In October last year Facebook opened up its lead generation offering to all advertisers, having carried out successful tests from June. It is proving so effective that last month the social media giant announced a raft of new features including the introduction of video ads.
Facebook’s lead generation offering enables businesses to encourage the social media giant’s one billion active users to sign up for newsletters, offers, events or more information about products or services.
It is a very simple process. When someone clicks on a ‘lead advertisement’ a form opens with the person’s contact information automatically populated, based on the information they share with Facebook, including their name and email address this means that within just two clicks a customer can register their interest with a brand and likewise after just two clicks a business generates an opted-in, engaged lead.
Facebook’s entry into the lead generation space adds credibility to a medium that has been plagued by reputation issues for years. Moreover, the early appetite for Facebook’s lead ads indicates that clients are warming up to concept of lead generation once more.
Lead generation is evolving. The majority of campaigns now focus on the consumer value exchange – giving something to the customer in return for their data; for example a chance to win, money off opportunities, original content and so on.
Consumers are more savvy than ever before and know the value of their personal information. While this might have been considered a bad thing in the past, it’s actually a very positive shift. It means that consumers are consciously choosing to hear from brands that are of interest to them.
For clients this provides leads that are more relevant and targeted to the ones that had been garnered in the past. Historically, online lead generation was viewed with suspicion given the sometimes shady techniques used to hoodwink customers into unwittingly providing their details. But this has changed. Today online lead generation is one of the most cost efficient and effective ways to reach more customers.
It has become a much more transparent process and this has resulted in providing better value to clients and customers alike – both of whom are aware of the relationship they are entering into. Lead generation is like a matchmaking service – connecting brands with a receptive, opted-in audience that genuinely want to hear from that organisation.
Facebook’s endorsement of the medium, combined with the ongoing issues surrounding online display advertising and its effectiveness, suggest a renaissance for online lead generation. This is exciting for brands that have never invested before as it is a channel which genuinely adds incremental revenue to the bottom line, supports new product launches and engenders customer loyalty in a way that no other media can replicate for the same budget.
Phil Lightfoot is chief executive of Communication Avenue