PPC CASE STUDY: Growth Through Mid-Funnel Targeting

We set out to increase bookings and reduce unqualified leads.




Local Tour Company


Increase Bookings



The Problem

A successful travel company bringing US travelers to Europe for country-based tours was struggling to identify ways to expand their reach through pay-per-click advertising on Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Oath, and Facebook without flooding their sales team with unqualified leads to follow up on.

Lead volume was already maximized across search engines for lower funnel terms like “custom vacation packages to Berlin” and “Germany vacation packages,” which also had high levels of competition and costs per click.

The current landing page offer was a free, location-specific travel guide in exchange for a submitting a brief form.

Following the challenges of the broader keyword targeting pilot, we decided that there were two primary strategies that would allow us to generate more web leads which convert to bookings:

  1. Better lead qualification on the landing page to weed out the uncommitted while not significantly affecting overall web lead volume
  2. Better budget allocation based on which platforms and campaigns were leading to more closed bookings

The Solution

We researched search volume opportunities in upper funnel keywords like “what to do in Berlin”, “things to see”, and “places to stay” and determined that there was significant impression volume available.

The initial pilot targeting these terms generated a sizeable lift in traffic and overall web leads at a low cost per lead, but bookings did not follow the lift in web leads.

We advised our client to migrate to a two-part opt-in process on their landing page. The first step was meant to collect only the most essential contact information, preserving the elements of the original form.

The second part of the opt-in was a more detailed form submission that allowed users to volunteer information about their vacation plans including travel dates, expectations for included tour features, and more.

We began tracking both parts of the opt-in as separate goals within Google Analytics and used them as custom columns alongside the channel performance data.

The Results

We observed a statistically significant difference in conversion rate between platforms. For instance, Bing Ads had a 33% higher conversion rate for the second part of the opt-in compared to other channels.

This test changed our digital advertising strategy in many ways:

  • Search intent performance data. We were better equipped to have conversations about what types of searches led to web leads, at what rate, and what the booking outcome was.
  • Better budget allocation. Based on part two conversion rate by channel and campaign.
  • Better bidding control. We knew which keywords were worth paying competitive CPCs for and which weren’t.
  • Placement level exclusions for display. We were able to eliminate expensive, low quality Google Display Network placements that were only resulting in low quality leads.
  • Better goal-setting capabilities. We were able to manage and even recommend CPA targets based on a more accurate view of performance by channel.


Advertisers assume too much about their marketing. Often, they assume the intent of searches, the keywords that drive revenue, and assume they know the right messaging without ensuring they have data to back it up. Creating bridges between the layers of your users buying funnel allows advertisers to be more savvy when it comes to account expansion, budget allocation, and their sales process.

Volume doesn’t always mean quality. There are hundreds of signals in our data just waiting to be revealed. The careful balance of quality and quantity and knowing the difference, results in company’s ability to scale profitably and continue to refine internal processes to better support the higher funnel leads. The infamous point of diminishing return becomes less scary when you know that you can monitor quality as you grow.

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