In the constant pursuit of business growth, it comes as no surprise that lead generation has been the top priority for most businesses throughout 2023. There is an overwhelming amount of options out there when it comes to generating leads, including a mix of organic and paid efforts across an endless list of platforms.
With so many different channels and methods to generate leads, digital marketers are facing a very pressing challenge – how can they filter through all the available options in order to generate quality leads with a high chance of converting?
In this article we will discuss the top paid advertising platforms for lead generation in 2023, and share best practices on how to leverage them to generate quality leads.
Let’s start with the most obvious answer – social advertising platforms. According to recent data, 68% of online marketers state that social media ads have helped them generate more leads.
But which platforms are likely to generate the best quality leads, and how do they compare to each other?
Youtube has 2 billion monthly active users, making it one of the biggest social media platforms to date.
We have placed it at the top of the list, mostly due to its advanced targeting options. Beyond the standard demographic targeting, Youtube also allows advertisers to target based on the audience’s past search and watch history. As an advertiser, you can also choose which type of Youtube videos you want your ad to be shown on.
Combine this with a very strong call to action on the ad, and you are likely to increase short term sales by up to 30% according to Hubspot.
The main downside of Youtube is that you need to create longer form videos, which costs time and resources to make.
You have probably heard all about how popular TikTok ads are right now, but actually, only 18% of online marketers are using TikTok ads for lead generation. You still have time, but you need to be quick! A recent study reported that about half of online marketers that were questioned, plan on leveraging TikTok in the near future for this purpose.
In the meantime, this relatively low level of competition means that the cost for advertising on TikTok is the lowest among all platforms at the moment.
TikTok also has a smart algorithm and a plethora of basic and advanced targeting options you can use to generate quality leads. If you want to learn more about 6 winning strategies on TikTok, read our previous article here.
The biggest challenge with TikTok is that you need to create a large amount of videos in order to continue being successful. With this platform, trends come and go very fast, and ad fatigue is very high, with ads often “expiring” after 1 or 2 weeks. More and more companies are using UGC (user generated content) brands that connect you to TikTok creators.
You pay a flat fee, and the creator shoots and edits the video on their end. This is a good solution to produce the videos you need at a much lower cost. Also, these videos blend in better with the rest of the content on the platform, making them more engaging and less transactional.
Meta includes Facebook and Instagram, making it one of the biggest social media platforms worldwide, with 3 billion monthly active users.
Although Meta offers the same targeting options as TikTok, Facebook has been around for 12 extra years, which means the platform has gathered more data and supported an even smarter algorithm.
In terms of lead quality, again video content generally works better than static images, especially if you educate the consumer about your product throughout the video. You can do this by focusing on offered value and addressing pain points, instead of just stating features. Having a clear message and including testimonials also helps.
Image by Poll the People
One downside of Meta is that traffic is more expensive than TikTok. If you are not sure whether to focus on TikTok ads or Meta ads in 2023, read our full platform comparison here.
What are the best native paid advertising platforms for lead generation?
If your focus is on generating high quality leads, you should consider native advertising platforms. 75% of customers trust editorial sites, compared to 54% who trust social media. Native ads are often placed on trusted sites, and they seamlessly blend in with the rest of the content on that page, making them ideal for higher conversions. There are hundreds of native platforms out there, but what are the top options?
Taboola is one of the biggest native advertising platforms with 500 million daily active users. Most of the traffic on this platform comes from Tier-1 countries such as the US and UK.
Taboola partners with high quality websites and trusted sources, such as Business Insider and Fox, and apart from offering advanced targeting options, they also have a strong algorithm that matches the offer with the right audiences for better results.
With 1.3 billion unique users, partnerships with esteemed sites such as CNN and BBC, and half of their traffic coming from Tier-1 countries, Outbrain is another top native platform to consider. They also offer advanced targeting and retargeting options.
Taboola and Outbrain are two of the most popular native advertising platforms, which also means that the competition is higher and you need a bigger ad spend budget to promote your offers here.
MGID has been one of the industry leaders since 2008, with 850M unique visitors monthly and sites like MSN as partners. The traffic here comes primarily from Tier 2 countries, most notably from Eastern Europe and South-East Asia.
MGID’s compliance policies are less strict compared to the previous two networks, making it a favorable option for a large number of offers.
The last native advertising platform we would like to focus on for this article is RevContent. Most of the publishers are from the US, such as Forbes.
RevContent have branded themselves as a high-quality traffic platform by stating that they reject a large number of publishers and have established very high standards when it comes to their qualifying and compliance policies.
Based on your company’s goals, budget, and target GEOs, you can decide which platform/s to start with.
In terms of content, advertisers still heavily rely on image ads for native platforms, but video ads or gifs appear to work better for engagement. If you want to learn more about how to boost your native ads profits in 2023, read our previous article here.
What is the best search advertising platform for lead generation?
There are billions of daily searches on Google, which gives you as an advertiser access to a very broad audience.
Because you are specifically targeting people who are already looking for your product/service, search ads are the most effective way to generate high quality leads for your business.
This top-notch quality also makes Google Search ads highly competitive, and more expensive than the other platforms on this list.
How can you manage all your paid advertising platforms for lead generation?
Depending on your offer, vertical target audience, ad budget, and your team’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of resources, you can decide which platform to put your focus on.
Remember to “not put all your eggs in one basket” and test different channels instead. Platforms are constantly changing, updating their policies, and becoming more competitive, so make sure to not fully rely on only one channel. You can A/B test your offer across 2-3 different platforms, and focus on scaling the ones that are working best for you.
Successful lead gen marketers are often running campaigns on various social, native, and search platforms at the same time.
If you are in the same position, you may need to consider a campaign automation tool like The Optimizer. Our tool has an integration with all the traffic sources mentioned in this article (and more), and it can help you optimize your campaigns from a single dashboard.
If you want to monitor performance, stop creatives that are not working, and scale creatives/campaigns that are performing well, The Optimizer can automate these tasks for you without you having to log into tens (or sometimes hundreds) of ad accounts each day.
Advertising Platforms for Lead Generation: Conclusion
In this article, we discussed the best paid advertising platforms for lead generation in 2023. These platforms are Youtube, TikTok and Meta for social ads; Taboola, Outbrain, MGID and RevContent for native ads; and Google for search ads.
The best approach is to test multiple platforms and find out what works best for you. Use campaign automation tools like The Optimizer to manage all your different traffic sources from a single dashboard.
If you are interested in learning more about lead generation best practices, we recommend watching Jason Akatiff’s case study where he talks about his $70M annual revenue strategy.