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IAB Lead Generation Best Practices

Posted on 3.13.2006

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Lead Generation committee announced it has proposed Online Lead Generation Best Practices for the interactive industry for comment. The IAB guidelines are intended to assist ad agencies, marketers, online publishers and technology vendors and address issues facing the emerging interactive communications channel. While a majority of the the guidelines were related to consumer transparency and data integrity, most ethical lead generating companies could abide by them by adhering to a formal privacy policy.

So, I have a few comments about two of the proposed guidelines:

1) "All lead generation efforts need to be strictly permission-based; consumers cannot be coerced or otherwise unknowingly misled to accept an advertiser’s offer."

One of the major problems with co-registration is that advertisers are often bundled with other program participants and publishers of co-reg request often initiate a lead by pre-checking forms. Since most users go right ahead and submit without putting too much thought into what they are actually registering for, this inevitably ends in poor leads for advertisers and disgruntled users (who end up being bombarded with what they view as unsolicited email). I believe the IAB should come out publicly against auto-checking schemes as its damaging to brands, ad lead generation buyers and consumers. They also should consider setting a limit on the number of offers presented.

2) "Advertisers/Publishers/Vendors must only send consumer offers or information that strictly adheres to the offers and information they have requested. For instance, if a consumer asks for mortgage information, that consumer receives only mortgage information."

I have some issues with this guideline. What immediately popped into my head was "one man's trash is another man's treasure". Obviously if a consumer asks for mortgage information they are interested in a mortgage but could they not also be interested in home insurance? Are they not interested in lawnmowers? Well, not if you own a condominium but I hope you see what I mean. Offers are relevant not only in subject but also in timing. while you may not need something now, you may need (or want) something in the future. I read a trade mag which sells lead lists by CPM and there are several lists which mention "new home buyers" - a growing audience in the past few years. So do these home owners want to receive mailers from local merchants? Why not, I personally don't have a problem with it. While they are not immediately associated with my request for mortgage information, the proper segmentation can go a long way towards appropriateness.

There are a few more guidelines all marketers and site owners should look at. Again, you can find the best practices overview for lead generation at the IAB.

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