I'm working in online advertising since 1998 and finally decided to start my own blog.

How to improve the quality of your leads?

Anyone who is working with Lead Generation offers, surely knows how important lead quality really is. Good quality means higher payouts, low quality means … well, a kick from the offer. Trust me, there are not many things that can ruin your day more, than getting kicked from an offer that you just optimized into profit and planned to scale.

Lead quality is an important factor even in case you are collecting leads for yourself or your own business. Nobody is gonna tell you to stop promoting your own product of course, but quality of the leads you collect, will have a direct impact on the $$$ you make.

WHAT IS LEAD QUALITY?

First of all, we need to define what Lead Generation actually means.

The Lead Generation model is based on finding users who EITHER show interest in a particular product or service, OR fall for a LEAD magnet and agree to receive promotional messages later on. These two approaches can also be combined.

The final goal of lead generation is to turn the “leads” into paying customers.

We need some examples here for sure, to explain the system better.

Let’s use a DATING SITE : This is a very good example of typical lead generation, both SOI and DOI models are used frequently. Users can register for a basic membership for free, they also agree to receive promo emails at the same time. Once a user finishes the registration and confirms their email address (in case of DOI), the lead is considered valid and you get paid for it.

At this stage, the Dating Site didn’t make any money, yet. The basic membership has limitations, so even thou the user is able to browse the profiles of other members, it’s not possible to contact them. In order to be able to do so, the user has to become a regular member and pay a monthly fee. If the user decided to do it, the lead just turned into a paying customer – site turned profit and everyone is happy.

The ratio between the free Leads and amount of paying members that result from it, determines the quality of your leads. The more “leads” become “paying members”, the higher the lead quality score will be. Obviously, the higher payout per lead you will get too.

This is just a part of the quality equation, owners of the Dating Site have more ways of monetizing the leads. They also use more factors to judge the lead quality. After all, a user can decide to become a paying member in a few months from now, but they need to assess the quality as soon as possible.

SOI to DOI ratio : Even if you are promoting a SOI offer, the advertisers still need to get the confirmation, in order to be able to legally email promotional stuff to these people – due to spam laws. Now imagine you send 100 SOI leads and 30 of them also confirm their emails. Some other affiliate sends 100 SOI leads too, but 60 of those confirm their emails. Obviously, leads of the other affiliate will be considered of higher quality, because they are more responsive and give more space for future email promotions.

WANT MORE EXAMPLES?

There are many more lead gen types than just a SOI or DOI, let me mention a few more.

A SmartPhone game – this is not a typical leadgen offer, but the system is the same. Think about the so called “freemium” games. You install it for free, you play for a few days without any limitations … but soon enough, any upgrade takes 5 days, you are short on resources and any noobish enemy will kick your butt. UNLESS you purchase a few diamonds to quickly upgrade your buildings and develop faster.

When promoting something like this, the advertiser will watch how many players actually purchase these “diamonds” and how many players keep on playing day-by-day (retention rate). Because, the more they play, the more likely they are to buy the diamonds at some point. And they can shows some ads to them on the go 🙂

Ever heard of Pay Per Call offers? There are many, for example the Solar or Insurance offers. You send people to a contact form, users agree to get contacted by an agent via phone. The longer they stay on the call, the better, cause it shows their interest and your lead quality goes up. In case they actually close the deal, your lead quality will go through the roof.

Sweeps, Vouchers and Lottery offers are everywhere! These are the 3 most notorious LEAD MAGNET setups you can come across. The system is simple : users agree to receive promo emails, in exchange for a chance to win an iPhone, shopping voucher or a lottery prize. The prize is the lead magnet. These leads are usually monetized via 3rd party promo offers that are send via email, so the responsiveness, email deliverability and open rate plus the demographics of the leads is the most important factor that determines the quality.

OK, GOT IT, NOW TELL ME HOW TO KEEP THE QUALITY HIGH!

There are quite a few factors that influence the lead quality, I mentioned some already, so let’s take a closer look at the most important ones, and how to utilize them in order to increase the overall quality of your leads.

1. Targeting OLDER people: This is probably the oldest trick of them all. Older people are more likely to become paying customers than younger ones. By older, I mean 30 or 40+, no need to target retirement homes residents 🙂

– These people are more likely to have active credit cards, or some money on their accounts.
– 18 years old guys care more about beer than looking for love on a dating site for example.
– Younger people are more skilled when it comes to finding stuff on internet for free too.

But how do you target older people?

Some sources allow this directly, think Facebook or other social media. But what if the source doesn’t support demographic targeting? You have to options here: 1. Utilize the creatives or 2. Target the right placements.

Creatives can help a lot, use texts like : Older people only, 30+ only, offer only good for 40+ people … for seniors … mature … you know what I mean. It’s not gonna weed out the youngsters 100%, but it will definitely help. In case of dating offers for example, use images of older women that attract older males by default for example.

Targeting the proper placements can help too. When trying to target older people, you don’t want to advertise on apps or sites that deal with games for kids for example. 9GAG.com probably isn’t the best traffic source for this too. But NEWS sites, classic music apps, dating apps or sites … these are the placements you want to show your ads at. Think about your target audience and target sites that they are hanging out at.

2. Targeting a couple of LARGE premium sites/placements instead of 1000s SMALL ones (RON campaigns): This technique is overlooked by many, but it can have dramatic effect on your lead quality. The reason is pretty simple. Large, established sites have loyal following AND a large % of very targeted organic traffic from search engines like google, bing …we all know that this traffic is the best, when it comes to quality.

Small sites on the other hand, get their traffic god-knows-where – many times it’s some crap they purchased somewhere and later on traded it with other poor quality sites. The quality can also be very inconsistent from one day to the next. NOW, some small sites can have awesome traffic, the problem is the final mix that you end up with, when targeting 100s or 1000s of small placements.

In case you decide to run RON campaigns, try to mix the traffic with better quality sources too. In many cases, it drives the quality up and you can profit on it for a long time.

3. Using angles that are relevant to what the offers actually are about: The more realistic you are with the claims in your angles, the higher lead quality you should reach. If you promise the heaven and earth to your audience, and then send them to a totally unrelated offer, the lower the conversion rate and even lead quality will be.

Let’s use the dating site example again. Imagine that you use an angle, that emphasizes the amount of LOCAL members. Someone from France sings up for a free membership, just to discover that the closest member that he would like, is living in Belgium … you can send 100s of French to such site, they simply won’t turn into paying members, and your lead quality will suck.

I also see many people promoting mobile apps with super aggressive angles like : “You have virus, your phone will explode and half of your family will die! You need this app NOW!” Obviously, they get a ton of clicks, but then they send the users to some wallpaper app… of course the quality will suck.

Sometimes it’s hard to use totally related angles, we need to exaggerate at times, but always try to keep at least a tray of reality 🙂 It might hurt your conversion rate a bit, but the lead quality will definitely be better. You need to learn how to walk on the edge and create “bombastic” angles that still reflect the reality to some point.

You should definitely stay away from one thing in your angles and that is the word FREE! In order for the business to keep going, users have to buy from us. Don’t make them believe everything is free on the internet 🙂

4. Working with the advertiser: No matter what you do, some creatives, placements, landing pages … simply won’t work well and will take your lead quality down. At any time, you are producing good and bad leads, which is often related to some part of your funnel, usually the placement or landing page.

The good thing is, the advertiser can tell you what part of your funnel is responsible for this… in case you pass that information to them in the first place. You can mark your banners, LPs or placements with sub IDs and make that information part of the campaign link. The technical setup is different from one advertiser to the next, so you need to ask yours about the details. It also depends on the tracking you are using.

I would recommend to pass at least the placement sub IDs. You can use generic names like source1, source2, source3 … and a keep a file somewhere with info about what source that actually is. Nobody likes to pass more info than needed to the advertisers, so that’s why I recommend such a system.

Every advertiser wants to make money, so they are usually willing to help you optimize the sources. I have personally used this a lot of times and it helped me to stay on many offers while others had been kicked from them.

5. This last point is not exactly about “how to keep lead quality high” but it can help you stay longer on an offer, even thou your lead quality might not be the best. It’s a single world : VOLUME. Advertisers want to do business and so do the affiliate networks. And volume=business.

I’m not trying to say, that if you send a ton of crappy leads, the advertisers will ask for more 🙂 But, once they see you CAN deliver a ton of leads, they will try to work with you and find a way to make it work. Sending solid volume will help you with a lot of issues in AM. It’s always a good idea to work with 3 affiliate networks and send $1000 worth of leads to any of them instead of sending the same volume to 30 networks, making $100 at each.

The same goes for offers, it’s better to send solid volume to 10 offers, instead of promoting 200 offers and sending 1 lead to each per day. Unless, you have your reasons for such lead distribution, because such reasons exist too 🙂

OK, I FOLLOWED ALL OF THIS AND STILL GOT BOOTED FROM AN OFFER.

It’s true that sometimes, the lead quality will just suck, no matter what you do or try. In that case, just move on. You can either try a different offer, or find the same one with another affiliate network. There are so many out there and many offers are to be found on all of them 🙂

In rare cases, affiliate network will allow you to have more than 1 account with them, so you can restart the same offer on the other account – this usually happens when you are able to send solid VOLUME 🙂

Let me give you one more tip, before I end this article : do not rush the scaling process, increase the volume slowly. Leads need time to “mature”! This means that people need time to explore the site they just became members of, and decide whether they want to upgrade their memberships or not. Players need to test the game for a few days, before buying the extra credits. Several promo emails are needed to make a user to buy something … Every advertiser has certain monetization sequence that takes several days to finish.

If you send too many leads straight away, the leads won’t have enough time to mature and the advertiser will quite often ask you to pause, in order to limit possible loses. Start low and increase the volume slowly, this will allow the monetization process to finish and show the true potential of your leads.

Thanks for reading guys!


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5 comments

  1. Great article but please understand that there are beginners on your list too so kindly don’t assume everybody knows what SOI, DOI and RON mean. I, for one, don’t know.

    Thanks

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