A fair number of people still use smartphones for the purpose for which they were intended; that is, to make phone calls. And that reality is not lost on either businesses that want more complete portraits of their customers or vendors with technologies to help them gain that insight.
Today, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Invoca, a call analytics and intelligence provider, announced another significant investment to help integrate phone calls into marketing technology stacks. It completed a $30 million Series D round led by Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, bring total funding to more than $60 million.
Existing investors Accel Partners, Upfront Ventures, Rincon Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Stepstone also participated in the round.
Invoca officials said they will use the money to extend the company's technology across sales, marketing, customers success and product development, with a focus on helping Fortune 500 marketers with call intelligence.
Phones Are Still Ringing
Despite the prevalence of social media and web technologies, customers still use the phone. In fact, smartphone use is driving a spike in calls to businesses. By 2019, mobile channels are set to drive 162 billion calls.
So the marketing call analytics market is big business. Invoca sits in a speech analytics market, a sub-market for call analytics solutions specifically designed for call/contact centers, according to Abid M. Chaudhry, senior director of industry strategy and senior analyst of Chantilly, Va.-based BIAKelsey, a media research and consultancy firm.
It is expected to grow to $7.65 billion by 2019, up from $4.18 billion in 2014, research shows (fee charged).
The challenge is integrating call analytics platforms with marketing clouds and marketing automation platforms. Investors believe Invoca does this effectively.
"Invoca is leading the charge to fill a major need for every CMO today by helping them to derive the insights they've come to expect from digital channels from the most important form of communication — conversations," Kobie Fuller, Partner at Palo Alto investor Accel, told CMSWire. “As today's consumers increasingly interact with the world through their phones, this becomes a key moment for this technology. Invoca is the clear category leader, which is why we're bullish about our investment."
Call analytics is moving toward the next evolution of call intelligence, said Chaudhry. Companies like Invoca provide this kind of technology to larger matrixed organizations that utilize enterprise marketing automation and sales/CRM platforms.
“The key differentiator between analytics and intelligence lies in the ability for call intelligence platforms to provide enterprise marketers with a combined set of revenue/conversion additive features,” Chaudhry said.
The technology provides live call-based routing, simplified integration capabilities into other online marketing channels and cross-platform integration — the ability to plug in to and share data with other enterprise marketing and sales platforms to drive greater efficiency across all campaigns.
Chaudhry finds the calls market split between:
- Companies that tailor solutions to sales/call centers
- Companies that provide core tracking functionality for the broader online advertising market
- Companies that go deep into platform integration and cross-channel marketing-enablement
“Invoca,” Chaudhry said, “has evolved over the past several years from providing robust call tracking solutions for mid-sized marketers into a sophisticated intelligence platform that offers greater focus on enterprise integration and cross-channel marketing capability.”
Invoca’s created a market differentiation that puts it into a much smaller competitive pool, “a smart move on its part.”
“It may be that in time other companies that launched around the same time as Invoca — like DialogTech, Convirza, Marchex — all eventually narrow their focus into the same areas as Invoca, but as of now, each company still maintains a unique product narrative based on their own core competencies,” Chaudhry said.
Cloud sales/marketing platforms are increasingly adopting call analytics technology as a means to provide marketers with online-to-offline campaign accountability, Chaudhry added. This includes greater visibility into cross-channel marketing campaign performance.
Invoca just announced at Adobe Summit an integration with Adobe Marketing Cloud, allowing enterprise marketers to manage both online digital and offline phone interactions, all inside the Adobe Marketing Cloud.
“Often times, the optimal conversion event for an enterprise marketer is a phone call sourced from a specific ad campaign,” Chaudhry said.
This gives marketers insight as to what campaign, on what channel, with what budget led to that call. It’s invaluable, Chaudhry said, and marketing cloud providers know that this is a major selling point they can offer to their own customers.
Invoca officials said the company grew enterprise customers by 70 percent and monthly recurring revenue for these customers by more than 150 percent last year. They said customers use their Software-as-a-Service platform to measure which campaigns are driving calls, automatically score and route callers to the right destination and trigger the next best action in a partner ecosystem that includes Adobe, Salesforce, Google, Oracle and Marketo, as well as data management platforms, affiliate networks and agencies.
Kyle Christensen, VP of marketing at Invoca, told CMSWire in an interview marketers that invest in SEO and keywords may fail to see how phone calls help conversions. If a customer clicks on a keyword then makes a phone call, marketers focusing on SEO would see that as a missed opportunity. They'd link that keyword to abandonment, and they may drop it.
Invoca’s platform helps marketers see that keyword actually worked: it led to the phone call.
“It shines a spotlight on conversions taking place,” Christensen said. “People think of phone calls as a call center. Companies invest technology to get people off the phone, but on the sales side it’s generating revenue.”
Invoca, founded in 2008, now has about 175 employees.