At the YPA Conference a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Bill Dinan, who was recently named CEO of Telmetrics, the Toronto-based call measurement company. Bill has been with the company for 11 years (as a real jack-of-all-trades, doing technology, product management, operations, finance and sales) and our sit-down session gave me the chance to explore what Telmetrics was up to. As most of my readers know, I’m a big fan of call tracking and pay-per-call.
Telmetrics is known for their call tracking technology providing local numbers anywhere in North America (a lot of competitors only provide 1-800 numbers and Canadian local tracking numbers are usually hard to come by). They provide call data which can be transformed into a pay-per-call products by publishers. They also recently launched unique URLs to enable click tracking. Their customer base includes Yellow Pages publishers, local search companies, and national advertisers who are interested in tracking their results across a multitude of media vehicles.
As a recently-named CEO, I couldn’t help but asked where Dinan wanted to take the company. He told me he wants to help publishers transition from print to online, go to a model where the important thing is total calls generated notwithstanding the media form. He also wants to expand across new media like magazines and direct mails (even if those that are sold by a Yellow Pages sales force).
When I asked him why Telmetrics is important and where they fit in the local search ecosystem, he told me he saw his role as “saving revenues by proving value”. According to Dinan, “Call tracking is becoming a cost of entry like maps.” But it sure sounds like this is now a core business that every local media should own, no? The CEO answered that Telmetrics is structured to scale a lot of numbers, very quickly. He suggested they are the biggest call-tracking company out there.
On a related note, Telmetrics just released some data that shows that shows “that many Yellow Pages users visit a business’s Web site after reviewing their print ad.” After tracking 1,200 print Yellow Pages ads from November 2008 through April 2009, they found that, on average, URL visits represented 44 percent of leads, while call traffic generated 56 percent of leads. “Tracking unique URL activity in addition to call measurement shows a 78 percent increase in the overall leads driven by print Yellow Pages.” As Telmetrics says, we might be underestimating the power of the Print media if we don’t calculate the online leads driven by it as well.
What it means: for the longest time, print advertising was sold on trust, i.e. “trust me, it works”. Now, print media needs to prove it works by providing numbers. That’s definitely an impact of the “Google Revolution” which created the impetus to prove ROI and value. Call-tracking is a must for every local media. I also like the fact that Telmetrics aggregates information on millions of calls (and now clicks) and is able to look (in aggregate) at user behavior, call durations, what consumers are asking, etc. This could become the most profitable portion of the Telmetrics business as publishers start providing marketing advice and feedback to merchants.