The Past, Present, and Future of Pay-Per-Call

December 1, 2021    Comment off

Author: Andrew J. Chung

The pay-per-call industry has evolved tremendously over the last ten years. In this article, which is the summary of the presentation from the Contact.IO conference that occurred in September of 2021 by Andrew J. Chung, the Director of Pay-Per-Call at Visiqua, we will explore the history of pay per call marketing, a summary of the industry as of today, and the technology that will revolutionize the future.  

By employing the latest available technology, specifically with machine learning and artificial intelligence, we can enhance the real-time call routing method, deploy predictive data matching and achieve the high yield management system in the future. This innovation cannot be achieved by technology alone; however, it will require everyone in our industry’s commitment to be bold and make advancements towards adopting the changes.

For a start, let’s explore the past and present landscape of the pay-per-call industry.

The Past

Unlike filled-form data, pay-per-call leads are not as rich in consumers’ information, so buying inbound call leads used to be a bit of a gamble. Advertisers would purchase calls from publishers or brokers blindly. Still, the buyers had a limited sense of the quality of the calls until the disposition report was available, which often took up to 90 days. This was a big challenge all around, both for publishers and advertisers, as there was no solution to be proactive and optimize call traffic in real-time to ensure the success of running a call campaign to meet the performance target.

Another common practice in the past is the lead generation methods: pay-per-call, data leads, and clicks were viewed as separate and ran as siloed businesses. Typically, a buyer did business with you for one of the three categories, possibly two. Still, it was uncommon for an advertiser to come to you and be willing to have a holistic conversation about performance-based marketing and treat you as an extension of their marketing team.

The limited visibility of the consumer callers and siloed business practices still exist today; however, there is a trend of our industry evolving to address these challenges.

The Present

Advertisers, publishers, and networks in the industry have come a long way to address the challenges we have touched on. However, we are still far from reaching the stage where we can clearly say that the pay-per-call industry has become fully matured and delivers leads most successfully. 

With the growth of transfer call campaigns, where call centers outbound dial on the data leads, we now have more information on the consumers. This means that we can better match the consumer with the right buyer to result in a higher conversion rate for raw calls to billable calls and billable calls to sales.

Even on the inbound call, consumer-initiated calls off of a display ad, for example, we now have 3rd party data companies that can be pinged real-time with the consumer’s DID and quickly find information such as age, location, and other relevant information. This will allow us to determine the best routing of that call, i.e., which buyer to send that call to.

Transfer call campaigns also led to marketing campaigns being more integrated. Call, clicks, and lead-based marketing campaigns today are now integrated into a single marketing push more than ever. This makes the process easier for both the advertisers and publishers while understanding the intentions of the consumer.

While the pay-per-call industry has made tremendous progress in recent years, there is still more work to be done to mature our industry fully. With the growth of transfer campaigns, there is a significant demand to address the TCPA concerns. The accuracy of retrieving the correct data information off of consumers’ DID via the 3rd company is still not high enough to make a noticeable impact in our business. Although some call tracking platforms have rolled out the real-time call API feature to make a real-time decision on how to route the call leads having the highest yield, a minimal number of advertisers and publishers are using this feature. In addition, there are still some technical challenges, such as compatibility between the platforms, which causes latency issues and causes terrible experiences for the callers.

The Future

Although the data lead marketing has been quick at adopting new technologies such as ping-tree, predictive match, and geo-tagging, the pay-per-call marketers are still predominantly using antiquated technologies.

The call ping-tree (real-time call API) soon will become the norm in the industry, and the sooner the call marketers adapt to this feature, the sooner the industry can benefit from it. This will alleviate the call marketers from transacting pay-per-call leads blindly without any insights on the consumer and optimizing the call traffic when it becomes too late. This feature will enable real-time routing decisions to generate the highest yield of revenue on a specific campaign, automatic detection of fraudulent calls, predictive matching to the right buyers that will ensure the best experience for both the advertisers and the consumers.

In addition to the call ping-tree, technology will make it easy to integrate even more avenues of advertising into a marketing push. New SMS, call bot, and intelligent speaker technologies will pave the way for marketing campaigns that are more comprehensive than ever before. 


Smart call routing technology, predictive matching, and yield management systems will completely change pay-per-call marketing in the next ten years. In the future, the pay-per-call business will be more cost-effective, easier, and more customizable while making the transaction a better experience for the advertiser and publisher and, most importantly, the consumer. Visiqua looks forward to growing the pay per call market while supporting omnichannel marketing campaigns like other forward thinkers in the performance marketing space.