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The Elephant in the Pocket – Pay Per Call

You’ve probably read dozens of articles in the past year forecasting the growth of mobile. There is a lot of hype and buzz around mobile, with good reason – this year, mobile search is predicted to surpass desktop search for the first time ever. The question is are you capitalizing on the growth of mobile? Do you even know how?

The answer lies in phone calls. While many think of phone calls as an outdated way of doing business, the most natural action for a consumer to take while on a mobile device is to place a call, not fill out some lead form or dig around a website. Businesses want phone calls, and for high ticket, consultative sales, consumers want to speak with someone. Yet publishers have avoided pushing consumers offline because of the issue of tracking. Well, that’s not a problem anymore, and it hasn’t been for a while. Savvy publishers and agencies are seeing huge incremental growth streams by adding phone numbers and mobile promotions to their mix, getting paid on a pay-per-call model. With the help of RingRevenue’s patented call performance marketing platform, it’s possible to track calls like clicks and also take things a step further, with campaign optimization and tools specifically built to optimize mobile campaigns. RingRevenue’s Julia Stead chatted with pay-per-call veteran and co-founder of 31 Media Don Batsford Jr, to discuss how he got started with pay-per-call, and why it’s an integral part of his company’s strategy.

Tell us a bit about 31 Media.

31 Media is an online performance marketing agency – in other words, we’re media buyers. With a focus on maximizing ROI, we find the right media placements for our advertisers, and help them get new customers. We’ve been around for over 7 years, and were one of the first companies to implement pay-per-call programs with performance marketing networks, back in 2009.

What got you interested in pay-per-call?

About 10 years ago, while working at Commission Junction, one of the conversations we had a lot was about affiliates being compensated for phone calls. There wasn’t any kind of effective system in place to determine where sales from phone calls were coming from. So this was an issue that had been on my mind for a while. As mobile became mainstream, I’ve been consistently reminding people that the computer in your pocket is actually a telephone. Speaking is by far the most effective form of communication between two people. Subtleties in tone of voice and nuances of intent can mean that one sentence can have 7 different meanings. (Think about “I never said she stole my money” “I never said she stole my money”, “I never said she stole my money” etc). When we heard that Linkshare was using RingRevenue’s technology to track phone calls and offer pay-per-call campaigns back in 2009, we saw the opportunity and jumped on it.

Which verticals and promotional types have you been most successful with?

Phone calls work really well for companies that have big margins. It needs to not be a visually based product – you don’t want to rely on having that visual part to the shopping experience. Services and commodities work well, with lead-based concepts like insurance. Companies that have traditionally had call centers, and have professionals that can vet what a person is looking for quickly are a good fit.

Anything on mobile is going to be effective, because there’s a telephone built directly in there. Placing numbers online on web pages also works well, when people are looking for more information or are pursuing a consultative sale.

We’re also looking to try TV and radio. We haven’t gone into those areas much yet, but we know there is a big opportunity and plan to explore it more.

What is the revenue opportunity in pay-per-call and how do you measure success?
In lead generation in general, people fail to take into account that generating leads is really expensive. Phone calls especially, because you have a human on the other end. So we always avoid commissions that are low – if someone is offering a $2 or $3 payout, it’s a non-starter for cost-per-call (aside from some outlier exceptions). We have traditionally stayed away from niche and low payouts.

The equation for success is pretty simple: your profit is going to be the payout times conversion rate. If you increase payout or the conversion rate, it will exponentially affect the success rate of the program. So we always ask people to go as aggressive as possible on both them. This involves lots of testing and refining the process – testing the IVR (interactive voice response, that filters and routes how calls are handled), changing the payout, different factors. Taking an aggressive approach to finding the best possible way means you can really increase the net revenue.

Without a doubt, pay-per-call is going to deliver a higher conversion rate [than online], it is also more expensive to drive the traffic. Human beings talking to other humans, when that happens, people are serious about it. They are ready to buy. The phone has a lot of advantages. It’s not old-fashioned when it comes down to what you can accomplish through communication.

A lot of people will highlight the ability to increase overall conversions by up to 10%, by simply adding a phone number to a landing page. And once those calls happen, they convert at least 2 or 3 times higher than web traffic. Some people complain that 10% of their traffic is going away, going offline, but that 10% is not created equal. Every person you engage in a conversation is highly likely to convert. Having a phone number on there is almost like catching sales – it’s not like catching traffic and directing it around. It’s equivalent to being able to skim off just the cream from a sales perspective.

If you knew that 30% of your best, premium traffic was being thrown away, you’d be upset. If you know that calls convert at 30%, why would you let them just drift off and leave your website unengaged? Even though they are not the majority of your traffic, they are the important traffic.

Convinced yet that you should be doing pay-per-call? If you’re a publisher, the best way to get started is to check with the performance networks you partner with to see what pay-per-call platforms they offer. If you’re interested in learning more about pay-per-call technology and setting up your own platform, visit RingRevenue.

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Julia Stead

Julia Stead has years of experience in the performance marketing industry and leads the marketing management and strategy for RingRevenue. As the industry-leading provider of call marketing automation solutions, RingRevenue's patented cloud-based platform makes it easy to seamlessly integrate with the solutions you already use. By delivering complete campaign management, clear attribution and practical analytics in one end-to-end solution, RingRevenue helps businesses grow revenue across online, offline and mobile marketing channels.

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  1. You are right there, I never thought about it that much but am going to checkout the most appropriate pay-per-call platform for me later today.

    1. Hey Viren,
      Pay per call is certainly the hot topic right now in the online marketing world. Have you perfected your optimization plan yet? Would love to hear your thoughts on which campaign fits your mold 🙂

  2. Great topic! PayPerCall is super hot right now in the industry.

    We’ve had several of our biggest publishers switch over to Pay Per Call campaigns and see some of the best performance they’ve experienced in quite a while.

    Our network has the industry’s leading Payday Debt Restructure PayPerCall offer, Tax Debt PayPerCall, Credit Card Debt PayPerCall, and other exclusive PayPerCall offers. We can also offer top-tier payouts and weekly pay from day one.

    Several more exclusive PayPerCalls will be rolled out as the year goes on, and anyone looking to test is highly encouraged to do so. Like Julia writes, and we see hands-on on a daily basis, PayPerCall’s = higher conversion rates (more in the 20-50% range). Gotta love that!

  3. Agreed that Pay-Per-Call is a huge opportunity. We’ve been it grow for the last 2 years.. if you want to find out more go to or

  4. Great article. Mobile Pay Per Call marketing is growing. One of the great things about Mobile Pay Per Call is many people are actively searching and by providing a phone number you are able to connect the consumer directly to a business who is able to fit the customers need. Conversion rates are higher because that consumer is actively searching and they are more willing to call right then and there. And 31 media is right with all the new technology that is coming out mobile phones is like having a mini computer in your pocket. With all the new phones coming out, higher conversion rates, mobile should continue to grow.

    If you would like to learn more about how Pay Per Call works you can visit or get some training tips, check out our youtube page.

  5. What about the actual tracking between 1000’s of affiliates to credit the sale correctly?

    1. @Sandy, I’ve been doing pay per call for about 2 years through Commission Junction. Each affiliate is given a different Toll Free number to use in their advertising. Although there are a lot of happy posters here on this forum pumping this “new” technology, it’s not a pot of gold that they say it is. I have to upload nearly 2,000 videos to earn about $1 a day. I also have 1,000 yahoo answers posted and at least 2,500 slideshare postings. Not all products seem to sell well in this way, some campaigns I done have never made even $1. Hopefully when everyone in the US has a smart phone things will improve.

  6. Glad to be directed by Cj’s newsletter and found this article. I am new to Pay per call and this article helped me clear some doubts and concerns. I think I should give it a try and learn more from there. thanks.

  7. Great article!

    It is very exciting to watch how fast pay per call is growing and evolving. Despite how much business is conducted online these days, many companies still make most of their sales over the phone. 31 media is dead on when they say that calls convert better than web leads. If you take a step back and think about, the goal of many we lead generation efforts is to eventually get the lead on the phone. Why wait? Why not put a phone number on your existing pages and let the consumers engage you, not the other way around. The first step is to make sure your existing efforts are

  8. Ring Reveune is a first-class organization, and has validated the value of PPCall, as well as providing fair and honest call tracking, reporting & accounting. The model is perfect for mobile marketers, and even some of the affiliate networks get it. Some do not. We’ve been a Pay Per Call agency for 10 years, and have seen the model evolve from a lost child to a powerhouse of potential, especially with the obvious benefits of mobile. Most other lead generation models are difficult, expensive and not very cost effective, but for businesses that prize human interaction, Pay Per Call is the way to go!

    Earl Brown
    earl [at]

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