Online Lead Generation: Sifting Through the Digital Junkyard

In the last few years, online lead generation has become an incredibly hot topic. OK, co-registration. Regardless of what you call it, online lead gen is now being talked about with increasing frequency. Slowly but surely, more people are sticking around to hear what we have to say, just in case we’re different.

By the way, beyond the aforementioned duality of co-registration and online lead generation, many people consider co-registration the process of opting in to an offer to sign up for an unrelated second offer, hence co-registration..

Increasingly, more high-end, brand-name companies are considering lead generation. I’m talking a who’s who of advertisers. We’ve seen more top-tier publishers entertaining the idea of showing third-party offers in their processes. As recently as 18 months ago, I’d have bet a lot of money these companies would never have considered the idea of showing any offers outside their own. The environment has changed, and it may force many third-party lead-generation providers to change their ways.

There’s a lot of garbage being spewed by some online-lead generation companies. A few priceless examples I’ve recently heard:

  • “If the lead does not convert, it isn’t the source; check your creative.” That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a long time. Those of us who have been doing this for a while know different sites and processes deliver different levels of quality. A conversion deficit can be attributed to a number of factors. Of course, it could be the creative. That’s the likely scenario if you’re getting opens and clicks on your lead, but the metrics are off a bit.

  • “If an offer is incentivized, the lead quality will not be as high.” Thanks, Mr. Expert. Almost every offer out there is incentivized to some degree, most commonly as “to receive X, you must select Y,” with Y being the offer.
  • “If your offer is being sold to multiple external sources, the price should be lower because more marketers are contacting that consumer.” Ahhh. I was going to insert that revelation at the end of the previous bullet, but I think you get the picture.
  • “The consumer must clearly opt in to your offer.” This is a loaded one. Does it count as opt-in if the consumer must go through a registration process with a pre-checked offer to proceed through the Web site? I read three articles this week by people who offer this opt-in advice, yet all engage in the pre-checked box practice. If they want to do that, that’s cool. Let’s just be clear in our definitions. Clarity with the user is a vital piece of opt-in advertising’s long-term success.

Now that this industry is enjoying more media attention, larger market share, and business from larger companies, we’re in a position to take it to the next level. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, even the shady players stand to benefit from our improving image.

Most of the trash will be left on the shore. Marketers are growing increasingly sophisticated in their ability to evaluate potential co-registration providers. Those with the foresight to forgo short-term gains in favor of best practices and long-term relationships surely stand to gain the most from co-registration’s increasing market share and improving image.

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