A lead aggregator is relevant to sites that monetize their traffic by attempting to capture certain contact information about its visitors. For example, a site that collects information about visitors who are interested in making a real estate purchase is generating assets that can be very valuable to certain companies or professionals (in this example, realtors or real estate firms).
For publishers generating a small quantity of leads, it may be challenging to find buyers. Many large buyers of leads are interested in purchasing in bulk from known partners. Lead aggregators can provide liquidity to these smaller partners by purchasing their leads, and then packaging them for re-sale to major buyers. In an effort to avoid administrative work as well as falling victim to fraud, many buyers of leads will prefer to work with a small number of lead sellers whom they are able to trust.
A lead aggregator is the equivalent of a display ad network; it is a “middleman” that essentially matches up publishers with buyers of leads. In addition to providing liquidity (i.e., purchasing leads) aggregators will often bring technology solutions to the table. This may simplify the process of capturing, scrubbing, and selling leads for many publishers.
Ideally, publishers who are monetizing via lead generation would be selling leads directly to companies interested in reaching their audience. This is similar to display ad monetization; publisher who are able to establish direct relationships can cut out the ad networks and keep a higher percentage of revenue for themselves.
Display ad networks make money via a revenue split that sends a portion of the advertiser spend to them. There is no explicit revenue split employed by lead aggregators; instead, these companies will typically mark up the price of leads purchased from publishers. For example, a lead purchased by an aggregator for $8 may be sold for $10.
Still, there is an opportunity for publishers who are able to “go direct” to keep more revenue for themselves. In the example above, a direct relationship with the lead buyer would enable them to sell leads for $10 each instead of $8.