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  • Acquisition
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Optimize the cost of customer acquisition in a context of cost-per-click inflation

The cost per click on digital media has increased sharply since the end of 2020. In this context of inflation, how can you optimize your customer acquisition marketing budget?

1. Why has the CPC increased so much since 2021?

1.1. A strong increase in CPC in 2021

After dropping significantly in 2019 and 2020, CPC growth has accelerated since the end of 2020, as shown in the graph below (focused on Google shopping ads in the US):


The observation is the same with digital display media. The graph below shows the increase in revenue from these media, directly correlated to an increase in CPC:


1.2. An increase that can be partly explained by the backlash of the sharp declines in 2020, linked to confinements

During containment in 2020, CPCs continued to fall, as marketing budgets were largely cut, except of course in preserved sectors. At the end of the confinement, the companies relaunched their acquisition systems in order to accelerate the recovery as much as possible. Physical businesses, in particular, have sharply increased their digital media investments, in order to make up for lost time and regain their positions in a worried market and with increased competition. This has led to an increase in network prices, most often based on the cost-per-click model.

1.3. In general, an inflation of the CPC explained by a more general context of inflation

More generally, the inflation of digital media costs is correlated with an inflationary context of the economy. As shown in the chart below, 2020 was marked by a decline in inflation, followed by a significant rise in 2021.


2. Which strategy to use to pay a lower CPC?

2.1. Work on relevance to increase the quality score

One of the main digital media companies is, of course, Google Ads, and in particular sponsored search results (SEA). For this lever, there is a well-identified way to optimize the CPC, as Google indicates on this page: the quality score (quality score) of the ads.

Google defines it like this:

This variable, available at the keyword level, is measured on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher the Quality Score, the more relevant and useful your ad and landing page is, compared to other advertisers, for a user who searches for your keyword.

Thus, to increase the quality score and reduce the cost per click of SEA ads, it is a question of choosing keywords that are as targeted as possible and with high relevance to the landing page. This landing page must also be optimized to meet the expectations of Internet users who clicked on the ad. The more targeted ads you will have (on specific keyword groups) and the more landing pages you will have specially designed for these requests, the more your CPC will be optimized.

2.2. Betting on long-tail queries in SEA

The most searched keywords by Internet users in your sector are also the most requested by your competitors, and therefore the most expensive.

Generally, these keywords are also the simplest and most direct: queries with 1 to 3 words, not very specific.

Creating ads on more specific queries has a double benefit:

  • they are potentially less competitive
  • they make it possible to respond to a more specific expectation of the Internet user, potentially more advanced in his search journey, and therefore closer to conversion

Take the example of a company selling bicycles. The most generic queries relate to terms such as: “bicycle”, “electric bicycle”, “racing bicycle”, “bicycle purchase”, even names of bicycle brands. To be more precise, it is a question of identifying search sub-themes corresponding to the company’s offer, and of listing more precise queries corresponding to this sub-theme. So, if we take the axis of racing bikes, here are some examples of long tail queries: “best brand of road bike”, “price of a road bike”, “carbon road bike”, “ purchase of a new racing bike”, etc.


2.3. Diversify digital media

The CPC of SEA and display have increased, especially since these are the most used digital media, and the most requested. To optimize your CPC, you should therefore look at different digital media, to diversify your strategy, while focusing on the final performance in terms of conversion.

From this point of view, levers such as the native ads newsletter offered by Ividence (Dékuple group) make it possible to maintain a very reasonable cost per click while offering extremely fine targeting capabilities, and optimized by algorithms.

3. More generally, how to optimize the acquisition cost?

Reasoning only on the CPC is reductive, because it does not take into account the quality of the traffic generated. To really evaluate the ROI of an acquisition device, it is necessary to focus on the Cost of Acquisition (CAC), that is to say to manage the acquisition levers according to the value of the leads generated and therefore sales.

By having this more global approach, we see that there are other levers to optimize the acquisition budget, beyond the optimization of the cost per click of the channels used.

3.1. Target better to increase the conversion of your ads


3.1.1. Use all the targeting criteria at your disposal

To create a ROIst acquisition campaign, it is first necessary to make sure to target the right audience. All the criteria for refining the target population must be taken into account:

  • context (types of sites and media on which to distribute the ads, etc.)
  • geographical location
  • behavior: devices used, purchases, web searches, etc.
  • demographic data: age, gender, family situation, level of education, etc.
  • relationship: already a customer of your brand, a fan of your page, a visitor to your site, or a user who has simply interacted with one of your ads…
  • hobbies

These targeting capabilities depend on the media used.
In particular, Google and Facebook, for example, will offer very rich targeting qualities, based on data from their platforms, each with their strengths: Google has information on searches, Facebook has more information on “liked” brands, for example.

To make the most suitable targeting, you can use audience profiling tools upstream to get to know your customers and prospects well.


3.1.2. Take advantage of the potential of audience profiling solutions and target the twin profiles of your customers

If you already have a first party customer database, then you can go further by targeting look-alike profiles of your customers, creating “look alike” audiences. This allows you to generally target profiles similar to those of your customers, but also to target more specifically the twin profiles of your best customers or buyers of certain categories of your products.

The main media platforms, such as Facebook, offer “look alike” targeting.


The Family Square solution allows you to adopt the same strategy, but on all channels, and in particular direct marketing channels: email, postal mail, SMS, telephone.

This solution allows you to analyze your contact database and qualify it in terms of socio-demographic and geographic data (household composition, income level, type of housing, proximity to shops, etc.). Each individual in your contact database is associated with a very specific geotype.

family-square-geotypes-2 (1)

Then, Family Square also makes it possible to use Dékuple’s mega DataMatch repository to target profiles belonging to the same geotypes, and thus do look alike targeting based on socio-demographic data.

3.1.3. Leverage retargeting and remarketing techniques

Retargeting and remarketing targeting techniques allow you to strengthen communication with individuals who have shown an interest in your brand.

First, how do we define retargeting and remarketing, and what sets them apart?

  • Retargeting (or retargeting) is defined as follows by the CNIL: “a targeted advertising technique in which the information collected on the user is used to identify a product or service for which he has expressed an interest (for example by visiting a e-commerce or by adding an item to their basket). This identification is made using a cookie, which can sometimes be associated with a user ID if the user is logged in. Retargeting allows the brand to re-target the individual with digital advertising, whether banners (display), email, or search results ads (SEA).
  • Remarketing also aims to target an individual who has shown an interest in the brand, in order to encourage them to take the next action. But unlike retargeting, remarketing is based on the collection of email or other means of contact. It then consists of sending a direct marketing message to a prospect who has visited the site or subscribed to brand news.

3.2. Leverage proprietary levers to acquire new customers, and optimize the acquisition budget

In addition to paying acquisition levers, betting on non-paying owned levers also reduces the overall acquisition cost.

These levers are mainly:

  • the website
  • marketing automation, i.e. programmed messages to nurture potential leads until they are converted into customers (“lead nurturing” device)
  • social networks

These levers require longer work, but have the advantage of not requiring any media purchase. The effort focuses mainly on the production of relevant content for the targets, in order to optimize its referencing on search engines (SEO), create interest and encourage prospects to identify with the brand.

This is called an inbound marketing strategy: the brand develops its visibility and attractiveness by responding to prospect searches with relevant and qualitative content.

3.3. Measure the performance of acquisition channels based on the real value of leads

The more “deep” the performance measurement indicator, the more the brand can optimize its acquisition levers, and thus reduce its overall acquisition cost.

  • The basic KPI is the Cost per Click (CPC): this KPI gives a first idea of the performance, very direct, and not assuming specific tracking on the brand side. However, it is also the least accurate, as it gives no idea of the quality of the traffic generated.
  • The Cost per Visit is already finer, since it does not take into account the bounce traffic on the brand’s site. It can be refined by taking into account the quality of the visit (time spent, number of page views, etc.).
  • The Acquisition Cost relates the media budget invested and the acquisitions, therefore the orders or purchases. The Acquisition cost can be refined by also integrating the value of the conversion (ex: amount spent).

Finally, to take the measure a notch further, it is interesting to follow the value of the customer acquired over time: this measure supposes setting up a CDP (such as Decide AI, from Dékuple) in order to aggregate the data coming from communication channels and customer data. This then makes it possible to compare, for each acquisition channel, the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of the customers acquired.



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