Scaling the Inverted Traffic Pyramid: What You Need to Know

By Melissa Duko, May 23, 2017

Advertisers know pay per call offers the quickest response for customers. But why aren’t your call center’s phones ringing off the hook? It could be because your call bids aren’t hitting that “inverted traffic” sweet spot.

It doesn’t matter if you’re offering a highly sought vertical (e.g. car insurance, legal, rehab). Unless you’re bidding the right amount to access those calls, your phone will never ring.

Here’s what you need to know about the “inverted traffic pyramid” and how to scale it.

The Inverted Traffic Pyramid

The Inverted traffic pyramid is a term we use to describe the flow of call traffic. Imagine an inverted pyramid, where the largest block is located at the top, and the smallest at the bottom. Each level represents the stream of calls available.

Related Post: Why Pay Per Call Is the Smart and Proven Way to Boost Your Business

The higher volume is located at the top. To access that call volume, it will depend on how much you’re willing to spend on bids. 

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Source: Giphy

Call Volume Per Price

Each level of the inverted traffic pyramid is assigned a call volume per price, which will vary on the industry and vertical.

As you climb the pyramid, the call volume per price rises. The higher the level, the higher the price per call, and the more access you’ll have to calls.

  • Top Level. Access to the most calls.
  • Middle Level. Access to moderate amount of calls.  
  • Bottom Level. Little to no access to calls.  

Related Post: Click to Call vs. Warm Transfers: Which Will Boost Your Bottom Line

Ideally, you want to be at the top of the pyramid. As you move down the pyramid, the middle or average spend level will get you an average stream of calls. Your call flow is likely to be more moderate because this level is where most advertisers are bidding, so competition is fiercer.   


While low spend sounds appealing, you’ll be spinning your wheels at this level. The bottom of the pyramid offers few calls, and the ones you get likely won’t convert. Here, you get what you pay for. Invest a little, get a little. It’s the nature of the beast.

Journey to the Top

To reach the top, clearly you’re going to have to pay more. However, it will take some trial and error first. 


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Let’s say you’re looking for solar calls which are going for $100 a call. But you’re new to the industry, you don’t know the going rate, so you bid $50. You get zero calls.

Related Post: 4 Reasons Click to Call Is the Future of Facebook Advertising

So, you keep increasing your bids until you hit $95, the calls are coming in. Feeling optimistic, you bid $105, and suddenly you’re overwhelmed. Too many calls for your team to handle. So, you drop the bids back down to $100. Now you have the perfect flow.   

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Source: Giphy

However, don’t forget there are variables that can also affect the price of calls. For instance, raw calls and different durations affect pricing. Perhaps you’re paying $10 for a 30-second call, so naturally you’d expect to pay $20 for a 60-second call. What you don’t realize is 60-second calls are a more competitive slot, and they’re actually going for $40.

As you scale, remember to always A/B test different bids until you find that magic number.

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Melissa Duko

Melissa Duko

Melissa Duko is the Senior Editor and Digital Specialist for eZanga and its ad fraud management platform, Anura. She brings to her role more than a decade of journalism and editing experience. A graduate of the University of Delaware, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, concentration business and technical writing, minor Art History. She also has a Master of Science in professional writing for the public and private sector from Towson University. She isn’t afraid to admit that her love for Starbucks is at gold member status. (Since 2011!) More Articles by Melissa Duko