While the world as we know it was changing around us, it became clear that people’s motivation for fitness would be affected as the pandemic brought the industry to a standstill. It is against this backdrop that our client, a fast-growing fitness franchise, needed a fresh approach to its lead generation strategy.

The Assignment

Our client’s fitness brand had been exploding in popularity prior to the pandemic. However, the new normal offered them a new-found opportunity to increase investment in ad spend and maximise qualified leads. 

To get potential franchisees to take the first step towards owning their own fitness studios, we previously launched a small set of continent-specific bid strategies to better reflect local challenges. 

This approach didn’t bear as much fruit as anticipated: the continent-specific bid strategies were not gathering sufficient data points to effectively optimise themselves and were therefore underperforming in terms of securing the best qualified leads.

So, it was time to switch up our game plan.

Our Action Plan

The team at our digital marketing agency in South Africa focused their efforts on a universal bid strategy within SA360 that followed Google’s recommended best practices. Auction-time bidding was selected as this extends the bid strategy analysis to contextual signals such as device, browser type, location, time of day and remarketing list. 

A Data-driven attribution model was created and then included the new bid strategy as this is the best way to allocate click value down the conversion funnel, as opposed to last-click attribution which only assigns credit to the final interaction.


We were therefore able to collect as many relevant data points as possible and allow the algorithm to make sense of the big data. With this angle, we could see which of our clicks were the most impactful, and use the data points to efficiently spend the budget whilst increasing quality qualified leads. 

Key Outcomes 

Soon after implementing the universal bid strategy, we saw compelling results. This is significant because lead generation campaigns usually take about six months to build steam and pay off. We were able to shorten this timeline to an estimated two months.

Qualified leads from December 2020 to February 2021 (the timeframe when we implemented the updated Universal DDA bid strategy) increased by 8.6% compared to the period September 2020 to November 2020. While there was an uptick in qualified leads, unqualified leads simultaneously saw a decrease of roughly 8.1%.

Even though the universal bid strategy did not generate a sizeable lead volume, it was more effective at securing qualified leads. For our client, lead quality stands out as the single largest factor driving the real ROI of their lead generation campaigns. With qualified leads almost doubling compared to the previous period, the client ended up with truly sales-ready opportunities.