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If you’re optimizing paid media based solely on front-end metrics, you’re missing out on most of the picture. It’s like a racecar team only monitoring the car during the start, rather than the entire race.

In this post I’ll walk you through a few different cost-per metrics for running successful paid marketing campaigns. When you have a sales cycle, it’s important to look beyond the form conversion to see what’s working and what’s not. Below are some of the most important metrics for running effective paid media campaigns when you you’re driving sales:

cost per sales pipeline


  1. Cost per Click: Very simply the cost of each click to your website for paid media. This is a front-line metric for optimizing media.
  2. Cost per Lead: The cost of each lead submission received. This is a front-line metric for the quality of your media targeting and website conversion.
  3. Cost per Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, and Sales Accepted Lead: These metrics filter out unqualified leads and measure customers who are mostly likely ready to convert. They include both customer type (i.e. target customer) and actions such as viewed your pricing page or requested a demo.
  4. Cost per Close: Cost for each new customer. This is a front-line metric for assessing quality of sales effectiveness and a deeper metric for assessing quality of media and leads.
  5. Cost per Projected Close: Estimated cost for each new customer based on what’s currently in the sales pipeline.
  6. Cost per Upsell: Cost to upsell current customers into more premium products or solutions. This almost exclusively falls into people hours or content development costs.

While all the above metrics are important for managing marketing spend, the ultimate golden metric in my book is return-on-ad-spend. (Read more by downloading ROAS: The Golden Metric of Marketing.)

Which metrics are you using to track paid media in the sales pipeline?