Tips on how to make PPC automation work for lead gen

At SMX Subsequent in November, I used to be honored to present 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 energetic 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 total conversions, no purchasing carts, no “conversion worth,” and a protracted gross sales cycle that principally takes place offline.

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

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

tROAS example

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 brilliant bidding technique that units bids so that you can get as many conversions (buyer actions) as potential.

If you happen to don’t have a goal CPA in thoughts, you should utilize Maximize conversions, which can try to get as many conversions as potential along with your price range 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 excellent.

For one factor, each bid methods can lead to CPCs going by means of the roof because the automation system tries to seek 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.

If you’re utilizing portfolio bidding in Google Adverts, you’ll be able to set a max CPC for the portfolio. This feature can be accessible in Search Adverts 360 (SA360), for those who use that:

Portfolio bid strategy

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

If you happen to’re telling a machine to get you as many conversions as potential, you wish to make sure you’re monitoring conversions accurately!

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

Whereas web page lands is perhaps a enterprise aim, particularly for advertisers in search of branding or consciousness, it’s not aim for automation.

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

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 ways that may drive site visitors to retarget to afterward, and even presumably drive leads at a low price.

A kind of choices is Discovery Campaigns

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

There have been a variety of questions on Discovery throughout the session. A number of questions centered on lead high quality from Discovery campaigns.

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

Though Discovery adverts attain customers who’re increased 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 not often use Efficiency Max attributable to 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 largest challenges for lead era advertisers.

Anybody can fill out a kind on-line. A lot of those that crammed out a kind won’t ever develop into certified leads.

And solely a small share of those that develop 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 potential to import Salesforce lead information again in 2016. Since then, they’ve added hundreds of knowledge connectors that advertisers can use to drag in information from their CRM system.

By importing information from the identical system your purchasers are utilizing to gauge lead high quality, you’ll be able to transcend simply kind fills to see what number of of these kind fills changed into leads.

And for those who get sufficient third-party leads, you should utilize them for Good Bidding:

This screenshot is from SA360, however it’s also possible to use offline conversions for Google Adverts bid methods so long as you may have them marked as Primary conversions.

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

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

Simply make sure that the campaigns have related efficiency and aims. Don’t mix model and non-brand campaigns or campaigns with very completely different CPAs or objectives.

And for those who don’t get sufficient third-party conversions to make use of for good bidding, at the least use the info to gauge lead high quality.

For instance, we’ve got a shopper whose main aim is SQLs. Nevertheless, they solely get about 10 SQLs per thirty days. 

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

Some campaigns drive a variety 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 effectively.

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

It’s difficult to find out the worth of a lead earlier than the lead goes by means 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, similar to white paper downloads or contact kind fills, is an efficient method to make use of the tROAS bid technique.

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

You may assign a relative worth to every of those actions, like so:

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

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

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

One attendee requested how one can 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

The easiest way 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 tougher to drive the high-value actions. That’s why I set a worth of 1,000 to MQLs in my instance above.

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

On this case, eradicating video views as a main conversion is your greatest guess. Pressure the system to search for higher-value actions similar to asset downloads and kind fills as an alternative. 

On a associated be aware, we bought an excellent query about data-driven attribution:

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

If you happen to 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 appears to be like in any respect interactions, together with clicks, at the least you’re telling the machine that these actions usually are not as necessary to you.

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

It’s all about alerts

Keep in mind, any automation is simply nearly as good because the alerts it receives. It’s as much as us as entrepreneurs to make sure we’re giving the very best alerts to the automation mannequin so it may drive significant outcomes for us.

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

Advertisers usually overlook so as to add audiences for commentary. Including audiences is a good way to inform the system which customers you’re excited by reaching – and within the case of damaging audiences, which customers you don’t wish to attain.

Unfavourable key phrases are additionally necessary not solely in stopping adverts from exhibiting on irrelevant queries but additionally in offering one other sign to the machine.

Key takeaways

  • Correct monitoring is vital. Be certain you’re measuring actions that result in enterprise worth and that you simply’re assigning an correct worth to every motion.
  • Construct your funnel! Use Discovery and different increased funnel ways like YouTube and Google Show to construct audiences.
  • Assess lead high quality, not simply amount. Use the ways on this article to information you.
  • Present the correct alerts. Conversion worth, together with audiences and damaging key phrases, all assist the machine discover high-value customers.
  • Know when to drag 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 correct 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

Under is the whole video of my SMX Subsequent presentation.

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

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Melissa Mackey

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