Case Studies

Managed Adwords Cuts Cost Per Lead 70%

Cost per lead decreased by 70%; conversion rate more than doubled, and cost per click decreased by 8%.

Client Profile

  • Closely-held private company
  • Lead generation: for-profit education


The client was setting up a new lead generation campaign relying on Google Adwords, a web form and a call center to screen the leads. The client’s core competency was running call centers. Managing their own Adwords campaign, the client was able to generate abundant leads but was nowhere near the target cost per lead that would make the venture profitable. 


I started with an analysis of the client’s Adwords account. Most of the traffic was driven from very high-volume, broad-match keywords.

First step: I segmented high-performance search terms with their own adgroups and added underperforming keywords as negative matches. In the end the client had a much more robust keyword set (from 50 to over 20,000 keywords). 

Second step: I rewrote and tested ad copy, leading to a significant increase in click-through rate. 

Third step: I reviewed the client’s lead capture form and recommended the following changes:

  • an overall redesign of the 2-step lead generation funnel
  • eliminate unnecessary fields (inverse correlation between form length and completion rate)
  • increase size of fields and field labels (for a mobile-friendly experience)
  • use GeoIP targeting to capture the visitor’s city, state and zip code, further decreasing the number of required fields
  • overall edits to comply with conversion rate optimization best practices

Fourth step: I analyzed traffic by day-of-week and hour-of-day, providing the client with recommendations regarding staffing. Once we were able to ensure capacity, I set Adwords scheduling to raise bids during higher-impact hours. 

But wait! There’s more! The client reported an excessive bounce rate on email sends to his leads. I manually reviewed the data and discovered an astonishing 16% of email addresses contained obvious typos. I worked with the developer to implement a simple, free jQuery script called Mailcheck to prompt users to correct typos in the most common domain names. Bounce rates plummeted without a significant impact on overall conversion rate or CPL.


This project demonstrated visible results immediately. Over the course of 30 days, the client’s cost per lead decreased by 70%, from $2.54 to $1.04. The website’s conversion rate more than doubled. The cost per click decreased by 8%

70% reduction in cost per lead; x2 conversion rate; 8% drop in cost per click

With a targeted, structured approach to Adwords management and a few conversion rate tweaks to the client’s website, phones were ringing off the hooks. The client had to add seats to his call center to meet the increased number of calls. 

When asked about his experience, the client said:

“It’s like I was paying retail for my leads. I should’ve come to you from the beginning and paid wholesale.”

2 replies on “Managed Adwords Cuts Cost Per Lead 70%”

Typo? “First step: I segmented high-performance search terms with their own adgroups and ADDING underperforming keywords as negative matches.”

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