Twitter’s New Lead Gen Cards Appeal To B2B Marketers With Seamless Data Capture

TwitterWhen B2B marketers send out a typical paid tweet, they have to direct leads to a landing page with a form for their name, company, email and any other pertinent bits of data they want to capture. As any marketer knows, when prospects have to go to another site and fill out a form it increases the likelihood that they will just abandon the task.

That is all about to change with Twitter’s new Lead Generation Cards, which are being called revolutionary by some industry observers and could have an impact on how other social media outlets address the needs of B2B marketers going forward.

Tips For Success With Lead Gen Cards

There are some challenges for B2B marketers who decided to use Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards. Jay Famico, Research Director of Demand Creation Strategies for SiriusDecisions, offers these tips for B2B marketers looking to try this new feature:

Watch for duplicate contacts. The cards may capture contacts that are already being engaged by the organization, such as in a pre-marketing-qualified-lead nurturing program. Keep in mind that the email address that Twitter sends may not be the same one that the marketing organization has on file. For example, the organization might be marketing to the contact using a corporate email address, but the contact registered on Twitter with a personal email address. As a result, there is potential to inadvertently over-communicate or send duplicate offers. Before automatically adding leads generated through Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards into nurture programs, marketers should ensure the contact does not already exist in the database with a different email address.

Be mindful of timing. Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards send contact information to the sales force automation system or marketing automation platform, but the cards do not send the follow-up, which, in many cases, will be driven through email. Therefore, marketers need to ensure that follow-up happens quickly. This requires tight integration to current lead management processes.

Recognize data challenges. Twitter will send over the Twitter user name, email address and name as recorded in Twitter, limiting how a B2B marketer can automatically engage with a contact. The marketer will only know the offer that the contact responded to, and no other details such as department, level and geography, which are often used for personalization and segmentation. Consequently, the contact data may need to be enriched through a third-party agency, or the contact will need to be solicited to provide additional contact details for proper follow-up and engagement.

This feature, which has been in the works for about a year and was rolled out a few weeks ago, enables marketers to collect leads directly within the tweet. When a tweet is expanded, the user’s information — which is based on their Twitter account — is already filled out. This data is submitted when a user clicks on a call to action, such as downloading a white paper.

At the moment, the program is only available to Twitter's current ad clients but is expected to open it up to other businesses soon, according to a post on the social media company’s web site.

“It has really taken Twitter from being a novelty for B2B marketers to being more of a part of the standard marketing mix,” said Todd Davison, Founder of Demand Frontier, a consulting firm specializing in demand generation.

Davison noted that many people now check social media more often than their email. “I liken it to the early days of email marketing. I think what we’re seeing is a continuous evolution in social media and this advance provides B2B marketers with greater utility going forward.”

One of the most important benefits is that it boosts Twitter’s value as a demand generation tool, observers noted.

“Twitter’s Lead Generation Card offers value for demand creation,” said Jay Famico, Research Director of Demand Creation Strategies for SiriusDecisions. “Specifically, it improves Twitter’s capabilities as a demand creation mechanism to help marketers drive more leads into the top of the demand creation waterfall.”

The key benefit of Twitter’s Lead Generation Card is the potential for improved conversion rates, Famico noted. “With its ability to use images and one-click interaction to reinforce a call to action and go beyond the usual 140 characters — with no forms to fill out — the Lead Generation Card is expected to yield higher conversion rates than traditional Twitter advertisements.”

Industry observers told Demand Gen Report that a primary reason that they expect higher conversion rates is because they do not have to send leads to a landing page, where they risk losing them. “This is really useful for B2B markers, as it provides a nice, seamless experience for the user while capturing all of the data that the marketer needs,” said Jason Miller, Social Media Manager for Marketo. He said the company had tested several Twitter Lead Generation Cards so far and is pleased with the response. “We have done exceptionally well with Twitter, and I this had the potential to be an even greater lead generation tool with this addition.”

Helping To Make The ROI Case

The Lead Generation Cards have the potential to be a powerful new mechanism for tracking campaigns, Famico noted. “Moreover, it paves the way to measuring the success of Twitter campaigns beyond re-tweets and click-through rates by allowing organizations to analyze the number of inquiries each tweet or Twitter campaign generates.”

The improved metrics are especially important as marketers are under increased scrutiny regarding a return on their investments. “Marketers are feeling a lot of pressure to generate high quality leads and prove marketing ROI and Twitter, which historically has had B2C roots, pivots their strategy toward B2B with Lead Generation cards,” said Jon Russo, Founder and CEO of B2B Fusion Group,. “While Lead Generation Cards represent a new approach of social selling, companies will need to think about their broad data contact strategy in reaching busy end users through a combination of tweets and email and capturing that information to remarket later. One major advantage of this approach is the tweet Lead Generation Cards work cross platform [mobile and desktop], so ROI chances are improved.”

This approach also raises the bar in terms of content quality, as users remain cautious about sharing their information unless they are getting something of value in return.

“You can’t forget the basics and the content still has to be compelling,” said Margaret Molloy, CMO for Velocidi, a digital marketing firm. “You need good creative, good graphics, a good call to action and good lead nurturing.”

The ability to add a visual element to a tweet is appealing for B2B marketers. Kipp Bodnar, Director of Marketing for HubSpot, called it a mini billboard. “The ability to have a dominant visual element right in the Twitter feed provides B2B marketers with a lot of extra power just don’t have in a traditional tweet. It provides another opportunity to communicate the value proposition of your offering, which can be a challenge for B2B marketers who are selling more complex products.”

Dave Walters, Product Evangelist for Silverpop, said that B2B marketers, like their B2C counterparts, are beginning to embrace the immediacy of social media interactions with their customers and that this new Twitter feature should bring more of them onboard. “This is something incredibly real time, and I expect more B2B marketers to embrace that full-on going forward, as they look to ramp up their lead generation and loyalty initiatives and the fact that these Lead Generation Cards perform lead generation in a very structured by unobtrusive way is appealing to all marketers. ”