B2B Lead Generation: The Cost of Publisher Programs

B2B Lead Generation Cost [Infographic Thumbnail]Need leads? It will cost you. Between $35 and $65 per registration according to statistics recently published by Madison Logic. And that is if you are just targeting a broad function, like “marketing” or “technology.”

Do you want a specific industry? Level of seniority? Geography? The more targeting you need, the more expensive those leads become. That’s a safe rule of thumb, and the data from Madison Logic bears it out (stats in the infographic below).

Over a series of three articles on B2B lead generation, we will look at types of programs or providers, how to measure the success of publisher lead generation programs and things you can do to improve the results from your programs.

Part 1: Lead Generation Alternatives to a Content Syndication Network

Madison Logic promotes content across a broad network of topical sites. Some will be excellent, high quality targeted sites, others are probably just OK for your audience. Here are three alternative publisher lead generation programs you should consider:

1. Direct Publisher Buys
By working directly with publishers, you will have more opportunities to create more custom programs or integrate with overall advertising efforts. Some B2B publishers have introduced a broad range of offerings that include research, content creation, advertising and lead generation.

However these programs often come at a significant premium and the quality of contacts isn’t necessarily that much higher. In addition, you may need to manage multiple publishers to get the same volume that a network can achieve.

2. Co-Sponsored Content
As one of multiple sponsors for a piece of content, you can often drop your lead cost dramatically, with some high quality publishers offering programs under $20 per lead today. Although some marketers instinctively don’t like the idea of shared leads, today’s B2B buyers typically download multiple pieces of content from publishers and may already be in your competitor’s database as well. The idea of a lead that you, and only you, are calling on is a misguided notion today.

For many content-strapped marketers, this is the best approach (assuming you have a strong nurture program with supporting content, more on this later in the series).

3. Purchased Contacts
An increasing number of lead generation providers today sell contacts based on recent activity. You can purchase contacts that fit your basic target criteria (i.e. industry, role, company size, etc) and have recently registered to access relevant content (i.e. enterprise mobility, IT security, etc).

Although more expensive than going to Data.com, these contacts tend to be more targeted and higher quality. Larger marketers with an appropriate email infrastructure should consider this as an option for quickly building a database and then running their own lead generation programs.

For a broader range of B2B lead generation options (and flags for a few that don’t work well), see 6 Best Tactics for B2B Lead Generation.

Your Turn

What other B2B lead generation options you are seeing publishers roll out, or what do you think they should offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

B2B Lead Generation Cost Infographic

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  • Brian Bachofner

    Great article Eric. Looking forward to the rest in the series.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Thanks Brian!

  • Ryan

    Thanks for sharing, Eric! As a publisher, we have implemented a program whereas we create custom content (whitepaper) for the advertiser, position them as the sponsor and solicit the program at a fixed rate with a lead guarantee (ie. $7,500, 500 leads). Our advertisers love it, as oppose to 500 leads at $35 CPL.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Ryan, definitely interesting, thanks for sharing. Feel free to post your publication in a followup comment as well.

      • Ryan

        Thanks Eric! Feel free to check us out, we are BLR Media (compliance publisher) representing the HR, Occupational Safety, and Environmental industries. HRDailyAdvisor.com; SafetyDailyAdvisor.com

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  • Dara Schulenberg

    Phenomenal stuff Eric. Ever talked with or used Ascend2 and their research based demand gen services? Interesting approach lead by experienced team. Their trial offer includes the premium content, a custom email to survey participants and leads of ~400-800 per program at a reasonable price point. Love to hear your – and others’ feedback on them and results.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Dara, thanks! No, I have not run a program with them. I like the overall model they use, a number of (far more expensive) IT pubs have used a similar model in the past and delivered pretty good results. The key comes back to promotions, judging by the type of content they publish, I’m guessing they rely more on social and seeding than on search and email based on their site and content, but I haven’t spoken with them.

  • Idan

    Awesome stuff Eric. I am curious though about the case study presented in the infographic. it would have been better to present more down-funnel data about the lead quality, and not just ‘campaign reach’ and net lead volumes, per the two campaign types. the question of whether filters create better quality leads than no filters is left unanswered.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Idan, I definitely agree (and in case there was some confusion, I didn’t have any hand in the infographic or the research).

      Reach in the infographic looks to be defined as the number of publishers… that isn’t reach by anyone’s definition! That said, I thought it was worth including for the premiums for different filters and the 80% met the title criteria still even when title filters were removed. Those, I felt, were interesting and useful stats to have. I’ll come back to the 80% result in one of the later posts as well.

  • Geoff Tucker

    We have done CPL with Madison Logic and eMedia, direct publisher buys with SmartBrief, and purchased contacts with OneSource and Data.com. To date, the overall results were fair to poor. Not that the vendors did not deliver on what we paid for. Rather, the funnel progress these leads made was not sufficient to justify the expense. We are tackling our content issues now to better provide what our audience wants (based on social media listening and Sales feedback). In general, though, buying our share of audience tends to result in little engagement based on how many leads we have who have never engaged with any offers we have made to them.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Hi Geoff, thanks for the comment. My experience is these leads are consistently worth a lot less than the ones you get organically. That said, you can only increase organic volume so much in a given period before you need to start looking for paid programs. Once you switch to paid tactics, I’ve continued to see programs similar to these perform better than all but paid search in most markets.

      I’d love to learn a bit more about your experience if you are willing to share. Happy to share more details on some of my experiences as well. You can email me at eric@b2bdigital.net.

  • Matt Payne

    Funny I came to your blog looking for one of your posts from ~a month ago (you know, the post you tweeted as a test the other day & told us not to click on, yeah well I clicked, and found a ton of value out of that article, so thanks for that)

    As usual, I respect the way you boil everything down. since you asked, a lead gen program I have been seeing success with is called the “Burger King approach” ( have it your way.) Emailer drives traffic to the client’s landing page & trusts the client to report accurate billable #’s, sets price, pay terms, etc. I have found this gives marketers what they want, which is the opportunity to promote deep funnel content, to their landing page, from email.

    Definitely looking forward to more in the series, Eric! Will you be speaking @ DF13?

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Thanks Matt. One thing I like about the approach you mention here is the ability for marketers to control more of the presentation. It is much closer to the CPA model that is common in B2C, glad to hear more people are bringing it to B2B.

      Nope, no DF for me this year. Hope you enjoy the show!

  • Jennifer G. Hanford

    Coming fro m the research side of lead generation, I can tell you it takes a lot of time to find the right people and their contact information. The main drawback of obtaining data is that it’s only as good as the minute it’s collected. I’ve had situations where a C-Level executive is terminated on a Friday and already replaced by the following Monday. The data, which was collected on the Thursday was good at the time. Leads lists require a lot of time and energy to build, maintain and update…hence the high prices.

    Great info, Eric – I look forward to reading your series, too!

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Thanks Jenn! Yes, data expires quickly, and when you’ve paid a premium for hand built, highly targeted lists in particular, you better be ready to jump on using it quickly!

      (And… that’s one of the points planned for article 3. ;-) )

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