Early Click-to-Call Case Study Yields Positive Results for Toyota

Small-Scale Study Showed 17% Click-to-Call Rate, but More Research Needed

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mobile marketing is in a period of experimentation and many marketers are approaching it with an eye toward branding. But a group of Toyota dealers, interested in the practicalities of drumming up sales, took a different tact. Here's a simple mobile case study.

The goal: To generate foot traffic to Toyota dealerships in 13 markets.

The solution: Several groups of Toyota dealers, working through agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, Calif., experimented with a two-month campaign on WhitePages.com, an 8-year-old internet company new to the mobile web last year. WhitePages.com competes with mobile information services such as Google and Yahoo on mobile web and with other mobile information services such as 4INFO.

The creative: Simple banner ads running along with search results showed a Toyota logo and gave users a choice of requesting a brochure, finding a local dealer or calling a toll-free number.

How it worked: Consumers accessing the mobile web from a cellphone would go to the WhitePages.com mobile site. There, they would find ads from Best Buy, Palm and Toyota, among others, along with the response to inquiries. The ad and results were geo-targeted based on search keywords such as city, state and ZIP code. The ad works on 99% of mobile-web-enabled phones. Targeted ad impressions totaled 80,274.

The cost: WhitePages.com did not charge for the campaign, said Joe Maciariello, interactive account supervisor on Saatchi's Toyota dealers business. However, WhitePages.com said the rate, based on their rate card, would have been a $25 CPM, or the cost for a thousand people.

The Results: A reported 17% click-to-call rate produced 33 calls, or a theoretical cost per call of $60. The test did not track the calls to see whether they resulted in actual foot traffic or car sales. The process skirted the myriad of privacy concerns surrounding mobile and requirements for consumer opt-in for mobile advertising because consumers were voluntarily providing ZIP codes and choosing how to interact with the Toyota dealers. Click-through rates were tracked by metro area, carrier, device, day of the week and placement. Mobile traffic was strongest on weekends. Saatchi's Mr. Maciariello said he was satisfied with the test's results, but added that "we're just not there yet" in terms of being able to qualify visitors to the mobile websites as actually being in the car-buying market.
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