Email is the most popular channel for lead generation, with 84.2% of marketers using it, according to the 2019 Leads Council Benchmarking Report, a study by the nonprofit Leads Council, sponsored By Digital Media Solutions. Second is display advertising, with 76.3%.
Yet the performance ranking is slightly different: Social media is ranked among the top three channels by 66.7%, email by 57.6% and paid search by 51.5%. And paid search is rated as the best in performance, in terms of quality and scalability combined.
Email is outranked in scalability by third-party lead vendors and social media. But while more marketers rate those channels as very good, email outweighs all other channels in being seen as good.
In addition, email is most likely to be viewed as good in scalability. However, social media beats email in being seen as very good.
Overall, perceptions of quality are declining in all channels, especially among third-party sources.
Of those polled, 57.6% complain that the third-party leads they receive have been sold too many times. On the positive side, 48.5% say that there is a greater diversity of channels and 27.3% that lead quality has improved.
But 33.3% say that quality has declined, and 21.2% say it has not changed.
Moreover, third-party vendors do not get high marks for transparency — 15.6% say they provide a great deal, but 50% offer some, and 34.4% minimal transparency
In general, display advertising is most likely to be rated as poor in quality, although by very few respondents. Paid search is second in this area. Nobody says email marketing performs poorly.
How do brands determine lead-generation success? The most popular metrics are cost per conversion, used by 63.2%, and the conversion rate, measured by 47.4%.
In addition, 34.2% look at lead volume and 31.6% lead cost.
The top priorities for lead sellers and buyers are improving lead quality, lowering cost per conversion and increasing lead volume
Meanwhile, 44.7% have seen their lead generation volume increase, and 23.7% have suffered a falloff. Another 31.6% say it is the same.
The biggest regulatory impact comes from the TCPA, cited 85.3%. Second is Can-Spam, (52.9%) and third is GDPR (44.1%).
But while 66% of buyers and sellers are extremely confident that they are in compliance with the TPCA — and almost that many with Can-Spam — a much lower percentage says that about GDPR.
Half of the respondents work for lead buyers, 20% for firms involved in lead generation technology platforms, and 29% for companies involved in compliance solution, call centers and the industry in general.