Here’s How We Drove Newsletter Growth Using Facebook Lead Ads
Facebook Leads
Lead Generation

Here’s How We Drove Newsletter Growth Using Facebook Lead Ads

Malaika NicholasMalaika Nicholas

July 19, 2021

Earlier this summer, we shareda case study on how Ladder used Facebook Lead Ads campaigns to decrease our cost per lead and cost per qualified lead by 80 percent. This test, however, wasn’t an easy task. Here’s a quick recap from Stefan Mancevski, Ladder’s director of marketing:

“When we first started talking about running Facebook Lead Ads for Ladder, I was skeptical.

I have a major distaste for all things Gmail when it comes to CRM email drip campaigns (lead ads tend to drive a high proportion of personal email addresses). Promotions tabs eat up all communication and result in low lead meeting booking rates. Further, I was generally anxious about reports that Lead Ads drive a lot of low quality leads.

But our friend Rob at Driftrock helped alleviate my concerns on the lead quality front. After a few calls where Rob helped me set up what amounted to the perfect Facebook Lead Ads campaign for Ladder, I set it live.

Here’s what happened:

$2,000 spent over 2 months

249 leads generated at a $12 CPL

65 qualified leads generated at a $32 CPQL

80% decrease in our overall cost per lead, from an average of $100 to an average of $20

80% decrease in our overall cost per qualified lead, from an average of $300 to an average of $60

Compare that to our ideal cost per lead ($100-150) and our ideal cost per qualified lead ($300-400), numbers we’ve been hitting with AdWords over the past quarter, and you can see the value lead ads have driven for Ladder.

The fact that Lead Ads actually worked is a huge win for us at Ladder. So far this year, our primary pillars of growth have been content and AdWords, but neither are scalable in the same way that Facebook advertising can be.

Meanwhile, we’ve tried our hand at Facebook ads a few times over the past year, both as part of our 2017 marketing plan and our 2016 growth efforts. None of our Facebook tests have proven to be ROI-positive, unfortunately, driving plenty of clicks but few qualified leads.

Lead Ads working so well means we’re onto the third pillar of growth.”

With this in mind, I wondered if we could use this method to grow our newsletter audience using a gated piece of content in a Facebook Lead Ad. For this experiment, I decided to use an old blog post transformed into a downloadable infographic of the 50 Tools We Use to Grow Businesses. Since we’ve never run a Facebook Leads Ad with a gated piece of content before, I hypothesized that targeting a broader audience would earn us between 50-100 newsletter subscribers.

Here’s exactly how I set up this ad:


The objective of this campaign is to collect email addresses to add to our Ladder Newsletter. I opened Facebook’s Ads Manager (or Power Editor for some) and created a Lead Generation campaign.


Then, I began building the ad set. For this initial test, I didn’t use any custom audiences or lookalike audiences, but I did want to specifically target audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Since our infographic has a broad set of marketing tools that can appeal to a broad audience, I decided to keep targeting as broad as possible.

The end result was an audience of about 47,000,000 people and an estimated daily reach between 230-690 people.

I know what you’re thinking: “47 million people? Why on earth would you want an audience this large?”

I decided to keep our audience as broad as possible in order to give us a benchmark the cost per newsletter subscriber so we can figure out what price we should optimize for as we test narrower audiences in the future.

Finally, I set our daily budget to $10/day, enabling us to still reach our audience in a cost-effective manner.


For this ad’s creative, I simply reused the banner image from the blog. I felt it conveyed exactly what visitors can expect in the infographic.

For the ad copy, I wanted to make it clear what this piece of content is (i.e. “the ultimate list of the 50 apps every startup should have”) and why they need it (i.e. “for exponential growth”).

Lead Form

Like our initial Facebook Lead Ad test earlier this year, we decided to err entirely on the side of ease of completion and get as many newsletter subscribers through the door as possible.

To do so, I only required visitors to enter their email address–which is already pre-populated by Facebook. It also did not include an intro screen or a place after form submission where new leads can click through to the Ladder homepage.


From here, we ran the ad, and results were pretty astounding. For 7 weeks (Oct. 19 – Nov. 30), here’s what we observed:

  • Number of leads (i.e. Newsletter subscribers): 199
  • Relevance score: 7
  • Cost per lead: $2.83
  • Cost per qualified lead: $32
  • Link click: 369
  • CPC (Link): $1.53
  • CTR (All): 3.82%
  • Page Likes: 15

For a baseline test, I’m really pleased with these results. Our goal was to get our cost per lead around $2 per newsletter subscriber, so getting nearly 200 newsletter subscribers for $2.83 each is an awesome result.

Finally, although this wasn’t our primary goal, I’m pleased this ad also helped us attract 15 people to “Like” our Facebook page.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead, I’ll run additional tests, primarily focusing on different audiences. The first test (currently ongoing) will focus on a narrower audience that is interested in both marketing and one or more of the marketing tools included in the infographic.

I hypothesize that by targeting people interested in marketing and specific marketing tools with an infographic of our top 50 marketing tools, then we will attract fewer newsletter subscribers, more importantly, but they’ll be less likely to unsubscribe from our weekly newsletter and more likely to be high-quality business leads. We’ll update this post in two weeks with the final results.

My second test would be to target a broader audience interested in entrepreneurship. I hypothesize that by targeting individuals interested in entrepreneurship, then we will replicate similar results to our broad marketing interest test: we will spend between $2-3 per lead and earn about 200 newsletter subscribers over a period of 7 weeks.

Want to run your own Facebook ads for lead generation? These resources will help you get started:

How Facebook Ads Really Work: Facebook Advertising Demystified

[Case Study] How Facebook Lead Ads Decreased Our Cost Per Lead by 80%

5 Cheap and Effective Ways to Run Facebook Ads A/B Tests

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