In October 2015, Facebook announced the launch of a new ad unit called the “Lead Ad.” Marketers use this lead generation ad to capture specific pieces of user information (such as name, email, phone number, etc.) without requiring the user to leave the mobile Facebook experience. This seamless approach to data collection gives brands an alternate way to grow their email databases. In the past, brands were forced to drive users from Facebook link ads to the brand website in the hopes that they might enter their information often into a clunky pop-up experience. With the new lead ads, companies can now offer users a simple, in-stream way to sign up for things like newsletters, offers, and quotes.
Facebook’s lead ad solution pre-populates the advertiser’s lead generation form with the inquiring user’s Facebook information. With as few as two clicks, a user can agree to send their information to a brand, making the process fast and easy for users while ensuring that advertisers get accurate data. Facebook automatically pulls in a user’s name and email address for a generic lead ad, but marketers can also opt to capture other fields such as phone number, address, gender, job title, etc. Though not all users will have these fields completed in their existing profiles and may have to enter the information manually, the process is still more efficient than a traditional signup form. Up to three questions can be asked in addition to the pre-populated fields, and marketers can include customized answer options as well.
Brands can download leads directly from the “Forms Library” section on their Facebook page, or they can upload them via the Facebook API if their database provider already has a partnership with Facebook to do so. (The first method is much more common and does not require any additional tech setup or integration.)
Initial Lead Ad Campaign Results
As soon as iProspect teams began pitching this new ad type, many clients wanted to test it out immediately. One client, a major shopping retailer, saw significantly improved results with lead ads as compared to their past Facebook efforts. Previously, they had run “link ads” which drove users to their website to sign up for the brand’s email newsletter, which provides access to special deals and promotions. While the link ad campaigns were deemed successful, there was no point of comparison against which to judge their results. The launch of lead ads gave us an opportunity to run a litmus test that would allow us to measure the efficacy of the previous campaign against the new ad format.
The results on the initial tests were fairly conclusive. The lead ads outperformed their link ad counterparts on nearly every metric. The cost per lead for the lead ads was 120 percent lower than that for the link ad campaign, and the lead ads reached users more efficiently at a CPM that was 134 percent lower.
The Future of Facebook Lead Ads
This is just the beginning for Facebook’s lead ads. We expect that this format will continue to evolve, in part guided by feedback from iProspect and other agencies about specific marketer and brand needs. Since the initial launch, Facebook has already added new features including the option to run lead ads in the carousel ad format, which has been shown to decrease costs and increase click through. In addition, Facebook has added the option to use a “context card” interstitial that pops-up after the initial click to let users know what they are signing up for. While we expect this option will come with a higher cost-per-lead (since this option increases the overall number of pages before conversion), users who are exposed to the context card and still submit are likely to be more qualified since they will know exactly what they are signing up for.
As expected, Facebook has added the ability to integrate video elements into lead ads. This capability will likely improve the user experience by making it more engaging and informative. Lead generation features also seem like a perfect fit for Facebook’s new Canvas ads (read more about those in Creating an immersive experience with Canvas). Integrating immersive lead generation forms into a Canvas ad would increase the ease of data entry for users while also providing a richer user experience via in-depth imagery and video.
These current and anticipated developments in Facebook’s lead ads underscore the importance of creating seamless, integrated touch points between brands and customers – relevant interactions that take place in the context of the broader user experience without compromising a brand’s ability to achieve specific results.