VMware wanted to level up their Google Ads campaigns by incorporating the buyer journey and CRM data into account management. Learn how we restructured their account for success to drive much stronger performance, despite 38% higher CPC year over year.


increase in Google Ads conversions


reduction in CPA


increase in conversion rate


CTR improvement

The challenge

VMware uses a full-funnel strategy to reach prospects across every stage of the buyer journey, from awareness to decision. In early 2021, VMware’s VeloCloud Google Ads account was optimized based on lead data tracked with Google floodlight tags. Performance was good, as the account generated leads at an acceptable cost per lead. However, there was potential to generate more qualified leads by leveraging CRM data for optimizations.

Merkle was tasked with reorganizing the account to better support campaign objectives and incorporate CRM data. This restructure would remove low-performing keywords and landing pages and re-organize campaigns based on keyword intent to maximize budgets. The account structure would be simpler, streamlined, and easier to manage.

The approach

Merkle worked with VMware to define KPIs and objectives for each asset in the account. Campaigns were organized into awareness and demand, with different KPIs for each. Awareness campaigns included YouTube and Search and focused on broad, non-branded terms. Demand campaigns consisted primarily of Search campaigns with long-tail, non-brand and brand terms. The campaign reorganization included a review of assets, keywords, and ad copy, along with placement of each asset in the correct part of the buyer journey. Campaigns were consolidated, going from 248 active campaigns to 94, which made account management easier and more streamlined.

Prior to July 2021, only front-end conversions (form fills) were tracked in Google Ads. Merkle worked with VMware to use Google’s Salesforce import feature to track how many form fills actually became leads. This allowed PPC managers to employ bid strategies that aligned with each campaign’s goal. Awareness campaigns used the Maximize Clicks bid strategy, while demand campaigns used Target CPA. VMware provided a weekly tracker showing progress against KPIs, which acted as a guide for weekly optimization. Both the Merkle and VMware teams were proactive in recommending different kinds of campaigns and strategies to test in order to achieve client goals.

The outcome

The new campaign structure allowed the team to easily add new content to exactly the right place in the buyer journey.

Merkle had a clear view of the improvements needed to the account, and the structure we needed to get there. ... Merkle is a true partner who helped us exceed our KPIs for this account.

Noreen Terada

Sr. Manager, Global Search for VMware

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