Skype, the internet telephone service provider that allows users to make phone calls over the web, has been known for some very creative VoIP applications over the years. But one thing it’s not been known for is its ability to be an advertising vehicle for marketers.
Up until now, that is. Last week, Skype introduced a pay-per-call advertising service, Click & Call, that turns phone numbers into little ads, similar to pay-per-click search ads, for the 560 million Skype users.
Here’s how it works: When Skype users click on the blue-highlighted phone numbers anywhere an advertiser’s phone number is listed on the web, Skype’s software is launched and the caller is connected to the company for free. As with paid search ads on search engines, businesses set monthly budgets and pay Skype based on the volume of calls they receive.
Marchex, a provider of click-to-call products and services, is Skype’s partner on the service and will share in the revenue. Marchex is also setting prices, providing analytics for the service and offering it to third-party resellers. Marchex says the service already has more than 20,000 customers.
If you’re an advertiser looking for reach (and who isn’t?), Skype’s nearly 600 million users could be very appealing to you. Other benefits of the program, in my opinion, are the fact that you only have to pay for the calls made to your business; you can set your own budget; and you can closely track which calls at which times make your phone ring.
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