Online lead generation is now responsible for 42% of sales made by companies to consumers compared to 40% last year, according to new research.
Econsultancy’s Online Lead Generation (B2C) Report, sponsored by international lead generation specialist Clash-Media for the fourth year running, also found that marketers are continuing to increase their budgets for this activity.
The number of company respondents who say that online lead generation (OLG) budgets have gone up in the last year has increased from 59% in 2009 to 65% this year, as companies move out of “recession mode”. This compares to 31% of respondents who say that offline lead generation budgets have increased.
More than 500 advertisers, agencies and publishers took part in the global survey which was backed by the IAB UK and the Performance Marketing Association (PMA) in the United States.
The annual report reveals that the proportion of companies who are generating leads online with the intention of converting them offline has increased from 70% last year to 81% this year.
Econsultancy’s Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said: “More companies than ever are using the web to generate consumer leads with a view to making sales both online and offline.
“This research highlights how the commercial environment has become increasingly multichannel. More than three-quarters of companies surveyed are now using traditional channels, for example call centres and retail outlets, to convert leads they have generated online.”
Ed Bussey, CEO, Clash-Media said: “An increase in the take-up of online lead generation as we exit the recession is demonstrating that OLG is of growing importance to advertisers seeking a clear return on investment from their marketing budget.
“And as communication across social media becomes the norm, OLG has a lot to offer businesses looking to increase contact with potential customers by enabling companies to adapt and offer specific products and services tailored to consumers’ needs.”
The research shows increased use for almost all digital channels for generating consumer leads.
Search engine optimisation (natural or organic search) is still the most widely used channel for this purpose, and the percentage of responding companies using SEO has jumped by 13% to 90% this year.
Another channel which has seen increased growth is paid search, up from 59% in 2009 to 73% this year.
But the biggest increase is for social media. Two thirds of companies (66%) surveyed are using this channel to generate consumer leads, compared to just 40% last year.
“With online lead generation contributing such a huge return in sales figures, companies have begun to realise the power of social media to connect with their potential customer base. But whilst companies have been quick to use social media, many are using them as short-term marketing tools and have yet to realise the benefits of nurturing such channels longer term,” Ed Bussey concluded.
Gregoriadis added: “More marketers are recognising the role which sites such as Facebook and Twitter can play in finding new consumer leads. Many advertisers are still really just experimenting in this area, but those who have found an appropriate and effective formula are reaping the benefits.”
Report URL http://econsultancy.com/reports/online-lead-generation-report
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