Waterside Holidays


Find out how we combined innovative thinking and strategy to bring greater efficiency to this leading Holiday Home Developer’s digital advertising spend, using Google Ads Pay-Per-Click in the middle of a pandemic.

Since 2020, bbd has been supporting Waterside Holidays with iterative website improvements and digital marketing campaigns, constantly devising ways to set the leading holiday property developer apart. But it wasn’t until years later, in the beginning of 2021, that the opportunity arose for us to take on their PPC activity.

After auditing the account and working with the client to clearly define their paid advertising objectives and yearly KPIs, we unlocked a new potential for the Google Ads account. We found a way to give them an edge over the competition – improving their ad spend efficiency whilst maximising conversions.

Topline results:

  • Improved MoM optimisation scores
  • Increased conversions by over 1000% percent
  • Increased conversion rates by 12%
  • Reduced cost-per-acquisition by 20%

The challenge

With higher competition for key search phrases, Waterside were not achieving the results and performance they had hoped for from their search and display campaigns. Their existing campaigns had plenty of room for improvement.

Waterside sought to shift their PPC approach from middle of funnel to a more lead-generation focus in order to drive sales of their holiday homes. This would enable them to meet sales targets across all of their parks, in Weymouth and Cornwall.

Going from ‘soft-touch’ conversion events like brochure downloads, towards objectives with deeper level of purchase intent like booked experience day appointments meant that bbd were faced with a new, and arguably more challenging conversion goal.

With little to no previous relevant account data or performance to go by, this posed a challenge for setting and meeting projections and KPIs – not least because we began this campaign in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, for a product within the hospitality industry.

The solution

Our approach involved a deep dive PPC audit in which we uncovered medium, short and long-term opportunities for the account based on the agreed objectives and KPIs.

The first step involved conversion tracking for all the holiday park campaigns in January to then monitor conversion performance and gather data for the first quarter of the year, with no further changes to the account.

We then leveraged seasonality and our data-driven insights to rebuild the Waterside Google Ads account from the ground up in April 2021. We used new keyword research insights to inform target keywords, new ad copy and new PPC landing pages.

Quality over quantity

One common misconception is that PPC advertising is prohibitively expensive. Whilst each industry has its own definition of expensive, Google Ads is unique in that the bids for keywords are set by those doing the bidding, and with smart bidding strategies becoming ever prominent, the risks of spending too much are minimised.

At bbd, we believe that good campaign management is an essential ingredient for controlling costs. We know that cost-per-click (CPC) will drop as the click-through rate (CTR) improves, because when ads are targeted, relevant, and have a good CTR, Google rewards them with a lower CPC price.

  • With this in mind, our key focus for account optimisation was to:
  • Drive relevance through increased quality scores
  • Reach users that were the most likely to convert
  • Maximise performance and cost efficiency

To achieve this, we focused on two crucial factors:

New keywords. With a new conversion objective in place, we had to re-think the list of keywords that current campaigns were targeting and bidding on. New keyword research informed a revised keyword strategy with more relevant search queries that were specific to the campaign objective and aligned to the entire user journey. This helped create new budget efficiencies and improve campaign specificity.

New ad copy. In a joint effort with the client, we developed and began to serve new and relevant Search Ads. Our ad copy strategy focused on matching our keyword targeting, communicating the client’s added value, and implementing a clear call-to-action – all to drive interest, desire and action.

Hard-working landing pages

To drive experience day bookings through Google Ads PPC, we created PPC landing pages that were highly relevant to their respective ads. Visitors were met with information that reinforced the promise of the ad, with just one prominent call to action and next step.

To help ensure a smoother path to conversion, we simplified the options available on these landing pages by hiding the website’s main navigation bar. This meant that we could concentrate on presenting a focused and carefully curated on-page experience without worrying about the user being distracted by other elements of the website.
The main elements which added game-changing value to our PPC landing pages were:

  • Hidden navigation menu
  • CTA above the fold
  • Lead form installed directly on the pages
  • Optimised on-page copy

These landing page optimisations helped to improve a number of on-page engagement metrics and increased conversion rates by 12%!

The results

Our aim was to reduce budget spend wastage and increase the effectiveness of the campaigns, and we achieved just that. Rather than driving high volumes of traffic around broadly relevant terms, optimisations were instead geared toward driving lower volumes of relevant, high-quality traffic. The campaigns no longer focus on driving as much traffic as possible, but rather driving relevant traffic that is more likely to convert. This shifted the emphasis and aligned campaign activity more closely to lead and sales KPIs; quality over quantity.

Campaign optimisations helped focus the campaigns on more relevant keywords and ad copy – so whilst impressions and click-through-rates decreased slightly in the short-term, conversion rates sky-rocketed and remained constant throughout the year – demonstrating the increased relevance in those campaigns.

The synergy between the new ad copy, keywords and landing pages quickly generated improved quality scores making the account more effective, this in-turn lowered cost-per-clicks (CPC), cost per conversion (CPA), and supercharged overall conversions for the year.

This meant that Waterside’s PPC activity went from a passive marketing channel to a lead generating engine which enabled them to achieve  100% of their yearly sales target 4 months before the close of the year.

Comparing the client’s campaign performance before and after our first three months of management and optimisation, we achieved the following performance increases:

  • Increased ‘Book experience day’ conversions from 2 to 46
  • Increased conversion rates by 12%
  • Reduced CPA by 20%
  • Reduced cost-per-click by 10%
  • Improved Google Ads Optimisation Scores from ‘below average’ to ‘above average’

Want results like these?

As a Google Ads Certified Partner, at bbd we have designed and implemented Google Ads campaigns for a variety of clients, including private bankers, software providers, and leading insurance companies. For every client, we identify meaningful conversion actions and focus our efforts on bringing in qualified traffic to drive those conversions.

Get in touch today and speak to one of the team about the best PPC strategy for your business.