For many media companies, lead generation represents a significant source of income.  Lead generation for publishers means collecting contact information of prospects who might be interested in an advertiser’s product.  According to eMarketer, advertisers will spend $1.45 billion on lead generation in 2012.

Optimizing for lead generation is straightforward because you typically have a linear funnel ending at a single conversion point.  Because of this, optimization techniques pioneered on retail websites can easily be leveraged.  For example, test reducing the number of steps in your funnel, using clear calls to action, and having succinct value propositions.

The problem with optimizing for lead generation, though, is that the single conversion point in your website funnel is not the ultimate conversion point where revenue is generated.  You have captured a lead, but you have not made the sale.  You might run a test that creates thousands of additional leads for your advertiser, but if those additional leads do not ultimately create more sales, your “success” could backfire.  Following up on a lead has a cost, and if you have more leads to pursue but total sales are unaffected, your profit margin is shrinking.

The advertiser might provide you with some data regarding the conversion rate of the leads you have been supplying, but your real goal should be to measure lead conversion rate by test experience.  How did your test experiences perform in terms of generating leads AND generating sales?

Test & Target has several methods to help you do this.  The first method is to use our Offline Conversion API, which allows you to feed data from your ultimate conversion point back into Test&Target using API (Application Programming Interface) calls.  The offline conversions show up in your test, just like any other Success Metric.  The second approach is to report the lead using an “order mbox”.  An “order mbox” is typically used on a retail site to report details of the order, such as the order id, revenue, and the products purchased.  These special types of mboxes can be leveraged to create downloadable reports of individual leads.  If you use a unique identifier as the order ID value and then pass that value to your internal system that records the ultimate conversion, the data sources can be tied together.  This will allow you to conduct analysis offline to map a lead resulting in a sale back to the test experience the visitor saw online. Talk to your Test&Target consultant to determine the best solution for your company.

So take your optimization program to the next level and start optimizing for sales!