Here’s the story of the ultimate chicken and egg in the world of paid media lead generation: how do you forecast your cost per lead (CPL) when you don’t have any historical account data as a benchmark?

Let’s establish why it’s important to set firm CPL targets in the first place, even where no prior data exists. First, a concrete plan to achieve expected revenue or profit goals will focus everyone’s mind and provide a tangible target to work towards. Including a CPL target is an integral part of this plan – after all, if you don’t have this defined there is very little basis determining the level of budget you should be using to achieve your business targets.

Planning any paid media campaign without a CPL target is like driving blind (and without any sat nav to guide you).

There are numerous blog posts and other sources on the internet which will at least give you a rough idea of a typical CPL benchmark for your vertical, or tap into your LinkedIn network or peer groups to get hold of this information.

A second important aspect to note here is that CPL varies considerably by channel for instance, across AdWords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn or Twitter advertising, so don’t assume one size CPL fits all. Thirdly, consider the type of brief your paid media campaign is working to – prospecting will require a much bigger investment per lead than remarketing. And fourth and finally, do make sure your conversion tracking is set up correctly before your campaign launches.

Once you have worked out this detail it is critical to devise a good strategy for how you are actually going to achieve your CPL target – for example by continuously adjusting your bids based on campaign performance, so that you are not paying top dollar for traffic which doesn’t deliver on efficient conversion.

Fast forward a week or two: you’ve written your battle plan including a CPL target; you have launched your campaign – now you can use the data that is streaming in to resolve initial challenges, helping you to troubleshoot and fix them early on in the campaign cycle. For example, is your CPL a lot higher than you had anticipated? Is this driven by a particularly costly but under-performing keyword? Are you using engaging and relevant ad copy? Are you making it as easy as possible for your potential customers to turn into a lead?

Based on the performance data the forecasting should be adjusted on a quarterly or ideally monthly basis. There will be external factors such as advertiser competition which will affect your cost per click (CPC) and ultimately your CPL, so it is, therefore, important to tweak your targets and be as relevant and realistic with it.

It’s a simple story, in the end, to plan based on CPL. But don’t just make yours a work of fiction – bear in mind that an ambitious CPL target can spur you on, but an unrealistic is more often counterproductive for you and the business in the end.


We were originally going to call this blog ‘The what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-my-website/campaign/landing page checklist, but, that’s a little bit of a mouthful. This Google Analytics checklist covers the basics and first steps you should take if the chips are down on the old conversion front.

It’s reported that marketers are expected to spend over 11% of their total budget on analytics, however only 22% of marketers say they have data-driven marketing initiatives that are achieving significant results. This suggests there’s a slight disconnect with having the data, ready and willing, but not knowing exactly what to do with it.

Tip: deploy a Google Analytics audit before you begin any campaign or project, the information you can gain for the current performance of your website can hugely affect your future strategy.

Google Analytics is one of those wonderful tools, whereby you can get completely lost in the granularity of its data, however, if you don’t have the time, patience or inclination to while away your hours scrutinising page performances, here’s a few handy, go-to pointers:

Traffic acquisition

First step, where is your traffic coming from? If you know this you can work backwards through each channel to gauge your visitor’s behavior and hopefully the reason behind it. Your traffic source from is a great indicator of the strength of your social presence, SEO strategy, site links etc. Use this to identify top performing social networks, improve your AdWords campaign and so on. Once you’re armed with this info, next is to find out what people are doing on page.

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Tip: Be sure to set up goals and conversion tracking, you can easily see the path users took in order to convert

Behaviour flow

This is just a great visual representation of the behavior of the visitors on your site. It allows you to map journeys through your website and specific pages. Dependent on where the visitor starts, where they came from etc. should give you some good indication of page drop offs and potential opportunities certain pages present.

If there are pages with huge amount of drop offs, you may need to look at the UX of that page. Are there enough CTA’s available, enough compelling information etc.? Can you lead your visitors to any conversion pages, or relevant, interesting content?

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Bounce rate & Exit rate

These two indicators tell us, for the most part, what is wrong with a page. If you’ve got a high bounce rate, your visitor immediately doesn’t like what they see, if you’ve got high exit, they’ve checked you out but decided they don’t need to go any further. You should consider where the traffic is coming from in relation to these metrics, it can tell you a lot about the message of that initial touch point and if there is a disconnect with that and the page they land on

Tip: set up filters on your account such as excluding your own IP address if you’re after accurate data

Date ranges & comparison

Often overlooked as a powerful tool or performance indicator, the comparison feature on the date range can give useful pointers as to what you may have been doing right a month ago that you aren’t doing now. Has there been a steep drop in traffic from a specific source? Are you no longer getting traffic from certain social channels if your content promotion has changed?

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Tip: add in annotations as and when you do something considerable with your marketing, be it a press release or significant email campaign. No one wants to sift back through the archives to find out what caused that spike 6 months ago

Google Analytics is only part of the picture and this blog is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to performance auditing and optimisation The data available should be used in every step of the way with regards to marketing. Google Analytics can tell you the quantitative side of things, but more often than not, the issue lies with a bigger element of the marketing plan.

If you would like a chat about where your sales/leads are coming from, drop us a line at hello@hitfirstbase.com, we’re more than happy to talk all things from strategy to bounce rate.