Cost Per Lead

What Does Cost Per Lead Mean?

Cost per lead (CPL) is an online advertising pricing model that indicates the exact revenue earned by a publisher for creating a lead for an advertiser. CPL advertising is the means of generating guaranteed returns for advertisers on their online advertisements. As a result, the CPL advertising has experienced significant growth and is considered one of the fastest-growing sections of online advertising.


CPL advertising is also referred to as online lead generation.

Techopedia Explains Cost Per Lead

The CPL pricing model is one of the top types of online advertising based on its return on investment for the advertiser. Unlike cost-per-click model, in CPL campaigns, the publisher hosting the advertisement is only paid when leads are generated. A lead refers to the contact details or in few cases, the demographic details of an individual who is interested in the service or product of the advertiser.

In online lead generation market, advertisers can look for two types of leads: sales leads and marketing leads. Sales leads are generated on the basis of the audience’s demographic criteria such as credit score, income and age. These leads are then resold to a number of advertisers. Sales leads are common in mortgage insurance and finance markets. Marketing leads are generated for a unique advertiser offer and are usually brand specific.

CPL campaigns are best suited for brand marketers and direct response marketers who try to keep customers engaged through various activities such as newsletters, community websites, reward programs or member acquisition programs.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…