Anytime someone discusses online marketing, the conversation almost always turns towards lead generation; which ironically is also the point where most people start hearing white noise and start tuning out.
Although the term lead generation can sound quite dry and monotonous, it’s actually one of the most important parts of your digital advertising funnel.
So, why is lead generation so important?
The answer is simply because it’s easier to convert potential customers that are already interested in your product/service than it is to convert otherwise uninterested customers, or what we call “cold traffic.”
In this guide, we’re going to take you through the world of Lead Ads and show you everything you need to know!
According to a 2015 article from Salesforce, it takes anywhere from 6 – 8 unique touches to create a viable sales lead. This means that it takes a lot of information for a lead to become sales qualified, and that is where Lead Ads come in.
A few years ago, most leads were generated through the use of Landing Pages and Lead Magnets. Unfortunately, the results were rarely outstanding. A conversion rate of 15-20% was typically considered “good,” while most campaigns did much worse.
Then, in 2015 Facebook launched a new ad type called Facebook Lead Ads and the world of online marketing hasn’t been the same ever since.
A Lead Ad from Facebook
What are Facebook Lead Ads?
Basically, Facebook Lead Ads are an ad format that let your potential customers sign up for what you’re offering without leaving Facebook. When they click on your ad, they simply tap on a pop-up form prefilled with the data you want (and that they share with Facebook) and you’ll get those contact info to follow up with them.
Let’s read what Facebook says:
Lead ads make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that people have given Facebook, like email addresses. The lead ads use a native signup flow within Facebook. This helps avoid a lot of the pain points usually associated with filling out forms, like having to leave one app and start a form in another app, and having to enter all of their information from scratch. Just a few taps and people are done.
Like our other ad formats, we’ve built this ad type with privacy in mind. People can edit their contact information, and information isn’t sent to the business until a person clicks the “submit” button. Advertisers may only use this information in accordance with their privacy policies, which we make available in the lead ad before people click submit. Advertisers are also restricted from re-selling lead information to third parties.”
Lead Ads are simply ads that allow customers to express their interest in your product by filling out a form and letting you follow up with them. Most forms will ask standard questions, such as your name or e-mail, but you can personalize these questions to fit the purpose of your campaign.
There are different versions of lead ads that you can use to get people to sign up for things like a newsletter, an e-book offering, price estimates for your product/service, follow-up calls, general business information and so on.
By the end of this guide, you will learn how to:
- Create your own lead ad on Facebook & AdEspresso
- Qualify your leads through custom questions
- Create an awesome lead magnet
- Retarget your leads
- Effectively follow-up with your leads
- Use the AdEspresso Data Sync tool
Let’s get started!
Lead generation in 2015 vs Lead Ads in 2017
Lead Ads are currently the second most popular ad type published through AdEspresso and are our favorite ad type due to their effectiveness on mobile.
Why do we even need Lead Ads? The answer lies in the technology we use.
Prior to November 2015, lead generation on Facebook was typically done through the use of lead magnets and landing pages, as we mentioned previously. As mobile devices became more and more popular, consumer habits began to change and people started to resent going through all of the extra steps to get information about a business or product, especially on a mobile device.
To put it another way, it simply became too much effort for people to have to click on an ad, reach a landing page, fill out a lead form and then go back to Facebook to continue scrolling through cat pictures and memes.
To remove some of those extra steps, Facebook released the Lead Ads type. Lead Ads make it easier for potential customers to submit their information to you, across multiple devices, and all without having to ever leave their Instagram or Facebook newsfeed.
Why should you be using Lead Ads?
In his blog. For entrepreneurs, David Skok explains that there are typically 3 stages of a consumer’s buying cycle: the awareness, consideration and decision phases.
- Awareness: People in this stage may not even realize they have a need for your product or service yet. So they’re obviously not ready (or willing) to purchase. Instead, the goal is to grab their attention so that you can follow up with them when they’re ready to consider their alternatives.
- Consideration: Once people have identified a need, they’ll begin researching potential options. Now the timing is perfect to follow up and possibly generate a lead if you can provide something interesting and valuable.
- Decision: Leads will seriously consider the best option after surveying the competitive landscape, starting with your pricing, trial offers, and other ways to get started.
Lead Ads are perfect for the Consideration stage of your sales funnel because it allows you to collect basic information from potential customers with just a few clicks. In fact, most forms are already pre-filled with fundamental information that the user has already shared with Facebook, giving you an early advantage.
The ad types are mobile friendly and allow you to collect some basic information from your audience with just a few clicks without them needing to ever leave Facebook. The forms are pre-filled with information based on what info has been shared to Facebook by the user.
Lead Ads can be used to:
- Quote or estimate requests
- Pre-qualify for new car, house, etc
- Newsletter signups
- Increase Event RSVP’s
- Book Product demo’s
The best thing about Lead Generation ads is quite simple: they are super effective! Facebook has 1.71 billion monthly active users just waiting for you to find them and stir their interest in your product or service.
Are you ready to create your own lead ad? Let’s see how to do it on Facebook!
Creating your Lead Generation Ad on Facebook
Never created a lead ad on Facebook before? The first thing you need to do is log into your Ads Manager on Facebook and click to create a new ad.
Step 1: Facebook will give you the option to specify your new campaign’s objective. You can create a new campaign in one of three different stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. These stages are based on the 3 stages of a buyer’s journey.
Step 2: To create your lead ad on Facebook, you’ll find the option under the “consideration” stage and click on the objective of “Lead Generation”.
You will then be prompted to select your pre-existing lead generation form or to create a new lead form to use for your campaign.
Let’s create a new lead form to use on Facebook! The first step is to provide a name of the lead form.
Once you name your lead form, you’ll select the language you want your form to be in and what information you want to collect from people. Email and full name are the default, but you can also request other details such as phone numbers, location, relationship status, job title, etc.
Your lead form can have up to 21 questions and up to 15 custom questions. Later on in this article, we’ll reveal what kinds of questions are best to ask and when, so keep reading! 🙂
The type of questions you are asking is a critical factor for your lead campaigns performance and we will dedicate a whole chapter to this subject (letting the numbers speak). If you can’t curb your curiosity, let’s start by sharing the general rule: asking too much information will kill your conversion rate, asking too little information may provide you with a list of low quality leads that will not succeed in any sequenced campaigns later on.
Finally, you’ll have the option to create something called a Context Card. Completely optional but infinitely useful, context cards act somewhat as an intermediary between your Lead Ad and your Lead Form; giving people additional information about what they are getting for filling out the form.
The whole idea behind context cards is that if people know more about what it is that they’re getting, the more likely they are to go through the entire process. Context cards may not be for everyone, but it’s nice to have in your marketing toolbox.
The context card is completely optional, you can either save your context card or skip creating it and save your lead form altogether at this point.
Now that your lead form is saved, you can get started using it for your campaigns!
Take a step forward with AdEspresso
In AdEspresso, you can create your campaign using your lead form and set up some experiments to help you optimize later on! This makes the entire campaign creation process easier and allows you to make your data even more valuable.
- Step 1: Create your lead form on Facebook following the steps we just described, once the lead form is created you can jump into AdEspresso and create a new “lead generation” campaign.
- Step 2: You can select which lead form you are using for the campaign. You are able to set up a split test on your headlines, ad text, and creative image or video.
Once you have selected your creatives, you’ll have an option to create a custom audience of users that have either opened and closed your lead form, opened and submitted, or any of those actions. This is a great way to create custom audiences to use later on in your Facebook campaigns further along your funnel.
You can also set up A/B tests on your lead campaign, with some options to split test your CTA’s as well as your link descriptions.
When selecting your placements, keep in mind that Instagram has a great potential to increase your lead campaign’s reach. According to Facebook, including Instagram placement has extended reach by 45%.
You should, of course, also always include mobile in your placements, as this is the placement Lead Ads are designed for and perform the best with.
- Step 3: Now we can define the target audience for our lead campaign in AdEspresso.
You have the option to create a single targeting for your lead ad campaign, or you can opt to split test different audiences against each other. You can then set up some experiments on the target for your campaign to see which age range, gender, job title, etc is bringing in the most leads, or even test different audiences against each other in your campaign.
- At Step 4, we will define our lead ad budget and bidding and then publish our campaign.
After setting up your campaign budget, bidding tactic, and other settings you will be prompted to publish the Lead Generation campaign to Facebook. Pretty soon, you’ll have some powerful insights about who you are targeting and what creative elements are getting them to submit your lead form. Awesome!
Lead Ads or Landing pages? Who wins on mobile?
We mentioned earlier about how the rise of mobile inspired lead generation ads as an ad type, but I’d like to take a moment to discuss how effective Lead Ads are compared to landing pages on mobile.
In one of our previous experiments testing Landing Pages vs Lead Ads, we found that when re-targeting website visitors, Lead aAds are more likely to win on mobile, while landing pages are more likely to win on Desktop.
Let numbers talk the talk:
The data also shows that landing pages still hold a lot of ground, especially when targeting users on a desktop.
From strictly a cost-per-lead perspective, Landing Pages were cheaper with a slightly lower cost per lead at 93 cents (.93 USD), while Lead Ads had a slightly higher cost per lead at .95 (95 cents).
The main takeaway here is that it would make perfect sense for Lead Ads to be a mobile and Instagram only ad type.
How many questions should your Lead ad ask?
If Hamlet was a marketer, probably instead of the famous “to be or not to be”, he would have asked: “Qualifying leads, when should you stop?”
We analyzed 30,000 Facebook campaigns to find out, so you don’t have to! But be patient, let me take you to the results.
One of the many benefits of using Lead Ads is that the lead forms are fully customizable. You can ask some generic questions such as name, phone number, and email address but you can also include some open-ended questions in your lead forms that give you some valuable insight into who is submitting your lead form and why.
Your lead form can have up to 21 questions and up to 15 custom questions. Facebook best practice says that 3 custom questions is ideal, but how many questions should you have on your lead form? Well, that depends on the campaign and the audience, of course!
We analyzed data from 30,000 campaigns to find some information about how the amount of questions in a lead form relates to the campaign cost per lead and what we found made perfect sense.
The more questions you have on your lead form, the higher your cost per lead will be. Conversely, by removing too many barriers between the user and conversion, you run the risk of attracting low-quality leads/conversions.
So what’s the happy medium? Let’s take a look at the data and find out!
Looking at the low end of the spectrum, the Cost Per Lead (CPL) for forms with only one question is $0.91. At the other end, the CPL for forms with eight questions is ten times higher with a cost of $9.19.
Interestingly enough, the CPL take a huge leap in price after five questions.
What all this means for you is that you might want to limit your initial lead form to around one to three questions, since they have the highest conversion rates. As your leads go through your sales funnel, however, you’ll be able to ask them more questions and weed out the lower quality leads.
Remember: Your first campaign should be targeting a cold audience. It’s the foot in the door, not the sales pitch. Making things a little easier is the fact that the most common questions (including Name, Email, First Name and Last Name) are already answered with pre-populated data from Facebook.
If you’re simply looking for opt-ins to your campaign, then basic questions will work phenomenally well. But if you are trying to reach an audience with the intent of nurturing them for a higher value conversion, you may want to consider adding one or two custom questions to help sort out the better marketing qualified leads.
Ask the right questions (aka: What converts best?)
Regardless of your goal, the types of questions you are asking is going to be a critical factor for your lead campaigns performance. You don’t want to drown your audience in pointless questions until they give up, but you also don’t want to drown yourself in bad leads.
Let’s take a look at the most commonly asked questions on lead forms:
As you might expect, e-mail and full name are the top two questions. No surprises there. But then again, asking just for the Email and name doesn’t really tell you how qualified the user is filling your form, does it?
The form is so easy for the user to submit that anyone with a fleeting thought could accomplish it. While you are likely to see better conversion rates and cheaper costs per lead with easy questions, you have to ask yourself what are you learning? Unfortunately, getting detailed information isn’t always easy.
To quote from our Complete Guide to Lead Generation on Facebook by Massimo Chieruzzi:
Getting someone’s email is much easier and cheaper than trying to close a sale right off the bat.”
That’s as true today as it was in 2015.
As we poured through the data, we realized that the more personal the information that is requested, the less likely people are to respond; and it’s easy to see why.
The best way to set up your campaign is based on how qualified your traffic is. For cold audiences, asking a few impersonal questions will work best, but for warmer leads, you can get away with being a little more in-depth with your questions.
As we look at the data, more personal information requests are much less frequently used in lead forms.
Privacy is a big concern for most people in 2017. Targeting a cold audience asking them for personal information such as their phone number, address, and Date of Birth on the first contact does not make sense and will not perform as well.
Sooooo the question is still open: What converts best?
We analyzed the Cost and Conversion rates based on Questions for contact info and here’s what we found:
Asking for email and phone number converts better than phone only but not as well as email only.
When you think about it, this makes sense. A phone number is a bold request, even when done in person so it’s not too surprising to find out that asking for a phone number increases your CPL and lowers your conversion rate.
In general, you should set up a series of campaigns and ask questions based on how qualified your traffic is.
Key takeaway: Cold audiences should have fewer questions, while warmer audiences can have more questions in order for you to nurture and lead them towards your true conversion.
If you are working in a very specific niche, you can use custom questions to ask users specific questions related to your industry such as how likely they are to refinance their car or the price range for a new home they could buy.
Some example custom questions could be:
- How much budget are you spending on Facebook advertising per month?
- When was the last time you bought a new car?
- Are you looking to move in the next 6 months?
- Have you been to a dentist in the last year?
- When is your next home renovation project planned?
These open ended questions are a perfect way to get the full view of who is submitting the lead form, and how likely they are to convert. You can use this information to nurture your lead and bring them out of the consideration stage and into the conversion or buying stage.
Retargeting your leads
If you are using Lead Ads and not retargeting your leads later on with sequenced campaigns, you might as well just write a check donation to Mark Zuckerberg 🙂
A submitted lead form is just the very beginning of the customer journey. You can create a custom audience out of people that submit your lead form and those who open and don’t submit your lead form.
This allows you to:
- Exclude the audience that already submitted their info from any being included in campaigns for that stage of your funnel
- Include the audience in campaigns that move them along your funnel’s next stage
- Create a lookalike audience of those that submitted your lead form
The most important part of your lead generation campaign is your follow-up.
The next campaign could introduce the audience that submitted your lead form to even more information about your offering. You could have the audience see a video testimonial ad, for example. This audience is already familiar enough with your brand and has enough trust to give you some information about them, so a video testimonial is a great way to move them along the funnel.
This brings us to our next topic. Drumroll…
Your Lead Campaign Needs an Awesome Lead Magnet
We said it already, but twice is better than once so:
- you need to have a lead magnet, and
- it must be … absolutely awesome!
A surprising amount of advertisers are too excited setting up their lead campaigns that they forget to think about what kind of value they are going to be driving for the person on the other side on that Facebook campaign.
It doesn’t matter how good your copy or how good your graphics are if you don’t have a proper incentive for people to click on your Lead ad, you’re not going to get a lot of leads.
People don’t log on to Facebook to find new services to sign up for, they log on to interact with their friends and look at interesting content on the Internet.
Creating a Lead Ad Campaign with a call-to-action and no incentive is a recipe for a terrible ad campaign.
That being said, your lead can be anything from an e-book to a discount code for your latest product. What matters most is the value you provide with your offer. The marketer that delivers the most value to the person on the other side of that ad is going to be the one that wins the leads, and the lowest cost per lead.
Coming up with the perfect lead magnet can always be a tricky endeavor, especially if this is your first time creating a lead ad. Fortunately, certain lead magnets work better with certain industries, so it’s easier to narrow down to what makes the most sense for you.
For example, coupons or discount codes work great for e-commerce websites. If you’re a startup or software service you might want to choose free reports, tools, e-books, or even e-mail courses.
Some more examples of lead magnets that you can use include:
- A coupon or discount, or a Free Gift would work well for E-commerce
- Free reports, Ebooks or guides are great for SaaS or Startups
- Free Tools, Drip campaigns, email courses are also a great choice for SaaS or Startups
- Gifts and gift cards are an effective lead magnet for local businesses
For a complete guide to selecting the perfect lead magnet for your campaign, check out this great post, “What Kind of Lead Magnet Should You Make?”
Lead Magnet: The Importance of Timing
Just imagine for a moment that you saw a very striking ad on your Facebook newsfeed recently. It’s almost as if the advertiser knew you were looking for a guide on Lead Generation statistics from 2016 when they targeted you.
After much deliberation, you decide to click on the ad, providing mostly auto-filled information such as your name and email and some other custom fields asking about your role and company. You brace yourself for the email drip campaign you are about to commit to, and then click “submit”.
You are waiting for the guide that you submitted this information for, but it never came. Email after email came asking you to work with the agency that created this ad but you never even got the only thing you wanted: the Lead generation Stats of 2016 Guide.
You are probably feeling pretty disappointed and would never work with this agency at this point, and if they don’t stop targeting you soon you will eventually come to have a negative association with the agency. What a poor impression and definitely an avoidable problem!
This is why it is so important for you to make sure your lead magnet is being received by everyone that submits your lead form.
Once your lead has submitted their lead form, it is very important that you deliver on your lead magnet, and do so quickly.
When someone submits a lead form to you, they are expecting to be contacted and the sooner that lead is contacted, the better. A study by Harvard Business Review showed that prospects who were contacted within one hour of submitting their query were nearly 7x more likely to be qualified, compared to a lead that was contacted over an hour later.
Many companies don’t respond to inquiries quick enough so if you can master this part of your lead ad, you will definitely have a competitive edge.
Your leads should be entered into a contact list in your CRM and sent an email within an hour from submitting your lead form with access to your lead magnet. Once a form is submitted, the data will expire in 90 days.
Typically your follow-up by email will look something like this:
- Welcome the form submitter. This should remind the user why they submitted their information to you.
- Provide some information about your main product or offering.
- Call-To-Action: provide an obvious way to access the lead magnet if you have one included in the copy of your lead ad.
Lead Ads: Following up by phone
If your ads are asking for a phone number, your audience will be expecting a phone call. You can use a schedule to make sure your campaign is not running when leads cannot be contacted. This is perfect for those of us generating leads for a call center, there is no point collecting leads when the call center is not open. It is not ideal to have your leads waiting 12+ hours for a lead follow-up, this wait will kill your potential conversion later on.
Recently, Facebook introduced a new feature that allows you to set a maximum for the number of leads that can submit your form called Lead Sampling.
With lead ad sampling, you can set:
- Restricted Organic Sharing of Leads – With sampling, organic sharing is off by default.
- Capped Number of Sample Requests – With automated rules on, you can stop campaign spend when a certain number of samples have been requested.
Capping is a great way to ensure you are not collecting more leads than you can follow-up with in a timely manner.
The speed at which you can follow up with a lead has a very heavy influence on how likely they are to fully convert so this feature will be a great help for anyone serving Lead Ads that are intended to build audiences for a higher value conversion later on.
Exporting your leads and importing them into your CRM with an .xls or spreadsheet can be a super time-consuming task for any marketer. The good news is, with the AdEspresso Data Sync you can have this part automated and welcome back enough time for a cup of coffee or two in your workday!
Setting up your Data Sync with AdEspresso
AdEspresso’s Data Sync tool allows you to automatically send leads into a list of a supported CRM tool. Instead of exporting your leads file and importing it into your CRM, the Data Sync takes just a few minutes to set up and will keep sending those leads into a specific list in your CRM on autopilot.
Step 1: The first step to setting up a Data Sync includes selecting a data source. The source can be your Lead Generation Ads to be sent to your list, or it can be a CRM list to be synced into a custom audience.
Step 2: Once you have finalized these settings, we can move on to configure your source for the sync.
Your source can be whichever ad account you are using, or a lead generation form or campaign.
Step 3: Next, we can select your target. The target for this example is going to be Facebook!
Step 4: Now, we can configure your target for the Data Sync.
After your target is selected, you can proceed to finalize the mapping and save your data sync and ta~da! Your leads will now be synced into your list automatically.
Not using the AdEspresso Data Sync? No worries, you can still export your leads on Facebook!
As long as you are an advertiser or admin for the Facebook page being used for your campaign, you can always export the data from your leads from Facebook directly.
In order to export your lead data, you will need to go to your lead Forms under Publishing Tools for your Facebook page. Once there, you’ll be prompted to select a lead form. You then choose a time frame from which you want the lead information and download them. Your results will be in a .CSV format. When you have exported your data, you can then upload the lead data into your CRM to use or build a custom audience out of your leads.
Pro-tip: You can also use a nifty tool called Zapier to connect your Facebook Leads into your CRM easily!
Lead Ads: Taking a Look at the Cost Per Click
The costs per lead can vary greatly depending on where and how you are advertising. Luckily for us, we have some data we can use to maintain ahead of the curve when it comes to knowing how much we will be spending on our lead generation ads, and how to keep those costs lower!
Let’s take a look at some more data on Lead Ads, shall we?
AdEspresso analyzed a lot of lead ad data to find some trends on performance based on Cost Per Click in the last year. The top countries based on ad spend include:
- Great Britain
- United States
If we check the data below, we can see the average CPC for each country and how these averages have changed over the months into 2017.
The CPC reached its highest in the United States in the Month of May with a cost upwards of $7.50. Costs remain consistently lower in Mexico and Brazil compared to the other heavier spending countries.
We can also check the Cost per click by age ranges. Our youngest and oldest audiences have a significantly lower cost per click within the age range of 18-24 and 65+.
If we have a look at the graph below, we can see a breakdown of the Cost Per Click for gender. On average, the prices are cheaper for Women on Facebook compared to Men.
The cost per click, in general, saw a spike in costs from March to June 2017, with the average CPC for males jumping from $2.00 USD to $3.00 USD.
Next, we can analyze the results by publishing platform to see if we’re getting a better cost per click for Lead Ads on Facebook vs Instagram.
The data speaks for itself and we can see the costs of advertising Lead Ads on Instagram has been a lot less consistent over the year as Facebook.
We can notice a sharp increase occurring around March from $2.00 CPC all the way upwards of $6.00 CPC. The CPC declined again in May and then rose in June, right in time for Father’s Day, which landed on Sunday, June 18.
The CPC on Facebook however, remained mostly stable within the range of $2.00-$4.00 throughout the year.
With this data, you no longer have to be sitting in the dark behind your laptop wondering if your Cost Per Lead is too high or not.
That is a lot on Lead Ads… Now what?
We have gone over what lead ads are, how to create them on Facebook and on AdEspresso.
We discussed the art of qualifying your leads and what kinds of questions you should use (as well as the ones to avoid!). We took a deep look at some data on lead ad questions.
We talked about the art of the follow-up and how to avoid getting more leads than you can handle. We also talked about syncing your leads with your CRM and how to retarget them.
We learned how important mobile placement is not only in the creation of Lead Ads, but also how well the Lead Ads convert on mobile.
We even touched on lead magnets and how important it is that you both offer AND provide one.
Now is as good of a time as any to get started on your best Lead Ad campaign ever.
Have any questions or comments? Feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know!