Consumers expect brands to offer click-to-call service for smartphones, Google research shows

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Click-to-call: key for customer engagement

Click-to-call: key for customer engagement

New research from Google reveals 94% of UK smartphone users have needed to call a business directly when searching for information on a smartphone.

Of the 1,500 respondents surveyed, just under one third (32%) regularly need to call a business when searching for services or products on their smartphone.

The research, which was commissioned to understand the use of the click-to-call option in mobile search, found almost half of those surveyed (42%) had used this function, with the need to talk to a real person stated as the main motivation.

Wanting answers more quickly and needing more information than a website could provide were the other main reasons provided for using click-to-call. The average click-to-call conversation is six minutes, suggesting the option can lead to high level of engagement for companies, said Google.

Click-to-call is seen as most important for mobile searchers in the purchase phase. Nearly half – 48% – find it extremely important to be able to call the business when they are about to make a purchase and 36% need it when researching an item or service.

The findings also suggest that businesses that do not offer the option risk damaging their brand image and could lose customers. Over a third – 36% – of mobile searchers indicated they would be more likely to explore other brands if click-to-call was not offered. A similar number – 32% – would feel frustrated or annoyed and 30% would be disappointed in the brand.

The business value is further highlighted through previous Google Adwords research, which found the service increases average ad click-through rate by 8%.

Ian Carrington, director of performance solutions & innovation at Google, said: “Globally, we know that 40m calls are driven by Google Ads each month so it’s fair to say that click-to-call is a clear sales driver. Moreover, for businesses that haven’t yet built a responsive or mobile site, click-to-call is a great way to ensure consumers can still reach your business easily, showing that mobile advertising doesn’t just have to be for the mobile-ready.”

The research also compared behaviours across different verticals. It found that consumers use click-to-call across different sectors but are most likely to need the capability for local services (63%), automotive (42%) and tech (38%) businesses. Travel (36%) and hospitality (27%) followed.