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How optimisation helped PensionBee triple their customer base

Back to all success stories

How optimisation helped PensionBee triple their customer base

Goals
  • Continue their growth trajectory
  • Maintain market leader position
  • Save time and control costs
  • Launch new product offerings
Approach
  • Proactive testing of new channels and approaches with their Google Ads managers
  • Using Smart Bidding to automate their bidding strategy to target CPA
  • Expanding search coverage by upgrading generic keywords to Broad Match
  • Working with Google Ads manager to optimise and experiment
Results
  • 100% Growth in Search Campaign investment
  • 25% lower cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • 57% YoY growth, now with 215,000 active customers as of 31 March 2022
  • App campaigns have contributed to 400% increase in downloads over 6 month period

“The Google team gives us encouragement to test more proactively and more frequently. As we’ve grown, so too has the level of support, and we’ve definitely seen success across our campaigns because of that constant level of contact.”

About the company

Background

Founded in 2014 by Romi Savova, after she had a negative experience trying to move her pension after changing jobs.

Mission

To make pensions simple so that everyone can look forward to a happy retirement.

Growth

215,000 active customers as of 31 March 2022; London Stock Exchange listing; c.180 employees.

From challenger brand to market leader

PensionBee began using Google Ads back in 2018 as a way to educate and convert people looking for a simpler way to consolidate their pensions. With help from the Google Accelerated Growth Program, the team achieved great success – tripling their conversions, while reducing cost per lead by a fifth.

Fast forward three years and PensionBee has doubled customer numbers year-on-year, seen a six-fold increase in its workforce, and scaled up its marketing campaigns across multiple media channels.

While Search Ads still help to deliver high ROI for the business, competition within the market has intensified, and legacy brands are working hard to catch up. For this next critical phase, the team looked to optimise their existing high performing campaigns, while introducing approaches to support their above the line brand marketing campaign.

Approach

Within their Google Ads set-up, Search ads remain a core part of their marketing mix – helping the brand show up against relevant keywords and remain top of mind when it matters. Working closely with their Google Ads account managers, the team have explored new strategies to fuel their continued growth and help them achieve their performance goals.

Fueling fresh growth

When PensionBee launched in 2016, their website was their only acquisition platform. But with the launch of their mobile app in 2018, PensionBee gave customers a choice on how to engage with their product. Working with their Google Account managers they were encouraged to test more proactively and discovered other opportunities to capture prospects.

“We tested App campaigns, where we saw strong success” says Neill Vandenberg, VP of Marketing. “We’ve seen App downloads increase by over 400% in 6 months. Now, if a prospect prefers a web experience, our Search Ads give them that choice. Whereas for mobile-first users, our App campaigns provide a new channel for growth”.

Leveraging efficiencies

As PensionBee’s campaigns have scaled up in recent years, so too has the need to control costs and free up the team’s time. One approach that’s helped here is using Smart Bidding to Target CPA. “We simply set our ideal CPA,” says Neill. “And at the end of the month, we have seen our CPA meet the target cost.” The ability to automate bids also means the team now spends less time micromanaging each campaign, and more time focusing on the bigger picture.

Another time-saver has been Responsive ads. Rather than building and managing multiple versions of each creative execution, PensionBee now uses machine learning to automatically display the most relevant combination of Ad size, format and messaging. “It’s supplementing our wider brand campaigns and targets, while giving us back the time to focus on strategy and testing new products,” says Neill.

Lastly, through Google Ads experts advice, PensionBee transitioned generic activity to Broad Match in order to scale coverage whilst still maintaining efficient performance within their CPA target.

Reaching new markets and audiences

While the company’s core proposition will always be their pension consolidation service, the team have taken bold steps into other product areas by employing a more targeted use of Google Ads to help them achieve more specific goals.

“As we work to be the best universal online pension provider, we’ve developed products for specific markets,” explains Neill. “An example of this is our Fossil Fuel Free Plan – one of the first mainstream funds of its kind to completely exclude firms with proven or probable reserves of oil, gas or coal, or our pension product for the Self-Employed – a group who have historically been underserved by the industry. With Google Ads, we’ve been able to promote our products to targeted audiences.”

Results

PensionBee’s campaigns have continued to deliver strong results to help fuel their exponential growth.

As of 31 March 2022, PensionBee has over 215,000 Active Customers and their team of 180 employees oversees £2.7 billion in Assets under Administration. Their Search campaigns have grown by at least 96% year-on-year since 2019, and 2021 saw growth of 100% while CPA decreased by 25%.

Growing together with Google

Working with their Google Ads team has helped drive results and efficiencies. A joint restructuring of their Search campaigns saw a 36% uplift in performance while adding new channels like App campaigns continue to contribute to growth.

Scaling with their marketing goals

Google Ads campaigns have also taken on new significance as PensionBee increased their investment in brand marketing. “Our Google campaigns have been really important as they supplement the brand campaigns by targeting lower funnel prospects. Our Search ads, in particular, make sure we appear and provide relevant information whenever prospects are ready to start searching pension related queries generated by our brand marketing” explains Neill.

From start-up to market leader, it’s clear that as PensionBee continues to grow, so too does their use of Google Ads. “As our needs evolve, so does our use of the Google Ads platform and we look forward to continuing this partnership”, adds Neill.

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