Case Study


RealESmart provides comprehensive property calculation software for the full spectrum of property market participants in New Zealand. Whether that be first home buyers or experienced investors, the RealESmart property calculator helps them make informed, educated decisions backed by the latest property data. The calculator combines data from dependable sources and basic custom fields that the property investor then fills out themselves.

This allows fast analysis of a range of factors and provides estimates such as rental estimates property yeilds, property information and history, market trends, mortgage repayments, and more. Property professionals such as sales agents and property managers also utilise the tool heavily to create and share estimates with prospective buyers. RealESmart’s goal is to increase its user base cost-effectively with both free and premium sign-ups. However, as an online business, a strong digital presence is key for sign-ups and overall growth.

Before running Google Ads, RealESmart was experiencing volatile swings in sign-ups, unable to pinpoint or track their other forms of marketing – what was working and what was not. (see graph 2). RealESmart didn’t capture a lot of organic traffic and subsequently, didn’t receive consistent sign-ups through inbound search; as terms like ‘property calculator’ used by banks become very competitive even though their service for ‘property calculator’ doesn’t compare. This was not going to improve without a comprehensive SEO and website overhaul. Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing was the way to go if RealEsmart wanted to rank on the first page of Google for relevant searches and capitalise on the overall search traffic.

Signups per month
+ 0 %
Cost per signup
- 0 %
Conv. Rate
+ 0 %


Increase total monthly signups

Increase brand awareness

Generate cost-effective results which could be sustainably replicated

Budget Allocation

After a few weeks of serving ads through our initial wide range of campaigns, we discovered that not all campaigns are made equal. Although, “property calculator” searches would be the most obvious term to target, our data showed that some of our long tail and different approach search terms were consistently able to achieve a considerably lower cost per signup.

We switched courses, allocating more budget to the campaigns performing the best, and were able to improve the account’s cohesive performance and decrease CPA. With the results of our initial testing, we were able to refine spending considerably and focus nearly all of the budget on exact terms we knew were converting at a high clip. Akin to finding the needle in the haystack, we found the golden search terms amidst the mob of money-wasting terms.


Google ads (PPC) was chosen as the primary channel to gain sign-ups. Given the product type and the sheer amount of search volume available for RealESmart’s core offering, it only made sense to capitalise on this.

Within Google Ads, the majority of spending was allocated to search campaigns (text ads) to gain impression share on the myriad of high-priority keywords. Initially, we had a range of search campaigns targeting all major segments of RealESmarts product offering and target markets. This gave us a broad overview of what segments are producing the best results. Display remarketing was also used to hit previous website visitors who hadn’t signed up for the tool with a reminder.

Remarketing campaigns are a great way to advertise to an audience who has already shown interest in the product/service. This also increases brand awareness and reminds the user to finish the sign-up process.


Experiments and testing are often underutilised, but very critical in a digital marketers tool belt. The first experiment we ran was an A/B landing page test to see what landing page had a greater conversion rate; the standard home page or the sign-up page.

Within only one week of testing, the results were explicit – so conclusive that we terminated the experiment early and amended all ads to go directly to the sign-up plans page. When pushing thousands of visitors to the site, the enhanced 2% improvement in conversion rate from this test made a tremendous impact at scale – resulting in many more sign-ups that may have otherwise been missed (see graph 1). Doing strategic experiments early on also ensures were achieving the best return on investment as soon as possible.

Network Effects

As well as the signups directly attributed to Google Ads, we noticed sign-ups improve from other channels such as direct and social as we scaled up media spending. These channels hadn’t attributed any sign-ups before our campaigns, which indicates that there is some level of influence that our ads had on cross-channel engagement and highlights the dynamic business momentum in digital marketing.

From The Client

Digitella assessed our situation and potential market, they listened and identified several keys areas for potential growth. Digitella then proposed a multi-pronged strategy to maximise these opportunities with a view to then refine the ads and budget allocation over time (with our input) as a clearer picture emerged of campaign results. This approach clearly identified key areas with a considerable increase user sign ups validating this reasoning while maximising the budget allocations.

Craig Broadhead
General Manager/Co-founder

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