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Pay per call advertising
/Best Practices/By Streamline Marketing

The Complete Guide to Pay Per Call Advertising

Are you looking to ramp up sales quickly?

Ready to start finding new channel partners to increase your business?

Pay per call affiliate marketing is a great way to increase profitability, but not all partnerships operate the same way. The more your business relies on inbound calls, the more important it is to have partners who know how to drive those calls.

And to find those partners, you’ll need a solid understanding of pay per call advertising.

Are your current affiliates driving enough calls to your sales team?

Do you have the best practices in place to make your pay per call advertising efforts an effective part of your marketing strategy?

We’re about to answer those questions and more in our full guide to pay per call advertising.

What is Pay Per Call Advertising?

With pay per click advertising, a company pays an advertiser or affiliate when a customer reaches their landing page through a link placed by the publisher.

Let’s look at how pay per call works.

Pay Per Call Affiliate Marketing Campaigns

In PPCall affiliate marketing, brands pay affiliate networks or publishers to generate calls that lead to the purchase of a product or service.

The affiliates create messages, ads, or blog and social media content that encourage customers to contact the brand. When a customer calls, the brand pays the affiliate a commission for directing call leads directly to them.

Many brands use affiliates to drive traffic through pay per click advertising.

Pay per call advertising is similar, except the end result is a phone call made rather than a website click or a form submission.

Pay Per Call Ad Campaigns

Companies aren’t limited to pay per call networks and affiliates. Many choose to place ads with search engines like Google or Bing or to place ads in online phone directories like the Yellow Pages.  In these cases, the phone number link has primary placement.

Pay per call campaigns can improve affiliate marketing profitability and generate a lot of leads (and sales) quickly.

As marketing channels go, PPCall has the ability to increase call volume through a broad spectrum of traffic sources.

What Types of Businesses Can Benefit?

pay per call benefits 1024x683 - The Complete Guide to Pay Per Call Advertising

Pay per call advertising is an effective strategy for businesses who book appointments or sell products over the phone.

Some examples include tow truck companies, locksmiths, and home services professionals. Medical offices and insurance providers are also good examples. PPCall advertising can be helpful to any business that relies on inbound calls.

Pros and Cons of Pay Per Call Advertising vs. Commissions

As with all marketing strategies, there are pros and cons to pay per call marketing and advertising.


On the positive side, it can be quite cost-effective. Affiliates can drive hundreds or thousands of leads with one simple ad or piece of content.

It also tends to produce better results than pay per click advertising.


Users can click on and exit out of a website in a matter of seconds, but when a customer taps on their smartphone to make a call, it shows they have a genuine interest in purchasing a product or service.

Because customers who call tend to demonstrate more interest, it’s easier for a sales rep to close the deal.

For this same reason, conversion rates tend to be higher than pay per click strategies.

One other benefit is that affiliates are usually assigned a specific phone number for the customer to use to contact the business. That makes call tracking to see the source of lead generation even easier.


As with every online marketing strategy, there are some cons as well.

PPCall commissions tend to be higher than PPC, so brands typically have higher payouts to their affiliates.

You also need to analyze and track the metrics closely to make sure that you’re getting calls from the right audience.

Another factor that comes into play is the need to train your call center properly.

Your sales reps will need strong training on how to field each call and make sure that they keep the customer on the line for the required duration. Regardless of what product or service you sell, it will take a certain amount of time to close the deal.

If you or your affiliates use an IVR system (interactive voice response), call and test it a few times to ensure that it works and is caller friendly.

Pay Per Call Advertising: Best Practices

pay per call best practices - The Complete Guide to Pay Per Call Advertising

If you’re ready to get the most out of your PPC advertising program, here are the best practices to follow.

1. Determine Clear Goals

Your goal might include.

  • Analyzing how many appointments you book per month and how those numbers increase or decrease over time
  • Tracking the conversion rate of appointment bookings to customers that actually show up for appointments
  • Comparing and monitoring MQLs vs. SQLs.

For your affiliate program to be a success, you’ll need SQLs (sales qualified leads) who are highly interested and ready to become customers.

MQLs (marketing qualified leads) can be important, too, as MQLs have a strong potential to become customers. And while SQLs are more valuable, it’s essential to analyze both metrics to see how your affiliates are performing.

Whatever your goals are, define them clearly so you can make a plan for how to track and analyze them.

2. Determine Your Target Audience

You must know your target audience. You’ll need a clear picture of the gender, age, income level, and location of your target customer. You’ll need to define your target in order to find affiliates who can reach that demographic.

3. Decide How You Want to Generate Calls

You can partner with affiliates to generate calls online, offline, or both. Offline calls require a customer to dial your number. Online calls allow the customer to click to call. Depending on your demographic, you may want to use one or the other or a combination of both.

4. Find the Right Affiliates

To see the best results, you’ll need the right affiliates. Look for publishers that share your target audience and will be able to reach people who will become customers. The goal is not to reach just anyone. The goal is to reach the right people.

5. Monitor Results

It’s crucial that you monitor your results, and it’s equally as important to share those results with your affiliates. You can optimize your ROI by understanding where your affiliates are falling short and making sure that their goals are in line with yours.

Do you need to track other offline touchpoints? Read: Personalized Marketing with Site to Store Affiliate Tracking

Red Flags to Watch Out For

When monitoring the results of a pay per call advertising campaign, there are some red flags that you need to be aware of.

Pay special attention to spikes in sales calls. This could be an indication of fraudulent calls. At the very least, the spike should be evaluated in greater detail. That way, you can determine where the calls were from and what, if any, customers were generated during this spike.

If one affiliate is qualifying an overwhelming amount of leads, look into it. It could be evidence of fraudulent activity or fake leads. Affiliate partnerships exist to produce incremental sales, so keep an eye on any affiliate that seems to be generating an unbelievable amount of leads from one ad.

Be careful when running promotions or providing incentives to gain more traffic. Sometimes, promotional incentives can cut into your bottom line, and may not be worth it in the long run.

Related: What is Partner Channel Management (And How Can it Boost Profits?)

Ready to improve your marketing efforts and drive new leads through pay per call advertising?

Contact Streamline to find the best affiliates, create and monitor campaigns, and increase your ROI.

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