HomeBlog5 Strategies to Improve PPC Lead Quality

5 Strategies to Improve PPC Lead Quality

Author: Michelle Morgan
Last Updated: November 29, 2023 | Paid Search Marketing

Generating leads with PPC campaigns can be challenging. Generating high-quality leads is even harder.

In ecommerce, if someone has the money to buy a product, they can make that purchase right on the site. One person’s money is just as good as the next. Once the sale is made, revenue is tracked and, if all is set up properly, is attributed right back to the initial ad click.

Lead generation is nowhere near that simple.

spelling bee image

Spelling “bewusstseinslage,” though, makes lead gen look nice and simple.

Lead generation leaves the door open for anyone to convert on the initial lead conversion stage, regardless of their actual ability to buy the end product. Because of this, we need to develop strategies to target higher quality leads and deter unqualified users from filling out our forms.

Before we get into the strategies, there’s one thing you should know.

Improving lead quality means lowering volume

If it were simple to increase your lead quality, you wouldn’t be reading this post!

But it also would mean we wouldn’t have to make sacrifices.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world.

When working on improving lead quality, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll also lower the number of leads you’re generating. Ideally, the number of quality leads is going up as overall leads declines. This means you’re avoiding the lower quality leads that are easier to come by, and instead are generating higher quality leads.

When working on lead quality, it’s important that you expect a number of things to happen to your KPIs:

  • Overall lead volume will decrease
  • High-quality lead volume should increase
  • Cost per lead usually goes up
  • Cost per high-quality lead should go down
  • Click-through rate typically goes down

If that sounds like something you can stomach, then we’re all set.

A quick note on how to measure lead quality

There are different ways to measure lead quality, but one simple and effective lead quality metric is your conversion rate from lead to customer. A conversion rate indicates that the leads you’re generating are high-quality because a high percentage of those leads are becoming customers. A low lead-to-customer conversion rate suggests that you’re not getting the right leads, even if you’re getting a lot of them.

Now that we have our expectations set, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Here are five strategies I’ve successfully used to improve B2B lead quality that can help any lead generation campaign.

1. Target more specific keywords

All search campaigns start with the keywords. They’re the backbone of the campaign, and they determine who you will get in front of, what ad copy needs to be written, which landing pages you should use, and so on.

When working to improve lead quality, one of the first things you should do is revisit your keywords.

Long tail vs. short tail

How many words make up the majority of your keywords? Typically, the shorter the keyword the less intent you can assign to its associated queries.

If most of your keywords are one or two words long, can you lengthen them by adding a modifier to make them more specific?

The name of the game for lead quality is finding those users who actually know what they want, and long-tail keywords are a better way to target them.

Although it’s a small difference, someone who types in “life insurance policies” is arguably more qualified than someone who types in “insurance policies.” They’ve already clarified what type of insurance policy they’re after, making them more likely to buy.

How can you take your current keyword list and make those keywords more specific? Are there modifiers like the example above that you can add to your keywords to give them higher intent?

Match types

Like keyword length, match types can play a big part in lead quality. Exact and phrase match allow for the most control in keyword matching, so if most of your leads are coming from your broad match terms, this could be causing issues.

adwords exact match keyword change examples

To combat poor matches, you’ll need to pick one of two strategies:

  • Be more vigilant with search query reviews and negative keyword additions, or
  • Limit your use of broader match types.

Neither is perfect. One requires more ongoing optimizations while the other can limit volume more severely. Choose the one that’s right for you, but don’t be afraid to make adjustments over time.

2. Use qualifying copy in ads

We’re always trying to find the most appealing ad copy for our potential customers; always on the lookout for which headline or call to action will get that bump in CTR and potentially increase your conversion rate.

But not when quality is the focus.

When lead qualification is the focus, we want to purposefully deter some users from clicking on our ads. This needs to be done tactfully. Just because someone isn’t in the right place to click and convert now, doesn’t mean they never will be.

Continuing with the life insurance example, if someone searches for “life insurance policies,” we want to show for that query. But let’s say we’re also trying to sign more clients with multiple policies bundled together. Instead of writing copy that speaks only to life insurance, we might write something that calls out the bundle deal.

lead quality example of ad copy without qualifying language
lead quality example of ad copy without qualifying language

For those users not interested in bundles, they’ll likely click on another ad on the SERP that speaks only to life insurance. Less qualified click averted!

3. Write landing pages for target customers, not all customers

Now that the user has gotten through your first two filters with keywords and ad copy, what else can we do?

Landing page copy is yet another tool to further qualify the users on the page. I like to use the landing page copy to outline what our ideal customers would be.

Nearly anyone is eligible for life insurance, but likely we’re going to want younger, healthier people. So in the body copy of the page, call out those characteristics as what your product is built for. Use images of young, healthy people living their best lives.

lead quality landing page example

The same type of logic would apply to a B2B SaaS provider. Typically, those companies make more money on larger accounts. Even if your solution works for businesses of all sizes, use copy that specifically calls out “Businesses with 50+ Employees” or whatever your parameters are. You could even write a header that says, “Best suited for companies who…” and then give a series of bullet points outlining your target customer.

You can be as subtle or as bold as you like, but be sure you’re using your landing page to help qualify users.

4. Give your form the attention it deserves

One surefire way to scare off folks who are only window shopping is to ask them for more information. It’s the highest price anyone can pay to a lead generation company. If you’re noticing a large number of forms filled by lower quality leads, try increasing the amount of information you ask for.

When using Facebook ads for lead gen, we saw an increase in lead quality when increasing the number of form fields from the first to the second forms below.

Facebook lead ad create form
Facebook lead ad create form example

Now, that’s not to say you should just throw any old question in there. Be sure it makes sense in the context of the form.

One way I like to go about it: What is one additional piece that you or your sales team would love to have already in hand when following up with this lead? Annual revenue? Number of employees? Income level?

In the example above, by adding in questions about industry, job title, and company name, our sales teams were able to better speak to the lead’s individual needs simply by doing a little research before the follow up call. The sales team felt prepared and the lead felt heard. A win-win.

In addition to the number of form fields, it’s also important to pay attention to what exactly you’re asking for in a form.

There’s a big difference in asking for an email address and a work email address, and yet for sake of ease or laziness we leave the field identifier as “Email.” Similar to a slight change in keywords “insurance” to “life insurance,” be sure you’re asking the user to give the exact information you want in your forms.

5. Leverage back-end data to optimize

This is likely the most under-utilized strategy I’ll discuss in this post.

If you’re generating leads with PPC campaigns, odds are you’re using some type of sales or marketing management system to keep all of those leads straight. This is a straight-up goldmine of optimization information.

With PPC campaigns, we can tag our URLs so all users are tracked back to the keyword level within our campaigns.

Your first challenge: Make sure you’re marketing automation is capturing this information.

Your second challenge: Regularly pull this data out and use it to optimize your campaigns!

This information can be integral when determining where budgets should go, which keywords should stay active, and all sorts of other changes.

Let’s take a look at a quick example.

Say you have two campaigns running in Google Ads. Here are their respective stats:

lead quality Google Ads campaign stats table

It’s pretty clear that Campaign A is kicking the tar out of Campaign B in conversion performance.

If we were given a 25% increase in budget, we would invariably allot all of it to Campaign A based on this performance.

But that’s only half of the story. We want to know which campaign is creating high-quality leads. If we pull the data out of our CRM and match it to our campaigns, it could easily look like this:

lead quality Google Ads campaign stats table

Game changer.

Despite a large difference in overall lead performance, they both generated the same amount of qualified leads, causing Campaign B to actually be a more efficient campaign. Now that budget increase is going straight to Campaign B.

Focus on lead quality, not quantity

To increase lead quality, you’ll need to stomach the idea that you’ll need to turn people away from your business. You’ll purposefully try to prevent people from filling out your form, but in the end, it’s the best move for your business.

Give these strategies a shot and let us know how they work for you in the comments below!

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Meet The Author

Michelle Morgan

Michelle is the Co-Founder of Paid Media Pros. She has twelve years of experience in all aspects of PPC and brings a wealth of experience developing and executing campaigns across search, social, and display platforms in both agency and in-house settings. Her experience gives her an especially well-rounded and holistic view of the paid search landscape—one she shares regularly as an influencer, author, and industry speaker at events like SMX, HeroConf, and Pubcon, as well as the Paid Media Pros YouTube channel.


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