What We Learned From 3 Million Leads – Part I: Targeting Rules

Article written by Gabriel
Community manager at PadiCode
Google+ profile

A few months ago we managed to reach a very important milestone in journey to make PadiAct the best email lead generation tool for all platforms and businesses of all sizes.

That mark represents collecting 3 million leads for our users.

We were extremely happy to hit the mark at the start of the 2014, and this year we hope we can quadruple the amount of leads we collect for our users.

We have a live counter on PadiAct’s homepage, you can check it out if you are curious.

Because we love numbers and we find beauty in data and statistics, we are starting a series of articles called: “What we learned from 3 million leads we collected”.

We hope by sharing more of our stats & data, we can help business from all over the world attract more qualitative leads.

In this series we have a look at how we managed to collect 3 million leads, what proved to be successful, what works and what doesn’t. 

Hopefully, we can demystify lead generation for most people so that they can have a more pragmatic approach to collecting emails.

In the first part of the series we are going to cover the “Targeting rules“.

Less is more

“Less is more” is one of our core mantras, as we are not looking just to get our users more leads, we are striving to get them the best leads.

People are bothered by pop-ups and fly-out subscription forms, not because of the copy or the offer, but because of the timing.

Imagine this: you’ve just entered a website and after a few seconds you get a pop-up that urges you to subscribe to get the latest offers. If you are a totally new visitor, that can be a very distracting and annoying, and in some case, it can drive you away.

Why would you pass on a lead, just because you were to eager to show him a subscription form?

We think there is a better solution to this: you should target people when they are in the mood to “hear you out”, not before that, and not after they decided to leave your website.

This approach doesn’t mean less leads, but for sure it means better, more interested leads.

Because of this particular way of thinking about lead generation, we are continuously investing in our behavioral targeting engine, by adding more targeting rules to it and analyzing visitor patterns, to make sure we show up our forms at the best time, when the visitor is actually considering subscribing.

Not before, not after.

Always at the right time!

Now let’s get back to 3 million targeted leads we wanted to talk about.

We went in our “records”, we crunched some numbers, checked out hundreds of campaigns, and we got some interesting insights from our users (both paying & free users).

Why targeting engaged visitors is so important and why you should you care about it

Most of the lightbox email capturing tools out there are promoting a very bad habit: “target all website visitors”.

While in the case of blogs it might be useful, that doesn’t mean it should be the industry standard, especially not for big websites or ecommerce websites.

If you used or know about PadiAct, you probably know that at the core of our product we have a very flexible behavioral targeting system that allows our users to target specific segments of traffic.

While the “target all people” mentality can attract a fair amount of email subscribers, we think this is counter-productive on the long term.


Because you treating all visitors the same.

(Un)Fortunately, not all visitors are equally as important.

Some visitors need some time “alone” with your website. So, they would disregard a pop-up right there in their faces, 1 second after they landed on your website. These visitors might leave your site immediately. Why scare them away?


We  always advise targeting people after they’ve spent some time on the website, and maybe after they browse through a few pages. There’s no big rush, we know everyone is in a hurry, but that’s no reason to push the visitor to do certain actions before they get to trust your website. 

If you don’t rush the visitor, you can ask more engaged visitors to subscribe, not just anyone who landed on your website. If you calculate the average value of an email subscriber for your business, driving the right type of email subscribers (more engaged) might make the difference for you. Driving better leads will increase the average value of one’s email subscribers.

The harsh truth: Not all people are interested in your brand and/or your offer, so why engage with all visitors, when you can target and convince your most valuable visitors: the ones that actively engage with your content and website. 

After analyzing our users’ campaigns, we noticed something awesome. We noticed that most of our users applied our advice, and worked to bring better leads, not just to collect any email address.

You see, for some people it might look like a number’s game, collect more email address – this will improve revenue (eventually), but for people that get it, it can make a huge difference in their marketing. Instead of having thousands of people on their list after a few contests and giveaways, you will have people that “deep dive” your product catalog and website.

We are glad that this message has reached our users, and they prove us on a daily basis that this approach works great for businesses all over the world. If it wasn’t working, probably we would’ve been out of business by now.

How to Get Bucket Loads of Leads On a Daily Basis

PadiAct has over 30 rules (inclusion and exclusion rules), and we add rules quite frequently based on customer requests and lead experiments we run.

Because of these rules our users  have the flexibility to target visitors exactly how they want to, when they want to, on what pages they want to.

They can go and have a more broad approach by targeting based on time spent on the website, and a minimum of pages visited, or they can go very granular with their targeting, and target people coming from specific websites/traffic sources and target only visitors who get passed certain website elements or are triggering different events.

From our point of view, this is what an expert marketer needs: a flexible & powerful tool to targeting website visitors.

After we hit the 3 million mark, we wanted to learn what are the most used targeting rules by our users, and this is what we learned:

(click for full image)

(click for full image)

Here’s also the table version, in case you need it:

Targeting Rule Percentage
Target People a # of Times (Once, On Each Visit, On Every Pageview) 28%
Target People After They Visited a # of Pages 23%
Target Returning/New Visitors 20%
Target People That Spend # Seconds on Your Website 7.5%
Exclude People Interacting With Certain Pages on Your Website 4.5%
Target People Intectacting With Certain Pages on Your Website 3.5%
Exclude People Coming from Marketing Campaigns (CPC, Email etc) 2.5%
Exclude People that already converted 1.5%
Target People coming from certain websites 1.5%
Target People only when they scroll down 1%
Other rules 7%

Another interesting insight we got after looking into our users’ campaigns was that the most used targeting rules are usually used together, that’s why they appear to be more prevalent.

With just these 4 rules, our users can create a radically different setups, and target different segments based on how visitors interact with their websites.

Let’s go deep into the rules, to learn how they work.

The “Target People a # of Times” has 3 options:

  • target people only once
  • on each visit
  • for every pageview

Depending on the type of website, one option might fit you better than the other, but we learned that most people choose only once or on each visit.

With “Target People After They Visited a # of Pages” you can specify the minimum no. of pages before targeting a visitor and you can count the pageviews that correspond with other targeting rules or any pageviews.

“Target Returning/New Visitors” is one of the most powerful. Based on what website you run, it might make more sense to target new visitors, as you want to include them in a lead nurturing campaign or send them some education content.

This rule has a have a huge influence on the subscription rates, as targeting visitors based on recency can drive loads of email leads, especially if you compliment your strategy with a cleverly designed subscription form

The 4th most used targeting rule, “Target People That Spend # Seconds on Your Website”, allows you to target people based on the amount of time they’ve spent on your website. Usually we see campaigns with at least 10 seconds delay since the user landed on the website.

As you can see, you can go really granular or have a broad approach to targeting.

You can choose to target all new visitors that spend 10 seconds on your website and visit at least one page, or you can choose returning visitors, who browse through 3-4 pages, and spend at least 1-2 minutes on your website. Of course you can take this even further, and play with the rules however you wish.

Our advice, no matter what email capturing tool you are using, always A/B test different campaign setups, this way you can find the middle ground between the subscription rate you want, and the way your visitors behav.

The cool thing about flexible targeting rules is that the only limitation is your imagination. :)

OK. So far we only talked about inclusion rules. Let’s talk a minute about what people we don’t want on our email list. Here’s a sample of people we wouldn’t want to target:

  • already subscribed (we already have them, why bother them with forms?)
  • people that already converted
  • people coming from different sources of traffic
  • people who are in the process of buying from you

Exclusions rules are extremely helpful, especially when you want to go beyond the norm, and make sure you treat your visitors in a very unique way, by making sure you know in what relation are they with your website and your brand.

Having this customization in mind, exclusion rules can be used to exclude the profiles of visitors described above.

So, as you can see, you can personalize your targeting rules so that you target only the prospects, and not the clients. Isn’t that cool or what? :)

I hope you enjoyed the first part of our series, if you have any questions about the targeting rules, just drop us a comment.

What We Learned From 3 Million Leads - Part I: Targeting Rules by

1.100.000+ email leads collected with

PadiAct helps you get more email leads. More and better.