SEO + Content Case Study

Keyword Strategy Helps Military Service Bank Increase Qualified Conversions, Decrease CPA

Strategic shift in paid media strategy drove increase in qualified loan applications while decreasing CPA for full service military bank.


  • 113%

    increase in quality leads

  • $6.7k

    ad spend saved by excluding “bad credit”

  • 39%

    decrease in CPA

The Client

The Client is a full service military bank. They provide financial services for active-duty and retired military members, veterans, and their families nationwide.

The Objective

The Client was receiving low-quality and non-qualified applications through their previous paid advertising strategy, and came to us feeling like they were wasting their ad spend budget. Our primary objective was to enhance the quality of loan applications they received and improve their overall cost per acquisition (CPA).

Paid Media Strategy


    The problem

  • The Client’s previous agency partner relied on broad match keywords in their PPC strategy. This proved problematic as they were spending the Client’s budget on bids for keywords that included “bad credit” and driving low-quality loan applications. In an attempt to fix this, the prior agency partner paused ‘bad credit’ keywords, but didn’t add them to a negative keyword list. Because of this, Google still showed the Client’s ads for searches related to ‘bad credit,’ and continued to drive poor quality leads.


    The solution

  • Our solution consisted of a two-step approach:

    First, we created a campaign tailored to individuals most likely to have good credit. We retained many of the legacy keywords but updated them to phrase match. By using phrase match, rather than broad match, we created an additional guard rail to ensure Google lined up search queries to our keywords as closely as possible. From there, we created a robust negative keyword list that included “bad credit” keyword variations. The application of negative keywords prevented our Client’s ads from displaying to users who are searching for “bad credit loan.”

    Second, we scaled the account after we saw positive results and high-quality leads from phase one. While we initially eschewed any “bad credit” leads, we wanted to create an opportunity to market to users who may self-identify as having bad credit, even though their credit scores may be high enough to qualify for a loan. Therefore, we created a separate “bad credit” campaign to actively target those users. All keywords are in phrase match and modified with “bad credit.” By segmenting the two campaigns, we are better able to control who sees which ad, and control how much budget we want to allocate to each.


    Why it matters

  • A broad match approach is a bad fit for businesses such as our Client’s which serve a very specific segment of the population. The issues with poor quality leads they came to us with were solvable with a more strategic and ad testing-based approach to paid media management. We came to understand that potential customers with good credit had different financial needs and concerns than those with bad credit. To reach the widest possible audience match, we needed to segment these two types of searches and tailor messaging to provide more relevant information to users in each group.

    Applying for a loan is a lengthy process and potential customers need more information and guidance to make the right financial decisions. We approached our paid media strategy to segment and direct marketing efforts towards those who are more likely to convert. In doing so we were able to optimize the Client’s advertising budget, reduce cost per acquisition, and make the campaigns more effective and efficient.

By segmenting the audiences and adding “bad credit” to negative keywords we were able to dramatically reduce the cost per acquisition (CPA) by 39%, saving our Client an average of $12 per loan application that originated through our paid ad campaign.


DTC’s strategy of keeping “bad credit” searches segmented, employing phrase match types, and creating individualized messaging resulted in more high-quality loan applications and a decrease in CPA.

By using the client’s marketing budget in a more effective way, the client was able to grow at scale. These tactics have been instrumental in demonstrating trust to the client. They have now not only increased their monthly budget, but signed up their regional sister bank for our services as well.

Read More Case Studies

  • Annual Content Earns 300+ Placements, Drives Organic Visibility

    How we leveraged client expertise to produce a recurring consumer-insight study to earn widespread, high-authority media placements for a B2B advertiser.

    Read more
  • 600% Rise in Page 1 Rankings for Chicago-Based Landscape Company

    SEO account management remedied an indexing issue, created and grew organic rankings for a B2C landscaping company who had essentially zero digital visibility.

    Read more
  • Dermatologist’s Helpful Content Earns #1 Ranking in <30 Days

    Strategic content created for dermatology practice earns rapid visibility, traffic in less than one month. Learn how we achieved #1 in SERPs for 4+ keywords.

    Read more

Lyndsey Maddox

Chief Executive Officer

Email Lyndsey. Find out how we can help.

Work with DTC

  • Or call us at (773) 904-2700

    Lyndsey will get in touch with you as soon as possible.