Cost Per Contact: Which Lead Gen Tactic Works Best for You?

Your marketing department finally has budget. What do you spend your hard-won marketing dollars on?

You already have the right people and the right technology, but you need to start investing money into your marketing to continue expanding your reach.

There are a variety of ways to spend your marketing budget. We look at three forms of paid marketing, wherein you pay for access to an audience.

Here are some acronyms you may stumble across in this article:

  • CPM – means cost per mile, which translates to the cost of every 1,000 impressions.
  • CTR – Click-through rate. This refers to the percentage of people that click through to your landing page after seeing your ad.
  • CPC – Cost per click. This refers to the amount of money you’ve paid for each click-through

We will cover three common ways you can pay to expand your audience and determine which suits your needs best.

paid social media

Did you know that 62% of North Americans have a Facebook account? And that 93% of social media advertisers use Facebook ads?

The organic reach of Facebook (and other social networks) has plummeted, causing more and more advertisers to turn to the “pay-to-play” side of the platform.

According to a study by Nanigans (a Facebook marketing partner), here is the breakdown of the important conversion metrics on both Facebook and Instagram:

From this data in 2016, we see that reach is higher with Instagram (hence the lower CPM) but also less likely to get a click-through than a Facebook ad.

For LinkedIn, the average CPC starts at around $2 and can go up to around $4-7 (especially if your CTR is low). On Twitter, the CPC is very cheap, usually coming in under a dollar. In 2019, it was reported that the average CPC was $0.49.

For paid search engine advertising, numerous factors come into play.

First off, the CPC is variable. It depends on the industry you work in. Some CPCs are just a few cents, while others are up to $60. The best practice for running a Google AdWords campaign is to set an initial budget, select 10 or so keywords, and see what works. Trim keywords that don’t work and only keep the ones that are giving you positive ROI.

We did some research and the average Google AdWords CPC is $1.64 for the B2B market.

The difference between Google AdWords and most of the social media campaigns is that Google AdWords operates on an auction system. This means that you and other companies all bid on the same keyword. The winner is determined by a combination of bid and quality score (that is determined by your ranking in organic search).

So basically, your ad rank is determined by the maximum bid you put in, then the quality score.  If your ad rank is the highest, you pay the next highest bidders’ rate on your keyword ad. That is unless no one else bids on the same keyword.  Then you pay the price you bid.

Engagement data

We often compare campaign engagement data with traditional email lead generation.

In conventional lead generation, you pay per form completion. That means you go beyond opens, beyond CTR, all the way to form completions.

For engagement data, you get the entirety of anyone who has engaged with your content.  The average cost per contact is between $2 and $7. For traditional lead generation, you would pay between $20 and $40.

The difference is that instead of tracking only those who click through, you get the entirety of your interested audience. You don’t just get click-throughs or form completions. You get access to everyone interested in your offering, for right around the same amount you would spend on social media or Google AdWords.

Plus, email is still the prime channel for B2B marketers, one of the only that has stood the test of time.

To get started using any of these forms of paid media, you need to know who your audience is. Look at your current customers. Find out who they are, what their job titles are, where they spend most of their digital time, and when.

Universally, that is what you’ll need to have success with any of these forms of paid media. None of them will work if you’re targeting the wrong people.

Create your buyer personas, then give these a try. Determine which gives you the most bang for your buck (aka ROI) and maybe even consider using a blend to reach the maximum audience. After all, great lead generation is a balance of several channels.


Let us know what you think: 

  • Have you tried any of these forms of paid media?
  • Which ones? 
  • What kind of paid media worked the best for you? 



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