Leads are the lifeblood of every business—you need a pipeline full of them to keep your business afloat. While there are several types of marketing campaigns you can leverage for lead generation, pay per call, or call marketing, remains one of the most cost-effective and efficient methods for getting potential customers for your business. However, that can only happen if you have an in-depth understanding of the pay per call advertising model, the pros and cons, and how to implement it effectively.

What is Pay Per Call?

Pay per call campaigns are a form of affiliate marketing that involves paying independent marketers each time they get a potential customer to call your phone lines. These independent marketers could be TV stations, established websites, or individual bloggers that know how to generate inbound calls. Investing in a call advertising campaign can turn out to be the best business decision you will ever make—the returns can be immensely satisfying.

To put it in another context, pay per call is a type of performance marketing model in which you pay affiliates when they generate qualified calls for your business. There are different payment models you can use to compensate your publishers. For example, you can choose to pay only when a potential customer stays on the line for over a period of time, say 1 minute. Alternatively, you can decide to pay when prospective customers have taken your desired action, such as booking a demo or an appointment.

Pay per call advertising has a competitive advantage over PPC (pay per click) and traditional affiliate marketing. If nothing else, it’s less prone to online click fraud, which happens when someone clicks on your online ads multiple times manually or uses bots without any intention of engaging with the ad. The problem is that you’d pay for each click, but won’t get any value from your money. Also, pay per call is a better marketing strategy for generating highly qualified leads for your business. Pay per call marketing campaigns are easier to track than paid search and regular affiliate marketing because each publisher is given a unique phone line that redirects back to you. That way, you can easily tell where a lead is coming from.

How Does Pay Per Call Marketing Work for Affiliate Networks?

Pay per call affiliate marketing is a lead generation strategy businesses use to get potential customers to reach out to them via phone calls. It’s the practice of purchasing ad space on a pay per call network, putting up a compelling ad, and then asking people interested in your ad to call you, often via a toll-free phone line. Then you pay each time a qualified call is routed to you. Pay per call affiliate marketing often involves three parties:

  1. You (the advertiser)
  2. The caller (the prospective customer)
  3. The publisher (the affiliate that promotes your services or products)

Here’s how it works.

You contract a publisher with the skills to generate calls for your business. The publisher then sets up a compelling ad, with your phone number in it, on their website to convince prospects to try out your product or services and gets paid each time they successfully route a phone call to you.

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to work with individual affiliate marketers. You can choose to put up an ad on search engines like Google and pay only when prospective customer customers put a call through. And you mustn’t keep your advertising solely online; newspaper and TV ads are also effective channels you can explore.

Although pay per call affiliate marketing can work with any type of business, it is best suited for service-based businesses, especially legal services and home services. Financial, health, educational, auto insurance, and travel services are also good fits.

Why You Need to Use Pay Per Call Advertising

There are many reasons why using pay per call advertising makes a lot of business sense. To begin with, smartphones and mobile devices have become accessible, and virtually everyone owns one. This means you have access to a large customer base and a better chance to supercharge your revenue. The other reasons you need to use pay per call advertising are as follows:

Improved ROI

Investing in pay per call advertising is one of the surest ways of increasing your return on advertising investments. The reason is that leads that come in through your advertising call programs are more likely ready to buy than those that come in through opt-in forms. As such, you will get better outcomes from your investment and drive more sales. On top of that, you will have a steady pipeline of qualified leads and a larger customer base.

Protection Against Fraud

One of the major challenges of running performance marketing campaigns is that publishers often game the system. For example, a dishonest publisher can generate fake traffic sources and send them to your ad. When this happens, your ad will get a lot of clicks, but these clicks aren’t genuine, and you will still pay for these fake clicks. But with pay per call advertising, it’s an entirely different case. For one thing, generating fake calls is not that easy. Secondly, there are many call tracking software you can use to authenticate the genuineness of the calls your affiliate partners send your way.

Better Conversion

The beauty of pay per call advertising is that it gives you direct access to both mobile and desktop users. Since leads don’t have to click through any landing page, you can expect to get more leads. And not just any lead, quality leads. Furthermore, phone calls convert better than clicks. This isn’t surprising because people naturally like to talk with people when they are looking to buy a product or a service online. So getting on a call with potential customers will help put their minds at ease and make them eager to buy from you.

Fewer Competitions

More often than not, businesses tend to shy away from pay per call advertising, preferring PPC or social media ads for reasons best known to them. Going against the tide by leveraging pay per call affiliate networks will give you a competitive advantage over your competitors and snap up more potential customers.

Pros and Cons of Pay Per Call Advertising

Per pay call marketing has its set of pros and cons, and knowing them will help you make a better, smarter business decision. Here are some of them, starting with the pros.


  • Cheaper: When done correctly, pay per call can save you a lot of money. The reason is that you choose to pay publishers when a qualified lead puts a call across to your sales team. If you can’t afford to have a sales team, you can use an interactive voice response system instead.
  • Better Conversion Rates: Nothing delights potential customers more than talking with a real person before making any financial commitment. So giving people a chance to talk with you or your team will help boost your credibility and improve your conversion rate.
  • Efficient Tracking: Compared with other performance marketing channels, pay per call has a better tracking system. This is because every publisher you partner with has an assigned phone number they use to route calls to you. As such, you can easily tell exactly where a lead is coming from.
  • Better Customer Relations: Pay per call marketing gives you a chance to record your conversion with your customers. This allows you to identify common issues you need to sort out to ease their purchasing journey. Plus, recording conversations with your customers will enable you to determine how to improve your marketing campaigns to yield higher returns.


  • Not Suitable for All Businesses: Pay per call advertising doesn’t fit all types of businesses. For example, you won’t have any need for it if you run an e-commerce business. It’s best suited for service-based businesses.
  • Training Can Be Costly: The success of your pay per call campaigns often hinges on how skilful your sales reps are at handling customer calls. Therefore, you might have to spend a lot of money to train them. You might not see desired results from your marketing efforts if you don’t.

The Similarities and Differences Between Pay Per Call and Pay per Click

Pay per call advertising is similar and different from pay per click in many ways. Here are some of them, starting with the similarities.


  1. They are both types of performance marketing in that you only pay when someone interacts with your ad. In the case of PPC, you pay when a prospect clicks on your ad, whereas for pay per call, you will be billed when a lead calls you.
  2. PPC and PPcall are both used for generating leads for a business, and they work pretty well.
  3. They both require you to track the performance of your affiliates using tracking software.

Differences (Pay Per Click)

  1. You need a website to run a PPC campaign.
  2. The conversion rate is lower
  3. Less secured and more prone to click fraud
  4. Difficult, if not almost impossible, to track your marketing performance offline

Differences (Pay Per call)

  1. You don’t necessarily need a website to run pay per call campaigns
  2. Enjoys better conversion rate
  3. Offers better security and is less prone to fraud. The best part is that you won’t be charged for short calls, hang-ups, or calls from wrong numbers.
  4. Easy to track your marketing performance offline

Pay Per Call Best Practices

Pay per call marketing can help uplift your business to heights that you never have imagined. However, for that to happen, there are certain SMS best practices you need to adhere to, and they are as follows:

Have a Clear Goal

You must have a clear-cut goal before venturing into pay per call marketing. Having a clear goal makes it easy for you to optimize your ad budget for better returns. Plus, it enables you to channel your efforts and resources, saving you the trouble of wasting money.

  • For example, your goal could be to generate X number of sales from your affiliate program. It can also be to generate X number of incoming phone calls daily.

Use the Right Tools

Although you can track your pay per call marketing offline without using any tool, it’s always in your best interest to use reliable tracking software. Using the right tracking software lets you know exactly how your affiliates are performing and what you can do to improve results. Interestingly, most tracking software are easy to set up and use, as they come with intuitive interfaces.

Offer Toll-Free Call

Making your phone lines toll free will help drive huge traffic to your phone lines. This is because people will be more willing to call you if doing so will cost them nothing. Thankfully, you don’t have to use traditional phone lines for your pay per call campaigns. You can use a VoIP system; they are cheaper and easier to use.

How to Track Calls in Pay Per Call Advertising

If you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider tracking your calls manually. This can only work if you assigned unique, dedicated phone numbers to your affiliate marketers. Using Textback as your call tracking service enables you to efficiently track your inbound calls as well as their sources.

How to Get Started with Pay Per Call Advertising

Starting pay per call advertising is very simple. All you have to do is to determine if you will want to work with an individual marketer or use an affiliate network. Once you are done with that, the last step is to come up with your preferred payment model (how you will pay your affiliates), and you are all good to go.