Smartphone Users Value Click-to-Call Functionality in Search Results

September 26, 2013

GoogleIpsos-Smartphone-Users-React-to-Lack-of-Call-Button-in-Search-Results-Sept20137 in 10 smartphone users in the US claim to have used click-to-call to connect with a business directly from the search engine results page, per new research [pdf] from Google and Ipsos. What’s more, the lack of a call button can erode a mobile searcher’s perception of a business, per the results: 47% said they are more likely to explore other brands when they’re unable to call a business directly from the search results, and an equal percentage said they get frustrated or annoyed.

Roughly one-third said they are disappointed in the brand or company (35%), that they would be less likely to use the brand or company in the future (33%) and that they would be less likely to recommend the brand or company. Only 34% said it doesn’t affect their view of the brand.

This type of “warning” is fairly common in Google-commissioned studies. For example, prior research from Google has warned that most of mobile search ad clicks won’t be replaced by organic clicks, while half of smartphone users responding to another survey regarding mobile-friendly sites said that a bad mobile experience would make them less likely to engage with a company.

In its latest data, Google reveals some interesting internal data based on calls from Google forwarding number call reporting:

  • 72% of clicks on a mobile search ad call button last longer than 30 seconds;
  • The average length of calls driven from search ads is 6 minutes; and
  • Search ads experience an 8% increase in click-through rate when call extensions are enabled.

In other survey results, the study indicates that 51% of respondents either frequently (39%) or always (12%) need to directly call a business from the mobile search results, a fairly surprising result. As might be expected, respondents would be most likely to call local services (69%) if the capability were available in a search result. Interestingly, the average price points at which respondents would be more likely to call businesses for a purchase or transaction were: $1,195 for auto; $416 for finance; $320 for travel; $265 for tech; $170 for local; $119 for retail; and $33 for restaurant.

About the Data: 3,000 respondents were recruited and completed a 20 minute online survey between July 2 and July 8, 2013. Respondents met the following criteria for inclusion in the research:

  • Aged 18-74;
  • Smartphone users (own a smartphone and use mobile search at least a few times/week);
  • Made a purchase in at least one of the verticals in the past six months.

After seeing a sample mobile Search Engine Results Page, which included the click to call feature, respondents were asked a number of questions. The questions probed into their general thoughts about click to call as well as specific questions about the vertical that they recently purchased in.

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