[Case Study] How Facebook Lead Ads Decreased Our Cost Per Lead by 80%

Special thanks to Rob Tutty at Driftrock for his help and guidance in getting Facebook Lead Ads set up for Ladder! We have a culture of learning from the best at Ladder, whether it’s for ourselves or our clients. Rob’s help was instrumental in the success of this Lead Ads test.


When we first started talking about running Facebook Lead Ads for Ladder, I was skeptical.

I have a major distaste for all things Gmail when it comes to CRM email drip campaigns (lead ads tend to drive a high proportion of personal email addresses). Promotions tabs eat up all communication and result in low lead meeting booking rates. Further, I was generally anxious about reports that Lead Ads drive a lot of low quality leads.

But our friend Rob at Driftrock helped alleviate my concerns on the lead quality front. After a few calls where Rob helped me set up what amounted to the perfect Facebook Lead Ads campaign for Ladder, I set it live.

Here’s what happened:

  • $2,000 spent over 2 months
  • 249 leads generated at a $12 CPL
  • 65 qualified leads generated at a $32 CPQL
  • 80% decrease in our overall cost per lead, from an average of $100 to an average of $20
  • 80% decrease in our overall cost per qualified lead, from an average of $300 to an average of $60

Compare that to our ideal cost per lead ($100-150) and our ideal cost per qualified lead ($300-400), numbers we’ve been hitting with AdWords over the past quarter, and you can see the value lead ads have driven for Ladder.


The fact that Lead Ads actually worked is a huge win for us at Ladder. So far this year, our primary pillars of growth have been content and AdWords, but neither are scalable in the same way that Facebook advertising can be.

Meanwhile, we’ve tried our hand at Facebook ads a few times over the past year, both as part of our 2017 marketing plan and our 2016 growth efforts. None of our Facebook tests have proven to be ROI-positive, unfortunately, driving plenty of clicks but few qualified leads.

Lead Ads working so well means we’re onto a third pillar of growth.

So what was the formula that worked so well?

It’s actually rather simple, and I’ll go through the entire setup below:


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Objective

First off, let’s talk about the objective of this campaign.

Obviously, the only objective we could possibly go for in this case would be Lead Generation, which opens up lead forms as an option for the campaign. So I went into Facebook’s Power Editor and created a Lead Generation campaign.

facebook objective


Audience

From here, it was time to fully build out the ad set.

On Rob’s advice, we decided to go with a Lookalike audience based on all website visitors. On top of that we added a marketing interest overlay, further narrowed by an entrepreneurship interest overlay.

facebook lookalike

The reason for the deep narrowing of the Lookalike audience was because we wanted to make sure we were targeting people who exactly fit the persona of a marketing-focused entrepreneur as a potential decision maker at a startup.

detailed targeting

The end result was an audience of about 1 million across the US and UK.

facebook reach

Finally, I set our budget at $35 a day, enabling us to reach our audience with a daily reach that wouldn’t result in the same ad showing multiple times to the same person.

facebook budget


Creative

Up next, creative.

Here we went with something simple that has historically shown high clickthrough rates for Ladder’s prior Facebook ads tests.

facebook ad

The copy was derived from a line of copy on our website:

“Your business isn’t based upon someone clicking an ad.

Your marketing strategy shouldn’t be either.

Access marketing success rates 300% higher than the industry average.”

Straightforward and powerful, this copy is all about showing Ladder’s value beyond just advertising and into full-funnel marketing.

Further, it talks about our success rate vs. the marketing industry as a whole. You can read about how we reached that success rate in our this blog post.

growth marketing

Finally, the headline and the link description.

“Industry-leading performance” hearkens back to our 300% higher test success rate.

“Talk to a strategist >>” is the call to action on our website, a piece of CTA copy that has time and again proven to convert at a high rate.

ladder website


Lead Form

Next up, I had to put together the lead form.

The difficulty I had here was to balance ease of completion with quality of data, but for this very first test, we decided to err entirely on the side of ease of completion and get as many leads through the door as possible.

As a result, all we’re asking in our lead form is for name and email, two auto-filled form fields that require no additional work from the individual.

lead form

There’s no intro screen to the lead form either — we determined that the ad speaks for itself and the form is so easy to complete that an intro screen would decrease conversion rates. There is, however, a place after form submission where new leads can click through to the Ladder homepage.


Performance

From here, we ran the ad, and results were pretty immediate. In just the first couple days, we got over a dozen leads, and a quarter of them were qualified. This immediately indicated that we were on the right track.

Here are some overall performance statistics:

  • Relevance score: 5
  • Cost per lead: $12
  • Cost per qualified lead: $32
  • CTR: 2.06%
  • Form completion rate: 14%

We can definitely do a bit better on the form completion rate side, but overall these numbers are ones we’re happy with in initial testing.


Lead Quality

One of the harder parts of our Facebook Lead Ads campaign has been qualifying leads. If you’ve kept up at all with Ladder over the last two months, you might have seen our new Lead Qualification Workflow on our website. It helps us score leads on a scale of 0-10 and lets us decide which buckets (qualified & unqualified) they get routed to.

We don’t have that luxury here, and adding just any lead to our email automation could result in tons of unqualified calls for our sales team.

Thus far, it’s been a daily manual process of qualifying new leads and adding them to our CRM, which doesn’t take more than 10 minutes a day but is still less automated than we’d like.

For the future, we’re looking into better, more automated ways to do this qualification


Personal Emails

The vast majority of leads give us their personal emails. It’s what they have as their default Facebook emails. This is far less than ideal, but we’re working with what we have here. Ideally, however, we should be asking for work emails. That is another test for another time, especially now that we have the campaigns working and well-structured.


Ad Fatigue

Soon, I expect that cost per lead will start to creep up due to ad fatigue. Part of this will be finding and expanding audiences, and part of it will be a creative refresh. Both are in our roadmap for the quarter.


And that’s it for Ladder’s Facebook Lead Ads case study. Have you found any success with Facebook’s Lead Ads? Let us know! Email me at stefan [at] ladder.io or Tweet at us at @LadderDigital!