Earlier this year we were fortunate enough to preview Google’s forthcoming Pay Per Click Lead Capture initiative.
Here’s an overview of how it works
1) Users search a term for a generic service type industry, for example “Teeth Whitening”. The top (and arguably most relevant) pay per click ad will be displayed with a plus sign, allowing the user to click and display a lead capture form below the ad.
2) The advertiser will be charged their maximum bid amount for the lead (post beta, this may change)
3) Google will show up to three custom questions that you provide, in addition to generic contact information input boxes. Which questions are shown will depend on a mysterious “quality algorithm”, details of which haven’t yet been disclosed – damn you Matt Cutts!!
4) Once users complete the form, Google email the details, at present limited to phone contact only (with Google keeping the user’s number secret through VOIP call routing). Post beta, they’ll more than likely support email contact and leads through Live Chat.
On the plus side, this could be an incredible way to cut your cost per lead as it would, theoretically, just be the cost per click rather than paying for 20 or so clicks to receive 1 lead. People inherently trust Google; it would be interesting to see a few months of data that compares impressions -> leads on Google versus visits -> leads on a site. For someone with a track record in email list marketing who knows the value of each name on their list, knowing this acquisition cost upfront should make it an easy decision to make.
The drawbacks are small but plentiful.
Firstly, you have to be number one for this to kick in, although Google will probably extend this to top 3. Even if you do make it, we have a hunch that most people will still click your link to browse your site – very few people will give their details to a company they’ve only read two lines about. Worse still, they may return to the listings page and possibly fill out the form as opposed to completing yours; people trust Google and will probably value the privacy in keeping their number hidden – end result, you’ve paid twice for that lead! I also have my doubts about how many people will use the service because it’s new versus that person being genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
There’s a possibility that this will never make it off the cutting room floor – anyone remember Google Local Coupons? As far as we’re concerned the jury’s still out on this one; but as with anything in online marketing, the proof will be in the numbers.