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Optimising paid campaigns with a data-driven full funnel marketing approach

February 28, 2019   |
   Vishnu Vankayala

One of our client from the higher education industry uses PPC campaigns to generate leads, over the years they’ve been spending at least a $1M USD on paid campaigns. We are going to showcase how they adopted the data-driven full funnel marketing approach to achieve the best results.

I personally know them for four years and I’m able to witness how their entire tracking and KPIs maturity has evolved. Four years ago, they focussed on generating leads at a very less cost and the major channel giving them leads was Google Ads/Adwords.

Once the competition has started picking up on the Google Ads, obviously lead cost went over the roof and they had to look into various channels. Setting up campaigns and generating leads at the half of the cost was not an issue however, the client started seeing funnel conversion rates going down.

Chapter 1: Higher Education Funnel

Our client funnel has various steps between Awareness and the final conversion.

Since we are right now focusing on the paid campaigns,

The Awareness stage: is nothing but how many clicks we had per channel.

Lead Generated Stage: When someone submits the form in a landing page.

Opportunity: When the sales team qualifies the lead based on their parameters.

Offer Letter and Deposit: These are the final conversion stages.

Full-funnel marketing approach
full-Funnel Marketing

Chapter 2: KPIs before Data-driven marketing approach

Our client was tracking a few set of metrics before adopting the full-funnel approach.

They used to track,

a) Cost per lead per channel

b) Number of leads generated per channel

However they quickly ran into issues the moment they realised the leads coming from Facebook is with a very less quality and from the Google is higher though the CPL is higher.

The digital marketing team needed this feedback from the sales team, at least weekly so that they can optimise the campaigns weekly.

At this stage the data looked like this:

Total CostLeadsCost/ Lead
Google Ads2711237733

As a marketer where would you optimise? Which channel do you think is costing you money?

Well, you are right – logically we should go back to Google Ads and see if we can reduce the cost to match up with Quora.

Like they say the devil is in the details. You’d be surprised to see what’s going on when they aligned Marketing and sales.

Chapter 3: Marketing and sales alignment

Data-driven marketing will bring strong alignment between the sales and marketing teams. Unless sales team sends the feedback, the marketing team cannot go back and optimise the campaigns.

The top two steps are handled by the marketing team, and the bottom three steps were owned by the sales team. The hand-off between marketing and sales typically happens at the opportunity stage.

Pro-tip: Define the stage where the handoff happens between marketing to sales.

The Opportunity stage: Long sales cycles delays PPC campaign optimisation

Pro-tip: If your business has long sales-cycles, have an intermediate qualification step which will help the marketing team to optimise campaigns weekly.

With our client, the sales cycle is around 7 months, so the digital marketing team cannot wait for the conversion. So the opportunity stage plays a major role for our client. When a lead is submitted the sales team call these leads in less than 36 hours to qualify them.

Chapter 4: Introducing Data-driven marketing KPIs

With the new understanding they needed a different approach towards defining KPIs. The number of leads and the cost per lead alone were not working for them.

They are using 8 paid channels to generate leads and the channels lead cost vary between 1.5x to 3x. How to define which channel works better.

If we stick with just number of leads and the cost it won’t work for them anymore.

New KPIs:

a) Number of Visitors per channel

b) Number of leads generated per channel

c) Number of opportunities per channel

You may think how does this may affect the campaign, our client was happy to share the real data comparison between two channels.

Total CostLeadsCost/ LeadOppOpp RateOpp Cost
Google Ads27112377331437.831937

Well, where would you optimise now? Exactly Quora. The deeper the alignment between the marketing and sales department the more data-driven the marketing can be.

Chapter 5: Challenges in getting the opportunity data from sales team.

Our client has 5 branches and around 50 member sales team, they adopted a CRM to mark the stages but mapping with 1000’s of leads generated every week mapping them manually is not possible. So we had to automate the whole thing and build a dashboard.

Regular tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, etc did not work because they couldn’t bring the CRM data into the funnel.

The automation

They started with CustomerLabs Action Recorder, installed Javascript code on their 100+ landing pages.

Tracked form data using Action Recorder widget with a few clicks.

Once the data is tracked now it’s important to bring the data from their CRM, CustomerLabs can bring the data from any CRM via webhooks.

While the data is updated in CRM, the individual user profile will be updated in real-time in their CustomerLabs Action Recorder account.

As you can see, the lead has been created, and the feedback has been brought back from the CRM.

The funnel can be created into various segments like this in CustomerLabs,

full funnel marketing segments
Funnels as Segments

In the following blog, I’ll explain the next set of things they’ve done:

a) How they automated the full-funnel retargeting campaigns in various channels (Facebook, Quora, Linkedin).

b) How they used Data studio to build their own dashboards.


  1. Nail your funnel – go deeper into the funnel.
  2. Align Marketing and Sales operations.
  3. Practice full funnel marketing campaigns
  4. Automate the whole process using CustomerLabs Action Recorder.
  5. Adopt data-driven marketing today.
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