Google Getting Heavily into Lead Gen with ‘Get Offers’?

We took a look a few months back at Google+ and its applicability for lead generation. It seems that, like many major players in digital marketing these days, Google is looking to develop its lead generation capabilities further.

A couple of years ago now, Google seemed to be testing out a ‘Get Offers’ button plus email address/zip code box below brand-led paid search ads, enabling them to gather leads from within the search ad itself. We’re now starting to see these proliferate further across the web in the UK, although currently we’re only seeing the email sign up field.

Google Newsletter Subscription Ad Extension

As any Magnetise client knows, enabling lead generation within the initial engagement, as we do with our In-Banner display advertising solution, drives more interest and interaction than when you require the consumer to go off-site to give you their details. Streamlining that process, and the benefits of this approach is something we covered recently here.

We’re sure that Google has some exciting plans ahead on this front, but the preliminary offering does have a few issues. For example, there is no real option to target towards the best performing demographics. As we understand it keyword targeting, the core premise of paid search, is the only variable you can consider. The pricing model is also unlikely to support sophisticated, variable pricing that helps advertisers pay the right price for each different level of lead they generate. It also currently offers very limited data capture as there is only a field for entering email addresses, which is fine for email marketing, but feels rather data-lite for most serious marketers in today’s big data universe.

Possibly the biggest problem we’ve noted currently though is the lack of inline validation of the email address. Pre-populating the field with the account Gmail address is of course useful, but most of us have different emails for different purposes these days, so many will need to type over this. And if you mistype your email, as many of us do, for example making the domain ‘gmal(dot)com’ rather than ‘gmail(dot)com’ the system helpfully tells you “You have successfully signed up to receive offers”…. Even though you haven’t!

From a policy and privacy perspective, there are also one or two holes that could do with plugging. Google is already under fire for its privacy policy consolidation here in the EU and a ruling on the issue is expected in September. The fact that they provide a ‘privacy’ link that, when clicked on, merely tells you that your email address will be sent to the advertiser, feels like a far too basic approach in today’s privacy-focused world.  Advertisers work hard to ensure their consumers and prospects have confidence and peace of mind when engaging with their campaigns by carefully communicating and adhering to privacy standards, and so not enabling this on their behalf is a shame.

In all likelihood, this is a very embryonic stage that will, in time, evolve into a fully featured (and fantastically popular!) Google Offers service, speculated about for some months now as Google’s play on the Groupons of this world. Regardless of the ultimate plan, it’s clear that Google is increasingly focused on delivering some serious lead generation capabilities, and about time too in light of just how quickly lead generation is growing (budgets devoted to the discipline rose 25% from 2010 to 2011 according to the IAB / PwC Ad Spend Study)!

Do let us know if you’ve seen some decent insight on all this as there is very little official information out there at the moment, but we’d like to ‘Tip our Hat’ to our friend Peter Bell at Fuse Lead Marketing for this useful blog post on the topic.

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