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.


The digital advertising space has become very competitive over the last few years. As more and more advertisers weigh in and Cost per Click’s (CPCs) are rising, marketers are looking for viable alternatives to the behemoth that is Google.

Bing Ads has emerged as an attractive contender for many who are looking for a high return on ad spend and comparatively low CPCs.

Here is a quick recap of how Bing Ads evolved(1): Microsoft was the last of the “big three” search engines (the two others being Google and Yahoo!) to develop its system for delivering PPC ads. Until the beginning of 2006, all of the ads displayed on Microsoft’s MSN Search engine were supplied by Overture (and later Yahoo!).

As search marketing grew, Microsoft began developing its system, MSN adCenter, for selling PPC advertisements directly to advertisers. As the system was phased in, MSN Search (now Bing) showed Yahoo! and adCenter advertising in its search results. In June 2006, the contract between Yahoo! and Microsoft expired and Microsoft was displaying only ads from adCenter until 2010.

In January 2010, Microsoft announced a deal in which it would take over the functional operation of Yahoo! Search, and set up a joint venture to sell advertising on both Yahoo! Search and Bing, known as the Microsoft Search Alliance. A complete transition of all Yahoo! sponsored ad clients to Microsoft adCenter occurred in October 2010.

On 10 September 2012, adCenter was renamed Bing Ads, and the Search Alliance renamed the Yahoo! Bing Network.

In April 2015, the Yahoo! partnership was modified; Yahoo! Search now only has to feature Bing results on the “majority” of desktop traffic. Additionally, Microsoft took over as the exclusive seller of ads delivered through Bing; Yahoo! now sells its ads through its in-house Gemini platform.

In September 2016 Comscore reported that Bing had surpassed 20 per cent market share in the UK, outpacing Google for growth, making it a force to be reckoned with for UK digital marketers (2).

Setting up campaigns on Bing used to be cumbersome and laborious, but that is a thing of the past now with the capability to easily and quickly import campaigns from Google AdWords. A word of warning though: not all campaign types offered on AdWords are also supported on Bing Ads, for example, Dynamic Search Ads or Smart Display campaigns. Remarketing lists can also not simply be shared between the two platforms. I have also found that daily budgets are not always imported correctly. Apart from these caveats, this functionality is a great time-saver.

When it comes to editing the campaigns once they have been imported, the latest version of Bing Ad Editor is also fast and intuitive to use. So even for the most task-rich, time-poor digital marketer, there are quick wins here, and a few hours spent copying your most profitable campaigns over to Bing could be a very shrewd investment.



(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing_Ads#cite_note-tc-changes-14, accessed on 5 September 2017
(2) http://www.netimperative.com/2016/09/bing-gains-google-20-uk-market-share/, accessed on 5 September 2017


While Paid Per Click (PPC) might be sounding more fantastic by the minute — not so fast! If you think you’re ready to dive into the world of PPC, here are a few considerations to explore before you start:

1 – You need to know your product
To sell a product successfully you should know it well. Your landing page needs to reflect that knowledge. Your goal is to build trust with potential customers. If you don’t know your product well then how can you sell that product to others?

2 – Harvest local keywords
Keyword research should reflect the local culture of your target market. It is important to understand which words have the most positive association and are the most “clickable” in the given context and location. The best way is to capture actual search queries and turn those into effective keywords.

3 – Focus on the right metrics.
Lack of tracking or focusing on the wrong metrics can be detrimental to any campaign. Regardless of industry and business type, tracking, analysis and testing should always form a big part of the equation. Without these components, a PPC campaign can easily fail.

So, are you beginning to see how PPC is a viable marketing channel for your brand? Even if you’ve never done it before, throw caution to the wind and test it out in 2017.

If you are thinking about implementing a PPC campaign and aren’t sure of the best way to do so, drop us a line at hello@hitfirstbase.com and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you.