A Demand Gen ROI Dilemma: Small-Scale PPC Advertising vs. eGifting
January 12, 2022
VP of Marketing
How much money are you spending per click on paid advertising? $5, $15 ,perhaps even $22/click? It's no secret that paid digital marketing can be expensive...but when executed and optimized efficiently, the ROI can make the investment worthwhile.
However, since the shift to remote work and cancellation of in-person field marketing events, sales dinners, and networking opportunities, marketers have shifted their budgets in attempt to stand out online. For companies like Postal without millions of surplus budget, how do we stand out when the competition for digital reach is at an all-time high.
Postal CEO, Erik asked a thought-provoking question: if we're bidding $15/click and paying over $140 per download, why can't we send gift cards in exchange for downloads instead?
*Cue marketer eye roll*
So, instead of debating, we thought we'd test it and share out our results.
Our PPC vs. corporate gifting experiment
The methodology: reach out via organic channels (email and social) to people offering $10 to download our recent eBook. Simultaneously, run PPC ads promoting the same ebook.
Will paying people $10 to download our eBook have a better ROI than using PPC advertising to download the same eBook? Will paying people for downloads drive tire kickers and unqualified leads?
Using MagicLink, we will generate more leads and the cost per lead (CPL) would be cheaper. However, leads given a gift card in exchange for a download will likely drive tire kickers and unqualified leads.
What's a "MagicLink"?
A MagicLink is simply a way to allow recipients to click an embedded link in order to redeem a gift without previously having your recipient's contact and address information. This enables you to use Postal as a lead generation tool, embedding these "virtual gifts" into your sales and marketing efforts - LinkedIn InMails, marketing emails, and ads are common channels used to send MagicLinks.
Using MagicLinks can be used to create experiences throughout the sales funnel—whether that’s to increase top of funnel conversion rates, book more meetings, or establish brand loyalty after onboarding a new customer, the use cases add value to each stage in the customer journey.
- $5000 budget for each channel - The eBook
- Landing pages - Using PPC advertising - Sharing MagicLink on organic social channels and nurture emails
PPC: $5k MagicLink: $5k
PPC: 2.6M MagicLink: 28.9K
PPC: 25,529 MagicLink: 456
PPC: 57 MagicLink: 265
On-page conversion rate
PPC: 0.24% MagicLink: 58.89%
We concluded that both channels were impactful for different reasons. eBook downloads driven from PPC ads drove 2x the amount of new free trials as MagicLink—we assume that is because our PPC ads help us locate new people that haven't yet heard about our free trial.
However, MagicLink drove 5.5x more eBook downloads and created almost 20x more qualified pipeline. Our conclusion is that offering gift cards via MagicLink in exchange for an eBook does drive quality interest and can be considered as a competitive marketing channel.
While paid advertising is here to stay and remains a consistent way to build our database of new potential customers, MagicLink proves faster ROI on converting names through the marketing funnel and becomes a cost-effective option to building an engaged base of prospects.
Lauren Alt-Kishpaugh is the VP of Marketing at Postal, the leading Global Offline Marketing Engagement Platform that creates memorable moments for organizations to generate leads, increase sales velocity, and retain happy customers. Prior to Postal, Lauren worked across various marketing functions including marketing operations, campaign management, and acquisition at hyper-growth software companies like Outreach, ThousandEyes, and Solv Health. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband, Jon, and her dog, Maple.