Social Media Lead Gen - PPI Case Study
PPI was a massive source of lead generation business for multiple companies and advertising agencies. This is a case study with real data and genuine examples of social media lead generation strategies and cost per lead on Facebook and Instagram.
According to the FCA website, "PPI was designed to cover repayments in certain circumstances where you couldn’t make them yourself... 64 million PPI policies have been sold in the UK, mostly between 1990 and 2010, some as far back as the 1970s.
But we found that PPI was often mis-sold. More than £33bn has already been paid back to people who complained about the sale of PPI."
As you can tell by the large numbers of PPI policies being sold in a 20 year date range, you can probably imagine that anyone who had a credit card, loan or a mortgage could have been mis-sold one. The tricky thing is that most consumers were bombarded with PPI check cold calls and some companies out there used the situation to gain access to people's sensitive information, which gave bad rep to everyone. This made Social Media PPI campaigns even more "interesting".
A little bit of background on how I did PPI lead generation: I used to work for a marketing agency in Leeds, UK, specialising in social media lead generation for financial services. We mostly generated leads for different tax rebates, PPI claims, funeral plans and pension providers. Here is how we approached new markets and how we managed to generate leads for financial services for less then £1 per lead.
1. Identify the best way to sell the service - People hated PPI checks, avoided the service like the plague and perhaps presumed that the client, a financial company, was a scam. The client ran a call centre and offered different services, eventually the best way to run a PPI check for people who didn't know they had it was to cross-sell it along with tax rebates. This practice was successful and the client managed to get over £1.5m back into the pockets of consumers.
Next, we tested different page names with Facebook Ads, to find the product that potential clients would be most interested in. Every ad set audience would have a certain lifespan - the bigger the audience, the better. We would experiment with different demographics, as well as random interest categories like TV shows or even supermarkets. Sometimes it would work while other times it won't.
Here are some examples of page name tests -Check My Pension or Women's Pension Pot or My Pension Check. The best performing page would be the top source of lead generation for as long as possible. The winner was determined based on the highest CTR and CVR and lowest CPL.
2. Create a landing page for your ads and create conversion - This step is pretty self-explanatory. Facebook and Instagram ads conversions are relatively easy to create and install. You could skip the website or landing page and create a contact form instead. Facebook forms are excellent for better conversions with cheaper CPL, however the lead quality is usually much lower and you may face certain restrictions.
For instance, Facebook's advertising policies do not allow referring to personal attributes or collecting certain types of information. You can't ask what someone's debt level is, whether they are currently employed or if they are home owners. Depending on your industry, this might be a problem and the cheap leads may not qualify for your service. For the sake of lead quality and brand legitimacy, it's best to create a website, even if it consists of one single page.
3. Launch your campaigns - Once you have identified the best converting pages, crack on with the ads. We experimented with different messaging, imagery, CTAs and colours. We found that certain types of ads worked across different pages and generally had good engagement and conversion rates.
The ad on the right was much more successful than the one on the left in a single month in 2019. The ad featuring the coins had 2% better click through rate, 50% lower cost per lead and 32% better conversion rates. Its not unusual for the same creative to perform differently on different ad sets, however with lead gen we noticed that our best performing ads would generate leads for a very low cost across all ad sets. The ads below targeted the same audiences, but the cost per lead was approximately 250% higher
The targeting would really depend on the product - with the marriage tax rebate ads above, we definitely had to target married people, aged over 35, as they most likely to be eligible for a PPI refund.
A good way to target audiences for lead gen is by utilising lookalike audiences. Make sure you exclude the smaller percentage of the larger one if targeting 2% or 3% LAL audiences - the 1% LAL audience is already included within the 2% and 3%.
This will help you ensure that there is no audience overlap and if the 3% LAL audience converts best, that's because it doesn't capture the 1% LAL of your previous converters. LAL Audiences could be a hit and miss, however when layered with interest targeting, you may have found your perfect group of potential clients.
4. Campaign optimisation - this is the juiciest part of the case study. While I won't go into detail about how every single aspect of the campaigns was managed, I will outline how to make sure your campaigns continue to be successful, how to make your life easier with automation and things to look out for when running social media lead generation ads.
Ad Schedule - this one will most likely depend on your business and whether you need to contact prospects ASAP. You may find that the ultimate times for running your Facebook ads is between 9pm and 3am. Would those leads have the same quality as 9am to 5pm leads? That is something to be tested out. If you decide to serve ads out of hours, do yourself a massive favour and don't schedule your campaigns on ad set level, using lifetime budget. This will really impact the performance and once your campaign is done you can't re-run it. Instead, use Facebook's automated rules to enable and pause your campaigns at certain hours.
Comment section - this is the worst task of running Facebook ads and one of the most crucial ones. It is emotionally draining to go through people's stupid comments, often just irrelevant paragraphs published under your ads because surprisingly often people click the wrong box without realising. You absolutely must enable the profanity filter on your page and feel free to add words you wouldn't want to show below your ads. For example, 'data farming', 'scam','cold calling' and 'data'. Why? Because I guarantee you that someone will get a call from your company and then go back to Facebook to say what they thought was 'a cold call by a scam, data farming, company which sold their data'. To avoid people seeing that comment, best rely on automation.
Performance Breakdown - Certain placements work better than others - we found that news feed placements work great, while Facebook right column was *always* pretty useless. You can break down performance by platform, as well as by demographics, day of the week, region, device and much more. Make sure you spend your budget wisely and only towards what works for you.
Test and update your creative - As you saw on the example above, we had 2 similar ads with very different performance. The truth is that you don't actually know will work until you have tested it. We have used custom illustrations and they worked much worse than a dodgy, outdated stock photo.
Keep an eye on your performance daily - check your CPM, conversion rates, cost per click and conversions at least once a day. You will find that performance could be quite different during different times of the day. Feel free to pause or enable ad sets depending on their daily or hourly performance.
Last but not least, test your bidding strategies - for some businesses paying per impression was much cheaper, compared to paying per click. If your audience won't engage with your ads as much as you'd like, switch to pay-per-click.
The above is a non-exhaustive list of how set up and manage your social media lead gen campaigns. While you should totally check out other blogs on the basic campaign set up, I wanted to give you some insight tips on saving time and money, by avoiding common mistakes.