HubSpot recently released a “2017 Demand Generation Benchmarks Report” [download page] focused on a variety of KPIs including email response rates and costs per lead (CPL). Based on a survey of more than 350 companies, the research outlines how CPLs differ by company industry, revenue and size.

Average costs-per-lead are very much dependent on the companies in question and the tactics being used, so it’s important to provide some information about how respondents are going about demand generation.

Here are a few key points to consider before getting to the results:

  • Content creation, online advertising/media placement and branding/public relations are the tactics receiving the most budget allocations, followed by email marketing and traditional ads;
  • The mean average of website visitors per month for these companies is just under 471k, although 60% report fewer than 100k per month; and
  • Companies generate, on average, 1,877 leads per month and 1,523 marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

The following section highlights some of the KPIs revealed in the report, sorted across various company types.

Cost-per-Lead Benchmarks

Here we go.

The average cost per lead across all of the companies surveyed is almost $200 ($198.44). Admittedly, that’s a fairly useless statistic, as these figures vary quite dramatically depending on industry, company size, etc. So here are some cuts.

CPLs, by Industry

The research sorted the responses across 9 industries. Following are the averages per industry, in descending order from most expensive:

  • IT & Services: $369.88
  • Healthcare & Medical: $285.82;
  • Financial Services: $271.54;
  • Industrial & Manufacturing: $235.09;
  • Media & Publishing: $191.07;
  • Consumer Products: $182.37;
  • Marketing Agencies: $172.72;
  • Education: $65.69;
  • Nonprofit: $43.36.

It’s worth noting that the sample sizes are quite small (a low of 15 for non-profits to a high of 95 for consumer products), so these figures are not necessarily broadly representative.

It’s tempting to try to draw conclusions or correlations between marketing tactics and CPLs. But while the three industry types with the highest CPLs also have below-average budget allocation to content creation, so do the industries with the lowest CPLs…

There also doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the number of average monthly website visitors and CPLs, or between email response rates and CPLs.

What is interesting to note is that the companies generating the most monthly leads are also the ones paying the most for them. This suggests some correlation with company size, so let’s take a look at those findings.

Learn about MarketingCharts’ lead gen and content creation programs.

CPLs, by Company Size

Enterprise organizations (more than 1,000 employees) are paying much more than smaller organizations, per the report.

The average cost-per-lead broke out as follows:

  • 1,001+ employees: $348.93;
  • 201-1000 employees: $212.12;
  • 51-200 employees: $180.47;
  • 2-50 employees: $146.94.

Once again, there seems to little immediate correlation between budget allocations and CPLs. While it’s true that the largest organizations (who are spending the most per lead) are dedicating a below-average amount of their budgets to content marketing, organizations with 201-1000 employees, with their lower CPLs, are allocating even less of their budgets to content.

Moreover, while enterprise organizations are dedicating an above-average share of budgets to traditional ads, so are companies with 51-200 employees.

Here’s How Enterprise B2B Marketers Are Determining If Their Prospects Qualify As MQLs or SQLs

CPLs, by Company Revenue

Not surprisingly, given the above results, the organizations with the most annual revenue are also paying the most for their leads:

  • $500+ million: $429.01;
  • $10-500 million: $179.48;
  • $1-10 million: $184.64; and
  • <$1 million: $166.01.

What’s interesting to see there is that average CPLs are fairly consistent no matter the company revenue – up until the $500 million mark.

Once again, there’s little correlation to be found when comparing budget allocations to CPLs.

The full study contains the distributions of all responses (beyond just the averages), along with the number of leads, MQLs, sales opportunities and customers generated per month, by company type. It can be accessed for download here.


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