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The Adventure Company
Eversfield Organic
Neilson
Dragoman
Erna Low
Imaginative Traveller
London School of Economics
The Open University
audit

The Open University is the UK’s leader in distance learning, with more than 210,000 students across 570 courses, they are the largest academic community in Europe.

Colin Morris (Head of Online Marketing, The Open University) said “Although our paid search campaign was mature and hitting both volume and cost performance targets, we commissioned Unscrambled to review our activity in order to inject fresh impetus into the campaign. We wanted to have a clear understanding of what was working and what needed more attention in order to improve performance and grow sales.

What particularly impressed me about Unscrambled was the length they went to in order to understand our business and unique circumstances making this a truly bespoke review (which obviously increases its value to us).

In addition, we have worked well with our search agency and were determined for this to be a positive, inclusive exercise as opposed to something that drove a wedge between us. Unscrambled ensured that our search agency gave as much input into the review as we did thereby ensuring a very fair and balanced output that all participants bought into.

The Open University commissioned Unscrambled to audit their paid search campaign so that they could;

  • Understand exactly how well the campaign and it’s different elements were performing
  • Identify and eliminate any campaign wastage
  • Identify opportunities to drive improved results performance
  • Improve internal knowledge and understanding of the paid search campaign
  • Work more effectively with their agency partner (moving forward with a jointly agreed action plan).

The Open University was using paid search to attract and recruit new students from all backgrounds across its full range of courses. While performing the audit, we spent time with The Open University Online Marketing Team, ensuring a strong understanding of their objectives from paid search, how their systems and processes currently worked and what their aspirations were from the channel. We also spent time with The Open University’s agency partner, interviewing all the key account personnel, ensuring that everyone was able to add and make a contribution to the audit outcome.

We then analysed and evaluated over 400 individual campaign elements including structure, management, keywords, match type, bid pricing and creative.

Our audit found that the campaign performed well in a number of key areas including account structure, ad creative, ad position and performance trend. It was possible to identify that the work undertaken by the agency partner during the campaign had delivered in excess of £300,000 of additional value.

£250,000 quantified saving opportunity

The audit also found that the campaign would benefit from further development in some areas. The current match strategy was causing the campaign to match to a higher number of search queries, making targeting and performance evaluation more difficult. It also found that significant savings could be made through further work and development of the negative keyword strategy. Overall the audit was able to identify in excess of £250,000 quantified savings and also the opportunity to increase click volume by a third without paying a premium in cost per click.

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