What’s wrong with winning an iPad?


Trine Buus, chair of the IAB Online Lead Generation Council and International Product Developer at AdPepper, tackles the thorny issue of incentivised lead generation.

Of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with winning an iPad – except you might be more interested in winning an Amazon Kindle! Whatever your preference though, it’s almost irrelevant. What is relevant is, if you are buying leads and they are incentivised it will impact your campaign results – negatively or positively, or possibly both. But you need to know about it. Whether it is done well (targeted), or via co-reg (less targeted) or blatantly used without advertisers being aware (very poor targeting, leading to poor quality data and skewed results), it’s not ‘Best Practise’, but it happens. We see it happen and we are not proud of it.

Admittedly, in a competitive marketplace, incentives that are relevant and in line with advertisers campaign objectives can be hugely important for campaign success in order to stand out and get attention.

Take, for instance, a survey for Times Online survey. Respondents could be incentivised to win a year’s free subscription to Times Online via the iPad app. This should keep the quality of responses high assuming the value of the prize is limited to genuine Times Online readers who are interested in winning a year’s free subscription.

Unfortunately the scene changes dramatically to a horror show when a Free Prize Draw lure of an iPad (or other high value item) is used to boost numbers and dupe. There are, sadly, thousands of examples when a fictitious marketing hook (which may not even be given away) or an unrelated incentive to the underlying survey or competition is used to increase sign-ups.

The idea that it broadens the appeal and gives more numbers to convert is true. However, the quality of users it attracts will be opportunist (carpet baggers) and low value. The likelihood is that entrants into a free prize draw will be overly influenced by the hook of the prize and have no interest in hearing about your product or service. Therefore the ROI will always be difficult to justify.

Incentivised lead generation does have its place – but not for Premium advertisers looking to establish a relationship with a prospective customer of their product or service.

Do you agree? Disagree? Join the debate and discuss on LinkedIn.