The Complete Guide to Pay-Per-Call



Marketers have always been challenged to find the best way to spend their advertising dollars. In 2021, after a global
pandemic and staggering budget cuts, marketers are under more pressure than ever to find the channels that drive the highest and most consistent return on investment (ROI) for their advertising budget.

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Pay-per-call is the fast-growing segment of performance marketingLead generation is now the top priority for marketing teams, according to a survey of thousands of marketers across the globe. Pairing this priority with the need to demonstrate ROI, it makes sense that 64% of marketers plan to increase their spend in performance marketing in 2021 in order to generate quality leads. Performance marketing is a lead generation strategy where advertisers only pay when a conversion event occurs. Performance marketing has been on the rise for years, replacing traditional advertising methods and growing to represent $6.8 billion of ad spend each year. Why? Performance marketing enables marketers to precisely target their ideal consumers, track their ad spend and only pay when a measurable action occurs. The bottom line: performance marketing drives a higher return on investment (ROI). Pay-per-call, a performance marketing method where advertisers pay a fixed price for qualified call-based leads, is a lucrative strategy for service-based businesses that need high-quality leads. In this guide, we will help you decide if pay-per-call is right for your business. We will introduce you to some basic principles, highlight key benefits, illustrate successful industries, and compare pay-per-call to other forms of performance marketing.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to Pay-per-call

How pay-per-call works

Where do calls come from?

The do’s and don’ts of pay-per-call

How much does a call cost?

Compliance and pay-per-call

Why Choose Pay-per-call

Top benefits of pay-per-call

Pay-per-call compared to other performance marketing models

Pay-per-call results by industry

Getting Started with Pay-per-call

Decide how you will receive calls

Decide how to structure your campaign

Choose your pay-per-call partner

How to Manage Your Campaign

Evaluating call sources

Managing your partner

Why CallThread

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Introduction to Pay-Per-Call

With pay-per-call, advertisers pay for each qualified inbound phone call they receive from a third-party. These call sources can be publishers, affiliates, networks, and other lead-generators. A call is considered qualified if it meets the advertiser’s requirements and fulfills a predetermined duration requirement. You manage your own pay-per-call campaign by setting a variety of campaign parameters. Campaign parameters include:
  • Business hours – Establish the hours you are available to receive calls. Your pay-per-call partner will only send you calls during these hours.
  • Business categories – Define the specific services you offer (e.g. HVAC repair, bed bug fumigation, debt consolidation). A good pay-per-call partner will use ad targeting techniques and Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) to drive calls that match your specific business category.
  • Target consumer – Specify the kinds of buyers you want (e.g. new customers, homeowners, people over the age of 65). A good pay-per-call partner will be able to drive calls that fit narrower profiles within your business category.
  • Serviceable geographies – Identify the states or zip codes your business services or that you want to target. Your pay-per-call partner will filter out any leads calling from outside your set geographies.
  • Call pacing requirements – Limit the number of calls you want to receive in a month, day, or hour. Your partner will not send you more calls than you are able to handle for that period.
  • Bid – Set the price you are willing to pay for a call that lasts a specified duration (a typical call duration is between 90-120 seconds but varies by industry, category and time of year). Work with a pay-per-call partner who can recommend a competitive bid in your category and adjust bids for seasonality and scalability as needed.

Top-performing industries

The industries that see the best return on investment with pay-per-call are service-based businesses that require a phone call at some point in the sales cycle. Some of the top-performing industries in pay-per-call include: top performing industries in pay per call

How Pay-Per-Call Works

How pay per call works Here’s how a basic pay-per-call campaign works:
  1. You begin by defining the details of your offer with your pay-per-call partner (either a pay-per-call network or directly with a variety of affiliates).
  2. Based on the guidelines of your offer, your pay-per-call partner will generate calls in your category, typically by advertising a tracking number. The tracking number will be used to identify them as the source and will automatically forward the call to your business or to a designated call center.
  3. An IVR is typically used to filter calls and can be provided by you, your partner, or if coordinated, both. When a call matches your campaign requirements, the caller is seamlessly connected to your established business line.
  4. When the call reaches the predetermined duration, it becomes billable, and you pay your partner your agreed-upon bid price.
Read more: Pay-per-call Explained: How it Works

Where do calls come from?

Affiliates, publishers, and networks use a variety of channels to promote their tracking number including:
  • Online – these channels include SEO, SEM, social media, programmatic, display advertising and other lead-generation techniques that use the internet.
  • Offline – these channels include print, radio, television, outdoor advertising and direct mail.
  • Carrier traffic – these channels include voice search calls, directory assistance calls (calls that come from consumers who call directory assistance), and intercept traffic (calls that come from consumers who call a business that is no longer in service and opt to connect to a related business).

Call transfers and their regulatory restrictions

With most inbound calls, the consumer finds the tracking number through the above channels, chooses to call, and then is connected to the advertiser’s line directly. However, some pay-per-call providers offer transfer calls as well. Transfer calls can be inbound (the consumer calls the third-party call center which qualifies the call before transferring it to the advertiser’s business) or outbound (the third-party call center reaches out to the consumer via SMS messaging, AI chat or by phone, typically after the consumer fills out a lead-gen form). TCPA and other national laws and regulations restrict how these calls are managed, so it’s best to proceed with extreme caution until you have a deep understanding of how to handle this traffic. Read more: Understanding Different Types of Calls

The do’s and don’ts of pay-per-call

When you first get started with pay-per-call, it can be hard to know what kinds of calls to allow and what practices you should adopt so you get the best traffic possible for your budget. This chart gives you an idea of the basic best practices when running a pay-per-call campaign. As you start out, these tips are meant to help you protect your brand from competitors and compliance threats as well as provide your callers with a positive consumer journey while you develop synergies with your pay-per-call provider. the do's and dont's of pay per call

How much does a call cost?

Price per call is influenced by several factors and can fluctuate depending on your industry, desired billable duration, competition in the pay-per-call space, and the time of year. In general, the higher the average cost of your service to the consumer, the more the call will cost you. For example, a call for appliance repair is cheaper than a call for auto insurance because one-time appliance repair service is less expensive than long-term auto insurance. But there’s another reason appliance repair calls are less expensive than auto insurance calls: there’s more auto insurance businesses willing to pay a premium for calls than appliance repair businesses, and the competition drives a higher price. You can expect your prices to fluctuate based on the competition in your industry sector as well. The price of your calls will also be impacted by your desired duration, which should be the amount of time you need to qualify the call on your end before you are charged. A 90-second duration generally costs less than a 120-second duration. average call prices by industry

A note on seasonality in pay-per-call

Many industries are also impacted by seasonality. For example, the health insurance industry is busiest during open enrollment in November and December while home improvement businesses have a higher volume of inquiries in the summer months. If your industry has a busy season, you can expect your pay-per-call competition to steepen whenever the peak season for your business occurs. This can affect both the price per call and/or the required duration of your bid. Work with a provider that has a good pulse on the pay-per-call competition in your category, so they can help you anticipate and navigate fluctuations in call price to keep your bid competitive. Please note that when you start a pay-per-call campaign, there is a general ramp-up period with your provider. We recommend starting a campaign up to 3 months prior to your peak season, so the campaign is running at scale for your busy season. example of seasonal consumer demand in pay per call

Compliance in pay-per-call

brands should be highly selective when choosing a pay per call partnerThe pay-per-call industry is regulated by laws and regulations that protect the privacy of consumers. Although most of the statutes and restrictions will pertain to the actions of your publishers, advertisers have been liable for the acts of their affiliates in certain cases. This means your brand could be held financially responsible for the wrongful actions of your call sources. To protect your brand from threats in the lead gen industry, it is important to understand when compliance issues are triggered and to ensure your pay-per-call partner has defined programs to proactively address these issues and mitigate risk. The most relevant laws and regulations in pay-per-call include: • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) • Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) • Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC) • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) • Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CANSPAM)

Protecting your brand

In general, look for a network that thoroughly vets all its call sources, reviews and approves affiliate creatives, and screens calls for quality assurance – both to improve your conversion rates and to flag threats such as robocalls. To further protect your brand, ensure your network has established integrations with quality control vendors such as those that focus on authentication of consent or run litigation scrubs from known predatory litigators. “Today, marketers are faced with increasing data and privacy challenges — which is exactly why you need consent-based marketing practices in place to protect your brand. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, consent-based marketing is the practice of only contacting consumers that have given prior express, written consent to be contacted – ensuring that only prospects who have actively expressed interest in hearing from you make it into your funnel. Marketers can create consent-based marketing processes in five steps:
  1. Capture consent of interested consumers
  2. Document consent for legal compliance
  3. Qualify & enhance lead data
  4. Filter & reject lead data
  5. Contact the consumer promptly
Marketers across industries are using lead certification tools like TrustedForm to implement consent-based marketing and stay compliant with increasing privacy laws and regulations, validate lead data, and ensure they’re only contacting people who have actually raised their hands to be contacted. While ensuring you’re compliant with privacy laws is important, validating your lead data is just as crucial. For example, TrustedForm provides data along with its certificates, validating points such as website origin, lead age, time on page, typing speed, verified consent language, and more. By implementing technology that allows you to filter through these data points from compliant leads, you can increase the quality of leads that flow directly into your CRM — making your sales team happier in the process.” – Tracy Laney, Financial Service Sales, ActiveProspect tracy quote

Protecting your brand when it comes to outbound calls and transfers

Always ensure you have necessary level of consent to avoid TCPA pitfallsIt’s always a good idea to partner with a network that has a documented compliance program, but if your campaign will accept transfer calls, there are some particular considerations you need to address. Outbound calls of any kind are subject to comply with the TCPA which restricts certain telemarketing practices using voice calls, SMS, fax, and auto machine dialing (robocalls) when communicating with consumers. When businesses are permitted to contact consumers for purposes of telemarketing, they must abide by the regulations outlined in this statute, including obtaining and maintaining proper consent records. In addition, outbound call sources may not contact consumers on the national Do-Not-Call Registry. Be sure you understand the regulations around the TCPA or work with a partner who does.

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Why Choose Pay-Per-Call

Top benefits of pay-per-call

working with the right partner gets you quality leadsPay-per-call is a great way to get qualified leads for your business. With pay-per-call, you get all the benefits of performance marketing, with some additional advantages.

High-intent leads

Callers are often ready to buy a product or schedule an appointment at the time of their inquiry. This is because they are usually past the researching phase of their customer journey and are prepared to make a purchase. 25-40% of call-based leads turn into customers, and conversion rates can be even higher depending on your industry. Additionally, most businesses feel that if they are able to talk to a potential customer on the phone, they have a better chance to persuade them to buy their service.

Increased return on ad spend (ROAS)

Even though the initial cost per lead is generally higher in pay-per-call, calls are 10-12 times more likely to convert than other forms of leads, so you can expect your return on ad spend to be higher as well. Additionally, call-based leads turn into the best kinds of customers – they convert 30% faster, spend 28% more, and have a 28% higher retention rate than customers who come from other forms of leads (Forrester). This means your business can experience a more immediate ROI that continues to pay consistently in the long run.

Maximize your brand’s reach

Pay-per-call leads are usually consumers who are in the top or middle of the marketing funnel and who do not already have a brand in mind when they’re searching for your services. For example, a pest control brand might produce bottom-funnel leads by bidding on keywords like “termite inspection,” but pay-per-call providers would bid on keywords like “termite inspection reviews” or “best termite removal companies” to refer consumers to their brand partners. So with a good pay-per-call campaign, your brand can talk to consumers that you might not reach otherwise.

Access to call generation experts

Working with a qualified, experienced pay-per-call provider allows you to crowdsource your call-based leads from experts in call generation. Your partner, who has expertise in your industry, will earn the consumer’s attention and trust and connect the consumer to you when they’re ready to convert. All your business must do is convert the calls into sales.

Targeting for your most profitable services

A pay-per-call campaign can target your ideal consumer prole, so you can specifically focus on the services (like auto repair or termite fumigation) or customer segments (like U65 or insured drivers) you want to grow. Your pay-per-call partner will attract the right consumers through ad targeting and then present an automated front-end menu to further filter these calls.

Simple lead filtering

In addition to targeting the callers you do want, pay-per-call also makes it easy to filter out calls you don’t want (such as customer service calls) using front-end IVR menus, so your sales agents are focused on the calls that will bring your business the most incremental value.

Easy-to-measure results and quality

By using tracking numbers along with call recordings and transcriptions, it’s easy to evaluate your campaign’s performance and ensure you’re getting the quality leads you want. This also allows you to identify the call sources and geographies that generate the most qualified and valuable calls so you can and optimize your marketing spend accordingly.

Predictable call volume and budget

The pay-per-call model makes it simple to project how much you’ll need to spend to receive the number of leads you need to meet your business goals. With call pacing, you can specify the maximum number of calls you want on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis. This helps you keep your sales teams and call centers busy without overwhelming them or over-spending your budget.

Leads on demand

Once your campaign is up and running, it’s easy to ramp your spending up or down. If your campaign is successful, you can increase your budget or expand the geography. If, on the other hand, your campaign is o to a slow start, it may make sense to adjust your bid based on your competition or broaden your focus.

Convenient lead handling

Not all callers have the same needs, and calls for certain services may require a specialized sales agent. With Interactive Voice Recording (IVR), you can easily route phone calls to the right person or sales team. This makes it easy to ensure that your highest-value leads are handled by your most proficient agents.

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Pay-per-call compared to other performance marketing models

only pay for qualified calls Different mediums of performance marketing yield different results. This is because the consumer is at a different stage in their customer journey when they use different channels, making them more or less likely to convert into a sale. The right performance marketing strategy for your company depends on several factors including your cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) targets, the product or service you’re trying to market, your target consumer, and the customer journey. To help you decide if pay-per-call is the right approach for you, we’ll compare it to four other common performance marketing models: pay-per-impressions, pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-sale.

Pay-per-call vs pay-per-impression

In a pay-per-impression model, advertisers pay based on how many impressions, or views, their ad receives, usually in increments of 1,000. Common forms of advertising that use this model include display advertising and some social media marketing. This type of performance marketing is best used with the goal of increasing brand awareness among your target audience because it gives you a wide reach (thousands of views) for a relatively low cost. Pay-per-call is much more effective in generating measurable leads and is superior in direct response campaigns where the goal is to increase sales, not just awareness. It is also easier to demonstrate the value of your ad spend, since calculating ROI on brand awareness is notoriously difficult, particularly when compared to tracking calls and sales. Your targeting capabilities are also better with pay-per-call since it is intent-based targeting, not interest-based – you target people who are actively looking to buy your service rather than those who are interested in something related to your service.

Pay-per-call vs pay-per-click

Pay-per-click advertising charges advertisers for each click to their website. Common tactics for this model include paid search, some influencer marketing, and some social media marketing. Pay-per-click can generate awareness, and clicks have higher intent than impressions. Clicks are also the cheapest performance marketing lead you can buy, aside from impressions. Although clicks are relatively cheap, the burden of converting the clicks into leads falls on you and your landing page. With pay-per-call, consumers are already converted into leads for you. average ad conversion rate ppc vs pay per call
Pay-per-call leads are also more likely to convert into sales. When someone clicks through to your website, they may be ready to buy, but they may also just be researching without an intent to buy now – or worse, clicked your ad by mistake. On the other hand, when someone calls, they are typically in the final stages of their research process and are closer to making a purchase.

Pay-per-call vs pay-per-lead

Pay-per-lead is a model where you pay for the contact information of a qualified prospect. The most common source of these leads is a form fill on a website. Pay-per-lead is a good option for businesses that want leads for a moderate price and need a lot of primary information upfront, but don’t mind reaching out to the leads on their own. With pay-per-lead, the advertiser has the burden of reaching out to the lead, nurturing them, and making the sale. Leads could be days old by the time that happens. With pay-per-call, the nurturing and conversion process typically occurs immediately. There is also more urgency with people who call. Consumers that fill out a form are willing to wait for a response, whereas consumers that call usually need their questions answered and if satisfied, are ready to purchase. For these reasons, pay-per-call leads are more likely to convert than form fills. Outbound dialing also has compliance regulations, so it’s best to know these laws before you get started with pay-per-lead.

Pay-per-call vs pay-per-sale

The pay-per-sale model is typically used for businesses that require some sort of service installation like cable, internet and home security, although it can also work in financial and legal services as well. For the pay-per-sale model, the advertiser pays a third party to complete a sales transaction on their behalf, or they pay for each referral that turns into a sale. This form of performance marketing has the lowest risk since the advertiser only pays for completed sales. Pay-per-sale has the highest price tag, and only makes sense for businesses looking for customers that drive long-term value and those that have recurring revenue streams. It can also be difficult for pay-per-sale advertisers to and affiliate partners since most affiliates already have offers for calls, clicks, and leads. Pay-per-call delivers a higher quantity of leads at a more reasonable price, and the pay-per-call model provides a better return on investment for a wider variety of businesses. Performance marketing vs pay per call

Pay-per-call results by industry

Call duration

Apart from return on ad spend (ROAS), which varies among advertisers based on their budget and business goals, call duration is perhaps the best key performance indicator (KPI) of a pay-per-call program due to its correlation to sales conversion. We can predict that the longer a caller stays on the line, the more interested the caller is in the advertiser’s service and the more likely they are to buy. It’s important to note, though, that some businesses need less time than others to qualify callers and schedule a service appointment. Below are the average call durations by industry from CallThread’s network over the last three years, to give you a benchmark for your pay-per-call campaign’s average call duration. avg call duration by industry

Billable call conversion rate

Pay-per-call conversion rates are determined by dividing the number of calls that meet the duration by the total number of calls delivered. Advertisers use the duration period to weed out callers that do not match the business’s needs or do not have a high intent to purchase. Therefore, high conversion rates indicate higher quality calls that advertisers predict will turn into customers. The graph below shows you a benchmark of how many calls you can expect to convert from your pay-per-call provider, based on several leading business categories. avg billable call conversion by industry

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Getting Started with Pay-Per-Call

Once you decide that pay-per-call is the right strategy for you, there are three general steps you’ll need to complete to set up a successful pay-per-call program.

Step One: Decide how you will receive calls

The first question you will need to think through before setting up your pay-per-call campaign: who will answer the calls? You need to set up the resources to handle the calls delivered to you. Call sources become frustrated if the calls they generate are sent to voicemail, especially if these calls can be sent elsewhere. Due to this concern, most pay-per-call providers specify in their agreements that unanswered calls will be billable, even if they do not reach the duration requirement. Many of the national brands that use pay-per-call campaigns route their calls to contact centers. There are situations, however, when the call is best routed to individual stores or franchises, or a hybrid model that fluctuates based on time of day or day of week. Some businesses even nd success qualifying calls with an answering service before sending along with the consumer information to the appropriate destination.

Step Two: Decide how to structure your campaign

What is your budget?

The answer to this question will help you determine your bid price and call pacing requirements. You’ll need to determine the overall budget for your campaign either by month or by day.

What is your bid price?

To answer this question, you’ll need to determine how much you are willing to pay for each call based on your campaign budget, and you’ll need to set your billable duration requirement based on how long you need to qualify a connected call. Your bid is also impacted by your competition which may fluctuate throughout the year. Ultimately, you want your bid to be competitive so that the best pay-per-call affiliates and publishers are incentivized to send their high-quality calls to your campaign. If your bid price is too low or your duration requirement is too high, consider adjusting these parameters until you get a conversion rate that meets your requirements. When in doubt, ask your pay-per-call provider what a competitive bid in your industry should be. At CallThread, we help all our advertiser partners keep their bids competitive as market prices change with competition and seasonality. avg bid price by industry

What are your campaign goals and success metrics?

Determine how you will measure the success of your campaign before it starts, and communicate your goal with your provider. For example, at CallThread, we optimize our calls based on our partners’ cost per lead (CPL) or cost per acquisition (CPA) goals.

What are your hours and targeting requirements?

Consider your ideal consumer and where they live (e.g. – the zip codes you service), who they are (e.g. – homeowners or insured drivers), and what problem you solve for them (e.g. – HVAC repair or termite extermination). Also consider the days that your call center or businesses are open and the amount of sta necessary to handle the call traffic.

What kinds of calls do you want?

Decide if you will allow transfers from outbound call sources or if you want to restrict call traffic to inbound calls only. Transfers can be warm (a third-party call center has already qualified the caller and will introduce your agent to them) or cold (the third-party will qualify the caller but transfer them without an introduction). Transfers can come from inbound generation methods or outbound dials. When you first start with pay-per-call, we recommend restricting your campaign to inbound calls until you’re familiar with the compliance concerns surrounding transfers.

Will you have an IVR menu?

An IVR menu is an automated front-end menu that greets new callers and is used to filter and direct the call to the proper destination. Your pay-per-call provider may use IVR menus to filter out calls that do not meet your target consumer prole. When working with your pay-per-call provider to configure an IVR, keep the customer experience in mind – too many questions and key presses can lead to call abandonment.

Do you have channel restrictions?

Let your pay-per-call provider know if there are any type of call sources you do not want. These may include social media ads, display ads, email marketing, and so on. Also let your provider know if you need to approve the creatives or ad copy they use for landing pages or display ads.

Will you allow call recordings?

Many pay-per-call providers use call recordings to optimize their call quality and will give their advertisers access to these call recordings as needed. However, if you are in an industry that has concerns about HIPAA or other privacy laws, you can ask your provider to disable call recordings for your campaign.

Will you require a dedupe period?

Deduping is a process that providers use to ensure advertisers are not charged for multiple calls from the same caller in a set period of time. The dedupe period is typically set for a rolling 30 days but can be less based on the type of service and the ad that is being used to attract the consumer.

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Step Three: Choose a pay-per-call partner

To increase your reach and the volume of calls you receive, it’s a good idea to work with a large pay-per-call network rather than manage a variety of affiliates and publishers directly. A pay-per-call network works with numerous call sources to create a large volume of qualified call traffic for their advertisers’ campaigns. When you work with a pay-per-call network, all of your calls come from a trusted, qualified source. An established network uses algorithms, filters, and front-end menus that identify the time of day, search intent, and geography of each call that’s generated. When a call meets your campaign parameters, the network seamlessly connects the live call to your business. Working with a pay-per-call network gives you access to a wider span of affiliates and publishers while giving you the confidence and security you need in knowing the calls have been vetted by a reliable, trusted source. Networks can also pace calls to your contact centers more effectively since they have a larger volume of calls. When choosing a pay-per-call partner, look for the following considerations:
  • Dynamic campaign management – ensure you have control over your campaign parameters
  • Reliable call volume – ensure they have consistent call volume to meet your business goals
  • Compliance measures – ensure they have call source transparency and a rigorous vetting process
  • Call tracking, real-time reporting, and analytics – ensure you have access to the metrics you need to measure your campaign’s success
  • Proven success in your industry – look for a partner that has helped businesses similar to yours
  • Reputation – look for a network that is well-known and respected in the field

How to Manage Your Pay-Per-Call Campaign

Track conversion rate and avg call duration when campaign startsAs a general rule of thumb, a national pay-per-call campaign takes about three months to ramp up to CPL goals. During this ramp-up period, you should expect frequent communication with your provider. After this period, you can work with your provider to scale your campaign as needed. Your pay-per-call provider will use the first few weeks of your campaign to begin their advertising process, configure the campaign, and optimize their call generation methods, so you should expect lower call volume during this period. Your pay-per-call provider will also use this time to closely monitor the calls for quality and use their findings to tweak their campaigns so they deliver calls that match your target profiles. After this ramp-up period, you should be able to increase or decrease your budget to receive more or fewer calls as needed.

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Evaluating your call sources

Once your campaign is up and running, be sure you have access to the metrics you need to measure your success. Work with your account manager to understand which call sources, channels, and geographies are driving the most value for your business. Review your call sources based on conversions, reliability, and compliance; then allocate more of your budget to your high-performing sources to get the best leads for your ad spend.


How many of the calls convert? Review both the pay-per-call conversion rate (the percent of delivered calls that become billable) and your sales conversion rate (the percent of delivered calls that turn into sales) to determine the value the call source creates. Provide consistent feedback to your partners regarding sales numbers and progress against CPL/CPA goals, so they can optimize their campaigns accordingly.


How many calls are your call sources generating? A reliable source delivers a consistent volume of calls that meet your call pacing requirements. Once your provider has had the chance to ramp your campaign, you should be able to increase or decrease your call pacing as your business needs change.


Are the calls you are receiving compliant? Monitor your calls for:
  • Fraudulent callers who have no intention of purchasing service
  • Calls that violate your channel restrictions
  • Incentivized traffic, or callers that are expecting to receive a specific price or promotion
If you work with a network, they will be monitoring their call sources for compliance. For example, at CallThread, our dedicated customer success managers rigorously vet our call sources and closely monitor their calls using call recordings and transcriptions to ensure we deliver compliant traffic to our partners. If you accept transfers, be sure to work with a provider that has established quality controls on this traffic.

Managing Your Partner

The best way to manage your pay-per-call partner is to choose a provider that is transparent with you as needs arise. Consistent, two-way communication is crucial to the success of your pay-per-call partnership. Even with the most compliant partners, there is a chance that some unqualified calls slip through the cracks and into your call centers. Be sure you understand the kinds of calls that are refundable, if any. For example, CallThread allows our advertisers to receive credits for fraudulent calls, misdials, duplicates within the dedupe period, and other similar circumstances. Monitor your calls and le disputes as necessary. Be sure your partner provides you with consistent reporting that is easily accessible to you your reporting needs. CallThread offers real-time reporting dashboards, access to detailed call records and a defined dispute process to meet these concerns.

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Why CallThread

CallThread is Soleo’s performance marketing platform that pairs our proprietary call management technology with our expansive pay-per-call network. The net result is a consistent volume of highly qualified inbound leads directed right to our customers and managed proactively by our team of experts. We service national brands and regional businesses across a variety of categories. Our goal is to help our advertising partners improve their return on ad spend and generate more sales through quality inbound calls. Get in touch >


Acoustic profiling

technology used to detect and block robocalls by listening for nuances in the human voice to identify automated or robotic message

Ad exchange

a marketplace where publishers and advertisers buy and sell ads and advertising space


a company that buys calls; they purchase call leads that publishers generate


an individual offer defined by the advertiser. The ad includes all the advertiser’s requirements such as category, bid, duration, geography, hours of operation, etc.


a person or company that generates calls on behalf of an advertiser for a commission (see also: publisher)

Affiliate marketing

a type of marketing where an affiliate generates leads on behalf of an advertiser and receives a commission if the leads meet the advertiser’s criteria


a company that creates and manages advertising campaigns, including performance marketing campaigns such as pay-per-call campaigns, on behalf of another company


the price an advertiser is willing to pay for a call that lasts a specified amount of time

Bid strength

a tool to evaluate the competitive value of a bid price compared to other ads competing for the same category of calls; the stronger the…


an advertiser, usually a recognizable business regionally or nationally (see also: advertiser)


the duration of a call

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

A California State law passed in 2018 that is intended to enhance the privacy rights and consumer protection of residents in California. Under the CCPA,…

Call buyer

the company that purchases calls from a pay-per-call network, publishers, or affiliates (see also: advertiser)

Call center

a workforce that is trained to answer the calls generated by a pay-per-call campaign

Call generation method

the method a publisher uses to generate calls. Examples include online such as SEM, SEO, social media, etc.; offline such as SMS, print, radio, direct…

Call pacing

the ability to set daily or hourly caps on total spend or billable calls

Call recording

an audio file of a live phone call taken with consumer permission and created to review later. Call recordings are used to determine the quality…

Call routing

the method of sending a call to the right call center or queue based on predetermined criteria (see also: IVR)

Call scoring

a quality assurance method used to identify the highest quality call leads; a score is assigned to individual calls based on the call source, transcription,…

Call source

the publisher or medium a specific call originated from

Call tracking

a method of determining the source of a phone call lead

Call transcription

a quality assurance method used to turn the audio version of a call recording into a written copy of the conversation to help determine the…

Call volume

refers to the amount of calls sent to a campaign at a given point in time


the pay-per-call platform providing access to Soleo’s programmatic pay-per-call network and matching live callers with the businesses they need. CallThread offers solutions for advertisers of…


a grouping of ads that are related to each other – often characterized by brand, category, vertical, or so on


limits; primarily related to the daily, weekly, or monthly, budget for an ad or campaign

Carrier / Intercept Calls

when a customer calls a business number that is no longer in service, they have the option to be connected to a business related to…


the business vertical the advertiser wants to reach

Clean number

a tracking number that has not been used in the last 90 days

Cold Transfer

when a consumer calls a tracking number and reaches an agent at a call center who qualifies the caller on behalf of the advertiser; when…

Conversion rate

the percentage of users that complete the desired action after viewing the offer; in pay-per-call, common conversion rates include: percent of users who viewed a…

Daily budget

the amount of money that can be spent during one day of the campaign

Day parting

restricting a campaign to generate calls only during certain times of the day

Demand (Buy) side

consists of anyone who wants to buy calls generated from publishers; this can include advertisers as well as players acting on their behalf

Direct connection

when a publisher transfers calls directly to a tracking number instead of selling calls programmatically through CallThread’s LSAPI

Directory Assistance Calls

when a customer calls directory assistance (411) and is connected to an advertiser based on their request

Dynamic number insertion (DNI)

a call tracking feature that assigns a unique tracking number to each ad or call source, allowing you to attribute a call to a specific…


a technological platform that facilitates transactions between advertisers and publishers similar to the way a stock exchange facilitates the buying and selling of stocks. Like…

Fallback routing

routing calls to a different destination in the event the call is not answered on its original route


a kind of targeting that allows advertisers to specify the geographic locations they receive calls from

Inbound Call

when a consumer calls a business; the call is coming into the business

Interactive Dialog Management

a tool for creating and managing custom call menus or uploading existing ones (see also: IVR)

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

an automated front-end menu that greets new callers and is used to filter and direct the call to the proper destination

Keyword spotting

a quality control method that listens for a specific keyword in a phone call conversation to determine the quality score of the call

LSAPI™ (Local Search API)

Soleo’s local search API allows publishers to sell calls programmatically. Based on the search query and the location of the caller, Soleo’s algorithm will bid…


the combination of an advertiser’s bid, required duration, geographic requirements, and ad category

Organic Listings

listings on third-party publisher or affiliate websites that are not bought

Outbound Call

when a business or third party calls or sends an SMS to a consumer; the call is going out of the business


a form of performance marketing in which advertisers purchase inbound phone calls that meet specified duration and location requirements

Pay-per-call network

a business that helps advertisers buy inbound calls from multiple publishers by matching advertiser pay-per-call campaigns with reliable sources from its network of publishers. The…

Performance marketing

a type of marketing where advertisers partner with individuals, companies, or networks who deliver qualified leads for a commission; the partners get paid based on…

Ping post/tree

an auction-based lead buying process that allows advertisers to adjust their bids based on how much caller information is available, usually to set a higher…

Programmatic pay-per-call network

a pay-per-call network that utilizes artificial intelligence to dynamically match a call generated by a publisher to the most competitive ad (based on bid price…


the business that publishes customer-facing ads and generates leads to sell to the advertiser

Qualified call

a call that meets the duration, category, and geography requirements of the advertiser’s offer

Quality assurance

a system put in place by a pay-per-call network to ensure publishers are delivering high-quality phone calls that come from ethical, legal sources. Methods for…

Real-time bidding

a method used by programmatic pay-per-call networks to seamlessly connect a publisher’s live call to the advertiser with the most competitive bid out of a…

Real-time reporting

reports generated in real time to show advertisers their current call volume, individual call sources, conversion rates, and real-time trends and opportunities

Robocall blocking

a process of identifying, flagging, and blocking unwanted, suspicious calls

Sponsored listings

listings on third-party publisher or affiliate websites that are given preferential placement in exchange for a commission on conversions

Supply (Sell) side

consists of publishers and sources that are supplying the calls in a pay-per-call campaign

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

A Federal statute enacted in 1991 that is designed to safeguard consumer privacy. The legislation restricts certain telemarketing practices using voice calls, SMS, fax, and…

Tracking number

a unique phone number assigned to an ad or publisher used to identify the source of any calls the campaign generates; a tracking number is…

Vanity number

a special tracking number that is relevant to your specific business by city, state, zip or area code

Warm Transfer

when a call center qualifies a caller and, when the caller is connected to the advertiser, the call agent stays on the line to introduce…