There are a number of ways to experiment with generating new pipeline leads, from events, to tele-prospecting, digital campaigns and much more.  We recently ran a paid search ad campaign to test the performance and ROI and the results were alarming.

How paid search works

Firstly lets clarify the basics of how paid search works. Cost is based on a predetermined budget that you set based on the maximum price you are prepared to pay per click through (CPC).

Impression = when a person views your ad
Click through = when a person clicks on the ad link to your website

Primarily the highest bidder wins so whoever is willing to pay the most for a click will have the highest probability of appearing first in search results. Impressions occur via undefined search engine algorithms. These search algorithms will also compare relevance of page content and SEO meta-data relevant to the website page URL link provided, to determine ranking.

With a paid search campaign you are not able to confirm expected numbers around impressions, CPC and ROI upfront, which makes it very difficult to plan activities, get budget approval and sign off. For paid search campaigns to be successful in today’s business environment, they need to provide results that align with business goals.

Paid search failed to show;

  • Number of Impressions – unable to confirm if ad will even be seen
  • Estimated Cost per click (CPC) – you can be outbid by competitors
  • Targeted audience profile – no control over who clicks on your ad
  • Conversion rates – how likely is someone who just clicks on your site to result in a sale
  • Expected revenue ROI

Marketing executives don’t care so much about impressions and click-throughs, they care about revenue  social-icons-01

What the paid search campaign test showed us

After carefully selecting the appropriate search criteria and setting what we considered a generous cap for the cost per click ($6 CPC) we launched our campaign. (Even $1 CPC is a lot considering how many website visits are required on average to produce a sale.)

Day 1:
To say we were not “impressed” is an understatement (pardon the pun). Our healthy rate of $6 CPC was outbid on several topics, with a first page bid estimate of $15.96 CPC for “Lead generation outsourcing”. Even those that were not outbid failed to get any traction.



Day 2:
Concerned about the lack of performance after day one I contacted the paid search expert who advised me to move the ad from Adwords Express to Adwords so I could manually adjust the search settings. He recommended we make the individual words searchable and automate the CPC. After making this adjustment we received some impressions but still no clicks



Day 3:
Impressions increased slightly, still no clicks..



Day 4:
Nearing the end of our 5-day campaign and we received 1 click – $5.56 thank you!


Day 5:
On the final day of our campaign test we received a 2nd click at a cost of $5.23. We were left wondering how much money was needed to throw at this thing to get it off the ground?


What the results say

It is difficult to see the difference between paid search and organic SEO search, apart from the added cost component. The overall lack of exposure and traction was disappointing. With only 94 impressions and 2 clicks to our website at a total cost of $10. 79. The CPC is extremely high, this is just one click you are paying for and when you calculate how many clicks you receive per day on average with how many conversions (sales) the ROI is very low.

The lack of insight and any control over the campaign was concerning, everything was determined by the search engine algorithms.

Apparently the longer your advert runs for the more your ranking will improve as more people click on your link. What is unclear (like much else) is how long and how costly this process will be, especially since even getting an impression seemed onerous and 1-2 clicks extremely costly.

How to get quality leads

To achieve quality leads takes hard work and a committed approach –  it’s all about keeping it real. To start with you need a solid foundation to build on, a website with relevant content and SEO, to help your website get discovered and get recognised and improve ranking. By building a library of relevant and insightful content over time, with blog posts and resources that people want to read, search engine algorithms will begin to recognise you as a leadership website and rank you as a leadership website. Paid search is then an optional boost to this (if the budget allows), but the foundations need to be in place first

What can be done to fast track lead generation?

Greater results are achieved through targeted H2H (Human to human) lead generation and qualification. With a blended approach of calling and emailing into lists, potential buyers can be more easily targeted and qualified. What ever way you decide to generate your leads, there is always a need for timely follow up from sales professionals to accurately qualify, nurture and respond to leads.

Outbound Lead Generation enables;

  • Targeted lead lists
  • Improved data quality
  • Committed lead guarantee
  • Qualify and nurture leads
  • Deeper insight into buyer intentions to fast track sales
  • Take action: Nurture further or set appointments where appropriate


Want to put our lead generation campaigns to the test?
We would love to hear from you! Please contact us on +61 2 8850 5300 or


Reference: Bizible, How Paid Search Agencies Can Easily Impress Their B2B Clients, Lauren Frye on 8/10/15 10:43 AM