Some may say that the Affiliate Networks are slowly being replaced by Lead Generation companies. That trust in the word ‘Affiliate’ is at an all time low and that people are looking for alternative ways to drive traffic and grow their business.
The big question is, can the 2 co-exist in the same company or is it a case of once a network, always a network? At C7 we pride ourselves on being specialists in Lead Generation with our multi geo sites generating in excess of 300,000 sign ups a month for over 300 different advertisers.
So why not call yourself a Lead Gen company?
Although it is a big part of what we do, there are clients that will want to talk CPA, CPI and CPC as opposed to CPL. This is where having a host of trusted affiliates that will work on these metrics and satisfy the advertisers desire for sales or downloads comes in. So, how does an affiliate network attract the growing number of people looking for quality, validated leads and how does a lead generation company ensure that no CPA or CPI opportunities are lost?
In a world where companies are doing everything they can to bring people into them through effective SEO and social activity, marketing yourselves as someone that wears both hats is very hard. If you are looking for leads, then you may google a lead generation company. If you want downloads or acquisitions, you may search for a network or agency.
“So we are looking for a single company that can wear both hats without compromising either approach and that can successfully market their services to people looking at both options…”
It’s a tough ask but for a moment lets break down what a lead actually looks like. A lead is someone showing an interest in your product or service and offering up a selection of personal information for an advertiser to filter and then try and convert. You could argue that a CPI campaign is very similar in the sense that a user downloads an app and then it’s up to the app developer to communicate with that user in such a way that encourages them to do more, go further.
With this in mind and with the right education process, you could certainly class CPI as a form of lead generation. So now we are just left with the CPA campaigns that unless you are Quidco and Topcashback, are extremely hard to convert without an incentive. People very rarely convert on a CPA based email and even less on a display banner so the advertiser rarely gathers a huge amount of data running a straight CPA.
So how would converting a CPA to a CPL work and what does that mean to the client?
We quite often try to convert a client from a CPA to a CPL based on their desire to grow a loyal database. People like to take things at their own pace which is why a lead based campaign works well for introducing people softly to your brand. If you are confident in your re targeting process, this is a much better way of giving you a huge, engaged data pool.
What about the commercials?
Many advertisers have done their maths based on someone spending, calculating the margins and accepting they need to give a percentage away. This is real basic marketing and offers zero risk to the advertiser. What this also does is limit the awareness of your brand, the data pool you can create and the knowledge you can gather about potential customers.
If you understand your margins and are willing to play a longer game in terms of returns, you can run an extremely successful lead generation campaign that offers you so much more scope for the future of those potential customers. An example of this would be that if 1 in 10 people are converting from a lead and you were offering a £10CPA, you could look to run a £1CPL . You build a bigger database, affiliates want to take your offer as its easier to promote and as you get better at converting leads, your margins increase.
How do you know what your conversion rate is?
You test! If you believe in the merits of lead generation as a customer acquisition tool, then you must also accept that their needs to be a period of testing while you find your perfect rate. Working with your affiliate manager to test sources in this way and then optimizing the traffic can ensure you find the best combination of leads that convert at your desired eCPA. All this coupled with your increased database and brand awareness means there is certainly no reason to at least test a campaign on CPL over CPA.
Reasons for not doing this…
An advertiser does not have the tech resource or personnel to create a solid re-engagement process following a lead based campaign
Lack of willingness to learn or change a mentality
Lack of awareness around the benefits
No way of tracking a lead based offer in their system
For small advertisers and one man bands, there are genuine barriers in the way of working outside the tradition CPA channel. Barriers that I fully understand are hard to overcome and scary to even contemplate if they involve investing money they don’t have.
However…To grow a database, generate brand awareness and create a larger pool of prospective customers, a lead generation campaign needs to form part of your strategy at some point.
So the question was, can one company wear the affiliate network hat and the lead generation hat all at the same time. If you consider what we have spoken about here, the answer is definitely yes! Whether your preferred metric is CPA, CPI or CPL, they are all lead generation is some form. As an advertiser you need to be willing to open your mind and as the affiliate, you need to be willing to educate your clients to the benefits of a lead based offer and work out commercials that benefit both sides.