How Dun & Bradstreet 9X’d Their ROAS on Google Ads in Just 10 Months

AboutDun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet is a leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics. For nearly 200 years, they’ve been helping businesses grow and thrive through the power of data, analytics, and data-driven solutions. 

They offer an expansive list of industry-leading solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes that allow their clients and partners to accelerate revenue, reduce cost, and mitigate financial risk.

The Goal

Dun & Bradstreet came to us with the goal of raising their brand keyword ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) 5x and their non-brand keyword ROAS 3x.

The Challenges

A digital marketing executive at D&B approached our team with a few problems in regards to their SEM strategy — problems, we might add, that we’ve seen many great companies struggle with. 

First, they’d been spending money for a long time on their SEM efforts — particularly Google ads — but they had no automated system in place to track results. They didn’t know what their ROAS looked like and whether or not the money they spent was having any impact. 

Additionally, branded and non-branded keyword campaigns were lumped into a single bucket, making it virtually impossible to correlate specific keywords with specific results. 

Because of this, they relied entirely on a CPC (Cost Per Click) bid strategy rather than a CPA (Cost Per Action) bid strategy, which meant that the algorithm would be optimizing for clicks… not conversions. 

All in all, they were burning through advertising dollars without knowing the results of those investments. This, in turn, made it impossible to make informed decisions about how much to invest (or not invest) into their SEM efforts, as well as what specific keywords to target (or not target).

And they knew that if things didn’t change, they’d either have to stop their SEM efforts altogether or continue to run ads while blindfolded — both unfavorable outcomes.

The Solution

After diving into their ad account and getting a better “feel” for the problems they were facing, we made some key changes right out of the gate.

Ground zero was setting up their ad tracking to report accurate and clear ROAS metrics on their SEM campaigns — with 80% of the focus being on Google and 20% of the focus being on Bing. Without that in place, we’d have nowhere to go. 

This meant… 

  • Creating a New Purchase Event Tag
  • Running a Complete SEM Audit & Review

After some testing, we confirmed their fears and discovered their attributed ROAS was currently sitting at about 0.15 — meaning they were making $0.15 off every $1 they were spending on SEM. 

The next step was to run a keyword and search intent analysis to determine the best keywords to target. This meant executing on our SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group) advertising method, which would allow us to create far more targeted advertisements for specific searches as well as determine the best (and worst) performing keywords. 

Here’s a list of keywords we identified…

Over the next few months, we focused the bulk of our efforts on distinguishing branded from non branded keyword campaigns, auditing landing pages to improve conversion rate, adding negative keywords to reduce wasted budget, optimizing quality score, and experimenting with various bid strategies to increase overall performance. 

We also…

  • Created New Tags for Bing Ads
  • Segmented Purchase Revenue Vs. All Revenue
  • Did an ROI Analysis of Leads Vs. Purchases
  • Conducted a Full Review of The D&B Funnel

It was a lot of work, and the entire project lasted 10 months. But we — our experts at Apex and the amazing marketing team at D&B — were committed and driven to achieve their goals.

The Results

In the end, Dun & Bradstreet achieved ROAS metrics above and beyond the goals they had set.  We couldn’t have done it without the collaboration and insight with the D&B Growth Marketing team. 

Some of the metrics that improved were:

  • Brand CPC from $2.60 to $0.85
  • Non-brand CTR from 2.06% to 10.02%
  • Non-brand Impression Share from 12.01% to 15.63%

The biggest win was on ROAS.  They had set a goal of 1.25 ROAS for branded keywords. Within less than a year, we had achieved a ROAS of 1.40, scaling steadily by about 1% to 2% WoW and 8% to 10% MoM.

As for non-branded keywords, D&B was aiming for a ROAS of 0.25 — and we were able to increase that all the way to 0.40. 

Bing also did quite well. Originally, the D&B team were seriously considering turning off their Bing advertisements because of unpromising results, but by the end we’d raised Bing branded keyword ROAS from 0.25 to 0.80 — a jump that made D&B view Bing as a channel with opportunity and potential. 

The consequences are that Dun & Bradstreet now have a clear understanding of the impact of their SEM advertising efforts. 

They know how much they’re spending, how much they’re making, and which specific channels, campaigns, and keywords are driving the best results. 

This means D&B is better equipped to acquire more customers at a reasonable ROAS, prove the results of their marketing efforts, and ultimately, grow their business in a sustainable manner.