Definition: CPL [Cost Per Lead]

What does CPL mean?

The CPL price means that every time the advertiser gets a lead (a potential customer’s contact details), the CPL price is paid.

For example, if you ran a CPL campaign paying $4 to gather a list of 1,000 people who were interested in buying a PlayStation, you would pay $4,000 dollars once you had 1,000 contact details.



CPL Definition

CPL means Cost Per Lead and is a variation of a CPA campaign. A lead is a person who is likely to make a purchase or complete an action. So instead of advertising on a CPA basis and paying for everyone who completes the action, a list of contact details is gathered for use in future marketing.


CPL Formula

The CPL equation is:

CPL or Cost Per Lead EquationClick to enlarge

CPL = Cost ÷ Leads


Technical Information

Having a list of leads can be more useful than just getting the sales through, as the list can be used time and again for multiple purposes, and even sold onto other companies. A list of customers could, of course, be generated from sales via a CPA campaign (at the advertisers end the data would be anonymised in the ad server so only the website would have this list), however leads can, in fact, be more valuable.

Customers who purchase are signalling their interest in the product in quite a simple way. However, finding people who might buy if they are coaxed a bit more is much more difficult as they won’t necessarily ever signal their interest. That is where CPL campaigns come in.

A CPL campaign generally takes the form of an ad taking a user to a landing page where some sort of action collects their details for the advertiser. This can be in the form of a free sample or trial of a product (if they enter an email address), encouraging signing up to a service for free, or even just asking for their contact details to find out more later.

CPL campaigns used to often ask for email addresses in the actual ad itself, however, this is much rarer now as people are more suspicious of advertising.

Note: CPL can also occasionally mean Cost Per Land. Cost Per Land is basically the same as Cost Per Click – it just means that publishers only get paid when a user fully loads up the landing page after clicking on an ad, as opposed to just having to click on it (there can be some discrepancy between these two figures due to loading times).


Average Rate

This is difficult to quantify as it depends on what the lead is for. High value leads for high-value sales will be worth a lot, but that doesn’t mean the CPL rate will be high as the conversion rate might be low.

It also depends on who wants who is booking the campaign – if it’s the company that is going to use the lead then a reasonable amount might be paid. If it’s a lead generation company, then they will need to sell the leads on, so will pay as little as possible.


7 Things To Know About [X]

  1. Find people to buy what you’re selling.
  2. According to Belle Strategies, you can cut your CPL in half (or better) by using Facebook lead gen ads. [Ed – I’ve personally seen CPLs under £2 on Facebook]
  3. Not all leads are created equal. Paying a high CPL for leads that are more likely to lead to a sale makes a lot of sense.
  4. According to Marketing Charts, the overall average CPL is $200, ranging from $43 for nonprofits to $370 for IT.
  5. As a lead is not a sale your CPL should be used to work out the effectiveness of your lead gen activity, not the effectiveness of your marketing campaign as a whole.
  6. Cost Per Lead is a subtype of CPA marketing (where the conversion you are buying is a lead). This means you can optimise these campaigns in much the same way.
  7. According to Visitor Queue, Tradeshows/Events have *by far* the highest average CPL, coming in at over $800.



CPL Definition (Cost Per Lead)


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