[Below was part of a post I had written for VisionMobile, a great group of awesome mobile analysts!]
Many point to Apple’s 2000M+ cached credit cards as being their most valuable asset. Why is it valuable, you may ask? Well, cached credit cards means one-click purchasing which is fantastic for all sorts of commerce (eg purchasing apps, physical goods and so forth). One less obvious benefit for cached CCs is how it enables CPA (Cost per action) advertising – let me explain. CPA ads typically require the user to complete some sort of form (eg completing a web form to trial some new product).The typical workflow requires providing billing and other details meaning numerous steps and clicks. However, if your billing details are cached, than the CPA workflow could be reduced to a few clicks!
Let’s walk thru an example of subscribing to Netflix. First, the user would click a text or banner ad for a Netflix trial subscription and is then taken to a landing page with specific product information about the service. The landing page is basically the sell page where you are going to make or break (convert) the CPA. Assuming you do a good job convincing your potential customer to sign-up for the trial, the user will complete a web form with his personal details (eg name, address etc) and billing information. The CPA has converted and the publisher serving the Netflix CPA ad just made his $25 bounty!
The challenge with the traditional CPA workflow on a mobile device is that your teaser page needs to be very concise given the limited real estate of a mobile screen. In addition the web application form needs to be easy to complete; we all know how difficult it is to type via a mobile keyboard.
One potential solution is the mobile wallet. If your billing details are cached, the web form could be auto-completed along with personal details resulting in almost a one-click CPA process and thus demonstrating the value of cached credit cards.
In the interim, clever stop-gap solutions have emerged. Instead of making the user complete a complex web form resulting in a poor CPA conversion, the user clicks-to-call a phone number from the teaser page. The call leads to a rep employed by the ad network who completes the web form for you (presumably at their PC). Companies like Moolah Media have demonstrated this workflow at great success and thus one solution enabling CPA advertising on mobile!
Update: I talked about a number of things we may see in the coming year at SXSW. Mike Merrill detailed some of my talk at his blog – thx Mike!