How to Take Advantage of 2016 Mobile Opportunities (Spoiler: Track Calls)

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If you don't read anything else in this post, read this: To take advantage of mobile opportunities this year, you need to track your calls. Trying to take advantage of mobile opportunities without tracking calls is like trying to take a selfie without a selfie stick. It can be done, but it takes more work.

We've always said that tracking calls is important, but this year, it's more urgent than ever. This year, calls from both smartphones and landlines will be influencing more than $1 trillion in consumer spending. At least, that's what BIA/Kelsey analysts have predicted. To put that in perspective, that's about 15 percent of the total amount spent on offline products and services.

Now listen up, advertisers. Mobile is where you want to focus your advertising dollars. According to BIA/Kelsey's predictions, there will be more than 100 billion phone calls to businesses from mobile devices this year. If you don't already have a call tracking and analytics platform in place, get one now! If you do use call tracking, here's what you need to focus on.

Online-to-Offline Conversion Attribution

When someone finds your business online and places a call, you need to be able to figure out what advertising source generated the call to get a complete picture of your advertising. That's where an online-to-offline conversion comes in handy. One of the best ways to see this type of conversion is to use Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) technology, which automatically assigns a unique toll-free number to a guest when they click through an ad to your website. That unique number is displayed on your website, so when the visitor calls it, you'll know immediately what ad source generated the call. (You can read a little bit more about how DNI works here.)

Side note: If you're nervous about the negative impact to your local search rankings on Google when using different phone numbers on your website, don't be! The numbers aren't hard coded into your site but rather automatically generated by a snippet of JavaScript code, which Google doesn’t crawl.

Local Targeting

BIA/Kelsey also predicts local advertising will be a huge opportunity this year. Of the total mobile ad spend, 38 percent of advertising will be location-targeted. By 2020, that number could be as high as 43 percent! That's not surprising. With smartphones offering location services, it's easier than ever for consumers to perform a search on their phone and quickly pull up a list of local businesses that can meet whatever need (or want) they have.

Operational Improvements

Call tracking and analytics will not only help marketers with attribution but also with improving operations. By tying in leads to a CRM, for example, marketers can see which types of advertising are leading to customers. They can then cut out ads that aren't effective, decrease wasted ad spend and increase ROI. In the call center, call recording functionality will help managers review agents' customer service skills (or lack thereof), and intelligent speech-recognition technology will scan calls for important keywords (e.g., product names, cuss words) that can help identify areas for improvement.

Don't miss out on your piece of that $1 trillion pie. Track your calls and make the most of mobile advertising.

What's your mobile advertising strategy this year?