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Content marketing is fast becoming core to many SMB marketing strategies, to the point that it threatens to crowd out more traditional media spending. And call monetization is getting more attention as growing smartphone use spurs a rapid rise in low funnel (high purchase intent) mobile generated calls to SMBs.

These two hot topics in local digital media just happen to be on deck as the next two BIA/Kelsey Insight Papers. Last week we launched a Google Hangout with the authors of these two upcoming reports to get a preview of what they are all about.

First we asked Abid Chaudhry to tell us about his upcoming piece on content marketing. His central contention is that “Content marketing is beginning to take over as the primary advertising budget spend of most SMBs.” His view is the growth of mobile and social as marketing channels for SMBs means that content marketing, broadly defined, is threatening to crowd out more traditional forms of digital advertising, such as pay per click.

“The name of the game now is consolidation,” Chaudhry said. “Folks that used to do direct marketing only vs. social vs. reputation management are all coming together to offer integrated solutions. That is the future of content marketing.”

Mike Boland also joined the hangout to preview his report on call monetization, which in many ways will be a follow up to the 2012 report “Call-Based Ads: Eliminating the Unknown from Advertising.”

Boland contends the big change since the 2012 paper has been the even greater influence of smartphones on call monetization. Today, smartphones are in the hands of about 63% of mobile users.

“If you pan back, pay per call has been around a while…but it was physically separated from the phone,” Boland said. “Now, with the search device literally bolted to the phone, we see an explosion of call volume.”

BIA/Kelsey estimates mobile call volume will reach 65 billion by 2016. And mobile calls by their nature tend to have a higher purchase intent, and thus higher conversion rate, than calls generated from desktop search.

“Businesses want calls,” Boland said. “Our data shows that calls are the most valued form of lead for small businesses.”

Check out this video to hear both analysts discuss the key themes in their upcoming reports, Chaudhry goes first, with Boland’s discussion of call monetization beginning at the 5:20 mark:

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