In 2014, Invoca analyzed 32 million calls made to businesses to determine their referral source. They found that mobile search was far and away the leading marketing channel. Of course, their analysis revealed that the number of phone calls received may not be the whole story.

Although the calls analyzed were only those utilizing the Invoca platform, their marketing channel analysis may still be applicable to business calls as a whole. The percentage of calls by marketing channel were as follows:

  • Mobile search – 45%
  • Desktop display – 11%
  • Desktop search – 9%
  • Mobile display – 8%
  • Content/review sites – 6%
  • Radio – 6%
  • TV – 3%
  • Newspaper – 3%
  • Email – 2%
  • Offline Directory – 2%

When considering the ease of click-to-call functionality on mobile devices, it’s unsurprising that the convenience of mobile has made it the top driver of calls to businesses. That said, consumers still prefer their desktop to mobile devices when it comes to display as a driver. Perhaps this discrepancy is best explained by the fact that people who click on local ads on their mobile devices are more likely to call the business, while people who view display ads tend to want directions to the business.

Since analysts often use the call duration to determine the buyer intent of the caller, the Invoca study also takes a closer look at this factor. Their findings regarding the average duration of calls from each mobile channel show:

  • Mobile search – 3 minutes 58 seconds
  • Mobile display – 2 minutes 58 seconds.

Considering the overall average call duration across all channels is 4 minutes 7 seconds, this could indicate a lower quality of mobile calls than you’d receive from the other marketing channels. Of course, people using mobile devices are likely to be on-the-go and unable to carry on the same leisurely conversation as people sitting in front of a desktop computer.

While calls resulting from offline marketing channels only represented 16% of the calls analyzed, they did have higher call durations than mobile calls. For instance, calls that came after seeing a newspaper ad averaged 6 minutes 10 seconds. The Invoca study further notes that people who contact a business after interacting with an offline source usually have a stronger buying intent because of the level of difficulty in reaching the business as compared with online marketing channels.

The study also found that businesses typically receive the most calls on Tuesday and that only 25% of the calls received throughout the week came from landlines. Industry-specific findings revealed:

  • Automotive calls averaged only 1 minute 52 seconds, even though nearly 80% resulted from television ads
  • While radio typically only accounts for 6% of calls, the channel represents 7% in the insurance industry
  • Offline marketing efforts represented nearly half the calls for financial services.

Although mobile search can bring a business more callers to potentially turn into customers, offline marketing channels may provide a better return on marketing dollars spent.


MarketingCharts. Which Marketing Channels Drive Phone Calls to Businesses? May, 19, 2015.