Lead-Gen Advertising & How To Get Quality Leads

Google Ads introduced Performance Max campaigns two years ago (November 2021), replacing Smart Shopping campaigns. Since then, Performance Max campaigns have become a valuable tool for ecommerce clients – often resulting in a better ROAS for ecommerce advertisers than their predecessor campaign type did.

However, that same success has been harder to achieve for lead generation (lead-gen) advertisers.

Performance Max campaigns utilize a full-funnel approach for driving the endpoint conversion. The algorithm uses the signals from previous users to build out a profile of who converts versus who does not. It then uses that data to identify new potential converters and serves ads to them – text ads, banner ads, product listing ads, etc. – throughout their conversion journey.

With ecommerce, it’s easier for the Performance Max algorithm to build out a better profile as to who is buying versus not buying, as well as how much revenue they generate when they do make a purchase. This information is clearly available on the Google Ads platform. But with lead-gen clients, determining the actual revenue generated can be trickier.

For example, advertisers who have a home service business may count their “free estimate” form submissions as conversions, but the system will never know which of those form submissions leads to realized revenue for the business.

And phone calls provide another level of uncertainty. While most advertisers count phone call conversions at a certain duration mark, not every phone call of that duration becomes a scheduled appointment. And sometimes phone calls under that mark actually do lead to booked appointments.

How To Get Quality Leads with Lead Gen Advertising

One danger that Performance Max campaigns are susceptible to with lead-gen advertisers is spam. If the algorithm finds an easy source for a spam lead, it will exploit it by sending more and more traffic to the source. Lead-gen clients have seen conversions from the Performance Max campaigns increase twentyfold overnight, only to find that the form submissions are filled with gibberish.

Google recommends that advertisers add reCAPTCHA to website forms to increase quality.

But a more effective route to take is to link your CRM to Google Ads and only import conversion data from qualified users into the system. Some CRMs are able to report exact revenue numbers from some leads. This allows the algorithm to value larger-revenue conversions higher than the submissions that result in lower revenue numbers, in the same manner that revenue tracking works for ecommerce advertisers.

Here are some examples that our clients have used to increase the quality of conversion data being imported into Google Ads:

  • Client A has linked their HubSpot account to Google Ads, and only imports form submissions that have been vetted as conversions. This forces the algorithm to completely ignore any spam submission that might get through.
  • Client B, who also uses HubSpot, has a conversion set up for each step of their sales lifecycle (MQL, SQL, Contract, and Closed Deal). Each step is assigned a set value, with the Closed Deal being the actual deal amount. This does inflate the overall ROAS, but the client is B2B and doesn’t get a large volume of lead submissions, so they want to make sure they put value on any qualified lead.

There are other solutions not related to CRMs that allow lead-gen advertisers to safeguard the quality of leads being imported to Google Ads. 

The NexHealth booking platform, while hosted on its own domain, allows medical advertisers to track online bookings as conversions in Google Ads because it can send the user back to a confirmation page on the advertiser’s site. The confirmation URL on the advertiser’s site serves as the conversion trigger, and a user will only arrive at that page if they complete the entire booking process, which alleviates spam submissions.

For phone calls, rather than just relying on a call duration target, platforms like CallRail and CallTrackingMetrics allow for calls to be tagged as qualified leads before they are imported into Google Ads. While it can be time-consuming to listen to the calls and qualify them, the value that comes from identifying which Google Ads clicks are producing positive outcomes outweighs the time it might take.

There is even some AI technology being introduced in these platforms that pick out key words and phrases from the conversation to identify which calls are leading to conversions. One medical client counts conversions if the word “appointment” or the address of one of their locations is used on a call.

The value of Performance Max campaigns cannot be ignored for lead-gen advertisers, but the success of these campaigns is 100% reliant on the quality of the conversion data being fed back to the algorithm. While it might take some initial work during setup, the extra effort will pay off when you are able to harness the power offered by Performance Max campaigns.  

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