A Demand Gen ROI Dilemma: Small-Scale PPC Advertising vs. e-Gifting

Posted by Lauren Alt-Kishpaugh on Mar 1, 2021 12:15:50 PM
Lauren Alt-Kishpaugh
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How much money are you spending per click on paid advertising? $5, $15 ,perhaps even  $22/click? It's no secret that paid digital marketing can be expensive...but when executed and optimized efficiently, the ROI can make the investment worthwhile.  However, since the shift to remote work and cancellation of in-person field marketing events, sales dinners, and networking opportunities, marketers have shifted their budgets in attempt to stand out online. For companies like Postal without millions of surplus budget, how do we stand out when the competition for digital reach is at an all-time high. Postal CEO, Erik asked a thought-provoking  question: if we're bidding $15/click and paying over $140 per download, why can't we send gift cards in exchange for downloads instead? 


*Cue marketer eye roll*


So, instead of debating, we thought we'd test it and share out our results.


The test: reach out via organic channels (email and social) to people offering $10 to download our recent eBook. Simultaneously, run PPC ads promoting the same ebook.


The Question


Will paying people $10 to download our eBook have a better ROI than using PPC advertising to download the same eBook? Will paying people for downloads drive tire kickers and unqualified leads?  


Our Hypothesis


Using MagicLink, we will generate more leads and the cost per lead (CPL) would be cheaper. However, leads given a gift card in exchange for a download will likely drive tire kickers and unqualified leads.  

What's a "MagicLink"?

A MagicLink is simply a way to allow recipients to click an embedded link in order to redeem a gift without previously having your recipient's contact and address information. This enables you to use Postal as a lead generation tool, embedding these "virtual gifts" into your sales and marketing efforts - LinkedIn InMails, marketing emails, and ads are common channels used to send MagicLinks.  Using MagicLinks can be used to create experiences throughout the sales funnel — whether that’s to increase top of funnel conversion rates, book more meetings, or establish brand loyalty after onboarding a new customer, the use cases add value to each stage in the customer journey.


The Experiment




- $5000 budget for each channel

- The eBook


Variables - Landing Pages


Using PPC advertising Sharing MagicLink on organic social channels and nurture emails 
PPC Page MagicLink Page


The Results
















On-page Conversion Rate



Opportunities Created









We concluded that both channels were impactful for different reasons. eBook downloads driven from PPC ads drove 2x the amount of new free trials as MagicLink — we assume that is because our PPC ads help us locate new people that haven't yet heard about our free trial.

However, MagicLink drove 5.5x more eBook downloads and created almost 20x more qualified pipeline. Our conclusion is that offering gift cards via MagicLink in exchange for an eBook does drive quality interest and can be considered as a competitive marketing channel.

While paid advertising is here to stay and remains a consistent way to build our database of new potential customers, MagicLink proves faster ROI on converting names through the marketing funnel and becomes a cost-effective option to building an engaged base of prospects.


Try it Yourself!


Start using MagicLink from Postal for free today and see results like this for yourself. Below are some more creative ideas you can leverage MagicLink to revamp your funnel.

  • Generate sign-ups to a virtual event or webinar
  • Get people to download an eBook or other piece of gated content
  • Conducting a giveaway or contest
  • Re-engaging with marketing captured leads
  • ABM campaigns
  • Warming accounts that have ghosted to reignite conversations
  • Booking meetings with prospects
  • Building relationships within larger accounts
  • Sending items for account-based sales campaigns
  • Saying "Thank You" for attending a demo
  • Welcoming a new customer following the on-boarding process
  • Creating a first impression with a new client to enhance brand loyalty
  • Congratulating customers on hitting a landmark or celebrating a milestone with them