Average Cost Per Lead by Industry 2023

Our 2023 report on Cost Per Lead by Industry was prepared by our marketing research team, based on data collected between January 2018 and November 2022.

Cost Per Lead (CPL) is defined as the gross marketing cost expended to acquire a lead for your business. It can be calculated by dividing your total marketing spend by your total number of new leads acquired from a specific channel or group of channels.

A lead is defined as a direct connection via e-mail, phone or in-person introduction to a prospective customer interested in purchasing a product or service. The cost of the lead is incurred regardless of the eventual outcome of the discussion, which is distinct from customer acquisition cost, which measures the price of acquiring closed customers

Cost Per Lead is a valuable but slippery metric because quality varies widely by acquisition cost. For example, some lead referral channels provide warm leads – engaged prospects who are well-primed to buy from the right company – while certain SDRs we’ve come across are selling cold leads that convert a low percentage of the time. It is necessary to carefully track and measure each paid and organic lead generation channel in which you invest, narrowing your investments to the ones that produce the customers with the highest lifetime value, rate of referral, and overall satisfaction relative to their acquisition cost.

Below, we’ve parsed our dataset to display the average CPL for 30 industries, broken out by paid vs organic.

Average Cost Per Lead by Industry

Industry Average CPL Industry Average CPL
Addiction Treatment Paid: $380 Aerospace & Aviation Paid: $469
Organic: $213 Organic: $277
Automotive Paid: $295 B2B SaaS Paid: $310
Organic: $271 Organic: $164
Biotech Paid: $274 Business Insurance Paid: $460
Organic: $236 Organic: $388
Construction Paid: $280 Cybersecurity Paid: $411
Organic: $174 Organic: $406
eCommerce Paid: $98 Engineering Paid: $373
Organic: $83 Organic: $201
Entertainment Paid: $116 Environmental Services Paid: $346
Organic: $111 Organic: $209
Financial Services Paid: $761 Fintech Paid: $490
Organic: $555 Organic: $413
Healthcare Paid: $401 Higher Education Paid: $1,262
Organic: $320 Organic: $705
Hotels & Resorts Paid: $307 HVAC Paid: $115
Organic: $225 Organic: $69
Industrial IOT Paid: $590 IT & Managed Services Paid: $617
Organic: $404 Organic: $388
Legal Services Paid: $784 Manufacturing Paid: $691
Organic: $516 Organic: $415
Oil & Gas Paid: $772 PCB Design & Manufacturing Paid: $480
Organic: $502 Organic: $271
Pharmaceutical Paid: $124 Real Estate Paid: $480
Organic: $138 Organic: $416
Software Development Paid: $680 Solar Paid: $217
Organic: $510 Organic: $198
Staffing & Recruiting Paid: $476 Transportation & Logistics Paid: $670
Organic: $518 Organic: $505

Selecting The Right Lead Generation Channels To Invest In

There are many lead generation channels available to businesses, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. As a general rule, organic channels will result in higher long-term ROI than paid channels, but require a longer lead time before they produce results. This higher ROI is due to both their scalability and because the leads generated through organic channels are lower-funnel than those from paid ones. As a result, the most effective lead generation strategy is to use organic channels such as SEO and industry speaking engagements as the primary driver of new leads, while leveraging paid channels such as PPC and trade shows when in need of short-term growth.

Setting up in-house lead generation can be a difficult process, and many companies choose to outsource this task to a dedicated agency while building their internal team. If you’d like to do so, you can learn more about our services by reaching out here.

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