800 Prefix Beats 8XX in Web Marketing Test

The 800 prefix generated the highest call-in conversion rate in a Web-based marketing test comparing prefixes 800, 888, 877 and 866, according to a new study by search marketing firm Engine Ready.

The study found the older prefixes converted visitors to calls better than the new prefixes. The 800 prefix has been around for more than 40 years; its next oldest sibling, 888, is only 13; while 877 is 11 and 866 is nine.

The test consisted of 18,100 Web site visitors that arrived on the site by clicking on a paid search ad in Google’s sponsored listings. The visits were split evenly among four distinct Web pages, each page displaying a different toll-free number. Other than the different phone numbers, the pages were identical. All visits were recorded during the first quarter of 2009.

Utilizing its call tracking software, Engine Ready was able to measure the number of both call-in conversions and online forms filled out for each of the four Web pages.

The online form fill rate was less influenced by the age of the prefix, with the 888 prefix converting the best. Based on this study, companies that are using a toll-free prefix other than “800” and want their Web visitors to call should be testing the 800-prefix.

“Although the study concluded that the 800-prefix tends to drive the most call-ins, it’s important for companies to first understand the value of call-in versus online conversions,” said Engine Ready CEO Jamie Smith. “For eCommerce companies, a call-in sale gives the opportunity for an upsell, potentially increasing the average order value of call-in leads over purely online leads.”

Smith added that lead-generation companies also benefit more from call-in leads by being able to capture the prospect when the prospect is most interested and motivated to discuss its needs.

The entire study and results can be downloaded by clicking here.

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