Online Lead Generation Delivers, but Can Be Better Used

June 16, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce | Search Engine Optimization

The vast majority of company respondents (82%) and agency respondents (85%) expect online lead generation to be more important to their own or their clients’ organizations over the next 12 months, according to research by E-consultancy and Clash-Media.

However, the proportion of company respondents who believe that their organizations are effectively exploiting online lead generation to grow their business-to-consumer (B2C) customer base has decreased from 44% in 2007 to 41% this year.

Online lead generation refers to using the internet as a way of getting contact information for qualified prospects. These leads can be generated by various methods, including search engine marketing (both natural and paid search), affiliate marketing, email and the use of online aggregators.

The vast majority of those surveyed for the Online Lead Generation (B2C) Report 2008 see online lead generation as a growth area (94%), significantly up from 82% last year:


Company marketers from North America believe their organizations to be more adept at online lead generation than their European counterparts. More than half of company respondents from the US?and Canada say they are exploiting online lead generation effectively, compared with 37% for UK marketers and 38% for the rest of Europe:


Agency respondents are, in general, less likely to say their clients are effectively exploiting online lead generation; again, North American agencies are the most likely to say online lead generation is being used effectively:


Two-thirds of company marketers say investment in natural search (SEO) is “very good value for money,” making it the most cost-effective channel for generating B2C leads:


In-house email marketing lists are also regarded by more than half of respondents (52%) as being very good value for money, whereas rented email lists are cited by just 16% who perceive them as offering very good value for the money.

The research also found that the average conversion rate for leads acquired from online aggregators is 13%, compared with 11% for the overall average conversion rate of leads generated online.

Other key findings:

  • Natural search (79% of respondents), in-house email marketing lists (75%) and paid search (71%) are still the three most commonly used online methods for lead generation. The use of in-house email marketing lists is the biggest climber, from 71% last year to 75% this year.
  • Compared with 2007, paid search is getting a bigger proportion of online lead generation budgets even though natural search is perceived to be better value for money, according to company marketers. Paid search now gets a third of this budget (33%) compared with 28% in 2007. Meanwhile, SEO (search engine optimization) now gets only 15% of the budget, compared with 18% last year.
  • Companies are now investing more in their in-house email marketing. The average proportion of budget devoted to this has increased from 10% to 15%.

About the study: Some 266 company respondents and 195 agencies took part in E-consultancy’s online survey during May 2008.

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