Counting and Clarifying Online Lead Generation Activity

The throughput of Lead Intelligence, Magnetise's lead management and analytics platform, provides interesting insight into industry reports such as the IAB & PwC Ad Spend Study. As many of you will know, lead generation is a relatively recent addition to the digital marketing body's research, which is in itself testament to its growing importance. However, the vast and variable activities undertaken in digital marketing can at times make it hard to identify and correctly measure each individual technique.

As a case in point, Lead Intelligence licence holders collectively processed over £800,000 worth of leads in December 2010. These leads were generated through activity in premium display, co-registration, affiliate marketing, classifieds, paid for search, social, display within co-registration and email. On first glance, this broad range of work shows just how deeply integrated and truly relevant lead generation already is.

Comparing this to the IAB's corresponding data, the number-crunching challenge becomes apparent though. Lead generation was added to IAB & PwC Ad Spend study for the first time in H1 2010. This report valued it at £21.6 million according to revenue data submitted (or estimated) for all UK media owners, equating to 1% of spend, while the recently published full year report values the sector at £41.5 million. Extrapolating Lead Intelligence's monthly activity across the year, this would suggest that it is undertaking approximately 25% of UK lead generation work. As just one of a range of lead generation solutions developed by Magnetise, we know that this is not a true reflection.

It is common knowledge that, while a superb endeavour, the IAB Ad Spend Study is fraught with a number of inherent challenges. When assessing campaigns, which box do we tick? How do we, as an industry and as individual suppliers, correctly quantify and communicate how we work and what techniques we utilise to deliver results? Before lead generation was separated out within the study, it was thought that CPL campaigns were added into the mix of other disciplines such as display or email, and now we are proactively trying to measure it, we can surmise that this is indeed the case. Whether the true size of the lead generation market is 10x, or even 50x greater than the numbers suggest, there is work to be done to properly quantify its present activity and future growth potential.

Part of the challenge for all of us is using the wealth of data and reporting we have available to us to really explore and understand which techniques work best. So while the channel a campaign is fed through might be on the face of it the most relevant factor to categorise activity under, we need to ask ourselves how the pricing methodology, the interaction style and the required result affect its classification. We work with everything from video to display to editorial content, but to us, all come under the lead generation banner due to the prospect data required and generated for our clients.

So while this is a superb effort, we feel it can and should be made more concrete. We're actively involved with the IAB's Lead Generation Council for exactly this reason and are helping the industry broaden both the definition and understanding of lead generation as we passionately believe its infiltration and existing status is far greater than current numbers suggest. We'd be really interested to know your thoughts too so please do let us know your perspective on how lead generation is utilised across the marketing mix.

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