Integrated Search Strategy Drives a 26% Increase in Revenue for Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading independent funder of cancer research with the vision of a world where everybody lives longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.

The Challenge

Cancer Research UK seeks to drive regular donations to fund long-term research projects and to help people live better, longer lives. Marketing activity, such as paid search, helps to raise funds and awareness for cancer research but this was being made more difficult as a result of the increasingly competitive paid search landscape driving higher CPCs.

In order to continue to drive the most impact, Impression was challenged to maintain and grow search visibility to increase overall revenue, without increasing media spend.

Research revealed that non-brand keywords had become more competitive and were responsible for driving higher costs. With this in mind, Impression wanted to determine whether reducing spend on branded keywords – that benefit from strong organic visibility – would unlock budget to reinvest into more competitive terms, and whether these terms would drive more revenue.

To measure and report on their success, Impression worked towards the following KPIs:

  • Improve ROAS and CPA, whilst increasing revenue by 15% YoY (measured holistically across both paid and organic search)
  • Reduce spend on branded keywords by 5%
  • Increase donations made via non-branded keywords, without exceeding an agreed CPA target

The Strategy

Their approach was to conduct a branded incrementality test in certain locations across a specified time period. The test would identify whether branded organic search would capture clicks and revenue lost from reduced PPC spend on branded keywords.

Impression aimed to maintain revenue driven from brand keywords to allow media budget to be redistributed to areas which could perform better.

Impression created location test groups for reduced brand spending (excluding these locations and measuring against their previous spend) and measured the impact on paid and organic traffic and conversions in these areas, seeing how the metrics fluctuated, positively or negatively so as to determine whether switching off Paid Brand impacted traffic and overall revenue.

The test was a phased approach, ensuring the process was fair and had limited risk, and the team at Cancer Research UK were kept informed of learnings and next steps through every stage of activity.

The Results

Impression decreased spend across brand keywords, maintaining, and in some cases, growing results vs control periods. Traffic and donations driven from non-branded keywords increased whilst CPA remained below the specified target. The below results were achieved April-May 2023.

  • 7.8% decrease in brand spend (against a target of 5%)
  • 26% increase in YoY revenue (against a target of 15%)
  • 7.6% decrease in CPA
  • 8.2% increase in ROAS

About Impression

Impression is a multi-award winning, Digital Growth Agency. They define and deliver integrated digital strategies that transform their clients from market players to market leaders.