The Solomon McCown digital team let out a cry of glee at the news that Facebook is experimenting with “lead ads.” This new objective will make it easier for Facebook users to sign up for newsletters, to receive business information from an organization and the like without clicking off of Facebook. Instead, users will give Facebook permission to share information they’ve provided to the social network, including their email address and phone number, with just two clicks.
This is just the most recent example of Facebook doing its best to keep users on its site instead of sending them to an external website—its Instant Articles and Facebook at Work offerings being two ways Zuckerberg and company are trying to further integrate the world’s largest social network more deeply into its users’ lives. As Facebook marketing expert Jon Loomer writes, this isn’t always a good thing—lead ads won’t refer a target audience to our clients’ website, which means they won’t explore additional content once there.
Lead ads will be very useful for Solomon McCown’s clients. Our real estate clients who are in lease-up can target potential residents with lead ads and can call or email to follow up with more details, instead of simply sending tenants to the website for more information and hoping they convert once on the site. Our corporate clients can urge potential customers to subscribe to email updates or newsletters. Healthcare clients could even use the ads to find patients for new primary care doctors or specialists. The possibilities are endless.
The ads are still only available to a small number of advertisers globally as Facebook tests them out. But we’ll be patiently waiting for Facebook to extend them to our clients who are looking to convert fans into tangible leads.