The Cost per Lead (CPL) is the dollar amount you’re paying to acquire each lead you generate from a Facebook ad, ad set, or ad campaign.
For example: If you spent $500 on a campaign that generated 10 leads, your average CPL would be $50. That’s the figure you’re paying for each individual lead.
Understanding your CPL can have a huge knock-on effect on other financial metrics you’re calculating.
Take customer lifetime value, as an example. If your CPL is more than the lifetime value of that customer, you’re essentially wasting money. You’re paying more to acquire them than the revenue they’ll generate in return.
So, how do you know whether your CPL is “good”? Along with comparing it to your customer lifetime value, you can judge your success on the average CPL for a Facebook ad, which falls between the $0-$25 mark:
15 Simple Ways to Lower Your CPL with Facebook Ads
Now we know what CPL is and why it’s important, you might be panicking… Especially if you’re only just realizing you might be wasting money on Facebook campaigns.
We collected the surveys of 30+ experts on how they’d get out of this situation. Each shared their best tip for lowering the CPL on Facebook Ads, including:
- Set your campaign goal to lead generation
- Limit the number of form fields
- Narrow your target audience
- But don’t go too niche
- Limit your ad placements
- Target people in the middle of the funnel
- Run retargeting campaigns
- Use a lookalike audience
- Boost organic Facebook posts
- Use audience targeting to craft ad copy
- Take advantage of customer testimonials
- Write engaging headlines
- Direct people to a giveaway
- Improve your page’s load speed
- Run A/B tests
1. Set your campaign goal to lead generation
“The most efficient way to reduce cost per lead is to run lead gen campaigns on Facebook. Because the traffic never leaves the platform, we get some very low-cost leads,” Barrel‘s Sean Collins explains.
“We run these as retargeting ads to people that have visited key pages of the site or engaged with certain posts on FB, but that are not on our email list already.”
Collins adds: “When we made the switch from running these as prospecting to retargeting ads we really saw the quality of the lead go way up. Our CPL for the clients we run this for is minimal. It’s never been over $3.”
“In-app forms reduce barriers to completed leads, and can significantly increase conversions,” Abi Karthigesu of The Influence Agency adds.
However, Jessica Campos of Marketing For Greatness says: “Choosing your objective is not just about what’s your marketing objective.”
“Here’s an area where we need to integrate other metrics in order to make the decision of what objective to use: Your account might not be ready for a conversion ad-objective. Facebook advertising guides give us benchmarks on conversion ads. Unless the pixel registers 10,000 fires or more in the last 30 days, selecting conversions as your ad objective will increase your costs.”
“Start with a reach or engagement objective and build your audience first! Then monitor your pixel adding events. Once you hit the 10K benchmark, you are ready for a conversion-objective ad!”
Jeromy Sonne of Moonshine Marketing summarizes: “Switching to lead form ads is the single biggest tip that I can give to anyone looking to lower their CPL. With custom questions, you can both keep the quality of your leads high while creating a frictionless experience that drives a greater volume of leads for a lower cost per lead while requiring less work for your marketing team to implement.”
2. Limit the number of form fields
“There’s so many ways to lower the cost per lead on Facebook Ads, but the one I would focus on is keeping the amount of steps/actions as limited as possible,” says David Denning of Jumpstart Go.
“Such as, if you’re doing Facebook Lead Forms, keep the # of questions as few and simple as possible. You can then further qualify them when you reach out to the lead.”
“The more questions and steps they have to take, the less will finish and come through as leads (which increases your cost per lead).”
Limiting the number of form fields to 3 can slash abandonment rates.
As Denning suggests, think about the essential fields you need to include on your form. This is likely their name, email address, and company name. That’s all you need to qualify them.
3. Narrow down your target audience
“We’ve run countless Facebook Ads for lead generation and have managed to figure out how to be proactive and lower our cost-per-lead,” says Ambreen Sharif of Workplay Digital.
“We’ve found that most companies don’t have a clear understanding of who their target audience is. In order to narrow down their audiences and understand their behaviour on Facebook, we start by running ads for a few days with a general audience.”
“For example, we start by running an ad campaign with both males and females, aged 25-44. Then, after a few days, we run a report on their ad campaign to determine which demographic was converting at a higher rate.”
Sharif continues: “If the majority of leads came from men, aged 25-33, we’d continue to target only that demographic and, as a result, see a significant reduction in the CPL.”
Ameet Khabra agrees: “Facebook is a treasure trove of data and we want to utilize it! We’ll look at what demographics are performing best with our ads and exclude the demographics that don’t perform well which helps us from wasting our client’s ad spend; this demographic has proven that they don’t want your product so there’s no point in continuing to target them.”
4. …But don’t go too niche
It’s easy to be specific with the people you’re showing your campaigns to. However, Evan Waters explains that “oftentimes advertisers define their audience too narrowly and their unit costs increase as a result.”
Melanie Musson of BuyAutoInsurance.com adds: “The ad won’t show up to as many people, but it will have more impact on the niche it does appear to.”
5. Limit your ad placement targeting
To reduce your CPL on Facebook, MakeWebBetter‘s Syed Faizuddin recommends to “check the placement of your ads and remove placements that consume your budget but not getting any conversions.”
“Let say, Facebook Audience Network is outside of Facebook so if you are not getting conversions from audience network then instead of losing your money fluently you just have to remove that placement from your targeting.”
6. Use lead generation ads to target people in the middle of your funnel
“One of our key methods of achieving a lower cost per lead on Facebook Ads is to implement a funnel approach to your campaigns,” says This Digital‘s Harry Phillips.
“Starting at the top of the funnel with Awareness, hit new users who have never heard of your brand before with a generic brand awareness ad to spark initial interest using either a single image, carousel or video. Here we are going for high reach, low CPCs and expecting little to no conversions, it’s more about reaching new users.”
“Then, set up an audience for anyone who has previously engaged with your brand awareness ad, this means they have shown interest in your brand and have moved down into the middle/bottom of the funnel – Consideration and Decision.”
Phillips continues: “Target this audience alongside a remarketing audience (anyone that has visited the website in X days, basket abandoners, etc) with more product/service-focused ads, highlighting new products, prices, and promotions. In this campaign, we will use either Traffic or Conversions – we are expecting lower reach but conversions, as the users have already shown clear interest.”
“Just by breaking your users out into a two-step funnel like the above, can massively decrease your CPL as you have complete control over your bidding and where you’re investing your budget,” Phillips adds.
This follows SH1FT‘s Aristide Basque’s advice to “try to warm up people before asking them to become your leads. Running a paid promotion on an article first and then retargeting those people with a lead magnet can drastically lower your cost per lead on Facebook ads.”
7. Run retargeting campaigns
“There are literally hundreds of different split tests you can run to lower the cost per lead of your Facebook ads, but many advertisers still don’t use the retargeting feature in Facebook,” says Jamie Anderson.
“Every single lead gen campaign you run on Facebook should have a retargeting campaign set up to follow up with additional ads after the initial exposure. When done properly, this is where you start to generate the leads much cheaper.”
“Remarketing creatives that work well are things like video testimonials from previous clients, image carousels with tips and tricks or even quotes of testimonials, additional incentives like discount codes for people who just need that extra push to submit their details.”
Ali Rizvi of Dream Superhero adds: “Using an engagement audience from the lead ads is the best way to lowering your cost and increasing volume.”
Rob Sanders of Socially Found explains: “The process of retargeting people who have interacted with your website is crucial for eCommerce brands, as you can look to target people that visited your store, added a product to the cart but didn’t finalize a transaction.”
“You may not know why they didn’t proceed but it gives you another the opportunity to once again show them the product they were looking at originally and hopefully, take action,” Sanders summarizes.
8. Use a lookalike audience
According to Alejandro Rioja, “a good trick is to make a lookalike audience instead of using old leads database. Since you receive leads exclusively from Facebook, a lookalike audience derived from the lead ads will be higher quality.”
9. Boost your organic Facebook posts
“With Facebook’s organic reach at about 5%, we’ll regularly boost posts meaningful to our business to ensure our branding messages regularly reach our followers and their connections,” DUNK Basketball‘s Ben Arndt explains.
“When boosting a post, our target audience is typically ‘People who like your Page and their friends’ and we then limit ad delivery to our relevant service area only (in our case, Australia).”
“By following this simple process, we’ve genuinely found that we can generate leads at an average cost of as little as 5 cents.”
10. Use your audience targeting to craft your ad copy
You’ve nailed your audience and created a small group of people most likely to be interested in your offer.
Josiah Atkins of Prospect Bacon explains how this has a knock-on effect on the ad itself: “Most people put ad copy, images, and headlines together because it makes sense to you as a marketer.”
“Some of the most remarkable campaigns we have done are where you can take a step back and step into the customer’s shoes and make the ad feel look and smell like it’s talking directly to them.”
“Taking that extra step and going really deep on who the ad applies to always pays off in the end,” Atkins adds.
Joe Karasin of POSH Digital Media adds: “In order to keep our CPL low, we try to qualify through copy. For example, when we are running FB ads for mortgage lenders, we start our ads with “”If you’re planning on refinancing…”
“By using specific language, we are able to both qualify and disqualify leads, so we don’t end up with a bunch of useless clicks,” Karasin says.
Scott Bierbryer puts this into practice for Leanprop: “When working with multifamily properties and rental buildings, often they will see excellent CPCs on one-time offers and rebates such as “one-month free rent”. But when a potential renter arrives on the landing page, they learn a property isn’t their style, is in the wrong neighborhood, or doesn’t have availability for their move-in month.”
“We try to identify the characteristics of the target audience likely to submit a lead and build this into the copy and creative to enhance built-in audience targeting and ensure that clicks convert to leads at a high rate.”
“This is especially important in categories where it will be hard for Facebook’s algorithms to learn detailed customer preferences. In this apartment marketing example, we specifically include the neighborhood, the type of property, and the timeframe for move-ins into the copy to make sure clicks are from people where all three appeal to them.”
“While this will reduce clicks, it drives more highly qualified leads and has consistently helped drive down CPL,” Bierbryer continues.
11. Take advantage of customer testimonials
“It may seem obvious, but whenever possible leverage past customers’ testimonials in your ad copy to provide third-party validation and grab people’s attention,” says Duckpin‘s Andrew Clark.
“Additionally, and if no testimonials are available, I’ve found ads that clearly convey benefits and/or features of a product or service do well when it comes to lowering cost per lead. Doing so helps customers know ahead of time what they’re clicking through and hopefully speeds up the submitting of their information once on your site.”
Here’s a great example of what this looks like in practice from Infolinks:
12. Write an engaging headline
“With Facebook Ads, it’s all about captivating the audience in the first two seconds and drawing them in to consume the rest of your ad copy or creative on the ad,” says Andrew Schutt of Schutt Media.
“There’s nothing stopping people from scrolling right on by your ad, so you need to give them a reason to *not* scroll by and actually digest your content by invoking curiosity and interest in those first critical moments.”
Trenton Erker of Clarity Online thinks you should “call out your target audience in your ad copy right away. Lookalike audiences and demographics are important, but there’s no better way to prevent a non-buyer from clicking on your ad like calling them out clearly and immediately.”
13. Direct people to a giveaway on your site
“When you run a giveaway, you give people a reason to comment on your ad – they might even like and share it! Result: more views and interactions at a lower cost,” Easypromos‘ Corinna Keefe says.
Brandon Chopp explains how they do this for iHeartRaves: “Instead of running cost per lead ads, we run traffic ads to giveaways hosted on our site where we gather customer email addresses in exchange for entering to win products on our site or music festival tickets.”
“We target these ads to the top of funnel audiences who have not interacted with our site before. In addition to entering their email address for entries, users can also visit collection pages, post to social media, and visit our social media pages.”
The Money Mix‘s Michael Dinich agrees: “Instead of trying to sell directly on Facebook, we have found it is more cost-effective to offer a giveaway item or sweepstake in exchange for joining our email list.”
“Once the lead enters our email sequence we can drip in them over time and stay in constant contact. Additionally, our sweepstakes are structured so subscribers can earn additional entries for sharing, commenting and liking our Facebook post.”
“The additional sharing of the post helps increase the organic reach of the Facebook offer and drives down CPA significantly. At our primary site, we were averaging a $2 CPA to gain email subscribers, after implementing sweepstakes our CPA has average 13 cents or less,” Dinch continues.
Here’s an example from Absolut:
In fact, this follows the advice of Portent‘s Lauren Clawson who recommends to “offer something of substantial value (a long-form piece of content, case study, offer code, etc) to your target audience. It doesn’t need to have a high monetary value but should be well-tailored to the community.”
14. Improve your page’s load speed
“When your potential customer clicks on a link in your ad you have a maximum of 3 seconds before 50% of that revenue is lost to page load wait times,” says Peter Connors of Inspire Marketing Online.
“Every second after that you’ll lose another 20% of the remaining customers. By the time you reach a 6-7 second page load time, you’re losing 80% of your potential customers, and statistics show that most won’t ever return.”
“By having pages that load in the 1-2 second range, you’re preventing bounce rates which will increase your customer’s time spent on the page and also increase your conversion rates. This is great feedback for the Facebook algorithm because people who are clicking on your links are having a better user experience.”
Connors adds: “Facebook is all about good user experience and they will reward you with lower CPMs. It’s a win for you and a win for your potential customers.”
15. Run A/B tests on your Facebook campaigns
“Facebook allows you to run multiple ads concurrently with the same budget. Making little tweaks to your ad creative, especially your images, copy and call to action can make a difference in conversion and click-through rate whilst lowering costs,” Carsten Pleiser of Design Buffs says.
That’s why, according to Katherine Hunter-Blyden of KHB Marketing Group, “the best way to lower your CPL for Facebook Ads is to continually run an A/B test to optimize your ad.”
“With an A/B test, you will vary just one thing in the ad (the ad copy, ad headline, image, etc.) or one thing in the target market (age, location, gender, interests, etc.).”
“Once you have a control ad (the one that works best), continue to optimize through testing as a number of elements (including competitor ads) can alter the results of your control piece.”
Amy Finlay of Edinburgh adds: “If you don’t have a really good mixture of different creatives at the very start of your campaign then you are massively limiting just how low you are going to be able to get your costs per lead by the time you have your campaign optimized in other areas.”
“Split test your LTV custom, lookalike and interest-based audiences,” Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles adds. “Then split test the campaign type to see whether lead ads outperform traffic to a dedicated landing page ads. Then split test the angle you are taking in each campaign as well as the creative assets.”
Summarizing, Stockarea‘s Damon Gochneaur says: “When you are targeting the audience, initially create two or more sets of an ad to see which is working and which is not. Later you can remove the inefficient campaign. This is a great practice and will help you reduce your costs a lot in the long run.”
Stop wasting money on expensive ads
As you can see, it is possible to lower the cost per lead you’re paying for your Facebook campaigns.
A few small tweaks can often result in big cash savings.
It’s bound to have a knock-on effect on other important metrics–helping you to understand whether it’s worth continuing with the constant stream of cash you’re pouring into Facebook advertising.