What is Lead Scrubbing?

Sites that monetize via lead generation typically have an automated process for collecting contact information (i.e., generating these leads). For example, visitors to a site may be prompted to fill out information in a widget similar to the one shown below:

When these leads are being sold to aggregators or third parties who intend to sell products or services to these individuals, the process of “scrubbing” the leads is often necessary to avoid charging for worthless information. For example, some visitors may enter names such as “John Doe” or a phone number as “123-456-7890” or an email address as “[email protected] The lead scrubbing process involves reviewing the list of leads generated and removing any worthless leads that are associated with bad information.

Avoiding High “Scrub Rates”

When the lead capture widget acts as a “wall” preventing visitors from accessing certain content, the percentage of scrubbed leads can be relatively high. This wall often prompts visitors to enter in bogus information in order to make the desired content visible.

When the lead capture comes in the form of a request for more information, there is little incentive for visitors to enter false contact information (there’s little point in requesting information using an email address that you’re unable to check or a phone number you’re unable to answer). For example, forms like this one should see lower instances of bogus information:

There are also strategies that can be employed to drive visitors to submit real contact information. For example:

  • Reject any phone number starting with “555”
  • Reject any email address not containing @ or a dot
  • Reject non-valid ZIP codes
  • Reject phone numbers or email addresses already captured
  • Email verification (i.e., require visitors to click a link in their email address to confirm validity)

Unqualified Lead Scrubbing

Though this page has focused on removal of leads containing bad information, lead scrubbing can be broken down into two types:

  1. Removing Nonsense / Fraudulent Leads. As discussed above, it is often necessary to remove any bogus leads.
  2. Removing Unqualified Leads. A more sophisticated process involves removing any leads deemed to be low quality, and thus unlikely to lead to a sale. For example, some aggregators may not accept leads from certain geographic areas or below a certain credit score.

This second type of lead scrubbing will typically be more dependent on the exact niche in which the site operates and the data points that are collected in the lead generation process. For example, lead capture widgets that collect multiple pieces of demographic information provide additional opportunities for lead aggregators or buyers to filter out certain leads.

How to reduce your scrub rate

There are many ways you can do to reduce your scrub rate.

  • Pre-qualify your traffic with a well-built landing page and funnel
  • Don’t’ make broad audiences worldwide or tier-3 traffic buying
  • Don’t mislead or make false promises when promoting an offer
  • Memorize a network’s terms of service
  • Make sure you really read and comply with all offers detail/ offers restriction

Publisher Action

For most sites that monetize via lead generation, lead scrubbing is going to be a frustrating part of the business that reduces your overall revenue. Unless you're a major player with the ability to negotiate custom deals and contracts, you'll generally be subject to the decisions of lead aggregators or other buyers when it comes to scrubbing.

This is one of the reasons why it pay to develop relationships with multiple buyers and not rely too heavily on a single company to monetize your leads.


What is Lead Scrubbing? 

Lead scrubbing is a process of removing leads that are invalid or duplicates of files the ad network will currently have on hand

What is the difference between Lead Scrubbing and Email Scrubbing?

Email scrubbing is almost the same, only it’s removing unengaged subscribers from your email list so that you can market only to the people who want to receive your email

What is the scrub rate?

The scrub rate is the percentage of leads that were not purchased by the advertisers. These are typically leads that are rejected because they didn’t meet the criteria of the lead buyer