Online Lead Generation - Best Practices for Publishers

Online Lead Generation - Best Practices for Publishers

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iCumulus Whitepaper Series:        

Lead Generation

A Guide for Publishers - Lead Generation and Lead Management

The purpose of this document is to set out iCumulus’ guidelines and expectations for Lead Generation. 

Our objective is help the industry develop a set of recognised set of Best practices to ensure the healthy grow of the Lead Generation market and to ensure the highest quality leads are delivered to clients  whilst remaining compliant to all local, and where appropriate, international laws and legislations that protect consumers from receiving unsolicited communications.

We rely on all publishers to deliver this quality service and to agree to adhere to the below guidelines.

Key topics covered within this document:

1. Legislation and Compliance

o     Privacy Act 2000

o     Spam Act 2003

2.    Data Collection:

o     Data recency

o     Lifestyle survey

o     Incentivised V nonincentivised

3.    Data Validation

4.    Unique Records

5.    Returns Policy

6.    Exclusivity

7.    Publisher Identification

8.    Data supply – methods

9.    Networks and Affiliates

10.   Pricing

11.   Leads Management via Atmosphere LM

12.   Posting instructions

13.   Accepting the terms

1.       Legislation and Compliance:

Privacy Act 1988:

The Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth) covers the handling of personal information by Federal government organisations, credit reporting organisations and parts of the private sector (excluding small businesses). The Australian Privacy Commissioner regulates the Privacy Act.[1]

We describe the Privacy act as the legislation that covers the collection and handling on consumer’s information. It is the publisher’s responsibility to have available to all members and potential members, at the point of collection, their privacy policy. Within the Privacy Policy it should state the intended usage of the data collected and the process that members can follow to view the data available to the publisher and have the ability to make change to this data.

We also recommend publishers maintain Terms and Conditions that clearly state the conditions the members have joined the database including the type of communication they are likely to receive.

Spam Act 2003:

The Spam Act was developed in response to the problems caused by the growing volume of unsolicited commercial electronic messages, or spam. Spam threatens the viability and efficiency of electronic messaging. It damages consumer confidence, obstructs legitimate business activities and imposes many costs on users. The legislation prohibits unsolicited commercial electronic messages. The Spam Act includes rules aimed at preserving legitimate business communication activities and encouraging the responsible use of electronic messaging. The Act says that commercial electronic messages must accurately identify their sender, and include a way for the recipient to unsubscribe from future such messages if they want to.[2]

We describe The Spam Act as the legislation that covers the use of data when communicating to consumers electronically.

The Spam Act according to the Practical Guide for Businesses recommends the three key steps to follow are:

  1. Consent - Only send commercial electronic messages with the addressee’s consent - either express or inferred consent.
  2. Identify - Include clear and accurate information about the person or business that is responsible for sending the commercial electronic message.
  3. Unsubscribe - Ensure that a functional unsubscribe facility is included in all your commercial electronic messages.  Deal with unsubscribe requests promptly.

2.       Data Capture

When selecting the best database for the particular objectives of a campaign there a few options available when making recommendations to clients:

Lead Generation methods:

Below are the most common methods used by publishers for Lead Generation:

●        New member to publisher:

○        Question sponsorship - within lifestyle survey. Data collected by publisher and posted directly into the iCumulus Lead Management Platform, or manually distributed to iCumulus

○        Co- registration - Client message appears within the publisher registration process, data collected via fields within the publisher registration process

●        Existing members of publisher;

○        Offer pages - single or multiple offers within the publishers domain, fields for lead generation maybe pre populated by publisher based on registered members data

○        Mini surveys - deliver of sponsored questions to existing members via an email invitation to a poll question, a short form survey of sponsored questions. Sometime referred to as a Omnibus of sponsored questions

●        Transactional:

○        3rd Party Offer page - presented to consumers post registration, log out or transaction in e-commerce. Hosted off site, consumers re enter fields as required by client

●        Host and post - publisher hosted data capture page with leads posted directly into the iCumulus Lead Management platform. Content driven mini sites are a common form of Host and Post. Publishers search marketing practices to drive traffic to these pages which a text rich on relevant content specific to the keywords selected based on the clients category or sub category

Online - most of our publishers have developed their member databases through online marketing and collection via a web form/ landing page.

Offline – some of our publishers, particularly premium lifestyle surveys have sent paper versions of the survey to potential members who have completed this version offline. The publisher has then manually entered these members into their database. Other forms of offline collection are in the form of competition entries via paper forms, trade shows and point of sale material such as in store loyalty memberships.


Data recency refers to the age of the member record from collection. Majority of databases are developed over a period of time and are recruiting new members constantly, rather than a one off database build that may occur as it does during a competition. In the offline collection model, recency is more of an issue due to the time frames involved. In the majority of cases the more recent the data the more responsive is the member.

[Data marketing term:  “recency – the quality of being new”.]

Incentivised V Non-incentivised

Majority of the Lifestyle Survey databases reward their members for participating in receiving targeted offers, at an individual campaign level. By responding to a message members build reward points or entries into a competition run by the member database.

There are advantages and disadvantages to running marketing campaigns to incentivised leads, we will disclose if members are incentivised to offer their contact data at the time we are proposing publisher options, and explain the rationale for each selection.

We request leads collected using an incentive be disclosed to iCumulus before being delivered

3.       Data Validation

Validation processes ensures clean correct and useful data. The highest quality data commands the highest pricing.

Please inform us of the data validation rules you have in place as a standard so we can inform the client

4.       Unique records

Each campaign we run is set up to collect unique records per campaign. This is defined by the consumer email address, and we will accept on of first come basis only.

5.       Returns Policy

Returns Policy - We work with the client to predetermine the level of quality of leads. Our platform will help us with the acceptance of leads based on the requirements. Some leads may not reach these standards and will not be accepted and marked and returned to the publisher  

Setting a default :

·         95% of leads accepted must be deliverable (email), connect to voice or not disconnected (phone) or not marked as RTS for mail

·         In the case where less that 95% have been deemed undeliverable the publisher has the right to deliver new leads to top up to achieve 95% of originally delivered, or reduce the number for invoicing

6.       Exclusivity

The sale of leads to multiple clients significantly reduces the quality of the lead, as does the position of the question in a multi-level survey or offer path. As a result we have identified the below:

●        Categories – Clients will operate in specific categories or vertical markets. We aim to negotiate category exclusivity on behalf of our clients. Open disclosure of lead supply to specific clients by categories is essential.

●        Sub categories - categories can be purchased in entirety or on a sub category basis.

●        We define Question Sponsorship as whereby a client name or logo appears in the question within the survey or registration path. Category and sub category exclusive arrangements are essential. The listing of multiple sponsored questions within the same categories should not be available.  Most clients are purchasing leads with a pre-determined price range, the chance to offer a loading or premium base on exclusivity per lead is restrictive based on these target ranges this is why iCumulus will work with each publisher to effectively price a premium for category exclusive arrangements. This will include term of the deal, purchase of other digital assets and many other factors.

●        non named question sponsorship, lead provision to clients must be on a first right of refusal basis per category or sub category. Deals are negotiated on a fixed term or volume of leads basis. As lead volumes tend to vary significantly fixed terms are the preferred option.

●        Premium for exclusivity – we may at time be able to negotiate rates for leads where exclusivity is confirmed, however it is our preference to keep lead pricing to a minimum so as not to effect over all lead conversion performance. Therefore we work with publisher individually to negotiate other media such as email campaigns to members on a CPM or CPC basis. Where we have such an agreement we request a 4 week exclusion period by product/vertical of client

●        Exclusive clients are to be treated on a first right of refusal basis. This is designed to allow iCumulus to bring to existing clients, all new media opportunities that a publisher may launch or may not be included in the Exclusivity clause. This will include any new term of the agreement for existing placements

7.       Publisher identification

All publishers or networks must be able to identify to iCumulus the source of entry (IP address, date/time stamp) for each lead captured. This is a requirement of the Spam Act but also allows us to optimize campaigns towards rewarding the most responsive leads to increase purchase.

8.       Networks or Affiliates

We understand the Network model and our preference will be to deal directly with each publisher however in the instance we accept a Network booking we must to have the ability to identify each Lead source back to the specifics of the publisher. For identification purposes In the case of networks that are considered “Blind or undisclosed” it should be required for the network to provide a list of publishers ID’s that can track  and recall as required.

9.       Pricing           

We like to set pricing based on the quality of the leads. We work with each client to gain an understanding of the results they are achieving with the leads we are providing so we can maximize the price we can generate for each publisher placement whilst achieving the best outcome for our clients. The classic supply versus demand is prevalent in the sales of leads. As quality leads are relatively hard to find we forecast strong yields in the current market conditions.

Pricing will be determined per field of data captured. The higher the quality of the data the higher the price per field we can command.

●        Key factors on pricing are:

○        Category - premium categories are Insurance, Mortgages, Credit Cards

○        Exclusivity - factored within a packaged agreement

○        Recency - the most recent data commands the higher price

○        Data quality - validations rules will ensure the highest quality of data

○        Quantity- Volume brackets maybe introduced

○        Incentive levels - based on any incentivisation with lead capture

○        Branding - level of branding at point of data capture or permission for brand to contact consumer

○        Lead scoring - the higher the lead score the more effective the lead is to client conversion

●        Publisher rates - We are happy to work with publishers with rates if they have already been pre-determined. As we are in the market of data sales we will feedback to each publisher information of market pricing to benchmark any existing pricing

10.  Data Supply Methods:

We believe we need to make every effort to remove the man handling of data supply from Publisher to Client, to minimize time but most importantly to maintain data security. As a result we have developed a Leads Management Platform (see section 8.) All publishers are requested to use the platform.


11.   Lead Management - Atmosphere LM - “Lead Management in the Cloud”

We have developed a world class lead management platform. Atmosphere LM has been designed to automate the lead acquisition process. Our platform is a combination of best of bread hosted software solutions brought together to provide an end to end solution for capturing, tracking, reporting, and distribution of leads for advertisers and publishers.

We provide clients a Portal where they can choose the leads available to purchase.  Atmosphere automates data validation, delivery, tracking, and reporting, removing the requirement for time-consuming manual processes.

Robust API - Atmosphere's database design provides for easy integration at the most detailed level enabling the ability for leads to be delivered directly into a client’s CRM via our API .


Atmosphere LM is designed to integrate with publishers via an API for lead collection on one side whilst  providing a plug in for CRM packages for lead delivery for advertisers. Our platform runs high levels of data validation to ensure we are capturing the highest quality of data on the fly, then as the lead pass through to buyers automatically for deliver we are removing any manual handling of data, minimising any integrity risk to the delivery of data

We are providing a platform to publishers for the management of online campaigns which has been designed to maximise revenue for publishers. This is achieved by streamlining process and enhancing the quality of leads captured via various validation methods and automatically passing leads to buyers, all within the one platform.
Atmosphere LM is a scalable, feature-rich platform which allows Publishers to Manage and control campaigns at every level: Atmosphere makes capturing, reporting, optimising and managing campaigns simple with an emphasis on productivity and accuracy

To find out more about Atmosphere please arrange a consultation with one of our Lead Generation Experts

Contact Us:

iCumulus Pty Ltd

Level 9, 131 York Street


ph: 1300 858 106 (or ph: +61 2 8262 8070 international callers)

Mark Halstead

Managing Director at iCumulus

Mark is a senior executive with 18 years Media/ Advertising industry experience, a high profile pioneer of digital media, experienced within Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia. Specialties:Email marketing, performance media, lead generation, permission marketing, data and list marketing, ad networks, search, direct response advertising, TV and sponsorships