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January 28, 2009

Report: Consumers Have Better Recall of Toll-free Vanity 800 Numbers over Web Addresses

Companies that rely strictly on their Web site as a marketing and promotional tool and dismiss the phone as old technology could risk losing business.
A new study shows that consumers have a 45 percent higher recall of vanity 800/toll-free numbers than they do of Web URLs. It also illustrated that vanity 800 numbers are also more memorable than URLs when used in print, outdoor, and broadcast advertising formats.

The research, believed to be the first of its kind, and sponsored by 800response suggest that marketers will conversely benefit from featuring memorable toll-free numbers in addition to listing a web addresses in their advertising campaigns.
The majority of some 1,000 consumers surveyed cite “Research the Advertiser” and “Research the Competition” as their first steps when visiting an advertiser’s Web site. An examination of multiple industries (auto, home improvement, education and health care) reveals that as many as 40 percent research an advertising company’s competition as their first step once they move on from their Web site.
“The results suggest that advertisers who use their web sites as the exclusive consumer response tool risk losing potential customers right from the start, with about a fifth of consumers citing ‘research the competition’ as their first step,” says Laura Noonan, Vice President of Marketing with 800response. “And fewer than 10 percent state that they would communicate with the advertiser as their first step. If companies aren’t including a phone number in their ads, then they are losing that valuable direct communication with consumers who are already beyond the research phase and ready to buy.”
In six out of seven tests, the data shows that consumers have an overall higher recall rate for vanity 800 phone numbers than they do for web addresses. These range from 29.6 percent for an automotive firm using print/billboard to as high as 132.2 percent for a home improvement outfit utilizing the same media.
One example of one recall test, a sample radio ad for the fictitious company, Bayside Auto Sales, featured 1-800-NEW-AUTO as the vanity number, and as the mock URL. Survey respondents had a 52 percent higher recall of the vanity number compared to the URL, despite the fact that the URL was an exact match to the company name. The higher recall for the phone number over the web address is significant for a business when they look at return on advertising investment.
 “These recall findings combined with consumers’ proclivity to shop the competition while online suggests that advertisers will benefit by featuring a memorable toll-free number in addition to listing their web address in their advertising,” adds Noonan. “Using a URL as the sole direct-response method is not a sage tactic for generating the maximum number of leads from an advertising budget.”
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart


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