As a lead-gen advertiser, you’ve already invested time and money in a CRM system to track your front-end paid search leads through the sales process. And you’re already adjusting front-end CPA goals, campaigns and budgets based on your cost per Sales Qualified Lead. (Or perhaps you’re tracking MQLs or Highly-Qualified Leads. Not all companies use the SQL terminology or optimize towards SQLs as a primary KPI, but in the following examples our client is focused on SQLs.) You shouldn’t stop there. You’re already gathering a great deal of data about your most valuable customers, and you should be using this data to refine your paid search targeting to drive more qualified leads.


These hacks don’t require anything more complicated than Excel. Photo via Pexels

Seize the Day of Week

Your CRM system is no doubt recording the date each lead is submitted, so use that info to make front-end day of week bid adjustments to drive more SQLs on your top performing days. First, use a simple Excel formula to convert your dates into days of the week. The pull a pivot table showing lead and SQL performance by day of week.

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The above data shows that Monday is by far the most effective day for driving SQLs for this lead-gen advertiser. With this data, you can make bid adjustments to increase spend on Mondays, driving more leads and more SQLs. You can also see that Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays drive poor relative lead quality, so you might consider adding negative bid adjustments to reduce cost on these days.

Find Your Happy Geos

Much like day of week adjustments, you can adjust geographic bid modifiers to favor areas with stronger SQL performance. Once again, all you need is a simple pivot table to aggregate SQL performance by state.

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In the chart above, you can see that Illinois and Michigan drive a much stronger rate of SQLs compared to other states. In this case, we should increase our bid adjustments for these states to get more conversions, and ultimately more SQLs, from these top-performing states.

Revamp Your Campaigns

As long as you have keyword-level attribution, you can also use your backend SQL data to make structural changes to your paid search accounts to drive SQLs as efficiently as possible. It is not unusual for different keyword modifiers to perform differently (both in terms of front-end leads and SQLs) so it’s worthwhile to break out your top-performing modifiers into separate campaigns where you can more easily bid them into higher position to drive more SQLs.

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The above example shows a typical lead-gen software campaign containing keywords with and without the word “enterprise” as a modifier. Looking just at the total leads and cost per lead, you can see that non-enterprise keywords drive significantly more front-end leads at a lower CPA than the enterprise keywords. But a backend analysis shows that enterprise terms have a 65% better SQL rate and a 35% better cost per SQL.

In this case, you should move your enterprise keywords into a separate campaign and assign them a higher front-end CPA goal to allow you to bid more aggressively and drive more SQLs from these strong-performing keywords.

If you’re already investing in a CRM system to track front-end lead performance, then don’t just stop at campaign-level bid and budget adjusts. Put your data to work to refine your targeting and drive even more SQLs from your paid search efforts.