What is the Average Cost Per Lead for Different Marketing Channels in 2024?

8 months ago 6 minute read

To get the most bang for your buck, you’ll need to know what your average cost per lead is. Knowing what your average cost per lead is can help you know exactly how much you should spend on certain marketing channels, and what might need some improvements. In this article, we go through the top B2B marketing channels with examples, and what their average cost per lead is to help you choose the right channels for your company. But first, let’s go over what cost per lead even is.

What is Cost Per Lead?

Cost per lead, or CPL for short, is the average amount you spend on marketing (cost) to acquire one new prospect (lead). It’s important to track what your CPL is for each of your marketing channels to see how successful your efforts are/were. It’s important to track this number, so you know for a fact that you are not overspending to acquire new leads. To calculate your cost per lead, you’ll need to know your total marketing spend and your total number of leads. Divide your marketing spend by the number of leads that you have generated, and you’ll have your average cost per lead. 

Total marketing spend ÷ total number of leads = cost per lead

1. Visitor Queue

First up on our list is Visitor Queue. As you can see from the graphic above, Visitor Queue provides the most affordable CPL, at about 21 cents a lead. Our software allows you to identify the companies that visit your website, along with information about their visit including how they got to your website, what pages they viewed, and how long they spent on each page. In addition, we provide employee contact information to help you reach out. Visitor Queue is one of the fastest and most affordable ways that B2B companies can generate warm leads.

Visitor Queue Dashboard

Plus, with our new personalization feature, you can show your website visitors a custom version of your website visitors. Based on your visitor’s firmographics like location, industry size, or even company name, you can personalize their experience with relevant case studies, use cases, testimonials, and much more. The average cost per lead is $0.21, while on the high end a lead may cost $0.25 and on the low end $0.17.

  • Average: $0.21
  • High: $0.25
  • Low: $0.17

2. List Vendor

A list vendor is a company that sells a list of leads. While buying a list may not provide highly qualified leads, if you are looking for a high volume of leads, it may be helpful. In addition, if you are looking into buying a list of leads, you’ll want to ensure it’s from a legitimate company. When looking at the average cost per lead from a list vendor, you’re looking at $1.02. On the high end, a lead can cost around $1.45, while the low end is around $0.60.

  • Average: $1.02
  • High: $1.45
  • Low: $0.60

3. SEO

Next up on our list is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is one of the best ways to generate traffic to your website, and hopefully turn them into customers. Page content, ALT text, meta data, and blogs are all great ways to improve your website’s SEO. A strong SEO strategy will help your website rank organically on search engines. Generally, with SEO you are only paying for the time spent to create and update the content. The average CPL for SEO is $31. On the high end $47, and on the low end $14.00

  • Average: $31
  • High: $47
  • Low: $14

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most common B2B lead generation tactics. Collecting emails can be done in a wide variety of ways, including website pop ups, games and quizzes, sign up fields, gated content, and more. Using a CRM, you can automatically send emails to these leads in an effort to convert them into a paying customer. If you’re looking for ways to collect more emails, check out our article 19 Ways to Grow Your B2B Email List. On average, a lead from email marketing costs $53. On the high end, a lead can cost $72, while on the low end a lead can cost about $33.

  • Average: $53
  • High: $72
  • Low: $33

5. Webinars

Over the last two years, webinars have become increasingly popular due to the lack of trade shows and other in-person events. A lot of B2B companies have now realized how beneficial webinars can be. Webinars can be done to show off your product, talk about industry trends, or inspire others in your field. Plus, the content can be reused in the form of gated content, YouTube videos, or even turned into a blog article and benefit your SEO. With webinars becoming more popular, we have seen businesses getting pretty creative with their topics. Some companies have been framing their webinars as digital trade shows, conferences, and even courses. On average, a lead from a webinar costs $72. While on the high end $98 and on the low end $45.

  • Average: $72
  • High: $98
  • Low: $45

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process of your current customers referring others to your company. In exchange for a new customer, you can provide your current customer with some sort of incentive. Like, a recurring commission. This makes it enticing, and encourages your customers to want to refer others. Here at Visitor Queue, we have used affiliate marketing for years and have gotten some of our best clients from referrals. Tapfilliate and Affise are industry-leading affiliate marketing software that can help you manage your leads. On average, a lead from affiliate marketing costs $73. On the high end, the lead may cost around $92, while on the low end around $54.

  • Average: $73
  • High: $92
  • Low: $54

7. Paid LinkedIn Advertising

4 Best LinkedIn Lead Generation Tips

As a B2B company, LinkedIn is one of the most popular marketing channels. This is because you can get in front of the right people, at the right time. Most of the time, it is the best social media channel for B2B companies. Lead generation forms, video ads, carousel ads, message ads and boosting posts are all great options for paid LinkedIn advertising. Since LinkedIn users are made up of salespeople, marketing professionals, CEOs, and other business leaders, it can be easy to target highly relevant audiences. But, because targeting can be so specific, the average cost per lead from LinkedIn is higher than other social media channels. The average cost per lead is $75. On the high end, a lead can cost $99, and on the low end a lead can cost $51.

  • Average: $75
  • High: $99
  • Low: $51
We enable B2B companies to identify the anonymous businesses that visit their website and personalize their experience. Your sales team can now follow up with the visitors that don’t convert, while marketing can personalize your website based on firmographic information to drive up conversion rate. Start your 14-day free trial today!

8. Content Creation

Next up on our list of marketing channels is content creation. The term content creation is broad, but it encompasses video, written, graphics, and audio content. High quality content can drive leads to your website through your organic social media, blog, YouTube channel, podcast, and other channels. If you are creating high quality content, it can be reused on multiple channels. As an example, if you share an infographic on your social media channels, you can include a link to a blog article that goes into further detail. On average, a lead from content creation costs $92. On the high end, a lead can cost around $140, and on the low end, around $43.

  • Average: $92
  • High: $140
  • Low: $43

9. SEM

SEM, or search engine marketing, is one of the most popular marketing channels for B2B companies. Of course, Google is the most popular search engine. But, that means that your company could take advantage of cheaper ads from Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Especially if your competitors are only using Google. SEM should be an essential part of any B2B company’s marketing strategy, as SEO can only get you so far. If you are in a competitive industry and want to rank at the top of a page, SEM is the way to go. On average, a lead from SEM is typically around $110. On the high end, a lead can cost $181, and on the low end, $38. 

  • Average: $181
  • High: $181
  • Low: $38

10. Tradeshows & In-Person Events

The last marketing channel that we are going to talk about is trade shows and other in-person events. We predict that there will be a boom in trade shows and conventions over the next year or two. To make up for lost time due to COVID-19. So, this could be a great opportunity for your company to explore. Trade show marketing is a great way to get your company in front of potentially thousands of people, and start building a great relationship with them.

However, it takes a lot of planning, time, and money to seamlessly execute a trade show booth. On average, a trade show lead can cost $811. On the high end, a lead may cost $1,442, while on the low end a lead can cost $180. If you have never had your own booth at a trade show, I highly recommend attending a trade show as a guest. This can help you get a better understanding of how they run. 

  • Average: $811
  • High: $1,442
  • Low: $180
Trade show marketing

Other Considerations

There are a number of things that you should consider alongside your cost per lead. While cost per lead is an important stat to understand, it’s not the be all and end all of marketing. Here are a few things to consider in addition to your CPL.


If your industry is very competitive, then your average cost per lead will most likely be higher than the general averages mentioned above. This is because the more companies that are targeting the same audience, the harder it gets to catch their attention. As a result, you spend more money to be at the top of a page, get your ad seen at the right time, or have the best spot at a trade show. This is commonly seen with Google Ads. Where company A will bid on company B’s brand name, in hopes that they will rank above them on search results. Below is an example of this. When searching for “docusign”, Docusign isn’t even one of the first options. This is because the other three companies have outbid them. 

Market Saturation

Similar to competition, market saturation can also drive up your cost per lead. If there are 10 companies who are all spending similar amounts on Google Ads, you are much less likely to rank. If you find that a certain marketing channel is very saturated, and you don’t have any wiggle room with your budget, it may be a good idea to explore other marketing channels. As an example, if SEM is very saturated, try exploring options on how to make your SEO better. SEO could even make your Google Ads rank better. 

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value, or CLV, is one of the best stats to track alongside CPL. CLV refers to how much money the average customer spends with your company over time. For example, if a customer spends $1,000 with your company over the course of their customer lifetime, you’ll want to ensure that your cost per lead is lower than this. CLV can be calculated by multiplying your customer’s average purchase value and the average customer lifespan. So, if your customers spend an average of $50 each month, and your customer lifespan is 24 months, your CLV is $1,200.

Final Words

As you can see, every marketing channel has a different average cost per lead. It’s best to use multiple marketing and lead generation channels. This will ensure you are getting leads from a variety of places. You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket! In my experience, SEM, SEO, content creation, and website visitor identification drive the most qualified leads while not spending an arm and a leg. If you have any questions about Visitor Queue, do not hesitate to reach out.

While you're here!

98% of your website visitors leave without converting. Visitor Queue allows you to identify who they were, and personalize their website experience based on their needs. Your sales team can now connect with them to close the deal, while marketing can provide a personalized version of your website based on visitor firmographics to increase conversion rate. All of this starting at $39 USD per month. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Written by

Nick Hollinger | CEO

I am the CEO and Co-founder of Visitor Queue. Currently working with ~5000 companies across the globe including Microsoft and Jones Lang Lasalle. In my spare time, I am also the Game Day Director for one of Canada's most successful Junior Hockey Teams (the London Knights). Previously, I held Head of Marketing/Sales roles at SMB B2B organizations. A strong believer that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, experience, and opinion on Marketing, Sales, SaaS, and Entrepreneurship.