CTM Blog


Vanity Numbers: A Critical Tool For Your Advertising Arsenal

by Laure Fisher

You may have heard the term “vanity number” before. A vanity number is a phone number that spells out your business or service so that callers remember it and associate it to you. Large corporations like FedEx (1-800-GO FEDEX®), UPS (1-800-PICK UPS®) and 1-800-FLOWERS® all have used vanity numbers for years. Their numbers tell consumers who they are, what they do and they are memorable.

Today, we are excited to announce that CallTrackingMetrics is offering the option to purchase US toll free and local vanity numbers and use them in conjunction with our call tracking software (with all the features included like call recording, advanced call routing, voice analytics and dynamic number insertion on your website).

History of vanity numbers

Vanity numbers first emerged in the 1970s, as an add- on feature to AT&Ts toll-free number service. They started to gain momentum in the 1980’s when the FCC mandated that all toll-free numbers be portable between providers. This made vanity numbers very attractive since a memorable number you can’t move with you is not very helpful. Many people thought that vanity numbers would lose value in the past decade as more calls are now placed over mobile phones where numbers are easily saved and remembered and most people find businesses online through search engines. However, vanity numbers continue to thrive as ads on the radio and TV need to be shorter and shorter to keep attention and vanity numbers have become a matter of prestige among businesses and their customers.

These numbers can be very expensive. Is it worth it?

A lot of people think so. Research indicates that consumers equate companies who offer vanity numbers with premium services and quality products- it is an indicator of being established since vanity numbers were once the hallmark of established large corporations.

Some studies have gone so far to show that by using a toll free vanity number, businesses receive up to 14 times the call volume than ad campaigns using a regular phone numbers. One study found that 72% of participants were able to remember a vanity number after hearing it during a 30 second radio commercial. The same group’s recall rate dropped to only five percent when a toll-free number that was not associated with a name was mentioned during another short radio commercial.

How to choose a vanity number?

Vanity numbers are a combination of numbers and alphabets. They can be toll free or local.

  • You must ensure that the number you are choosing is relevant to your business and easy to remember. It should clearly convey what your business does.
  • Avoid using unique spelling and hybrid numbers which can be confusing to customers.
  • If you would rather not spell a word but rather have an easy number pattern, consider 7, 6 or 5 digit in a row numbers (such as 410-544-4444).
  • If you are trying to convey a national, established presence, choose a toll free vanity vs. a local number whereas if your edge is being local and close to your customer, choose a vanity number with your local area code.

How does the process work on CallTrackingMetrics?

  • We have a brief request form you will fill out to tell us the type of vanity number you need. Once we receive your request, we will begin searching through our inventory and identify potential matches for you.
  • Vanity numbers are only available in the US currently.
  • Each vanity number has a one time set up fee which will vary depending on the demand for the pattern, the area code, and the particular word you are looking to spell etc. (set up fees can range from $80 to $40,000) After the set up fee, you will just pay the normal local or toll free number and minute rate for your current CTM plan.
  • Once you sign off on the purchase of the vanity number, we will get the number set up on our network. This may take up to 2-3 weeks. We will let you know the exact timeline. Do not use your vanity number in advertisements until the number is live on our system.
  • The number is then yours to use! It is also portable so provided you maintain the number on our system for at least 3 months, you can take the number with you if you ever need to change providers.