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  • Writer's pictureKristiana - Founder & PPC Manager

Improving Lead Quality: Case Study

When The PPC Agency launched in February 2020, we were approached by a debt management company, relying exclusively on PPC to get their leads. The business struggled with low quality leads, poor response rate and low sign-up rates.

In just 1 month we improved lead quality, tapped into a new market through keyword research and increased product sign up rates, from 1 in 35 leads to 1 in 12 leads.

Before we continue with how to optimise a PPC account with a daily spend of over £3k, we should give you a bit of background on the company, account limitations and target audiences.

Here is how the client's business works: people looking for debt help submit a lead form-> client calls the lead ->if the lead qualifies for an insolvency agreement, they could proceed with sending documents and begin their journey to a debt-free life.

We went over the account which luckily had over 12 months worth of data and pulled the best converting keywords into campaigns around a certain theme and placed all keywords into single keyword ad groups, a.k.a SKAGs. This drastically improved CTR, dropped the cost per click and led to better conversions.

As a financial service and a limited category on Google Ads, the business had certain restrictions on what was possible in terms of advertising and had to meet legal criteria to be allowed to advertise on Google Search. IVA providers must apply for Debt Services certification and have certain limitations, such as having Remarketing Lists disabled. These regulations and limitations may not seem too serious, but we'll get to that in a bit. Here is what we did to improve lead quality in 3 steps

1. Account restructure & Set Up

2. Competitor Analysis

3. Regular Maintenance & Quality Control

1. Account Structure & Set Up - Prior to working with The PPC Agency, the client was running their ads 24/7, without any ad schedule. While most campaigns could benefit from low CPL and high on-site conversion rates, lead response rate was pretty low. Product sign-up, or the actual conversions we care about, were pretty poor as well.

We went over the account which luckily had over 12 months worth of data and pulled the best converting keywords into campaigns around a certain theme and placed all keywords into single keyword ad groups, a.k.a SKAGs. This drastically improved CTR and eventually lead quality.

What we did for ad schedule was one of the crucial changes to the account. No matter what you do, if your ad schedule doesn't look something like this, it will be harder to optimise based on best times of account performance.

Other changes we strongly suggest you implement to your account include a negative keywords list - a good inspiration for those would be your search term report. Our SKAG had different match types of the same keyword, making it easier to figure which search terms work best and allowing us to better control what search terms the PPC budget goes towards.

Next, make sure your bids are competitive and figure what Search top impression rate works best for you - do you perform better when your ads are at the absolute top 100% and should you really up your budget to get your search absolute top impression rate as high as your budget allows? Get to know your account and closely track all metrics affecting your conversions, cost per click and click through rate.

2. Competitor Analysis - there is no downside to knowing what your competitors advertise for and what ad copy they're using. You can tap into a brand new market by simply spying on where their PPC budget goes. There are many tools allowing you to accurately estimate their PPC costs, keywords they bid on and browse entire libraries with their ad copy and display ads. You can even go back in time and check how their spend has changed.

Now just because your competitor is doing it that doesn't automatically mean you should try it too. Before you proceed with hijacking their keyword list, make sure you run it through Google Keyword planner to establish whether its worth your time and it matches your budget.

3. Regular Maintenance & Quality Control - Your work doesn't end with setting up a killer PPC campaign with the best possible keywords and ad copy. In fact, your work has just begun. Keep a close eye on your new campaigns and make sure you regularly update ad copy to get a decent quality score and good click through rate; maintain a good negative keyword list by regularly making new additions to it; update bids for best performing times of the day and days of the week; don't forget to adjust bids for certain demographics and device as well.

There are tons of resources on optimising your PPC campaigns, WordStream is a great place to start. Of course if you don't feel like doing all this yourself, we are here for you.

We can't emphasise how important tracking is. Since this post is all about improving lead quality, you need to make sure you know which keywords bring valuable conversions to your business. Does it matter if you get 100 leads for £5 and none of them converts, or would you rather pay £75 for for a lead that brings in business?

Using utm parameters, having your conversion working correctly and integrating your CRM with Google ads are just a few of the steps you need to take to make sure you improve lead quality.

Utilising Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is another great way to ensure you are bidding only on the visitors bringing traffic and excluding those who would just bleed your PPC budget. As we mentioned above, our client's service is a restricted category on Google, meaning they couldn't utilise audiences like a normal Google Ads account could. Duh, we found a (secret) way around showing ads to new users only. The client stopped paying for users who have gone to their site multiple times and didn't convert, even if we weren't allowed to use and exclude audiences.

4. The Results - We have already written an entire blog post about how good we did with improving lead quality and the PPC campaigns, so here is a screenshot of the before and after.

It took a lot of testing and hard work, but it was worth it. You can see a 22.35% increase in conversion rate, cost per lead going down with jaw-dropping £64.25 per lead and an increase in CPC, since as we mentioned, the campaigns now work only during working hours when search is more competitive. Most importantly, we improved lead quality and got a much better sign up rate, from 1 in 35 to 1 in 12, combined with the much lower CPL we achieved in just one month.

If you want to know our other juicy PPC secrets or work with us, drop an email to


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