How an (ex)Client Increased their Cost per lead to €336 per lead (Real Estate)

This is a case study showing why you need to hire an experienced PPC manager. If you think a PPC manager is expensive, wait until you get it done cheap.

We were doing the PPC for a real estate company and were driving solid, targeted leads between €15 – €30 a lead from Google PPC and €8 – €15 on Facebook PPC with a steady conversion rate of around 5%. At various points during the contract, we were told “the leads are great” and several four and five figure commissions could be directly attributed to the PPC efforts we were making. On some occasions the client would mention that there were a few tire kickers, but in any business this is normal. They accepted this but overall there was a positive ROI according to the feedback from the sales team.

Seems the Boss Does Not Like to be Told the Truth
One morning out of the blue, 8 months into the PPC contract, we received a heated request from the client demanding that we get down to their offices immediately to discuss the leads being generated by the PPC. We declined to do that and opted instead to call them first which did not make the client too happy and after listening to his angry rant for several minutes over the phone, we managed to establish that the client apparently had a meeting with the sales people in their office and the sales people were saying that all the leads were “crap” and the client was absolutely insisting they were right. Obviously we were surprised by this as we were always being told (by the sales people and the client) the leads were for the most part good quality. We made the point that the leads were targeted leads at a specific set of landing pages with good conversion rates so anyone filling in the forms would absolutely be a warm lead, it would be up to the sales people to convert it to a sale. We made the added point that perhaps the sales staff were not experienced enough in closing the deals because the leads are warm and other agents with similar types of leads were doing great. As far as the client was concerned his staff were right and all the leads were “crap” and we were being “stupid”. Furthermore he was insulted that we were insinuating his team were not good at closing leads and “how DARE we disrespect his staff”. We were subsequently asked to stop all PPC and await further orders. The next day we were giving notice and subsequently let go, which in retrospect was a relief anyway.

New PPC Firm on the Scene
Within weeks of cancelling us, we received a request from the client to handover the PPC account to the new local PPC firm they are going to hire. We gracefully complied and fully cooperated with the new firm. However, the new PPC firm did not remove us from the PPC account, so we still have access to it. After all, it would be nice to see what the new PPC firm has done.

Absolutely Disastrous and Shameful PPC Figures
As you can see, from the figures below in the screenshot, the cost per lead is now x11 at €336 a lead. So we don’t know if this is the client trying to manage their own account or the PPC firm has been given weird instructions or the PPC firm has no idea what they are doing but these are bad figures for anyone.

These are some figures you really want to avoid (read our observations).


NOTE: This is just for the month of November 2016. The figures we have access to go back a several months and are just as bad, so the client so far has spent around €7,500 and generated 30 leads.