What Are the Top Digital Lead Generators?

For many companies, the digital generation of leads is a key business driver. Clients are accessed via a marketing message, express interest in it, and are hopefully captured by sales agents who convert the interest into a sale. Choosing the best digital lead generator can therefore be a crucial piece of business strategy.

Social Media and E-mail Lead the List

But what do businesses see as the best lead generators in the digital space? The marketing firm Ascend2 just developed a new technology news study, Generating and Nurturing Leads to Create Demand, which indicate that social media is seen as the top tactic by 47% of companies, and e-mail is viewed as the most effective by 46%.

Other tactics are mentioned as effective, but by considerably fewer companies. Thirty-nine percent of companies, for example, view video marketing as an effective tactic, while 38% see search engine optimization (SEO) as effective and 30% see paid search or display ads as effective.

Ascend2’s report tracks other findings, according to industry publication Marketing Dive. Nielsen data, for example, found that 73% of companies found social media as the most important lead generator.

Eighty-two percent of companies have plans to hike their spending on digital lead generation in 2019, and the rise will be substantial, at 49%.

A whopping 84% of marketing departments think that digital lead generation’s effectiveness at pulling in customers is better than it used to be, while 38% indicate not only improvement but significant improvement.

Twelve percent of marketers think digital lead generation effectiveness is getting worse.

In the softer category of digital lead nurturing, e-mail was also strong, with 47% of marketing departments indicating it was the most effective method. However, social media slipped to third place as a nurturer, at 40%, preceded by second-place video marketing, named by 45% as the most effective.

Social media channels are seen as the most effective, but recent changes may exert an impact on digital lead generation optimization.

Will They Remain Strong?

However, there might be a growing discrepancy between how marketers view lead generation agents and how potential customers view and use them. E-mail, for example, is used by 70% of marketing departments in both lead generation and lead nurturing — a high figure that indicates faith in e-mail to personalize messages and generate interest.

But many observers believe that customers are increasingly fatigued by promotional e-mails, and tend not to respond as strongly as engagement numbers suggest. Only 8% of consumers said they were “very satisfied” by e-mail marketing efforts according to a study commissioned by Adobe.

Similarly, social media is undergoing changes that might eventually impact its effectiveness at lead generation.

The rationale for devoting a lot of lead generation budget to social media is that social media platforms reach many consumers. But consumer satisfaction vis-à-vis social media platforms may be on the wane, fueled by saturation, multiple platforms, and a string of negative news about privacy and security concerns on platforms like Facebook. Changes to the News Feed to make the Facebook experience more about user posts may also change the marketing reachability of the platform.