ADOTAS – If you’re taking your marketing dollars and betting them all on acquisition this year, you may need a crash course in acquisition’s risks and rewards! Both can be plentiful, but without a solid understanding of the space’s intricacies, your brand and budget could be on their own collision course.
The first thing that we need to discuss are some of the risks, which include click fraud, autobots, and lead schemes.
Click fraud occurs in pay-per-click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad. This is generally automated, though one hears of sweatshop human alternatives as well. The point of click fraud is to generate a charge per click without there being any legitimate interest in the target of the ad’s link.
Autobots (no, not the Transformers kind!) are in fact the technology behind click fraud: they auto-click settings on a computer timer to make it look like an email file is performing — i.e., consumers are actually on the receiving end of a campaign, interested and clicking away.
In lead schemes, the potential leads receive an email saying they’ve won a prize or a contest. Such companies get leads from the bulk mailing of entry forms with an easy question to answer, or by clicking on some moving object. Instructions tell the person to respond to the promoter with certain information. Such leads may get a followup call because the company now knows the target is prone to such gimmicks.
The reality is that any company is also a possible victim of such fraudulent behavior from lead sources, so it’s more important than ever to stay alert to them. But how can you be sure that you’re getting quality leads from quality sources?
There are a few things you can consider doing.
a) Hire a lead-gen representative or company.
b) Put in some back-end analytics to give you solid metrics on what leads are performing and what leads aren’t. Google Analytics and/or CoreMetrics can help here.
d) Always know the cost per sale.
The important thing, as I’ve stressed elsewhere, is to always know how much you are actually paying to make this lead into a customer. This will keep you from paying for leads that go nowhere—but will also give you a good handle on whether the leads you’re getting are good ones.
Armed with as much information as possible, the guarantee of enjoying the fruits of your labor are directly ahead with:
- flexibility on offer and creative changes;
- volume and budget control; and
- fluid scheduling makes it easy to make swift decisions on placement, sources, etc.
Don’t ever put yourself at the mercy of third parties: if your list broker isn’t giving you the kinds of leads you need, then it’s time to tell them so … or risk losing ROI and reputation!