How we decreased trial CPA by 42% and increased trial volume 15x Year Over Year

“Our lead volume increased 15x, and our cost to acquire leads dropped by almost 50%… But the most interesting thing about working with Otter, is that our leads that came from his FB traffic have 3x the LTV of our other sources… and they’re not done paying us yet…”

~ Brandon Kinney – Director Of Lead Generation @ ProjectManager.com

The Problem: 

ProjectManager.com offers a suite of project management tools for professional PM’s at medium to large scale orgs. 

When I first started working with ProjectManager.com, they had just experienced massive growth with paid acquisition from GAds, and were looking to add another channel to their media mix.

Historically they had not had success with Facebook & Instagram ads due to a variety of reasons. ProjectManager.com wanted to scale their paid social acquisition in a highly competitive space, and do so with a credit card required trial.

After I audited the account I found some opportunities for improvement in creative, messaging, targeting & the funnel. And we began the slow, methodical process of improving their program over the course of a year.

Fix Positioning By Niching Down:

The first best practice I focused on implementing for ProjectManager was niching down. Whenever you advertise on Facebook in a competitive space, you are well served to position yourself in the market by niching down. After auditing their account I noticed that their creatives all focused on features only, or they spoke generally about the brand. 

In the span of 6 months we rolled out new long form landing pages that spoke to the specifics problems PMs in Construction, IT, and Marketing have, and how ProjectManagers software could benefit them.

Enhance Targeting By “Hacking” The Pixel:

In my experience paid social for b2b can’t compete with GAds on cost, but will always have higher lead quality and customer LTV than other channels. So one of the first things we explored for ProjectManager was enhancing their targeting to go after only high value trials.

We did this by changing their pixel implementation and taking advantage of some great targeting options normally only available for b2c ecommerce stores.

  1. We placed the purchase event on the post trial sign up page
  2. We fired predictive month 1 revenue values for every trial that signed up, based on which plan they chose 
  3. After gathering some data, we started targeting a lookalike from a value based source of the pixel

For those who aren’t familiar, value based lookalikes are facebook’s similar audience to your highest LTV customers. But with this implemented for ProjectManager, we asked facebook to look at the entire history of our trial sign ups, and give us an audience similar to those highest value trial sign ups. 

After implementing this setup, and measuring trial quality as well as CPA, we have seen a consistent 80-90% of our trials be mid – enterprise level businesses (high quality!)

Improve Efficiency By Expanding Placements & Geos:

When I first started working with ProjectManager, they had a perception that their customers didn’t use Instagram or Instagram stories. 

We began a systematic process of placement testing, and found that fb & insta feed + all stories placement was our ideal mix. We confirmed this through a series of A/B tests as well as by setting up Facebook Attribution, and measuring the positional efficiency of each placement added.

Are you running Instagram stories right now for b2b? We saw a 33% decrease in trial CPA for prospecting simply by adding that in!

Pairing The Right Message With The Right Audience Based On Their Awareness:

After auditing hundreds of Facebook ad accounts over the last six years, the most common mistake I find is a message mismatch.

Many people forget that FB ads at their core are disruptive. In other words, no one is looking for your product or service when they get your ad. As such most of the people you advertise to are what Eugene Schwartz would call Problem-aware (I have a problem but I wasn’t aware you had the solution). People who are problem aware on Facebook respond better to ads when you empathaize with them first, sell the benefits of your product second, and finally get to the features and claims that back up the benefits.

By identifying this mismatch and implementing problem-agitation-solution copy on prospecting, and then repositioning retargeting to focus specifically on features and social proof, we were able to raise trial conversion rate 43% year over year!

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