High CPA? Low conversion rate? Let these PPC case studies inspire strategic solutions for every paid search challenge.

Here, you’ll find: 

  • Common PPC obstacles brands face
  • 12 PPC case studies highlighting effective problem-solving strategies
  • Success stories from brands that leveraged PPC agencies 
  • Solutions to tackle your own PPC problems 

Diverse clients, budgets, and challenges call for diverse PPC strategies.

Our clients span SaaS, ecommerce, financial institutions, universities, and more, and they’ve all experienced roadblocks on the way to success.  We love to see them succeed and enjoy an average of 4.5X ROI. But what markers define PPC success? 

We’ve rounded up a dozen case studies showcasing common PPC obstacles brands face, and the strategies that helped them come out stronger on the other side.

What is a PPC case study?

PPC case studies feature the details of a project partnership between an agency or contractor, and the brand that hired them. In these case studies you’ll find the company’s background, marketing objectives, PPC challenges, and strategies that contributed to success.

There will also be commentary on the thought process behind the strategy. Brands often review an agency’s PPC case studies to assess whether they’re the right fit to tackle their unique challenges. 

PPC professionals can also review case studies to gain inspiration on new strategies and approaches to resolve their clients’ pain points.

Ready to get inspired? Keep reading.

12 PPC case studies to inspire your next strategy

From high CPAs and competition to low brand visibility and sales, these brands sought PPC strategies unique to their most pressing problems. If you relate to one in particular, click through to read more.

1. 686 overcomes a sales slump

We’ve all been there. We pump thousands of dollars into a PPC strategy, yet sales stagnate. Or, they increase slightly, but not enough to justify the whopping ad spend

Ecommerce technical apparel brand, 686, had this problem. They needed a creative kick to pump up sales and ROI. Their return on ad spend (ROAS) was 160%, and they wanted to magnify it to 350-400%. 

Athletic fashion is a saturated market, but we used 686’s unique selling points (USPs) and customer persona to inform intentional tweaks to their strategy. 


  • Location-based targeting: We adjusted 686’s PPC campaigns to target U.S. locations with people who would benefit most from 686’s cold-weather products. 
  • Remarketing: Search Engine Journal says that the buyer’s journey is “a relationship that needs constant cultivating.” We launched an aggressive remarketing strategy on Google’s Display Network and Facebook to include additional touch points to boost conversions.
  • Optimized shopping campaign and product feed: Fashion is a creative industry, and we needed to help 686 stand out. We revamped their product feed and pumped up conversions on the SERPs with delicious product photos and clear pricing. 

We paired all that with ongoing keyword optimizations, bid management, and website conversion optimization

The results: 

  • 562% year-over-year (YoY) SEM revenue increase
  • More than 186% conversion rate increase
  • 303% increase in return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • 67% reduction in cost per conversion 

2. Peer Software finds its target audience

Peer Software is a data management software company. The problem? Reaching their specific target audience: IT and infrastructure roles at multi-site companies. The company struggled to build brand awareness and generate sales for their primary product. 


  • Cross-platform advertising: Peer Software focused heavily on Google search ads campaigns, but we learned that their audience also used Bing. That’s why we created ad campaigns for both search engines, to scoop up a valuable audience they were missing out on before. 
  • Persuasive new ad copy addressing audience pain points: Our research showed their existing ad copy didn’t address their audience’s pain points sufficiently. We clearly defined the pain point (file collaboration challenges) in ad descriptions and landing page copy, and positioned Peer Software as the clear solution. 


  • 128% increase in conversions
  • Over 46% decrease in cost per conversion
  • 126% increase in website clicks

3. CSUN says bye-bye to sky-high CPA

So you scored a new customer. Great! But how much money did you invest in that one customer? If you’re anything like California State University – Northridge — too much (before we got to their PPC strategy). 

While the university had a solid digital marketing team and web presence, we noticed they were spending too much money to fill in under-enrolled programs. 

Here’s how we helped: 


  • Excluded non-converting audience segments: CSUN was investing ad spend into non-converting audience segments. We eliminated those segments to free up more of their marketing budget for conversion-ripe leads. 
  • A/B testing on ad copy: We tweaked and experimented with CSUN’s ad copy to test out different keywords and phrasing to see which converted the most. 
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (CPC) with robust monitoring: We knew we needed to leverage remarketing to convert audiences tipping the edge of conversion. We used enhanced CPC along with negative keywords and locations, and our constant monitoring ensured we didn’t overspend. 


  • 50% reduction in CPA
  • Nearly 2X conversion rate
  • 50% increase in YoY revenue

4. Keyword cannibalization and self-competition at Honda

In PPC, keyword cannibalization happens when you run multiple search campaigns that target the same keywords. The result? Self-competition and amped-up ad costs. That was the reality for our client, Honda

They had a unique risk here. They weren’t planning on running competing campaigns, but they had partners — new and used car dealers — who were. This put their goal of promoting the new Civic hatchback and Accord models in South America at risk. 

Same goal, but competing keywords. See the issue? That’s where we came in. 


  • Keyword targets for both Honda and dealers: We did the research (fueled by data from ConversionIQ) and suggested high-value keywords for Honda and their dealers to bid on. This intentional approach eliminated the siloed campaigns that could have caused disastrous keyword cannibalization. 
  • Remarketing: Honda specifically wanted to capture audiences that were already familiar with their strong reputation. So, we launched a remarketing strategy for both search and display ads to improve conversions. 


  • 30% reduced cost per conversion
  • 200% traffic increase
  • 40% increase in dealer inquiries

As many of these PPC case studies show, sometimes it’s best to stick to metaphorical fruits and veggies to nourish your PPC strategy.

verizon digital media

verizon digital media

5. Verizon Media boosts brand awareness in a competitive industry

Verizon Media leads the telecommunications and media industries, offering products like smartphones, internet packages, and television streaming. But they were struggling to stand out in this fiercely competitive industry against the likes of AT&T and other big telecom players.

They needed our help to increase their brand awareness and level up their digital marketing strategy to overcome a cut-throat competitive landscape. 


  • Display opt-in: Verizon already had a robust team of in-house marketers, but we helped them strategize audience reach by adding display opt-in to their search campaigns. This strategy is proven to increase conversions by 15%
  • Keyword optimization with single keyword ad groups (SKAGs): Out of all the Google Ads campaign structure components, SKAGs are among the most time-consuming. Still, dedicated keywords for each group helped us optimize Verizon’s rankings and score more leads. 
  • Ad extensions: We wanted to lead Verizon’s audience through the buyer’s journey with as much ease and convenience as possible. That meant implementing more ad extensions to infuse ample contact opportunities and, thus, increase conversions. 


  • 3,200% more conversions
  • 50% decrease in cost per conversion
  • 37% decrease in average CPC

6. The University of Nevada homes in on targeting

Off-shore from the lapping waves of pristine Lake Tahoe is the University of Nevada, Reno (formerly Sierra Nevada University). The renowned university struggled to attract targeted leads with their former PPC agency, who had rolled out a “kitchen sink approach.” 

Problem was, everything was, in fact, in the kitchen sink — except for ideal students. The bidding was too broad, and they wanted a tailored strategy to match their niche-based marketing goals. 

Zeroed in on results, we crafted a modern, focused strategy:

  • Refined campaigns: We completely restructured the campaigns to tighten unfocused areas, including cleaning up keywords, geographic targeting, and rolling out clear conversion tracking.
  • Launched CRO-focused landing pages: Each program got its own optimized landing page with targeted copy, and a contact form to catch new inquiries and enhance conversions.
  • Ran display and YouTube campaigns: We attracted potential students in close proximity to the campus with successful display ads and video campaigns.


  • 309% increase in conversions
  • 135% increase in CTR for search campaigns
  • 43% reduced cost per conversion

7. Migration-proof SEO for VIOS & Kindbody

One of our clients, VIOS Fertility, was acquired by Kindbody. While we initially planned to support them with Google Ads, SEO, Bing, and Facebook Ads, we switched things up amidst the new merger. 

We had to shift our SEO and ad group setups to support both Kindbody and VIOS as they went through a new website migration. 


  • Google campaign revamp: We created new paid campaigns to account for expanded locations. We also tested and tracked conversions from contact forms and landing pages to maintain results. 
  • Migration monitoring and content audit: A million things can go wrong when migrating to a new website. We used an exclusive Migration Checklist to track all web items, maintain performance, and catch snags as they arose, including 301 redirects and a robust content audit. 
  • New messaging: The original ad copy wouldn’t fly with an expansion like this one. We crafted new messaging to account for Kindbody’s brand values and ensured alignment with VIOS. 


  • 128% increase in organic website sessions
  • 74% increase in total terms ranking
  • 128% increase in organic new website visitors

Navigating big changes doesn’t have to be a nightmare, especially with the right PPC agency in your corner.

8. Clearing up cloudy insights at AppDynamics

Imagine how incredible your website would perform if you caught every bug the second it occurred. That’s what San Francisco-based computer application company, AppDynamics, offers its big-time clients like Expedia.ca. 

We could see immense value in their offerings, but their target audience couldn’t because they weren’t on the map.


  • A/B testing: AppDynamics needed sharper insights into what was working, and what was lagging in their PPC campaigns. We launched A/B tests to decipher which bids cost them more without enough conversions to justify them, and adjusted each one as necessary. 
  • Targeted landing pages: AppDynamics has a wide audience, and to capture that audience, we crafted over 200 direct landing pages.
  • Keyword revamp: Our daily tracking and A/B tests revealed more targeted keywords that spoke to AppDynamics’ audience and intent. We gave their existing ad copy a makeover and aggressively pursued more targeted keywords.


    • 20% increase in conversion rate 
    • 2X targeted traffic
    • Grew from 40 to over 200 targeted landing pages

9. Ramped up scaling at Parts Town

Parts Town, a food-service equipment distributor, had an ambitious goal to grow search and shopping channels by 40%. Their goals outgrew their previous agency, and they needed a more effective balance of optimized product feeds and audience segmentation.

They contacted Tinuiti, a large-scale performance marketing agency, for their success in managing shopping campaigns and propelling massive performance success. 


  • Monitor and tweak with proven best practices: Tinuiti continued enhancing product descriptions and titles, implementing custom labels, and specifying categorization to maximize performance while abiding by Google Shopping Ads requirements. 
  • Grow by audience segment: Understanding your audience is a constant task for scaling brands. Tinuiti knows this, which is why they analyzed and segmented customer data to find more leads and revenue. 
  • Pilot and beta testing: Tinuiti continued personalizing and tailoring the customer experience for each product category with robust testing strategies. 


  • 15% revenue growth in the first month
  • 64% revenue growth after one year
  • 223% revenue growth after three years

Slow scaling? Not anymore.

grayson living homepage

10. Getting Grayson Living’s ecommerce sales to compete with IRL

Grayson Living is a leader in the high-end interior design and furniture industry that wanted to see more ecommerce sales to complement their brick-and-mortar success. Despite their high marketing budget, we noticed conversion rates for ecommerce transactions and website views weren’t stacking up.

The problem? They were digitally selling to an in-person audience. Shopify highlights that ecommerce shoppers rely more heavily on images, reviews, and product descriptions to convert than brick-and-mortar shoppers. 

So while we wanted to improve ROAS, the solution wasn’t to tighten ad spend. Instead, we pumped more money into ad spend to generate results that actually improved our client’s ROI. 


  • Display advertising and shopping campaigns: Grayson Living already had stellar products and results to highlight. We amplified their display ads with targeted ad copy, and gave their shopping campaigns a boost. 
  • Cross-platform advertising: The ecommerce shopper has more entryways to a transaction than the in-person one. That’s why we had to leverage cross-platform advertising to catch broader audiences beyond Google searches and on social media platforms. 
  • Retargeting: We created custom landing pages and persuasive new copy to capture audiences that already visited Grayson Living’s website, and made sure that on second-visit, they understood the value of their ecommerce design services.


  • 6X ROAS increase over three years
  • 279% increase in ecommerce sales after one year
  • 11% increase in average order value (AOV) after the first year

11. Going digital with minimal brand recognition at an internet bank

An online financial institution had positioned itself as a leading brick-and-mortar bank. With 100 years of success, they wanted to launch a new digital direct-to-consumer (DTC) internet bank, with little brand recognition in that niche space. 

The company turned to Wpromote for support in creating a digital footprint in a competitive space where customers didn’t recognize their brand. 

  • Advanced targeting and segmentation: Wpromote used hyper-focused paid search campaigns to target key audiences, using messaging testing to figure out which combinations worked best for leads that didn’t know the client’s brand. 
  • Ongoing maintenance: The digital marketing strategy included a soft launch, official launch, and regular, ongoing maintenance to align new results with KPIs and channel-specific goals. 
  • Email marketing: Wpromote used a robust email marketing strategy to complement their PPC ads efforts. Communications were frequent and covered product announcements and promotional offers to generate interest and loyalty. 


  • $18B in acquired deposits
  • 68% reduction in cost per account/acquisition
  • 1,000 keywords on page one of Google’s SERPs

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

12. Revamping CVA’s digital marketing strategy 

Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) is an innovative, customizable education program for parents and guardians to tailor K-12 education for their kids. CVA felt their previous marketing agency wasn’t as hands-on as they needed them to be. 

They connected with us seeking marketing support to reach new students, and we focused heavily on keyword optimization to market their offerings.


  • Exact and phrase match, negative keywords: CVA is a unique educational provider, yet the education presence online is vast. We noticed they ranked for keywords that didn’t exactly reflect their core services. We used exact and phrase match keywords, as well as negative keywords, to generate ideal traffic. 
  • High-intent keywords: We drove more relevant leads with revamped keywords that were better aligned with CVA’s offerings. 
  • Revised ad copy: We highlighted CVA’s main program features and paint point solutions within ad copy to supercharge SERP rankings. 


  • 134% in YoY Google Ads conversions
  • 51% decrease in CPA
  • 45% increase in clickthrough rate (CTR)

The takeaway

Every business has unique challenges, which is why every PPC strategy should be built to efficiently solve those challenges.

If you’re a busy marketer or business owner, chances are high that you relate to some of these obstacles. While each company faces hurdles like fierce competition, low visibility, or soaring CPA, the right solution is within reach.

PPC management is a fantastic way to catch these issues, build an effective strategy, and accelerate results.

If you feel stuck, use these PPC case studies for inspiration to tackle challenges head-on.

And if you want to add your company to this list of PPC success stories, get in touch today. We’re here to help you soar your PPC results to new heights. 

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation