Recruit real humans to your cause with machine learning

How we used Google Smart Display to run a low-cost, high-value acquisition campaign

Showcased Capabilities

Advertising, Marketing

An organization came to us with a goal of acquiring new emails that were highly engaged at a low cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of under $4 across 25 states. Knowing that finding high quality subscribers at that price point could be a challenge, they requested a three-phase campaign. Every month, we would iterate and improve our efforts to get just the right emails. We needed to help them build a healthy email list while also keeping the CPA low.

How we did it

An evolving ad campaign that drives down costs? The Google Display platform was a perfect fit.

Smart Display is a Google product that uses machine learning to optimize targeting. When a campaign first begins, it will cast a wide net and then weed out people who are not converting. Initially, CPAs will be high as the machine learning is working to figure out the best people to target, but as time goes on, in most cases it will drop as the campaign starts to optimize appropriately.


Overall, by using Smart Display, we were able to acquire 58,389 new emails over the course of three months. Not only did we meet the $4 target CPA, we blew it out of the water with a CPA of $2.29 and a conversion rate of 22.35%.

Across each of the three phases, CPAs decreased due to Smart Display’s continuous optimization. Our Phase 1 CPA was $3.07, Phase 2 CPA was $2.04, and Phase 3 was $1.55.

What we learned

If you want spectacular results from your ad dollars, look beyond the basics to cutting-edge ad tech. Before you start spending, make sure you’ve matched your campaign to the best platform for your goals. Let the artificial intelligence produced by machine learning make you look real smart.