There are numerous articles on this site alone about the huge dangers of lead fraud, the impact it can have upon your performance, and the ways you can identify and prevent it (see articles What is Validation in Lead Generation? and How Much Is Lead Fraud Costing You? for just two examples). Indeed, everyone is talking about lead fraud within the lead generation industry - and rightly so - because whether you are a lead buyer or a lead generator, you know you have likely fallen victim to it in one form or another over the years, right?
You know you have fallen victim to it.
Let’s focus in on this because it’s essentially the key point of this article: lead fraud is a problem that you are aware of, and thankfully, can ﬁnd good solutions for.
But what if there was a problem you weren’t aware of? What if you were suffering from a more innocuous yet insidious type of fraud, but had no idea? How could you begin to solve a problem you didn’t know existed?
What if there was a problem - or a type of fraud - that no one else was talking about? A problem that hasn’t been covered in multiple blog posts and ebooks and podcasts?
With that, let us introduce LOW LEVEL DECEPTION aka a brand new problem for you to solve (Spoiler alert: we give you the solutions too!)
What exactly is low level deception in lead generation?
Low level deception can be categorised as a form of illicit behaviour within lead generation that isn’t necessarily viewed as fraudulent activity, but can nevertheless be harmful and certainly isn’t transparent.
This occurs when lead sellers are not being entirely honest about their process. An example could be sending leads to a client (lead buyer) and knowingly mixing in or blending a small percentage of leads that came from another source, cost a diﬀerent amount, or were in someway diﬀerent or inferior to the agreed upon leads that the buyer had been led to believe they would be receiving.
This isn’t fraudulent in the sense the ICO are going to come knocking, but it’s a case of misleading the buyer for the gain of the seller.
Why does low level deception happen and why aren’t people aware?
It’s all to do with money, and the best way to illustrate this is with a clear example.
Let’s say you’re buying leads for £50 each and you’re getting a conversion rate of 20%.
If 10% of those leads are actually different in some way and convert at half the rate (10%), you would expect the buyer to justiﬁably ask for a lower CPL on this 10% - or refuse them - were they to know these leads are different.
Ultimately it comes down to whether the buyer of the leads is aware of this issue, which often they are not, hence the deception. They are simply not aware because they are deliberately not being made aware.
The name low level deception doesn’t actually sound that bad though?
This is ultimately the problem. Think of it like marginal gains in reverse. Over the course of a long time period with this low level deception occurring, these relatively small amounts can accumulate and add up to huge losses for the buyer.
If you look at the example above and suppose a buyer is purchasing 10,000 leads at a £50 CPL, with an average conversion rate of 20%, those 10% of leads that are actually diﬀerent and convert at just 10% actually represents a potential loss of £25,000 (assuming the cost you would be willing to pay is halved and directly proportional to the conversion rate).
These are arbitrary numbers but represent a likely real life situation and illustrate the key point: low level deception, when spread out over a period of time and blended in with higher percentages, can add up to a signiﬁcantly high cost.
It is something all lead buyers need to be aware of. It is a problem that needs to be identiﬁed, checked and solved.
How can you solve low level deception?
Let’s answer this with a real life example.
One of the biggest ones we’ve caught was on behalf of a big brand who were working with an agency to buy leads in. They were committing this low level deception and getting away with it, essentially creaming money oﬀ top.
This was to do with the lead seller blending in a percentage of leads that were in fact older than the agreed upon leads.
To combat this, we set a rule within Databowl to only accept incoming leads providing the opt-in time and date within certain parameters (that is within a certain period of time within it being generated). This essential prevents the seller from blending in leads that are older than agreed upon.
At this point, there is no way of committing this low level deception without adulterating the lead time and essentially committing fraud, in which case the conversation and the required protection changes. But, it does instantly protect against and prevent low level and often hitherto unidentiﬁed deception taking place.