Meet The Media Buyer: Mike Williams of Ring Partner

Posted by WhatRunsWhere on September 23, 2013
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 Our next media buying expert is Mike Williams.  Having started his online marketing career in 2004, he has a wealth of experience in lead generation, search engine marketing, landing page optimization, web marketing strategy, email marketing and social media marketing.  Mike is currently the Network Manager at Ring Partner where he oversees the network advertisers and publishers, as well as all operations. Prior to Ring Partner, he managed his own pay per click agency and worked for a couple of other affiliate networks.  Mike lives in Victoria, BC, Canada with his 3 kids and wife of nearly 10 years.  Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

1) Pay Per Call has been around for years but it’s still largely unknown.  Can you explain how and why the model works?

I’m not so sure if I agree that it’s “largely unknown”.  Pay per call is less common, but the market is growing quickly. I remember pay per call marketing back in 2006, but it just wasn’t a viable marketing method at the time. The rapid adoption of smartphones and the growth in mobile over the past few years is helping pay per call to emerge as an effective and viable performance marketing channel, for both advertisers and publishers.

Pay per call marketing campaigns use a duration-based conversion model and publisher tracking numbers, rather than pixel conversions and links. So, when a caller dials a number and connects to a call center, then stays on the line for a set duration, the publisher is paid out a commission.

There are a few tracking systems that provide pay per call tracking, at Ring Partner we use RingRevenue, which is likely the most widely-used platform. They have some great features for publishers, like call promotions and ring pools. Call promotions are the “landing pages” of pay per call and they help to filter and funnel callers in to conversions. Ring Pools provide more granular tracking for publishers to help determine the actual conversion sources.

2) Mobile advertising is on a huge growth spurt!  How big is the pay per call opportunity in the overall mobile media buying mix?

Mobile search and display are two great sources for traffic with pay per call right now, so as the mobile market grows, so does pay per call. Many publishers use mobile search to drive traffic to our campaigns, especially as they get started and learn the pay per call game. After gaining experience and understanding the opportunity, some of these publishers will later graduate to mobile display marketing.

So, to answer your question, mobile advertising is a huge part of pay per call’s growth and the opportunity is massive, in my opinion.

3) With the majority of advertisers still not properly optimized for mobile, what are some best practices for ad copy, landing pages, etc.?

Since we’re focused on driving calls, we don’t require advertisers to provide landing pages, or even have a website for that matter. As far as best practices for ad copy goes, I would suggest using action words like “call now” or “start today” to encourage users to take action and “click to call”. Using a phone number within the ad can work well, as it communicates to the user that they will be making a call. Although, Adwords recently changed their policy and they do not allow phone numbers within ad text.

Landing pages are less important with click to call, but publishers should be using “tel:” links on buttons and phone numbers, so that the “click to call” link works on the user’s mobile phone. We like to use Unbounce for landing pages, they have a great service and their blog is awesome. Unbounce provides some great options and templates for mobile landing pages.

Since users don’t always visit a landing page, I like to say that the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is the landing page. All Ring Partner publishers have access to create their own IVR’s for their traffic. This allows them to pre-sell callers and filter traffic towards conversions more effectively.

4) What are some joys and pitfalls of working in the pay per call performance marketing space?

One of the things that I enjoy about pay per call, is that as a marketer you are creating real connections between consumers and advertisers, who will then have a real conversation about a product and service. It’s a bit more human than sending users to interact with a landing page.

There’s also a lot less fraud with pay per call, since it’s a lot harder to fake several calls from users all over the country that can stay on the line for a set duration. I also enjoy the ups and downs of working within a growing and emerging industry.

As for pitfalls, there are some big differences with pay per call. The campaigns are only live for the time that the call center is open, so you can’t always run a campaign 24/7. The tracking can also be a lot less detailed, since the system is limited by the amount of phone numbers, and there are telecom fees associated with all calls.

About Ring Partner:

Ring Partner is a Pay Per Call Performance Marketing Network. We deliver high quality calls to top tier advertisers via our network of publishers. At Ring Partner we work with a select group of trusted publishers to provide the best possible calls for our advertisers.  Founded in beautiful Victoria, BC, Ring Partner is committed to providing prompt and effective service to our clients and partners as we grow within the pay per call marketing industry.  Publishers can apply here.  Connect with Ring Partner on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Topics: Meet The Media Buyers, Pay Per Call, Mobile, Mobile Marketing


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