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Programmatic InsightsWorking With Brands

So You’re Not Meeting Your CPA Goal – What Now?

By March 8, 2018No Comments

There are always campaigns that take more encouragement to reach performance goals, across all metrics and KPIs. Particularly frustrating, however, are lower funnel campaigns that don’t meet their CPA goals.

Step 1: QA The Setup

Avoid any time-consuming errors that could cause low performance from the start by performing a thorough QA, paying extra diligence to aspects that will directly affect CPA. Make sure the pixel is firing. Check that your data sets and target audience have enough scalable inventory. Check that the landing page promotes a positive user experience.

Step 2: Evaluate the time frame

It’s never too early to start making optimizations. However, if the campaign has been live for a week and CPA numbers aren’t there, don’t give up hope and pull budget yet. Which devices are converting? Which sites? What time of day? There are all questions to ask before making any major moves. Adjust bids accordingly, make note, and give it 1-2 days to see effect. Use this time to brainstorm your contingency plan. If your changes do not drive results, you will need be ready to pivot immediately.

Step 3: The Contingency Plan

A good contingency plan goes beyond the first optimizations made to correct the low CPA numbers, but still maintains the client’s objective. For example, instead of making more bid adjustments, suggest moving budget from a low performing channel to a better performer.

The plan should also be backed by data. It is tempting to create a plan and then find data to support it, but your workflow should be opposite.  Your contingency plan should be informed and supported by data as a foundation. Start by searching past campaigns in the vertical for historical benchmarks and tactics. Utilize case studies and industry resources such as eMarketer. Compile your data and resources and note patterns, then find solutions that reflect them.

Step 4: Execute and Evaluate

Put your plan into effect and make careful notes. When reporting, segment your insights into time periods in which changes were made to tell the story of the campaign. It’s important to review the steps you took and evaluate their success. As we all know, there will always be campaigns that don’t meet their goals right away – but next time you will be armed with a stronger, data-based foundation to start from.


Coegi executed an automotive campaign via display, native, and social channels. The objective was lead and form fill submissions with a $15 CPA goal.

After one week of being live, the native and display campaigns were not producing an efficient CPA and only had 2 view through conversions. Coegi increased bids on the audiences that produced the view through conversions and utilized historical site data to bid factor high engaging sites in the vertical.

After several days, the changes had produced no effect. However, Facebook lead forms were producing a $25 CPA, and the Facebook website form fill campaign saw a 15% site conversion rate. After checking that the audience sizes could support more budget, Coegi suggested transferring a portion of the programmatic budget to social.

Additionally, the strong site conversion rate and lead form submissions on social indicated that the target audience was converting, but there was a disconnect in the programmatic targeting. From this insight, Coegi recommended placing a pixel from a data-driven DSP. This pixel created a strong look alike audience from the website converters to leverage in the programmatic campaigns. This way, overall campaign success was able to be shared cross-channel.

Author: Ali Cavanaugh, Account Manager  @ Coegi

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