Explain to us what we can expect in the Lead gen session at A4U?
"We have a crack expert panel on this session covering every aspect of lead generation possible, personal experience on what has worked, what doesn’t, gripes, pain points, successes and of course top tips will be covered. We have an agency, a merchant, a leading publisher, a lead exchange as well as me compering the session from lead performance tracking and reporting perspective - it’s going to be a well rounded session."
*The Lead Generation session is 09.30am on Day Two at a4uexpo in the BT Live Theatre.
Has 2011 been the year of lead generation?
"It’s certainly been a strong year for lead generation, at PHG we’ve seen consistent levels of interest and budgets being spent in the sector. According to our client feedback a more open and transparent route to market in terms of where leads come/generated and following the lead quality past just the confirmation page as offered by PHG is a big contributing factor.
"Those who operate successfully in lead generation view it as a series of steps to achieve a goal, the goal not being a confirmed lead, but a metric deeper in the conversion funnel. That can be an increase in open rates on newsletters to life insurance policies being taken and being renewed. If you view lead generation as just a landing page you may as well just burn your cash!"
In your opinion, who is driving demand for lead generation and pushing boundaries past the landing page?
"From what we’ve seen, the main drivers are the sophisticated agencies who are developing performance teams encapsulating lead generation alongside affiliate and other performance based channels.
"The fact that these teams are conditioned to buying on a cost per action basis across a wide range of partners is allowing a shift in the mentality of lead buying. Instead of just looking to work with the same old partners again and again, they are examining new paths to market, which is a result of their affiliate ‘upbringing’. This is being ably supported by the agility of publishers seeking to operate in this space. For example, integrating Facebook into email send outs allowing consumers to spread the message virally.
"In addition, there is an undisputed drive from advertisers to seek newer ways of engaging with consumers. We are seeing huge growth from FMCG brands in particular, who feel that they have lost ownership of the consumer to the retailer. They wish to communicate directly with their consumers online and this is driving an upsurge in lead generation as these brands seek to collect data."
You mentioned Facebook there...how is the lead generation sector utilising the social media giant?
"It’s an interesting area; one I don’t think has really been cracked. When I talk about lead generation in this space I’m not talking about buying LIKEs, that’s not lead generation, its crowd harvesting, simple.
"What I’m talking about is measuring likes back to a specific end goal, sale or sign up. Through the PHG tracking API, it’s possible to track and report on all activity through FB LIKES, which encompass three main areas:
- Clicks generated through LIKE buttons
- All subsequent conversion generated after the user has clicked the LIKE button
- And understanding of the “referral tree” generated from a users like
"So, we can integrate LIKE buttons into confirmation pages for example, and drive social engagement in a measured and insightful way, if you’re going to spend in that space, at least know you can measure that spend!"
So is it all about the technology, tracking and demonstrating that return?
"Technology is vital as it allows advertisers to measure their spend back to demonstrable results. As with any advertising, you shouldn’t be spending your budget on things you can’t measure. Having the right technology in place allows agencies and advertisers to make informed purchasing decisions based on real data.
"Alongside effective strategic management, the right technology is absolutely crucial in running a successful lead generation campaign."
Do you have any examples of how technology drives better results?
"Take a mobile phone retailer wishing to drive free sim send outs for example. A lead is fine but is not ultimately how the wider business measures its performance. ROI is truly measured against Activation and Top up. So there are two further steps after the lead has been generated that need to be taken into account.
"Pulling those KPI’s back into an overarching performance marketing dashboard which allows them to map a sale back to where the lead has come from would provide a greater insight to the telecoms companies and enable them to price more on performance, rewarding those publishers at either CPL level or placing additional top up rewards upon KPI’s being hit."
What makes a good lead?
"It is completely dependent on what the expectation of that lead is, and what the brand procuring that lead is hoping to achieve. At a very basic level it should be a valid lead, i.e. the data collected should be scrubbed and verified as ultimately it’s the ability to contact and engage with that lead is step 1.
"It also needs to be in line with the consumers expectation. For example, if you are collecting phone numbers, then the consumer should be expecting a call. If you are collecting email addresses, then you should expect to see a strong open rate as the consumer is receiving information that is pertinent to them and that they’ve expressed an interest in receiving."
Is lead generation punching above its weight when it begins to talk about performance?
"Not at all. Performance marketing is all about engaging with the consumer and understanding their path to sale. Lead generation is arguably the first step to sale and therefore vitally important in terms of introducing the consumer to the brand. Understanding the level that lead generation plays in the sales funnel is vital, and should be the bedrock upon which budget setting is carried out."
So how do you think budgets will be assigned going forward?
"You pay for leads on a performance basis, with the action rewarded being the provision of a valid lead according to predefined criteria. However looking ahead, I see that the advanced technology will allow us to more accurately assess the value of leads and therefore pay variable amounts to lead providers based on the quality of leads. This will allow brands to determine what they are looking for, just sheer volume of leads or with enhanced focus on quality."
Sean Sewell is a Director at Performance Horizon