Case Study: Building Strong Non-Brand PPC Campaigns

An Online Marketing Case Study


A large, private university with multiple campuses across the United States.


Lever Interactive was hired to manage a university’s existing online advertising pay-per-click (PPC) program to generate prospective student leads. The main goal of the program was to increase the overall number of leads, with a concentration on growing lead counts and efficiency from non-branded keywords.

Often organizations rely on the efficiency and ease of brand keywords in PPC campaigns to off-set under-performing non-branded campaigns. However, it is vital for any successful PPC campaign to maintain and grow efficient non-branded campaigns because this is where more volume and untapped audiences exist.


Lever Interactive took over the existing campaigns and performed an audit of the account’s keywords, ads, landing pages, bids and budgets. Using custom reports that provided keyword level trending data, Lever quickly identified over- and under-performing areas of the account. After a full analysis, Lever began testing new bidding strategies, landing page designs and ad extensions.


  • Optimization of existing Google search and display network advertising and Bing/Yahoo search advertising, including but not limited to:
    • Paused inefficient non-brand keywords
    • Increased bidding to better compete with the industry and run ads in higher positions. Higher bids were facilitated with increased budgets following tests that proved the effectiveness of this approach
    • Increased use of ad extensions, including sitelinks and call extensions
  • Tested landing pages to improve conversion rates
  • Launched Facebook and LinkedIn PPC advertising
  • Launched direct display buys from reputable websites in the campus’ markets


Two months after taking over management of the PPC program, Lever Interactive was able to generate significant lead growth in non-brand campaigns, as well as incremental growth in brand leads. Overall efficiency of the campaigns also improved simultaneous with the lead growth.

In the first 5 months of Lever’s management:

  • Overall number of leads increased 222%
  • Non-brand leads increased 512%
  • Brand leads increased 133%
  • Cost-per-lead (brand and non-brand) decreased 44%

Brand vs. Non-Brand Performance Growth



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