School of Rock, a performance-based music school with over 170 franchise locations worldwide, came to RevUnit after experiencing poor performing Adwords campaigns with a specialized PPC agency. Their main goal was to drive leads (prospective students) to individual franchises. As an agency specializing in disruptive innovation, we begin work by analyzing a client’s competitive landscape and any current activities. It’s invaluable to know what competitors are doing before providing recommendations. We believe in continuous optimization and iteration – starting with a pilot phase and tweaking to reach optimal performance. This strategy can be applied to PPC, SEO and many other marketing tactics. We truly build small, learn fast and iterate often.
Consumer acquisition via PPC (digital advertising) for new enrollment was lagging. The question was, how do we increase enrollment and lower the cost of acquisition at the same time?
The first step in our problem-solving process is always an audit. An audit allows us to dive deeper to find the root cause of a problem. There are many inefficiencies we see in PPC, like low click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate and quality score. These inefficiencies are just symptoms of underlying problems, which is why we first have to identify the root cause before we provide solutions. Keep in mind, symptoms can be caused by anything from poorly executed landing pages to bad ad copy.
We audited School of Rock’s Adwords account concentrating on keywords, ads and landing pages. The account consisted of 160+ campaigns, 800,000+ keywords and 160+ landing pages. It’s important to note that each campaign represents a franchise location and each of those franchises locations had their own dedicated landing pages.
After auditing all campaigns, we found the following problems:
- There were over 800,000 keywords and roughly 100,000 that were performing well, which means driving clicks, having quality scores above 5 and converting visitors. Some of the keywords in these campaigns had zero clicks.
- Many keywords had extremely low quality scores (below 5), another reason for bad ad performance. Poorly constructed ad copy plus low quality scores equals bad ad positions.
- Ad copy was poorly constructed. Copy did not align with keywords, which again leads to low quality scores and bad ad positions.
- Geographic targeting wasn’t enabled. Each campaign reflects a separate franchise location, so zero geographic targeting means people searching for music lessons in their specific city might not even see a relevant ad for their location.
- Ads were implemented with a “set it and forget it” mentality. The previous agency hadn’t optimized any ads, meaning they never turned off bad performing ads or tested new copy.
- Pages were very slow to load. Google sees this as a bad quality, so quality score is negatively affected.
- Design didn’t take into account user experience. The pages were very flat and dated looking. Current trends focus on a single-page scrolling format with well-structured information. These landing pages contained multiple tabs and no organization.
- The lead form was long. The longer the form, the more energy required to complete the form. Research suggests the less information someone has to provide on a form, the more likely they are to complete it.
- Content was not designed for easy reading. There was a lot of information on the pages, but it did not tell a compelling story.
- The pages did not mirror the keywords or the ad copy they were attributed to. Relevance match is imperative. If a visitor doesn’t see a landing page that is relevant to their search, they will leave the page without converting. Thus, leading to low conversion rates and quality scores.
- Campaigns didn’t have call conversion tracking enabled, so School of Rock wasn’t able to track how many calls were generated from Adwords activities.
Solution & Outcome
After completing our auditing process, we began planning a campaign cleanup strategy. Our strategy required fixing the most significant problem areas to make an immediate impact. In this case, it meant the removal of 700,000 poor performing keywords and the poorest performing ads. After cleanup, we began a pilot with their 16 company locations. If this pilot went well, we would roll-out the new campaign set-up to rest of the 160+ US locations.
We made many changes. The first changes were to the campaign keywords and ads. We dropped the location associated keywords and instead used more broad instrument lesson-related keywords while using geo-location targeting to target a specific location’s general area. We also changed the ad copy to better match keywords and played with mobile-specific ads.
The next big focus was the landing page. We used Unbounce to create a template for the 160 location pages. Zapier was utilized to integrate with the form. Zapier allowed us to bridge a connection between Unbounce and School of Rock’s CRM system, so new leads went directly to franchisees once submitted.
We design our landing pages to follow a story that is easy-to-digest and comprehend while presenting a clean and well-structured format. Our pages are structured to create the shortest path to conversion without sacrificing rich information. For School of Rock, content was strategically placed into sections covering who, what, where and why (including reviews). We kept copy clear and strong without burdening people with too much information. Every brand has a very different story and we knew how important it was to tell the story of how School of Rock is different than the average music school. We designed the page to reflect this brand positioning. We also used dynamic content on the landing page which allowed us to show personalized content to different site visitors based on keywords and locations from the ads. Helping us to match the perfect ad with the perfect landing page.
The result of the pilot was a 75% increase in average weekly conversions and a 50% decrease in cost per conversion, using half the budget and a limited number of campaigns. After the pilot’s outstanding performance, we rolled-out the same strategy to the rest of their 160+ US locations. The results were incredible. Conversion rate, click-through rate, the number of conversions and cost per conversion improved even more compared to campaign state prior to cleanup. Conversion rate increased by 65% and click-through rate increased by 58%. The number of monthly conversions improved 5x, by 250%, and the cost per conversion decreased by 82%. School of Rock had a huge improvement to ROI and their lead volume stabilized.