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Today at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local Conference, John Busby, VP, Marchex Institute, shared some compelling data about mobile calls and conversion rates. Busby kicked off the “Mobile Superforum” that capped off a busy morning here in Boston.

Busby shared that, somewhat surprisingly, male mobile callers stay on phone for 7:23, while female mobile callers hang on the line for a relatively brief 6:30. Perhaps less surprisingly, male callers hang on the line longer in the auto, bankruptcy and locksmith categories. Apparently broke men frequently lock themselves out of their houses and cars. Female callers tend to talk longer with businesses in real estate, education and pest control.

These kinds of insights have some practical use, for example, in figuring out different approaches to handling calls and determining different interactive voice responses to use for different callers.

Busby addressed the old criticism that you cannot measure mobile users because there are no cookies in mobile. Busby contends a phone call is best indication of intent. Additionally, the phone number itself provides a lot of info, for example demographics can be discerned based on area code and exchange.

Busby says there is an opportunity in “call rescue. ” The average unanswered rate among SMBs is more than 20 percent. Call rescue  routes a call unlikely to be answered to someone who will answer the phone.

Busby also shared data showing how strong conversion is among mobile callers. “When consumers are invested in researching a product on their smartphone, they are very interested in buying. It keeps coming up in the data,” he said.  “When they convert, they typically convert within an hour.”

Busby also shared some conversion metrics by category. Marchex uses analysis of call recordings to discern ROI.

For multifamily housing, 25 percent who call mention the words “lease” or “contract” (these are keywords that signal conversion).

In the autos category, more than 70 percent of product/service calls to dealers include mention of the make and model, and more than 40 percent give the dealer their contact details. These are also strong conversion signals.

For travel, conversion is consistently more than 25 percent for rental cars and 20 percent for hotels.

To get quality calls from mobile display it takes 494,104 impressions, 2,481 clicks, and just 29 calls to generate one high quality call.

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