Facebook’s Lead Gen Ads are streamlining the sales funnel and offer online advertisers a new way to capture interest without redirecting users outside the app. Here are three reasons we think they’re worth trying out. The traditional funnel for online lead generation often starts with ads that hopefully lead to clicks, that take potential customers to landing pages where they can read more and leave their contact information (often by filling out a long form). This process is troublesome for many reasons and Lead Gen Ads tackle three of the biggest problems.




The process can be as easy as 1-2-3. People click the call-to-action button, which leads to a pre-populated form that’s easy to fill out on their mobile device and then click ‘Submit’. All without leaving the app.

1. Super Smooth Native Mobile Flow

Hick’s law states that every additional choice increases the time required to make a decision. This is great principle to consider in web design and online advertising. Each choice about whether to click, read, fill in or do something means a longer decision-making process and a higher risk that someone will opt-out completely and ignore your ad. Lead generation consists of two parts: generating interest in your business and then capturing it. Lead Gen Ads make this second part much smoother, since users don’t have to leave the app to fill out forms for more information. Before, ads redirected to landing pages outside of Facebook. While there can be benefits to this, it can also be risky. People may be confused by how the information is displayed on your landing page or the page may simply load too slowly or not be mobile-optimized. Now, they can fill out a form with just a few taps without having to switch context. 2015 saw the tipping point for mobile (vs. desktop) media usage in the US and the trend in Facebook usage is also clear. While savvy marketers are already aware that they need to offer a good mobile experience to reach and convert their audience, Lead Gen Ads “take out the middleman” of the landing page and form, making the process much smoother.

2. Auto-Filled Forms – a Killer Feature?

According to Facebook, most mobile forms take 38.5 percent longer to fill out that desktop ones. It’s easy to believe this statistics based on the painful personal experiences of trying to fill out long forms on-the-go. Another big benefit of Lead Gen Ads is that forms can include up to 18 preset fields which minimize the amount of typing necessary. These data, if available, will be taken directly from user’s Facebook profile and auto-filled to the form when a user clicks the call-to-action button:

  • E-mail
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Full Name
  • Phone Number
  • Street Address
  • City
  • State
  • Province
  • Country
  • Post Code
  • Zip Code
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Relationship Status
  • Company Name
  • Military Status
  • Job title
  • Work phone number
  • Work email

You can also add up to 3 additional questions. They can be custom questions, but Facebook also offers a set of additional predefined questions that you can add. Using an open text field for the answer is possible, but a list of options is recommended. You can also include an optional custom disclaimer at the end of the form. There isn’t a character limit on the disclaimer, but we strongly recommend keeping it as brief as possible. A user will have to scroll through the entire disclaimer and accept before they can submit. Keep in mind that while your instinct might be to collect as much information as possible (especially now that the pre-populated form makes it so much easier to do), people are still hesitant to overshare with advertisers, so keep your forms as short as possible. User privacy is taken into account in two ways. No information is shared with advertisers before the form is submitted and all advertisers need to opt-in into Facebook’s Terms of Service which forbid sharing information with third parties.

3. Call-To-Action Button Options

There are six different buttons options for the ad’s call-to-action. They give you an idea of the variety of companies that could benefit from Lead Gen Ads and the different campaign opportunities they make possible.

Call to Action Button Examples of Campaign Type
Sign up Deals, coupons, events, pre-orders and conferences
Subscribe Newsletter lists, special offers
Learn more Inquiry and interest forms of different kinds incl. education, financial and professional services
Apply now Contests. Financial and professional services
Get quote Financial and insurance services
Download A white paper, report, guides or other content marketing collateral

These clear calls-to-action, along with the native signup flow and pre-populated forms, shorten the path of lead generation and are likely going to lead to better conversion rates for campaigns. It will be interesting to follow the development of this new ad type.

If you want to hear what I have to say in 140 characters or less, please follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/erikpenn.