How Duo Security Increased Its Qualified Leads by 239%

August 10, 2017

Duo Security describes itself as a cloud-based Trusted Access provider that offers innovative and easy-to-use technology to protect users, data and applications from breaches, credential theft, and account takeover. The company’s technology protects organizations such as Etsy, Dresser-Rand Group, Paramount Pictures, Yelp, and Zillow.

The security space is crowded and competitive. While 90% of Duo’s deals come from inbound sources, the “Most Loved Company in Security” is continually looking to outmaneuver its rivals and gain access to the most likely security technology buyers. To do so, Duo has teamed with digital agency Charles River Interactive (CRI) to use data-driven, targeted marketing to generate marketing qualified leads that ultimately lead to sales. To reach the target market, CRI and Duo invest a significant portion of the marketing budget in targeted advertising on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn — with LinkedIn outperforming many others when it comes to the most important metric: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

The Approach

With CRI, Duo takes a content and data-driven approach to communicating with its target audience. At the core of its marketing, Duo publishes educational whitepapers about the industry and offers content free of charge in exchange for prospect contact information. These leads are assessed and the best among them become MQLs.

In collaboration with CRI, Duo targets an audience of IT and security decision makers on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms. On LinkedIn specifically, CRI and Duo initially started with broad-based targeting, and while this early approach generated the campaign’s baseline data, it still left room for improvement. 

To boost Duo’s results, CRI and LinkedIn honed the targeting approach. Ultimately, Duo’s ads targeted its audience using three parameters: job titles, skills, and LinkedIn Group membership. These three parameters were also sharpened by company size and region (Duo targeted potential prospects in North America and in Europe).

With a hands-on approach in its work with CRI, LinkedIn’s team worked diligently to identify the campaigns that were performing well on the platform. The result of this ongoing optimization was a steadily decreasing Cost per MQL. 

“It was quite the struggle at first, but truth be told, the LinkedIn team worked as hard as we did if not harder,” said Rachael Cobb, Social Media Strategist at CRI. “We were having weekly calls with our LinkedIn team and CRI was having on-going communications with the client, to make sure strategy and execution were constantly in-sync. In the end, we narrowed that gap in terms of our campaign performance goals. And these goals were certainly ambitious. The Duo team gave us a challenge, and we were motivated to meet their expectations.”

Added Tactics for Maximum Optimization

Duo initially ran campaigns that focused on LinkedIn Sponsored Content. These optimized campaigns delivered strong performance, but CRI and the LinkedIn team continued to work together to boost results. One enhancement was that the Duo team added LinkedIn Text Ads to the mix, and Text Ads combined with Sponsored Content to improve performance.

Duo was also part of a LinkedIn pilot program for the platform’s Matched Audiences product. In particular, Duo used the product’s retargeting capability. On its website, CRI wrote, “The remarketing program has solved Duo’s challenge of acquiring incremental, high-quality leads at a lower cost per acquisition. It has also allowed Duo Security to remain one step ahead of its competitors as the only cyber security company leveraging this tactic on the LinkedIn network.”

Duo is also part of a beta program using LinkedIn Audience Network, which enabled the company to target its prospects even when they weren’t on the LinkedIn platform.

Powerful Results

Working with CRI and LinkedIn, Duo saw its qualified lead volume increase by 239%, which was due to a combination of higher conversion rates, higher quality and gradually increasing budgets. These efforts led to a conversion to MQL rate on LinkedIn of more than 65%, which amounted to a 266% month-over-month improvement. Retargeting on LinkedIn led to a 23% reduction in cost-per-MQL.

Cobb is a big supporter of retargeting on LinkedIn: “It’s put Duo in an advantageous position compared to its competitors. On its website, CRI said, “For Duo, the retargeting audience accounted for more than 15% of the total North American HSLs in November (2016), and continues to grow month-over-month as the audience increases exponentially in size.”

Since 2015, Duo has increased by orders of magnitude its investment in LinkedIn advertising.

LinkedIn compares favorably to Google and others. “Where LinkedIn is especially strong,” Cobb said, “Is in its targeting capabilities, which are more granular than on the search engines.”

What’s Next

Working with CRI, Duo continues to expand its investment in LinkedIn based on the channel’s performance and CRI’s attention to data-defined success.  “Historical results have been strong, but the goals looking forward continue to ramp up and reflect the unrelenting competitive landscape,” Cobb said.” These goals are supported by the LinkedIn team’s capability to optimize ads on the platform and the collaborative nature of the relationship with CRI.

“We have a very clear understanding what’s working and what’s not, so we’re able to focus ad spend where it is most productive and pivot rapidly to address Duo’s strategic needs” Cobb said.

With increased optimization and access to new products such as Matched Audiences and the LinkedIn Audience Network, Cobb sees even better results on the horizon. “Duo,” she said, “will be unstoppable.” 

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