A Pay Per Click Case Study of Awesome Excellence

How we tripled a client’s conversion rate in 6 weeks, and lowered Google Adwords cost-per-conversion by 63.22%

We love conversion rate optimization and cost-per-conversion optimization. This is the heart of the matter–it sits at the core of what any advertising campaign should look towards. This case study will show how we did the following for one of our client campaigns with sound analysis and swift and informed action:

  • We created at least $5,000 of net benefit by our calculation (it may actually be more depending the client’s net profit)
  • We increased the client’s conversion rate by 3 times: The conversion rate increased from 1.49% to 4.49%.
  • We lowered the client’s overall ad spend while increasing conversions: Total Adwords monthly spend went from $11,592.28 to $7,301.72
  • Overall monthly conversions went from 147 to 254
  • We lowered the client’s cost of converting website visitors by well more than half: The Adwords cost per conversions went from $78.18 to $28.75

Here’s the teaser

Here’s the teaser: massive, immediate gains in conversion rate on Google Adwords immediately following our conversion rate optimization. Note that the gains were immediate, but grew incrementally throughout the month, and also remained sustainable.


Ok, so now let’s move on to how we got there.


Step 1: Adwords campaign analysis with Google Analytics

So, we started with an analysis of the campaign performance from a conversion rate standpoint. We saw a ho-hum performance here, with a 2.2% conversion rate:


Step 2: Brainstorm ideas on how to improve conversion rate; where are the buyers?

The client sells a self-help course of a personal nature (we don’t want to say more than that) and so we brainstormed ideas on where the higher conversion rates are. There are always higher conversion rates somewhere: on improved landing pages, during particular times of day, in various cities and regions, by particular keywords and groups of keywords, by device, etc. The list of available optimization pathways truly is endless.

The short end of the story is that we keyed in on time of day for this particular client. Because the product is of a personal nature, we thought that customers might only purchase/sign up when they were in the privacy of their own home–and that meant outside of work hours.

Step 3: We find the gusher: Massive conversion rate opportunity

Our instincts were correct: time of day was the great divider between tire-kickers and serious shoppers. We customized Google Analytics’ Adwords Hour of the Day report to gauge user behavior throughout a 24 hour cycle, and sorted by conversion rate. The report, shown below, shows a conversion rate variance of nine times throughout the course of a 24-hour period. The prior PPC managers had spent the client’s budget uniformly throughout the day, so we had plenty of data to work with.

Remember, the client sells a personal self-help product, and sure enough, the high-converting hours were the evening like 11pm, and definitely not in the afternoon at 2pm and 11am, for example. But the data tells the tale:


Step 4: Turning data into action

The next step was easy; the work was really already done. We simply needed to direct Adwords spend into the high-converting hours [it’s called dayparting and it worked on Madison Avenue, and it works with digital marketing as well, see our article on Moz.com about another success]. At the campaign level, we used Adwords Ad Schedule feature to up the spend in our high-converting hours and reduce/eliminate spend in low-converting hours. We actually got a little push-back from the client who was afraid of losing traffic, but we persisted and pushed through the change.

There were a few other changes we made to landing page routing and some proprietary tricks we know, but the main essence is described here.

Final Results:

The final results show a tremendous success:


Some highlights from the end result:

  • Note that Sessions went down, from 9861 to 5652, but who cares? Despite lower website visits, the corresponding conversion rate still went up…
  • Conversions increased from 147 to 254, despite the drop in Sessions.
  • The lower number of Sessions was a direct results of a lower Ad Spend, in this case from about $11.5k to $7.3k.
  • But with conversions increasing despite the lower spend, cost per conversion dove from $78.18 to $28.75

Freddie Mercury would approve.

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