AT&T is in negotiations with Ingenio to buy the online advertising company. Ingenio’s technology traces the effectiveness of advertisements by tracking phone calls made to businesses based on phone numbers used in ads. The ads tracked can be online, on mobile phone Web sites, or print. Ingenio’s technology provisions the phone numbers and tallies the calls. Rates paid by advertisers are based on the volume of phone calls generated by the ads.
AT&T plans to meld Ingenio into its Yellow Pages Web site. This will allow AT&T to take advantage of the trend toward performance-based advertising. With Ingenio’s service, advertisers don’t need their own Web sites to use the service. Advertisements appear across Ingenio’s network and point viewers to phone numbers to call, not necessarily to Web pages.
Currently companies like AOL use Ingenio for pay-per-call ads, and MSN uses it for ads sent to mobile phones. AT&T expects the deal to buy Ingenio will be finalized in January of next year.
This move by AT&T will help the company compete with Google and Yahoo! in the online advertising arena. Advertisers are looking for better ways to target their audience with ads and for ways to track the success of advertising campaigns. Ingenio will help AT&T in this endeavor.