The Americans are coming
They invented it, they perfected it and they even have LeadsCon, an annual conference in Las Vegas dedicated it, but up until now American involvement in the UK online lead generation industry has been limited. In many verticals, they have been more casual observers rather than major players. But over the last year or so, there has been an increasing interest from the American lead companies in bringing their knowledge and experience over to the UK market and showing us a few tricks. From increasingly sophisticated methods that generate leads from social media sites to the use of online video to increase form conversions, expect to see more of these sorts of developments make their way across the Atlantic along with a few of the companies that perfected them.
The platform play
You buy leads, you supply leads but how do you manage multiple campaigns across multiple verticals simultaneously? Easy -- you need an online lead generation platform. Whether you are a lead buyer, a lead seller or an agency, the increasing need for transparency, efficiency and tracking are making the lead generation platform an increasingly attractive proposition. From digital insertion orders, real-time reporting or just the ability to manage multiple suppliers and buyers in one place, a platform can add real value to all the stakeholders in the lead generation value chain. A platform can not only make the lead generation process more efficient it can also deliver potentially large cost savings. Imagine a life insurance company buying 1,000 leads per week for £40 per lead from 20 suppliers. With these volumes there will always be an element of duplication as consumers fill in multiple forms online. Most advertisers end up paying for everything, which means paying for the same lead more than once. Even with a duplication rate as low as 5 per cent that's still over £2,000 wasted per week, which is over £100,000 per year. Loading these 20 suppliers into a platform that can de-dupe in real-time can be very cost effective so it's no wonder that many advertisers see these types of platforms as the future of online lead generation.
If you thought data leads were good...
For high value verticals like financial services, many advertisers buy leads to put into a call centre to try to convert into a sale over the phone. Even if you work with the best suppliers in the world with the best technology, there will always be some degree of wastage -- perhaps the consumer just doesn't pick up the phone or they didn't read clearly enough that somebody would call them if they submitted their details so were just looking for an online quote. Either way, it can cost a significant sum to process these types of leads. For many of these high value lead products there is an increasing demand to buy voice leads as well as or instead of data leads where you pay a premium but have a guaranteed contact. Up until now, this market has been filled by call centres cold calling old data and then hot-keying interested consumers through to the advertiser's own call centre. The downside is that often the consumers are pushed through without really having much interest in the product and the end results are more contacts but also more wastage. And finally, the next big thing in terms of voice leads is where the consumer is initiating the contact -- i.e., they are responding to marketing and instead of filling in a form to be contacted, they are dialling a number and these calls are routed to the relevant advertisers and each valid call is paid for on a cost per call basis. Again, this is big business in the US -- expect to see this execution making waves on this side of the pond over the coming months.
Justin Rees is director of marketing and partnerships at LeadPoint UK