Microsoft, Ingenio Pact on Mobile

NEW YORK Microsoft has signed a deal with pay-per-call ad vendor Ingenio to deliver search ads on its Windows Live mobile platform.

Through the new arrangement, users conducting searches for local businesses using the Windows Live mobile service will receive text ads served by Ingenio. Unlike typical search ads, which drive users to an advertiser’s Web site, when users click on Ingenio search ads they are encouraged to call those advertisers directly.

Ingenio’s product is designed to appeal to local businesses, like restaurants, doctor’s offices and plumbers, which may not maintain Web sites but are looking to connect with mobile searchers.

Ingenio says that its Pay Per Call Advertising Network, which serves ads both on the Web and on mobile platforms, now generates more than a billion consumer searches each month.

Local researcher The Kelsey Group predicts that pay-per-call advertising will become a $3.7 billion market in four years.