New UK research from Google has underlined the importance for travel firms to offer a click-to-call function in their mobile search engine results.
The study, commissioned by independent market research company Ipsos, found 32% of 1,500 respondents regularly need to call when searching on their phones.
In travel click-to-call was found to be most vital in the purchase phase. Over half would call a travel business to make changes to their reservation or booking.
Mobile searchers were most likely to call when reserving a hire car (47%), searching for hotels (37%) and seeking flights (30%).
Ian Carrington, director of performance solutions and innovation at Google, said: “Globally, we know that 40 million calls are driven by Google Ads each month, so it’s fair to say that click-to-call is a clear sales driver.
“Moreover, for businesses that haven’t yet built a responsive or mobile site, click-to-call is a great way to ensure consumers can still reach your business easily, showing that mobile advertising doesn’t just have to be for the mobile-ready.”
Google said a 2013 IAB Travel Audit revealed 42% of the top 50 UK travel companies optimise their search results for mobile and, of those, 45% use click-to-call.
The Ipsos research found 94% of UK smartphone users have, at some point, needed to call a business directly when searching for information on a smartphone.
Other findings included:
- 36% of respondents would explore other brands if click-to-call wasn’t offered;
- Average click-to-call conversations lasts six minutes and it increases average ad click-through by 8%;
- 48% find click-to-call extremely important to be able to call a business when they are about to make a purchase.
Respondents said the need to talk to a real person stated was the main motivation for calling, along with wanting answers more quickly and needing more information than a website could provide.
Google said the findings suggest that businesses that do not offer the option risk damaging their brand image and could lose customers.
The Ipsos study looked at seven different verticals: Travel, Restaurant, Finance, Retail, Technology, Local Services and Auto.
The 1,500 respondents were surveyed between November 14 and November 25, 2013 and were aged 18-74, were smartphone users who use mobile search multiple times per week and had made a purchase in at least one of the verticals in the past six months.