Thursday, 2 December 2010

Winter Online Lead Generation - Good or bad?

Writing this having not left the house today and I don't intend to, whilst the UK is covered in the white stuff. Instead I'm watching my volumes on my lead management platform with bated (visible) breath. Does the bad weather mean I will see an avalanche of leads now? With so many people stuck at home browsing online surely people will be in need of some light entertainment. What better way to while away an hour or two by responding to offers by email, clicking on lead gen advertising or taking part in online survey competitions.

Or maybe my lead gen volumes with freeze-up. The snow could discourage people doing most things they'd normally enjoy, giving people the opportunity to hibernate or simply go native with winter sporting fun.

Either way, the numbers won't lie and I for one, will be praying for a snow powered boost to online lead gen volumes this month. Bring it on...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Some leads are more equal than others - Lead Generation NOT List Generation

I have uncovered an interesting trend recently whereby online lead generation (OLG) publishers seem keen to push leads that are opted in via their generic registration form using many advertisers logo's rather than a specific opted-in qualifying question. The result is huge volumes of leads at a lower price without that OLG seal of quality.

Whilst in itself, this may not be a bad idea for advertisers with the right product to sell to consumers. It definitely is a bad idea to confuse this with lead generation. For arguments sake, is it more accurate to describe this as 'list generation' and treat it accordingly.

I do recommend 'list generation' as a viable option for those conducting mass market email campaigns with the ability to monetise the data asset after the conversion process had finished, i.e. selling the prospect file on a CPM basis).

So whilst this is a welcome addition to the stable of data products available on the market, if people could use the term 'list generation' it will not get confused with the typical lead generation market.

Friday, 29 October 2010

IAB Online Lead Generation Council update

The eternal debate in online lead gen. rages on at the latest meeting of the IAB OLG Council. That is, how some advertisers, agencies, and publishers seem to be mis-representing what OLG is all about - an advertising channel that provides high quality, high volume of leads that turn into customers at an affordable price.

Firstly, advertisers, seem to be largely in the dark about how to design a winning lead generation campaign with the bewidlering array of options available to them.

Agencies (larges one who should know better) tend to lump OLG into other media or measure only by the channel as a whole not by specific OLG media which made up the campaign.

Publishers - still seems far too easy for new entrants to pop-up, cobble together a decent lead gen. test and then fudge the roll-out by blind broking.

The council is determined to continue educating the wider advertising industry into understanding the huge benefits of OLG so that an ever increasing number of brands can enjoy the results it offers.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Behavioural Targeting - Please behave yourself!

Whilst I welcome the increased targeting techniques of ad networks trawling and storing my every impression and click to serve me better and more relevant advertising, there is one major flaw...

They don't factor in when I've actually purchased!!! I know this because my time on looking at sofa's and my resultant purchase at Dwell in their Richmond branch (yes real shops do still exist) has meant constant behavioural advertising of the sofa I've already bought, weeks past my purchase date. I've bought, you got me already, but I can't switch the damn ads off.

This cyber stalking of consumers with post-purchase pointless advertising could never happen in online lead gen. because it's all about turning leads into sales and then moving on to target the next available lead who isn't a sale.

So stop counting the cookies and focus on counting the leads and the sales instead. And most of all, don't try to sell me the same sofa twice!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

How to Combat Fraud in Online Lead Generation campaigns

The existence of fraudulent activity in online lead generation will come as no suprise to those in the affiliate marketing world. Four key ways to keep fraud to an absolute minimum are:
  1. Transparency on your ad placement and publishers
  2. Use lead management technology to detect unusual patterns of lead submissions (i.e. receiving thousands of leads at 2 o'clock in the morning is highly unlikely to be genuine).
  3. Tight commercial paperwork - protect yourself from paying out for invalid leads so there is no incentive for publishers to act in a fraudulent manner
  4. Collect as many contact fields as possible to validate the lead as genuine. This includes full name, PAF address and IP address
Fraudulent online lead generation is an unfortunate part of today's lead marketing landscape and can destroy what would have been a succesful campaign.

So be wise to the issue and take the necssary steps above to keep fraud at bay.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Is CPL advertising the perfect tonic to add to the online (CPM) advertising mix?

Cost per lead (CPL) marketing is coming of age with an increasingly amount of publishers waking up to the fact that CPL is not a replacement for CPM or is any way a lower class advertising channel. They come from different budgets, do different things and can be placed using different inventory. CPL ads provide a steady stream of leads of people interested in your product/service for future follow-up whereas CPM display is best placed to generate publicity, brand build or acquire customers online in that instant.

Getting the mix right is key for the publisher to maximise monetisation from their media and CPL is certainly more palatable than the 100% publisher risk that pure cost per acquistion (CPA) offers.

I look forward to continuing working with new publishers who last year would have turned their noses up at CPL deals but now recognise the role of performance advertising in the marketing mix.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Need more quality from Online Lead Gen? Done the Double Opt-in yet?

In an increasingly crowded lead gen. marketplace it's more difficult than ever to make your advertising stand out in the multi-offer environment.

One emerging technique that seems to capture the zeitgeist is the 'double opt-in' or DOI. Market researchers (often at the cutting edge of online lead gen.) moved to this process years ago to build their online panels, now the rest of the market is catching on. I'm currently seeing lots of demand from e-tailers and travel companies, to name a couple of sectors.

But be careful before you suddenly demand all of your OLG on a DOI. Most quality publishers will not operate on a DOI and so arbitrage is the answer (managing the risk from single to double opt-in). You'll even have to negotiate hard with the affiliates to pay on a DOI as they are often suspicious about email deliverability.

So if you willing to take up the double opt-in challenge, it could provide the answer to quality you're looking for...

Friday, 9 July 2010

New Lead Generation - Cost per lead advertising grows in 2010

I'm hearing lots of interesting stories about how big brand publishers are now taking cost per lead advertising seriously, at last. The downturn in CPM, flat fee advertising can only hasten the stampede towards performance marketing for both publisher and advertiser.

On the publisher side, CPL advertising is no longer seen as a threat to their bread and butter regular advertising but is a true new revenue stream which can be run alongside and maximise the monetisation of the publishing media assets.

For the advertisers, CPL offers a flexible, controllable, measurable and above all, justifiable way to spend that precious marketing budget in 2010.

Whilst I think it will be another 6-12 months before we see the big publisher brands shouting about their performance marketing offering.  Quietly behind the scenes, plans are being made, tests conducted and of course new money being made from lead generation marketing.

I welcome the expansion of the lead generation marketing industry with these new publishers on the block.

Friday, 11 June 2010

IAB Online Lead Generation Buyers Guide is here!

It's arrived at last. Those smart people on the IAB Lead Generation Council have cracked it and come up with an exciting but simple Buyers Guide to OLG.

The purpose is firstly dispel some myths and secondlly to demonstate the huge potential of this channel when bought in the right way.

Please everyone join the IAB and get a copy now whether you're an old hand or new to online lead generation.

Alternatively, come to my seminar on Lead Marketing at the Data Marketing Show on the 29th June and the first 20 people will get a copy.

Friday, 28 May 2010

CPM Display Coreg Banners have truly arrived

It was the ubiquitous online display ad campaign by Ultralase that finally made me blog about this phenomena. Whereas before their banner approach was all brand and repeat whilst banking on people responding through another channel. The latest leaderboard incarnation features a standard coreg style question - Do you want laser eye treatment? Yes/No. Whilst it pretty obvious, this info. doesn't get captured it is used to engage the consumer and tailor the landing page to optimise clicks and sales. I did wonder what happened if you clicked no! Maybe you click through to a sunglasses retailer instead?

Maybe all display advertising will be co-reg style in the future. Let's face it, what could be simpler than asking consumers if they are in the market for your product before you try it to sell to them.

So we'll see less of, inferred 'you are what you click' and more conclusive 'you are what you want'.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Contextual Coreg generates amazing results!

Wow, did I make a publisher/advertiser match in heaven this week. Take one market researcher targeting young people and mix it with a young peoples portal and you get 90% double opt-in!!! A record conversion rate as the target was 40%. Now which award can I enter this for?

This kind of bespoke media buying where I seek specific publishers for lead gen advertisers is likely to form an increasing part of the lead marketing mix.

It can be complex and time consuming in making the right matches but when you do, expect lead marketing fireworks...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I don't want no scrubs?

Yes, scrubbing is one of those horrendous but vital processes of modern day online lead gen. Having said that, advertisers who don’t use lead management systems often throw it back at me and question why don’t suppliers take responsibility by not sending invalid leads in the first place. However the reality is, whilst the huge volumes of online gen may be the fatted calf, the sacrificial lamb is often the validity of some of the data generated. This doesn’t necessarily make a supplier bad, as they themselves may be victims of rogue affiliates sending questionable traffic. Therefore, it is much better to employ sensible real-time validation with a manual scrub process to lift even the worst performing suppliers to within an acceptable level of ROI/CPA.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A pain in the pixel

Spent past week talking way too much about pixel placement, fixing pixels, pixels firing.

What I want to talk about is leads, people responding, customers buying. I know pixels are the tried and tested method to optimise and buy leads through your own forms but it's so easy to lose sight of the marketing process. It's hard to think of each person as a pixel and I don't think I want to. Maybe they should have been named sprites but then that conjures up even worse imagery!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

What does cooking and online lead gen have in common?

You would think absolutely nothing, but the truth is many online lead gen (OLG) publishers blend their sources (sauces, geddit?) in an attempt to give clients what they want - volume and quality of leads.  Whilst this may work for a while, the minute things start to slip there is no way back as advertisers often believe they are buying from a single network and are likely to drop the whole campaign, or even worse, the whole channel.

I am shocked at the number of times I hear advertisers say they have been burnt (sorry, another cooking analogy) by OLG. They often blame the publishers for duff leads, but when the buyers and sellers are both transacting blind with no control on ad placement there is a shared responsibility in managing the quality and volume to acheive CPA's.

One things is certain, there are no short-cuts in using OLG to get unlimited quantities of high quality leads. You instead have to use well honed direct marketing techniques such as test and learn to guide you every step of the way in making your perfect OLG recipe.

Friday, 8 January 2010

2010 Online Lead Generation Predictions

  1. Wider disparity in pricing as new entrants offer cheap low quality whilst established lead gen. providers focus on premium end
  2. Voluntary lead gen code - to standardise lead gen ad formats and regulate data collection methods
  3. Influx of new publishers providing non-competition co-reg instead using content, shopping basket check-outs, freeware and games to incentivise.
  4. Lead scoring becoming more commonplace with tiered pricing structures
  5. OLG going mobile