Click to Call

Click-to-call

Click-to-call (CTC) refers to the process of converting web-based traffic into direct telephony communication between an end user and some other entity. CTC originates out of the older PC2PC telephony whereby a client is downloaded onto your own PC to "talk" to the same client downloaded into the other party's PC for the conversation (with vendors such as Net2Phone).

Overview

This segment is slowly mature out of its PC download client based architecture due to objections and refusal to download from users for fear of virus and other malware, CTC is now client-less web to phone service, with the call taking place outside of the caller's PC for reliability and quality of service. Besides the two camps of architecture operating modes of client download to use your PC to talk and to use "in the cloud" service to talk, there are two general styles of CTC. The first style is the callback, where a user enters their phone number and an intermediary service connects the end user to forward their call to the merchant or other respective third party.

In this implementation, these services tend to be more of an automatic dialing service than an actual "click-to-call". This is normally known as "Auto Dialer" mode whereby the service is only helping the user from the dialing of the other phone number. The other style is callback whereby once the name and phone number of the user are obtained, the intermediary service is calling the merchant first, and then connect the merchant to the end user. InsideSales.com is an example vendor of this style. In this mode, there are many benefits presented to the end users depending on the vendor. Some would provide you with guarantee connect using their find-me-follow-me algorithm in the back end to make sure at least one agent from the merchant side is found to talk to the end user. Some would provide a courtesy call back even if nobody can be found. But all will save the end user from waiting on the phone to find out that there is nobody on the other line since the CTC was triggered at two o'clock in the morning for the merchant.

Mobile phones

When a user is browsing using a mobile phone, CTC features tend to be more literal. Phone numbers are highlighted in the same manner a hyperlink would be. Clicking the phone number begins the calling process. Similar to the Auto Dialer mode, this would be the same as the end user pressing each digit to call the other number, except that this is a short cut of pressing just the highlighted number once.

One significant benefit of click-to-call providers is that it allows companies to monitor when online visitors change from the website to a phone sales channel.

Google maps and rumors

In August 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported a joint effort by eBay and Google which would offer CTC, but Google issued a statement by October 7, 2006, which said Google had reconsidered. The project was shelved.[citation needed]

In November 2006, Google experimented with a callback process in its Google Maps product but eventually removed the feature [1]. As of January 2008, Google is testing click-to-call for businesses listed in search result pages [2]. Some people have indicated that such failure is due to the fact that Google is using the CTC in the Auto Dialer mode, providing very little benefits to the end users. Other vendors who provide CallBack mode fare differently such as Ingenio was acquired by AT&T Yellow Pages and eStara was acquired by ATG.

PI Microsoft's maps.live.com was rumored to have a similar feature. 3 But it appears to have since disabled it. Some users believed that this was a better feature. 4

Profitability

Regardless of what mode your CTC might be, the key answer for all advertising will be not how many clicks nor how many calls you might have. But rather how many of these end user action will become sales. This critical measurement of conversion is elusive and highly expensive to correlate. Until such direct correlation can be obtained, CTC might be just another hype to distract people from the domination of Google in the pay per click market.

Sources

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