The Account

STA International is a debt collection company that focuses not only on UK debt collection but worldwide, meaning that we have different campaigns for the different countries around the globe.

Account Problems

  • CTR is low and has never been over 1%
  • Average position is always 3rd or lower, some months around 5th position on Google
  • Cost per click is around £1.50, some months as high as £3.40. It has never been lower than £1.00
  • Average number of clicks is 1500 with a top peak of 1700

The Goals

Improve clicks, CTR, average position and if possible drop the cost per click at the same time

Initial Thoughts

I knew I could improve most of the statistics very easily. With the average position so low, all I needed to do was increase the bids on the keywords so that they showed higher up the page. This would help improve the clicks, CTR and average position. The only problem is that this means the average cost will go up. If I can get the CTR and the keyword score to increase however, we should see the cost per click come back down over time and may even drop to lower than before, hitting all our targets.

Changes Made to the Account

  • We completely restructured the AdWords account using BMM and Exact match only
  • Adverts were updated so they matched the keywords, as well being deep linked to the correct pages
  • Edited the target location so we only targeted the required locations for the correct campaign to prevent the campaign from cross serving
  • Set the AdWords account to manual bidding, and optimised the bids regularly to ensure a good position. We started with a higher bid than there was initially

The Results

  • CTR went from 0.77% to 1.19% – highest it has beenCTR Results
  • Average position is up to 2.5th –highest it has been
  • Cost per click is down to £0.95 –lowest it has beenCPC and average positions
  • December saw the highest number of clicks in one month (for less spend than previous months) and since then it has had over 1600 every month which is higher than beforeTotal number of clicks

This meant we have hit all our goals.


At the start of the case study I was worried about the cost per click going up when I rebuilt the account, as I would be starting with a high bid. With the new account build the keyword score was so much higher than the cost per click went down from day 1.

I only used BMM and Exact match keywords, and even then I only used a few keywords on BMM (seed words) which meant I was not bidding on to many keywords, resulting in all my keywords getting used and the keyword score staying high.

Finally, just because I used a BMM and Exact keyword structure, it does not mean it will work on every account. I have found that there is not one set way you should set up every account because at the end of the day, it comes down to the negative keywords you add into the account and the keyword research you do as to whether or not your structure will be successful.  For more information on this, please see my blog for March 2014 as it explains how to choose the best structure for your account.

My top tip would be to build the campaigns in a way you find easy to manage; as long as you’re not putting all the keywords in one adgroup and are making sure you give thought to the bids and negatives.