Despite the fact that lead generation has been the fastest online ad category, the market is riddled with inefficiencies and problems which have led to a high degree of friction and fragmentation. Lead generation deals take longer and significantly more effort to set up than search campaigns or banner buys. Today, to run a lead generation campaign, several different departments must get involved: media buyers / sellers, creative groups, and technology teams.
More importantly, today there is currently no efficient way for advertisers and publishers to access the entire lead generation market. Advertisers lack a way to access the universe of potential publishers to run their offers. Similarly, publishers do not have a streamlined way to present their networks and sites to advertisers.
This fragmentation leaves most companies reliant on a few large lead gen ad networks and brokers. The ad networks and brokers for the most part keep their partner lists secret, forcing the advertisers to run their lead campaigns “blind.” Advertisers typically do not know where their offers are running, what the true markup is, and how much of a return they are yielding on their advertising investment. This lack of transparency, in turn, has led to a host of issues, including problems with lead quality, improper use of promotional incentives, and resale of leads without advertiser authorization. As a result, the lead generation market has attracted a number of disreputable parties which has damaged the sector’s reputation and held back the overall market.
When an advertiser and publisher do strike a deal, they often have difficulty transferring lead data or advertising creative due to a variety of standards that currently exist. For instance, some advertisers want their lead data sent by email, while others prefer HTTP or FTP format. As a result, publishers have to set up each lead generation campaign from scratch – a process that can take several days worth of work.
The opaque nature of the market and the complications associated with data transfer has made it difficult for advertisers to optimize and accurately calculate the ROI of their campaigns. Many large brand advertisers have avoided the use of lead gen for some or all of these reasons.
It's against this backdrop that we first became interested in Pontiflex. Pontiflex is looking to solve all of these issues with the recent soft launch of the industry's first and only open and transparent lead generation marketplace. Pontiflex enables advertisers to:
- find lead gen publishers
- set up and run campaigns
- optimize, report and validate leads,
- and transmit leads in real-time
Advertisers can achieve all this with the same ease as running a search campaign with Google with the benefit of full transparency. We believe by addressing a number of the key problems in the lead gen market, Pontiflex can grow the overall market by attracting more mainstream advertisers into the fold. The same advertisers that adopted banner ads and search ads over the last 5-10 years can now add lead gen to the mix just as easily. Despite being in open beta launch mode, Pontiflex has already attracted a large number of advertisers and publishers to their platform and can already deliver access to 17 million leads monthly for advertisers.
We're thrilled to have invested in Pontiflex with New Atlantic Ventures and look forward to building a great company with them and Pontiflex's team - Zephrin Lasker, Roshan Bangara, Jon Beardsley, Geoff Grauer, Arun Krishnan, Chris Halvorsen and Nick Herman.