Tips on how to make PPC automation work for lead gen


At SMX Subsequent in November, I used to be honored to offer a chat on making automation work for lead era when it’s not designed for lead era.

An enormous thanks to all who attended – the additional time Q&A was a full of life session with many questions!

Lead era automation challenges

Many people are coping with the challenges of lead era in an promoting system that’s constructed for ecommerce. B2B lead era is completely completely different from ecommerce, with fewer general conversions, no purchasing carts, no “conversion worth,” and a protracted gross sales cycle that largely takes place offline.

For automation to work optimally, the machine wants a number of information – a minimal of 20 conversions in a month. Many B2B campaigns battle to succeed in that variety of conversions, making automation difficult.

As well as, bid methods like tROAS work primarily based on the worth of a conversion:

How do you worth a B2B lead that received’t shut for 18 months? 

Some apparent automation choices for lead era

One possibility for lead era advertisers is Target CPA (tCPA). Goal CPA is a great bidding technique that units bids so that you can get as many conversions (buyer actions) as potential.

In case you don’t have a goal CPA in thoughts, you should utilize Maximize conversions, which is able to try and get as many conversions as potential along with your finances with out regard to CPA.

At first look, tCPA and Max conversions appear preferrred candidates for automating lead era. And they’re, however they’re not good.

For one factor, each bid methods can lead to CPCs going by way of the roof because the automation system tries to search out conversions at your goal CPA, or simply the conversions interval.

Fortunately, advertisers can management their CPCs – so long as they’re utilizing a portfolio bid strategy.

In case you are utilizing portfolio bidding in Google Adverts, you may set a max CPC for the portfolio. This selection can also be out there in Search Adverts 360 (SA360), in the event you use that:

Portfolio bid strategy
Tips on how to make PPC automation work for lead gen 31

The power to set most bids is sufficient motive to make use of a portfolio bid technique. It may prevent from paying a whole lot of {dollars} per click on.

In case you’re telling a machine to get you as many conversions as potential, you need to make sure you’re monitoring conversions accurately!

I used an instance of a consumer who was monitoring web page lands as a conversion:

Sample conversions

Whereas web page lands may be a enterprise purpose, particularly for advertisers on the lookout for branding or consciousness, it’s not an excellent purpose for automation.

In case you’re making an attempt to maximise conversions and also you’re measuring web page lands, you’ll simply drive extra site visitors to your website. There’s no assure that the site visitors will truly lead to extra leads or income for your enterprise.

Construct your funnel

As talked about earlier, getting sufficient results in feed the automation algorithm is usually a problem for B2B lead era.

I shared a couple of methods for advertisers to make use of mid-funnel techniques that may drive site visitors to retarget to in a while, and even probably drive leads at a low price.

A type of choices is Discovery Campaigns

Discovery campaigns might be an efficient mid-funnel tactic for reaching audiences at scale. We’ve had success with Discovery advertisements for a number of of our B2B lead era shoppers.

There have been a whole lot of questions on Discovery in the course of the session. A number of questions centered on lead high quality from Discovery campaigns.

We’ve discovered that the standard of leads our shoppers get from Discovery is much like that of search campaigns.

Though Discovery advertisements attain customers who’re greater up the funnel in comparison with search, keep in mind that the one bidding choices for Discovery are Max conversions or tCPA. Due to this fact,  lead high quality is usually good.

We’ve additionally discovered that Discovery campaigns outperform Efficiency Max campaigns – to the purpose that we hardly ever use Efficiency Max resulting from low lead high quality.

Getting high quality leads

Talking of lead high quality, producing leads that truly convert to gross sales is without doubt one of the greatest challenges for lead era advertisers.

Anybody can fill out a type on-line. A lot of those that stuffed out a type won’t ever change into certified leads.

And solely a small proportion of those that change into certified leads will ultimately flip into gross sales.

A technique to assist gauge the standard of your leads is to make use of imported third-party information.

Google first launched the aptitude to import Salesforce lead information back in 2016. Since then, they’ve added 1000’s of information connectors that advertisers can use to tug in information from their CRM system.

By importing information from the identical system your shoppers are utilizing to gauge lead high quality, you may transcend simply type fills to see what number of of these type fills was leads.

And in the event you get sufficient third-party leads, you should utilize them for Sensible Bidding:

Google Ads respondents
Tips on how to make PPC automation work for lead gen 32

This screenshot is from SA360, however you can too use offline conversions for Google Adverts bid methods so long as you have got them marked as Primary conversions.

You’ll want about 20 conversions monthly for this to work, however if in case you have that many leads, it’s a good way to maximise actions that matter most to your shoppers.

Utilizing a portfolio bid technique is an effective option to mix comparable campaigns right into a single bid technique with sufficient conversion information to make use of third-party information for good bidding.

Simply ensure that the campaigns have comparable efficiency and goals. Don’t mix model and non-brand campaigns or campaigns with very completely different CPAs or objectives.

And in the event you don’t get sufficient third-party conversions to make use of for good bidding, not less than use the info to gauge lead high quality.

For instance, we’ve a consumer whose main purpose is SQLs. Nevertheless, they solely get about 10 SQLs monthly. 

We optimize for MQLs, that are one degree up the funnel from SQLs. We additionally import SQL information to see whether or not a marketing campaign drives leads that matter to the consumer. 

Some campaigns drive a whole lot of MQLs however no SQLs. We all know to de-prioritize these campaigns in favor of others that drive extra SQLs. 

Utilizing lead worth with tROAS bid methods

Lead era advertisers usually have a look at ecommerce advertisers with envy, as a result of ecommerce advertisers can use the tROAS bid strategy, maximizing not solely the variety of gross sales they drive however the worth of these gross sales as nicely.

One of many struggles with lead era is the time it takes for a result in change into a sale. Gross sales cycles of 18 months to 2 years should not unusual in B2B. 

It’s difficult to find out the worth of a lead earlier than the lead goes by way of the entire shopping for cycle. This leads many B2B advertisers to put in writing off tROAS as a technique.

Not so quick!

Assigning a relative worth to micro-conversions, reminiscent of white paper downloads or contact type fills, is an efficient approach to make use of the tROAS bid technique.

Let’s say you have got 4 actions you’re measuring: video views, asset downloads, type fills, and MQLs from a third-party import.

You’ll be able to assign a relative worth to every of those actions, like so:


On this instance, an MQL is price 1,000 instances what a video is price.

The tROAS technique will look to maximise the worth of conversions, not simply the quantity. So it would prioritize MQLs and type fills over video views and asset downloads – thereby enhancing the standard of the leads it’s driving.

We acquired some good questions within the SMX session on this technique.

One attendee requested methods to keep away from the “loop of doom,” the place the system begins driving excessive volumes of low-value leads that by no means flip into MQLs. This could definitely be an issue:

Maximize conv value tweet
Tips on how to make PPC automation work for lead gen 33

One of the best ways to keep away from that is to assign low sufficient values to low-value actions and excessive sufficient values to high-value actions, so the system will work more durable to drive the high-value actions. That’s why I set a worth of 1,000 to MQLs in my instance above.

Generally, even that’s not sufficient. Video views, for instance, are really easy to generate that the system might nicely discover it simpler to drive 1000’s of video views than one MQL. 

On this case, eradicating video views as a main conversion is your finest wager. Pressure the system to search for higher-value actions reminiscent of asset downloads and type fills as a substitute. 

On a associated be aware, we acquired an awesome query about data-driven attribution:

“We’ve a number of main conversion actions in our account primarily based on completely different consumer objectives (web page views, type fills, calls, and many others.). We’ve observed the data-driven attribution mannequin is impacting our lead gen actions due to the upper funnel actions. How would you suggest approaching data-driven attribution for lead gen, with a number of conversion actions within the account?”

In case you discover that is taking place to you, I recommend altering a few of your main objectives to secondary objectives.

Whereas this received’t maintain data-driven attribution from trying on the secondary objectives (because it seems in any respect interactions, together with clicks, not less than you’re telling the machine that these actions should not as essential to you.

Utilizing tROAS also needs to assist inform the system which conversions are most significant to you on this case.

It’s all about indicators

Keep in mind, any automation is barely pretty much as good because the indicators it receives. It’s as much as us as entrepreneurs to make sure we’re giving the absolute best indicators to the automation mannequin so it may well drive significant outcomes for us.

Don’t overlook about fundamentals like audiences and detrimental key phrases.

Advertisers usually overlook so as to add audiences for statement. Including audiences is a good way to inform the system which customers you’re focused on reaching – and within the case of detrimental audiences, which customers you don’t need to attain.

Destructive key phrases are additionally essential not solely in stopping advertisements from displaying on irrelevant queries but in addition in offering one other sign to the machine.

Key takeaways

  • Correct monitoring is vital. Make certain you’re measuring actions that result in enterprise worth and that you just’re assigning an correct worth to every motion.
  • Construct your funnel! Use Discovery and different greater funnel techniques like YouTube and Google Show to construct audiences.
  • Assess lead high quality, not simply amount. Use the techniques on this article to information you.
  • Present the best indicators. Conversion worth, together with audiences and detrimental key phrases, all assist the machine discover high-value customers.
  • Know when to tug the plug! Automation doesn’t all the time work. We’ve had a number of cases the place tCPA or max conversions yield fewer leads at a better price than guide CPC. It’s okay to show off automation if it’s not driving the outcomes you need!

Utilizing the best instruments, you can also make automation work for lead era, even when it’s not designed for lead era.

Watch: Making automation work for lead gen

Beneath is the whole video of my SMX Subsequent presentation.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Employees authors are listed here.

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Concerning the writer

Melissa Mackey

Melissa Mackey is affiliate director of paid search at MerkleB2B. A veteran PPC marketer, she helps shoppers obtain most ROI from paid search. Mackey contributes recurrently to a number of business publications, writing on PPC technique. Mackey has spoken at business conferences reminiscent of SMX Superior, SMX Create and HeroConf.

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