The buyer’s journey has become quite complicated as consumers jump from device to device throughout the day. Marketers are looking for new ways to reach consumers where they are—mobile or desktop—and for more opportunities to engage. In an effort to reach consumers where they are, marketers build a complex mix of tactics and channels that are not easy to measure in terms of their individual ROI.

Cross-channel and cross-device attribution no longer means measuring “digital” direct response. It means tracking all leads—both online and offline, including phone calls and text messages. The concept of “response analytics” is becoming more relevant to marketers as they realize that they must track every possible type of response to know which campaigns deliver the best ROI.

Moving from all this theory to practice, let’s look closely at the two phases of the buyer’s journey—the research phase and the purchase phase—and how making two simple tweaks, accepting and measuring calls and texts, will drive more conversions.

Mobile devices dominate the research phase

In a mobile-first world, ironically, the buy moments aren’t happening on mobile.

Consumers still spend 84 cents out of every dollar online on desktop. So, even with 80% smartphone penetration, only 16 cents out of every dollar are being spent on mobile. So why bother targeting mobile if they’re not buying?

That number of mobile purchases used to be zero but it is steadily increasing and in some areas is nearing desktop purchases. More critically for marketers, mobile devices dominate in the research phase. Consumers are using their mobile devices to research products and some are even using their phones in-store to research the product right in front of them. Forty-nine per cent of in-store sales are influenced by digital according to a Deloitte study.

Soon enough, those consumers will be able to use a picture of the product to research in-store. Pinterest just introduced a beta version of Lens, the Shazam for objects, that suggests related items. Once it is rolled out across all search promises to transform the way consumers search.

Win mobile consumers through calls and texts

The changes you can make are in line with the natural, intuitive behavior of mobile consumers and with our research and the experience of our clients, the large brands driving direct response. Their results confirm that consumers want these changes and are responding better.

At their most basic level, the two tweaks are simple: adding “call us” and “text us” CTAs to ads and landing pages. Let’s take a look at how to do this right and what to consider.

Offer the option to call the business

In the “I-want-to-know” moments, mobile devices have overtaken desktop as the most preferred platform—60% of online shopping happens on mobile. Here, the device they spend time on is shaping consumer behavior. Twenty-nine per cent of shoppers prefer to call a business when they have a question about a potential purchase.

To reach these consumers and influence their decision making during this consumer-driven stage, AdWords is setting the standard with call extensions. It’s a fluid and effortless experience for consumers—one click of the “call now” button at the bottom of an ad opens up their dialer app, facilitating the completion of the call.

With the right information on the screen in front of them, consumers will go with the product that’s the best fit for them, whether it’s price, features or branding. Engage consumers on mobile with ads targeted for the research phase and make it easy for them to contact you with their questions

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Improve conversion rates by offering text messaging

In October 2016, AdWords rolled out message extensions globally after a successful beta test run with astonishing conversion rates. Auto & General saw an 80% higher conversion rate with message extensions.

Our own client saw similar results with text messaging but with one crucial enhancement—our client’s contact centre responded to incoming texts with the chat platform they were already using.

Through our integration with that chat platform, we facilitated the flow of incoming texts to the chat software and provided lead attribution for every single text that went beyond the click rate to track if the text was actually sent.

Enhance effectiveness with AdWords Device Bidding and Expanded Text Ads

Two new updates to the AdWords platform make targeting ads to consumers in the “I-want-to-know” phase that much easier for marketers. One is device targeting—introduced in May 2016, marketers can choose which ads will appear on mobile devices versus desktop to reach consumers in the research phase of their buyer’s journey.

Expanded text ads make it that much easier to give consumers the information they need to assess whether your product is right for them and meets their needs. With the additional space, you can provide more information to engage consumers.

These two tweaks to your marketing, adding calls and texts to all possible channels, will help you generate leads in the research phase and in the purchase phase. If 187 million consumers in the U.S. are checking their phones at least five times an hour, why not give them the ability to call and text from your ads?

Become a pro at measuring call and text response and see your direct response marketing campaign ROI soar.

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Olga Zakharenkava

Olga Zakharenkava is passionate about marketing and excels at helping businesses choose the right technology to solve their challenges. She spent the past 15 years immersed in marketing, tech and leadership, building great products and teams in startups and established enterprises. At Telmetrics (, Olga helps marketers interpret rich data from consumer phone interactions and optimize their advertising campaigns to convert more callers into satisfied customers.