Direct Response Marketing Blog


Call Screening vs. Call Blocking

Posted by Jessica Metz

Oct 3, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Many DR campaigns are state or area code sensitive. Perhaps laws prohibit your product being shipped to California, or the company offering a service is not licensed in Florida. If your media campaign is national, keeping callers from those excluded states is a must. Otherwise, your client receives calls they can’t handle and it poses a logistical nightmare. On the opposite side, a local campaign in New York is unlikely to get viable calls from New Mexico. A caller from that far away could be a transplant, or could be a spam or misdial.

There is more than one way to eliminate these callers efficiently and in the fairest way to the caller, because after all, they did hear your spot and are responding as they were intended to (this means your creative worked!). No matter which way you choose to restrict them, playing a message explaining they are out of the service area is a must. Without it, they might call back or think the number was published incorrectly and this reflects poorly on you.

  1. Call Screening:  You can select the states (or area codes) that you trust are likely to generate true leads, and “screen out” all other states with a message requiring the caller to press a single key. Those callers from the likely states will pass directly to the endpoint because they are essentially being qualified based on their location. In addition, this tool can be used to play an “out of service area” message to callers within certain states or area codes before disconnecting the call, so that they do not have the option to proceed to the call center. The reporting distinction with call screening is that screened calls not passing to the endpoint do not show up in reporting. This is especially clean when using for billing purposes.


  1. State blocking with IVR: In the event that you cannot take callers from a certain state, state blocking will completely rule callers out and simply play an “out of service message” before disconnecting the call. These calls still do show up on reports, which can be helpful in determining what media is working best, what areas your clients should expand to (if possible), and understand the big picture of the campaign. The risk to this method is a cell caller from a blocked state who just moved to an allowed state could be discarded because of their area code, not where they actually reside. State blocking, because it does not include a state qualifying IVR, can be used in conjunction with another type of IVR for instance giving two location choices or two products.


No matter what route you choose, we are here to help make your campaign a success!  Contact us at Zenith Media Tracking: 844-ZENITHMT


Topics: Call Tracking, Direct Response, Campaign Optimization, Reducing Misdials, Lead Management, Phone Leads

Zenith Media Tracking is for advertising professionals. We track phone calls and help agencies determine the best media buying and lead selling strategies for maximum profit.

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