best bet for tracking conversions. Forms have always presented problems for privacy issues and conflict matters.
On November 12th, Google announced that calls from mobile devices could now be tracked as conversions. This is a mobile equivalent of the call metrics system which creates a temporary 1-800 number associated with your ad. For example, someone who was experiencing a custody dispute with their partner could run a Google search for “Child Custody Lawyer in Toronto” on their iPhone while waiting for the Subway. They could “click to call” directly from the top ad and be speaking with a lawyer seconds later. Marketing perfected.
By using the Conversion Optimizer bidding system in AdWords, a firm could name the price it was willing to pay for these calls. This relatively automated model uses cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding rather than paying for clicks on an ad or simply the number of impressions (for banner ads).
The reason I’ve delayed this post is because Skunkworks happens to be located in the AdWords backwater of Canada…
Still No Google Call Forwarding in Canada
Google’s call forwarding service is not currently available in Canada. The services uses a call forwarding to redirect phone traffic and collect data about that traffic along the way (as a corollary, we also don’t get to use Google Voice). While they did offer call metrics back in 2011, they shut down the beta test for quality control problems. We haven’t seen it since. I’ve heard rumours from various contacts at Google that blame Canadian telecom providers, but I always suspect that these delays tend to be attributable to the relatively small size of the Canadian market. Without the forwarding set-up, there is no call metrics and no calls as conversions. Law firms located in the US, UK, France, and Germany will certainly find these new capabilities appealing. In Canada, we’ll just have to put it on our Christmas list.