PPC for SaaS: Unlocking Bottom-of-the-Funnel Leads with Effective Lead Generation Strategies
Lead generation plays a crucial role in fueling the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. While numerous strategies and channels exist for generating leads, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has emerged as a remarkably effective approach for attracting relevant traffic to SaaS websites. To optimize the return on investment (ROI) of your PPC campaigns, it becomes essential to concentrate on generating leads at the bottom of the sales funnel.
In this comprehensive article, I will delve into an exceptional approach to harness the power of PPC advertising and unlock its potential in generating superior, bottom-of-the-funnel leads specifically tailored for SaaS enterprises.
1.1. The Problem
1.1.1. Extended Time Lag
SaaS PPC Optimization: The Key Problem and Solution to Getting Paying Customers
We — a SaaS PPC Agency — audited numerous SaaS accounts. We discovered that most businesses only consider on-site actions as conversions, neglecting low-level conversions which do not feed data into ad campaigns.
This inadequacy poses a significant challenge as advertising traffic attracts users who do not effectively navigate through the sales funnel, leading to a high cost for every target customer. Nevertheless, this issue can be addressed with appropriate action.
By strategically optimizing your ad campaigns for bottom-of-the-funnel conversions, you have the opportunity to enhance the quality of your traffic right from the engagement stage. The primary objective is to train your advertising campaign to attract users who have a high likelihood of converting into paying customers. Nevertheless, achieving this goal can prove challenging.
In a perfect world, tracking conversions from the bottom of the sales funnel in your Google Ads account and optimizing your ad campaigns solely for these conversions would suffice. By doing so, you could develop an advertising campaign that accurately targets the most crucial and relevant customers — those who are likely to progress to become paying customers.
However, implementing this approach encounters certain limitations.
Extended Time Lag
A significant obstacle in implementing this approach is the long time lag between the first ad visit and the intended action, which impedes the proper training of ad campaigns with this data. This issue is particularly prevalent in SaaS products with trial periods, where the lag in data is further prolonged. The duration of this time lag adds complexity to campaign management, demanding a more extensive timeframe for campaigns to assimilate and adapt their behavior accordingly.
Limited Number of Conversions at the Bottom of the Funnel
As we progress further down the funnel, the number of conversions gradually decreases at each subsequent step. If your monthly high-quality conversions are currently below the threshold of 30 or more, it becomes challenging to fully optimize your ad campaigns solely for those conversions.
One viable approach that addresses both the targeting of ad traffic to the bottom of the funnel and the challenges associated with optimizing for these conversions is the comprehensive tracking of user behavior throughout the entire site funnel. By employing value strategies and optimizing for the complete conversion funnel, you can improve the quality of traffic and increase the share of the most valuable conversions at the bottom of the funnel.
We will explore the implementation of this method using Google Ads ad campaigns. The platform’s automated strategies, powered by machine learning principles, deliver outstanding outcomes. Among these strategies, the “target return on ad spend” auto strategy is particularly well-suited for effectively implementing this approach.
Tracking Leads at the Top of the Sales Funnel
When creating a comprehensive user behavior funnel, it is crucial to track all the intended actions of site visitors and report them as conversions to advertising offices and analytics systems. It is essential to identify which events and user actions on the site are most significant and relevant to your business. These may include email or call tracking, live chat, completed contact forms, and more.
Tracking Leads at the Bottom of the Sales Funnel
Once you have successfully collected and tracked leads, inquiries, and chat messages on your website, the next crucial step is to monitor and attribute conversions at the bottom of the sales funnel. As the user progresses from submitting a request, there is a time lapse during which you process the lead, and eventually, the conversion occurs when the lead successfully closes the deal and performs the most significant desired action.
While these bottom-of-the-funnel conversions are typically fewer in number compared to those at the top of the funnel, they hold the utmost meaning and value. Importing offline conversions from your CRM system presents a more intricate technical challenge than tracking website conversions. However, overcoming this hurdle unlocks a vital capability that can significantly enhance the quality of your paid traffic. By tackling the complexities associated with offline bottom-of-the-funnel conversions, you unlock immense potential and pave the way for future growth opportunities.
Strategies for Scaling High-Quality Leads in SaaS PPC Campaigns
Now, let’s consider a scenario where you have successfully identified significant actions at various stages of the sales funnel, established precise action tracking on your website, and seamlessly imported lead statuses from your CRM system as offline conversions into your Google Ads account.
However, you may encounter specific challenges preventing you from immediately optimizing your campaign solely for bottom-of-the-funnel conversions. One or both of the following conditions might apply to your situation:
- Limited number of bottom-of-the-funnel conversions: If you have fewer than 30 conversions within the past 30 days at the bottom of the funnel.
- Extended decision-making period: If the time interval between a user’s first visit to your site and the desired bottom-of-the-funnel action exceeds 5 days.
If either of these conditions applies to you, relying solely on bottom-of-the-funnel conversion optimization in your ad campaigns may not yield optimal results. To address this situation, the recommended solution is to leverage full funnel conversions in your campaign optimization while implementing the target return on ad spend auto-strategy. This combination ensures a comprehensive approach to maximize the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.
Once you have established complete funnel conversion tracking, the subsequent crucial step is to assign a value to each conversion within the funnel. It is advisable to assign a value that closely aligns with the cost per lead, which represents the conversion at the bottom of the funnel. From there, the conversion value should decrease incrementally based on the conversion rate as you move up the funnel. This approach ensures a more accurate representation of the value generated at each stage of the conversion process.
It is important to note that these conversion values can be adjusted based on the level of significance you assign to each conversion. In this context, the values serve as symbolic representations. A higher value signifies greater importance in the eyes of the system, allowing for more effective consideration of that particular conversion. Therefore, feel free to modify the values to reflect the relative significance of each conversion. Use conversion values calculator by Google to calculate your funnel conversion values.
Once you have completed these essential steps, you are ready to initiate the training of your campaigns using the ROAS auto-strategy, focusing on campaign optimization across the entire funnel of conversions. While we won’t delve into the specifics of the campaign training process here, as it can vary, we can provide some universal guidelines that are applicable to SaaS businesses:
- Allow time for data accumulation: After assigning values to conversions, it is not advisable to immediately switch campaigns to a value strategy. It is important to wait for an adequate amount of time for data to accumulate, typically around 30 days.
- Start with alternative auto strategies for new campaigns: If you are launching new campaigns without any accumulated data, it is recommended to begin with other auto strategies before implementing the value strategy with a set target return on ad spend (tROAS).
- Consider time intervals for significant conversions: If there is a considerable time interval to the last most significant conversion, exceeding 5 days, it is advisable to avoid using this conversion as the final and most valuable one in the funnel. Instead, focus on previous steps with shorter time delays that have a high conversion rate into the ultimate deal (completing an extended questionnaire, onboarding etc.).
Achieving Results with SaaS PPC Strategy
To demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach for SaaS products, I will present some results from one of our clients with whom we collaborate.
Here’s an overview: The client monitors the entire conversion funnel, from initial registration to account opening. We import all these conversions into the Google Ads account. The ultimate and most crucial step in the funnel is Paying Customer.
Since the product targets multiple countries, we have created separate campaigns for each country, focusing on the most relevant and targeted keyword phrases.
Below, you’ll find a screenshot depicting the campaign dynamics after switching to the tROAS strategy.
The screenshot illustrates the dynamics of increasing the number of significant conversions and reducing the cost per conversion, comparing the results before and after switching strategies.
Additionally, the following screenshot displays the Conversion Rate dynamics within the same ad campaign, starting from the higher-level conversion of Onboarding and leading to the final conversion which is Paying Customer. The graph also includes information about the number of clicks. As the traffic increased, we adjusted the campaign to a tROAS bidding strategy, increasing the share of bottom-of-the-funnel conversions.
Here’s another example from a different campaign that targets another country. By switching the strategy, there was a notable increase in the conversion rate from onboarding to Paying Customer.
It is important to note that the tROAS strategy does not guarantee an increase in the share of conversions for all campaigns. Proper preparatory work and effective campaign training are essential to ensure its success. In some cases, campaigns lacking sufficient traffic, stability, or conversions may not attract higher-quality audiences even after switching strategies.
Leveraging PPC advertising offers significant advantages to SaaS companies in generating leads at the bottom of the sales funnel. By implementing SaaS PPC tips mentioned above, businesses can optimize their return on investment (ROI) and attract highly qualified leads to their websites. It is crucial to concentrate on crafting targeted ad campaigns, optimizing landing pages for enhanced conversions, and employing retargeting tactics to engage with prospects who have previously expressed interest in your offerings.
You can also check out our article on Google Ads and Google Analytics attribution models to learn how to choose the right attribution model for your advertising strategy.
Visit our SaaS PPC library for more valuable insights.
How can PPC help in generating bottom-of-the-funnel leads for SaaS companies?
PPC can be highly effective in generating bottom-of-the-funnel leads for SaaS companies by targeting specific keywords and demographics that are relevant to their target audience. It allows businesses to display ads to potential customers who are actively searching for solutions or are ready to make a purchase, increasing the likelihood of lead conversion.
It’s also important to optimize advertising campaigns for bottom-of-the-funnel conversions, then over time, campaigns will learn to work effectively for the target audience ready to take the most important target action — a purchase or a subscription.
Which PPC platforms are suitable for SaaS lead generation?
Several PPC platforms are suitable for SaaS lead generation, including Google Ads, Bing Ads, and social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. These platforms offer robust targeting options and audience segmentation capabilities that can help SaaS companies reach their desired audience effectively.
Are there any common pitfalls to avoid in PPC lead generation for SaaS companies?
Yes, some common pitfalls to avoid in PPC lead generation for SaaS companies include targeting broad keywords that may not be relevant to the product or service, neglecting to set up proper conversion tracking (especially bottom-of-the-funnel conversions), not monitoring campaign performance regularly, and failing to align ad messaging with the landing page content.
How long does it take to see results from PPC lead generation for SaaS companies?
The timeframe to see results from PPC lead generation can vary depending on various factors, such as the competitiveness of keywords, campaign optimization, and the specific industry. In general, it’s advisable to give PPC campaigns some time to gather sufficient data and make optimizations before expecting significant results. Typically, results can start to appear within a few weeks, but it may take a few months to achieve optimal performance.
What are some essential tips for optimizing PPC campaigns for SaaS businesses?
Essential tips for optimizing SaaS PPC campaigns include:
- Conducting thorough keyword research.
- Creating compelling ad copy.
- Optimizing landing pages for conversions.
- Implementing conversion tracking.
- Monitoring and optimizing campaign performance.
- Leveraging remarketing campaigns.
- Staying updated with industry trends.
- Proper work with autostrategies, which includes the correct training of campaigns at the start and the correct scaling of results in the future.
These strategies help maximize campaign effectiveness, generate more leads, and improve overall performance.
Performance Marketing Specialist. Working with PPC since 2016. Specializes in Google & Microsoft paid traffic for eCommerce & B2B projects. In love with analysis. When not launching effective Ad campaigns, she is reading up on the latest in eCommerce and data tracking last trends.