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Guide on how to reduce cost per lead

Guide on how to reduce cost per lead

Yann A. Skaalen

Yann A. Skaalen

3-4 min read

Digtective’s guide on how to reduce your cost per lead

So far, Digtective has tracked over seven hundred and twenty thousand leads! Therefore, we thought that it would be a good idea to share some of the many lessons that we have learned. This is our ultimate guide on how to reduce your cost per lead (CPL), or rather, cost per sale. It is time for you to stop wasting your money now!

Case Study

First, we would like to tell you about one of our clients, the loan broker Zen Finans. They used the “Digtective” method for April 2021 to April 2022 with extraordinary results. Here are some of the figures:

  • Increased the number of leads by 84%
  • Reduced price per lead by 86%
  • Reduced cost per paid-out loan by 86%

This could be you!

Here you can read the case study:
How Zen Finans Reduced Cost per Lead by 86% with Digtective
Let’s take a look at how you can achieve results just like these.

Insert the missing piece

Stop looking at cost per conversion, this is not the right metric!

Start looking at cost per sale by attributing this to the exact source, i.e, the ad or link that referred to the lead. Cost per click and click-through rate are both nice figures, but we are looking for high-quality leads! It is only then that you will accomplish extraordinary results!

Dedicate time to Analyzing your data

You need to spend time on your analytics tools. Most of you spend almost no time analyzing your data. You look at an ad campaign to see how much you spend and what you earn and then determine if the campaign is profitable.

However, what you should be doing is granulating the data down to each individual ad to determine whether the individual ad and its message are making money.

A Google Ads account contains anything from a couple of ads to several thousand. Is it enough to look at your Google Ads and say that it works based on how many leads you generate from them?

Most of our customers cut around 50% of their ads when they look at individual ads instead of looking at Google as one single source. They achieve the best results when they reallocate the ad spend to profitable ads, increasing the number of quality leads and, at the same time, reducing their CPL.

Next, start analyzing the ads that are working; can you find some text or message that works better than others? If that is the case, can you use it in other ads so that they also become profitable? Google is a fantastic source to gain insight into which messages your customers react to with the intent to buy.

Keep track of the ads that are losing money

Do you want to see data on the ads that are losing money? Well, then you have to connect your ads with your revenue metrics.

You probably have an analytics tool today (Google Analytics), but these tools are however rarely connected with your income metrics if you have what is called an offline conversion.

Maybe someone in the IT department can help you tie the data together? Just be careful so you don’t upload any personal data to Google or Facebook in the process. If you were to be so unlucky, you would be in breach of GDPR. Here is a link to Facebook around GDPR for you as an advertiser: Facebook on GDPR

In short, you are responsible for how you handle GDPR!

Offline conversion

An offline conversion is a delayed conversion for a product or service. A typical example is a form submission that has to be handled manually by a salesperson, account manager or similar.

Here is an example of a typical flow:

One of the biggest challenges with offline conversions can be that your systems are not connected to each other, which results in you not being able to compare actual revenue data with relevant marketing costs.

A submitted form most likely collects an offline conversion to your CRM system with manual handling. The sales process can be very long, meaning a sale can be registered several months later. This means that it can take everything from hours to months before any revenue is earned.

The problem for many companies is that in the long and manual sales process, the origin of the lead (the specific ad from which it originated) gets lost. This is very valuable data for you as a marketer to determine which specific ads and messages are most profitable. This is where Digtective comes in, connecting your leads to your sales so that you don’t lose this valuable data! Don’t stop at leads, track your cost per sale!

Track everything

Don’t just track paid advertising. Your SEO is also really important to track since you spend either a lot of money or time on it. Here is a report from one of our customers showing Google organic search with income:

Digtective also tracks the referrer from all your traffic so you can see all your income earned from free links!

The right way to track is to track everything!

This means that you should track all your digital marketing, all links and all organic posts on social media.

Want to take your tracking even further?

Get in touch!

Cookieless future

Cookieless future

Yann A. Skaalen

Yann A. Skaalen

3-4 min read

Cookieless future

Tracking sounds a little bit scary. Almost a bit like “stalking”. And in many ways, this is how tracking has worked until relatively recently. Dozens of third-party cookies that lasted forever have meant that both authorities and users have taken action in the name of privacy. “Privacy” has become an everyday expression. Authorities have given us, among other things, cookie consent, while users have used browsers that block third-party cookies. Last up was Apple, which through its OS updates helps users block “unnecessary” third-party cookies. Google has promised to phase out third-party cookies, but they seem to be somewhat delayed compared to their original schedule.

Third-party cookies are “unnecessary” for the user experience. However, on the other hand, they have been necessary for advertisers to be able to measure the effect of online advertising and optimize advertising costs. The more advertisers are able to optimize, the lower the price of products and services. Targeted advertising works the best!

This raises two questions; 1) how to balance between privacy and effective advertising and 2) are there alternatives to third-party cookies that respect users’ implicit or explicit desire for privacy? The first question has already been answered by GDPR and ePrivacy. There is no balancing act, only “privacy first”. The answer to the second question is yes. We have managed it, and certainly many others.


We see an industry that is slowly waking up to a new reality. Data that could previously be used to optimize advertising is disappearing. Not “slowly but surely” either, it is disappearing fast. It is understandable that you want to keep what you still have, and we actually have sympathy for adaptation through complicated cookie consent forms and lobbying. Other adaptations such as “fingerprinting” and “pixels” are worse cases that we fortunately see little of.

At the same time, one can be a little upset that the industry is not able to put this past them and move on. It is time to take for granted that users want privacy and adapt accordingly. How long should a car manufacturer optimize fossil engines before investing 100% in electricity?

For us, it has always been about a “privacy mindset”. The inspiration for Digger came at a web seminar in 2017, where a lawyer gave a talk on GDPR, privacy and cookies. We decided to create a tracking tool that does not use cookies and does not collect personal data. Believe it or not, it works like a dream. By the way, we would like to be able to call it “measurement” – it sounds nicer than “tracking” and agrees better with what we do.

Our tool is installed server-side and sets no cookies in order to deliver measurement of ad performance. We measure all data, and we give our customers a complete overview of the ads that work and those that do not. The latter is perhaps the most important. Installing a server-side is somewhat more complicated than continuing with cookie-based measurement, but what is really the alternative? Moreover, in a GDPR context, this exercise is perhaps the least laborious an organization must go through in order to become “compliant”.

It is difficult to predict, especially about the future. We still dare to make a prediction. It is not long before the “privacy mindset” becomes a “license to operate” in the same way as “sustainability”. We’re ready. Are you?

In our next reader post, we will write about the dangers of “posting” user data to Google Analytics in relation to GDPR. If no one comes to us in advance.

Offline conversion tracking for Google ads

Offline conversion tracking for Google ads

Yann A. Skaalen

Yann A. Skaalen

3-4 min read

What is an offline conversion?

An offline conversion is a transaction that does not happen instantly, some also call it a delayed transaction.

A couple of examples:

  • Applications – answer is given in a laters stage after det handler has approved or rejected the application.
  • Opticians – customer books at time for a sight test, some are no shows, others can keep their existing glasses, but a few actually need a new strength in their glasses.
  • Medical surgery – the application form is a booking to meet the nurse, after that a decision is made if surgery is needed or not

What all of the transactions above have incommon is that they all are posted mail or an API to a CRM or handling system the customer uses. For banks they are moved into their coresystem where tracking is almost impossible. Medical surgery have their own systems that are not online for the customers safety.

So what kind of figures do they track?

In most cases they are using Google analytics and look at the figures for form submissions.

Data quality

Then you have trouble with your statistics, they all show different numbers.

Google Ads have one number and Google Analytics has another then you check your CRM, a third set of numbers appear. Which numbers do you report to your leader?

Tracking systemNumber of conversions
Google Ads103,10
Google Analytics109

The end of third-party cookies

Now you have even more challenges, how do you get your conversions data?

Case for offline conversion tracking

This customer is a consumer finance broker, they receive an application from their form on their webpage and send it to 8 different banks through an API, this is where we can say they are creating an offline conversion.

How IOS 15 affects email marketing

How IOS 15 affects email marketing

Yann A. Skaalen

Yann A. Skaalen

3-4 min read

Hur iOS 15 påverkar din e -postmarknadsföring

iOS 15 was released on September 20th and here is a brief overview of how it affects our email marketing for B2B and B2C alike.

The email privacy measures described only relate to Apple’s “Mail” app, and do not relate to other iOS mail apps.

How iOS 15 “hide my email” affect email marketing

There are two reasons why iOS 15 will affect our email marketing

1 – Both private and business emails can be set up in iOS “Mail” app.

I myself have my business emails set up in my iPhone “Mail” app, and most people have, unless they use a separate APP for business emails.

2 – Visitors use private and public email addresses interchangeably

Visitors use private and public email addresses interchangeably when downloading or accessing content online, including guides, eBooks, and templates. As the users know they will receive a string of follow up emails, they often shy away from using their business email when they are not sure of the relevance for their job and business.

Features that affect email marketing:

It stops “senders” from using pixels in emails

Pixels can be used to track “open rates”, “time” email was opened, “location”.

By preventing pixels in marketing, and any other email, to iOS “Mail” users, it impacts the metrics that a lot of email marketers have been using for ages.

  • Email open rate
  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Disposable email addresses
Email open rate

This is a metric often used to gauge open rates and whether the email “subject” is attractive enough to open the email.

Date & Time

Time and date of email opens is used in all email marketing reporting


For email marketers that only collect name and email addresses on sign up or other opt-ins, IP addresses can be used to gauge what country, region or city a user lives in for various purposes such as best time to send emails for optimizing open rates.

In many cases this is less relevant for B2B as the country is often collected in forms at opt-in, as B2B often prefers a bit of “friction” to avoid too many irrelevant leads.

Disposable Email Addresses

iOS 15 users can now create random email addresses to hide their “real” email address.

These email addresses can be deleted and a new created, so the user is more in control of who can contact them. So if you used an email to opt-in for several newsletters and you now see a flooding inbox, it’s fantastic to be able to delete the email and solve the flooding inbox in one go. Unfortunately, you may not receive the €100.000 lottery winner email notification, the irresistible offer for the software you have been eyeballing over the last month, and now you will never know.

What it means for our email marketing is that we risk losing email connection with current leads or email subscribers, and instead receive a “hard bounce”.

Safari browser privacy protection is getting stronger

Apple’s browser Safari, will prevent any third party from accessing the users IP address.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention used by Safari will now be hiding the users IP address, which means that IP addresses can not be used as a unique identifier for tracking and identifying “returning visitors” to our website.

Considerations for email marketing

For now “only” 30-35% of the email provider market share, so emails via Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc. will remain the same.

So until Google and Microsoft may implement data privacy measures in their email clients, then we still have 65-70% of users where our ability for email tracking is unchanged. Assume that users of Apple “Mail” client is reacting to email subjects and email content like others, when you optimize.

Email reporting will be inaccurate

Monitor changes in Open Rates

Going forward, email pixels for “30-35%” of your emails will be removed. Open rates for that share of emails will be inflated, and pollute your analytics data, for reporting purposes.

For optimization purposes, use data for all “devices” except iOS 15.

Click-through rates

We don’t know exactly what will happen with click-through rates and it depends on the tracking.

Pixels will be removed, so this may mean tracking click-through for a given email may disappear, unless UTM parameters are used in email links.

UTM tracking, which is not a pixel, nor a third-party cookie, but a URL parameter, will still work, but this “meta data”, and can not be attributed to a unique user.

So keep using UTM parameters in your email marketing, preferably a different parameter for each link in the email, in order to attribute conversions and sales to emails. Hubspot and marketing automation systems at large, is now considering the impact and changes that need to happen for their platform, to provide a meaningful solution to the current tracking metrics for marketing emails. Learn more on Hubspot.

Other cool iOS 15 features, not marketing relevant
  • Android and Windows PC users can now join Apple Facetime calls, which before was only working between Apple devices.
  • See connected Apple devices on “Find My” even if the device is not connected to wifi, or shut off (using another nearby Apple device connection).
  • Siri speech recognition requests, related to “set alarm”, “open app”, “music requests” etc. will be processed on our iOS device, and not require an internet connection … and not be transmitted over the internet to “big brother” 🙂

How IOS 14.5 ATT impacts Facebook Ads & attribution

How IOS 14.5 ATT impacts Facebook Ads & attribution

Yann A. Skaalen

Yann A. Skaalen

3-4 min read

How iOS 14.5Facebook Ads

Apple Release Of iOS 14.5 with App Tracking Transparency (ATT)

On Monday april 26th., 2021 Apple released an update to their operating system for mobile devices called iOS 14.5. It’s the first iOS version that will enforce Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policies, which will do two major things:

  • Help Apple users be more in control of when and with whom they share their browsing data with
  • Significantly impact how marketers measure mobile ad performance moving forward.

Apple’s mail will block invisible email trackers

Apple Putting a Stop to Email Tracking Pixels With Mail Privacy Protection in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey.

When enabled, Mail Privacy Protection hides your IP address and loads all remote content privately in the background, routing it through multiple proxy services and randomly assigning an IP address.

…and Google May Follow in Apple’s Footsteps

A Google spokesperson confirmed that Google is indeed considering similar features for blocking IP addresses.

The end of third party cookies may not be the end…

The end of third-party cookies may not be the end of the world as we know it

Yann A. Skaalen

Yann A. Skaalen

3-4 min read

Google to phase out third-party cookies

As most marketers will have noticed, Google is to phase out third-party cookies by 2022. Firefox, Mozilla and Safari have blocked third-party cookies for years – one of the reasons why tracking has already become difficult. According to Google, the move to phase out cookies is based on privacy concerns. Critics have however argued that Google is opting for even more control of the ad market, as they will still collect personal data and sell access to “cohorts” of users. But that is a different discussion, and does not solve the problem at hand for marketers.

GDPR has already made tracking difficult

Third-party cookies have been under pressure for some time. For those of us who must comply with GDPR and explicit cookie-consents, the availability of data for tracking advertising ROI has deteriorated significantly. Cookie-blockers and javascript-blockers have not helped the situation. Europe is not the only jurisdiction where cookie-consent is required, and certainly not the last.

What now for marketers?

Whilst waiting for Google’s next solutions, the marketing community seems to have formed a consensus that future focus should be on contextual marketing, content marketing and consent-based solutions. This is undoubtedly good advice, however not an easy change for E-commerce marketers that have focused heavily or maybe even exclusively on cookie-based optimization of their digital marketing activities.

Google’s 5 pillars of a holistic marketing measurement plan

In a post from January 2021, Google suggests 1) Leverage the power of first-party data, 2) Bring first-party data together with cross-platform tools, 3) Be transparent about data usage with your customers, 4) Fill measurement gaps with modeled data and 5) Predict customer behavior with a secure cloud-based solution. Again sound advice, but not a quick fix.

Cookieless tracking

In recent years, new technologies for tracking have been developed that do not use third-party cookies. “Cookieless tracking” can be confusing, as it is partly used as a term for analyzing website traffic without knowing the referrals for the visit. Cookieless tracking technologies are however attempting to harvest data that has similar value for a marketer as do third-party cookies. Cookieless tracking utilizes scripts that run when a user visits a web page but does not store information on the user’s browser device. The user remains anonymous, and cross-tracking is impossible. Without accessing or storing personal data these technologies add significant value to a digital marketer.

Fingerprinting is cookieless, but…

Fingerprinting has been around for many years, and its use has increased significantly, partly as cookie-consent requirements have increased. A digital fingerprint is created when a company makes a unique profile of you based on your computer hardware, software, add-ons, and even preferences. etc. The practice of fingerprinting allows tracking for months, even when the user clears the browser storage or uses private browsing mode. The first problem is that this works as a third-party cookie, without ever asking for the user’s consent. The second problem is that Google will block it as they view is as a workaround of the third-party cookie ban. Again, Mozilla, Firefox and Safari were ahead of Google in this regard.

Digtective: the solution for continued tracking without cookies

Digtective is a marketing software that is not based on cookies or fingerprinting, nor collects personalized data of any kind. Digtective offers 100% accurate and updated information on the performance of your campaigns and ads, enabling marketers to stop any marketing activity that is not producing the required conversions and spend more of their budget on profit-generating ads and campaigns. Digtective can be set up with an API to your CRM system without exchanging personal data, providing the opportunity to measure any post-sale metric such as recurring revenue, returns and defaults against customer acquisition costs.