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!