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What Is Pay-Per-Call and Should I Be Doing It?

We’ve been using traditional media to drive phone calls for a long time. We can all probably recite a phone number from a radio or TV jingle without skipping a beat. But phone calls have made their way into our digital world. Pay-per-call is expanding our multi-channel landscape, and we’re seeing how digital ads along with offline media can drive huge inbound call volume. In fact, BIA/Kelsey estimates that by 2018, mobile search alone will generate over 70 billion phone calls.

But first things first—before the calls can pour in, we need to figure out how this pay-per-call thing works …

What is Pay-Per-Call?

Pay-per-call is a type of performance marketing where an advertiser pays a publisher for calls generated on their behalf. Instead of paying for web leads or digital traffic, advertisers pay for calls that meet their set of qualifying criteria. Here’s the basic flow:

Invoca pay-per-call

How it Works

Pay-per-call campaigns can work in conjunction with any advertising channel and can easily integrate with an existing affiliate/performance marketing program. Invoca provides the technology behind pay-per-call platforms which not only tracks calls, but provides the framework for advertisers and publishers to work together.

With Invoca, advertisers know which publishers are driving calls, and they can manage publisher applications, commissions, and other interactions.

Publishers are guaranteed credit for the qualified calls they refer and can get granular data about which campaigns, ads, even paid search keywords, are driving calls.

Phone calls are tracked in two ways:

  1. Unique tracking phone numbers – each publisher or campaign is assigned a specific phone number or phone numbers that are tied to that publisher alone.
  2. Dynamic tracking phone numbers – a small piece of code is placed on a landing page or website that automatically populates a unique tracking number, which captures online touchpoints leading to the call—publisher, campaign, keyword, etc.

Benefits of Pay-Per-Call

For advertisers: Pay-per-call comes with several benefits advertisers just don’t get with traditional digital traffic including:

  • 100% contact rates
  • Exclusive leads
  • 30-50% conversion rates
  • Higher average order values
  • Better mobile engagement and performance (who wants to fill out a form on a smartphone?!)

Pay-per-call is all about measurability. Advertisers can see referral source, campaign, landing page, and keywords that led to each individual call. They can also access in-depth demographic data which provides insights more powerful targeting and other optimizations. Advertisers also have complete control over the quality of calls they receive by setting payout conditions based on factors like call duration, caller location, and day and time of call.

For publishers: Publishers can drive call traffic the same way they drive online traffic. The biggest difference is that pay-per-call gives them the opportunity to monetize both online and offline traffic using their existing business model. Publishers can immediately begin driving calls and clicks from paid search, display, and any other marketing channel. Often publishers quickly begin seeing drastic improvements on mobile campaign performance, since consumers on smartphones often prefer making a phone call to filling out a lead from.

They’ll benefit from more conversions, higher payouts and high quality call traffic, in most cases, much better than web leads!

Common Pay-Per-Call Offers

Pay-per-call typically works best for any high-consideration product or service that requires a phone call to complete a purchase – think industries like insurance, financial services, home services, EDU, travel, and legal services. Retail usually isn’t the best fit for pay-per-call campaigns, unless the price tag is over $400.


Pay-per-call can be used with both online and offline marketing tactics. At Invoca, we see advertisers and publishers get great results through paid search, specifically mobile search, display ads, SEO, email, direct mail, and radio.

How to Get Started

If you wanted to learn more about pay-per-call, read this eBook, which highlights pay-per-call success stories from leading agencies, advertisers and networks. You can also contact Invoca for a demo to see exactly how pay-per-cal can fit into your performance marketing mix.

Our pay-per-call platform is integrated with all the major performance marketing networks including CJ Affiliate and Rakuten Marketing, and the leading affiliate tracking technologies like CAKE and HasOffers. No matter who you’re working with, or what technology you use, you can easily get started with pay-per-call.

Amber Tiffany
Amber Tiffany
Amber brings her experience in B2C and B2B digital marketing and her passion for content to her role as Content Marketing Manager at Invoca. Invoca is the leading inbound call marketing solution that empowers advertisers, agencies and performance networks to track, measure and optimize inbound calls. Learn more about Invoca

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