Genesis Fitness Achieves Conversion Milestones in a Post-Pandemic World

The Challenge

As the country and the broader fitness industry first started to see signs of recovery late in 2020, Revium was once again engaged to assist Genesis with their post-lockdown market re-entry and tasked with getting their brand awareness and member acquisition activities back to their pre-lockdown performance levels.  

The challenge was that consumer behaviours had changed during lockdown and their affinity to the fitness industry had pivoted towards a new and uncertain landscape. Partnered with the fact that the Genesis ad accounts had been inactive for a long period (which means going back through machine learning phases and waiting for performance to stabilise before strategic optimisations can be made), Revium’s digital marketing team were faced with a horizon no one had experienced before. How do we engage people who are slightly anxious about returning to a gym?  

The Solution

Prior to the commencement of lockdowns and restrictions in early 2020, Genesis’ monthly media budget was spread across more than 50 campaigns (because of a geo-diverse franchise network) as part of their always-on BAU paid search strategy.  

SEM is a paid channel that thrives on consistency given its reliance on machine learning and automated bidding strategies to achieve the best results. Therefore, it’s challenging to optimise in an ever-changing environment where rolling restrictions determined our ability to leave our own homes, and where SEM became a channel which many decided to turn on/off.   

When Revium reactivated the Genesis Fitness Google Ads account in January 2021, it was with lean monthly media budgets for obvious reasons; gyms had been closed and without income for extended periods, many months in some states. Paid channels were delivering 63% fewer leads at a 90% increased CPA in the first few months; less than ideal.  

After careful consideration and analysis, our team decided to divert as much of the budget into a revised national brand campaign instead of the individual club campaigns. This approach centralised the spend and gave the Google Ads engine the ability to optimise at a higher performance capacity (i.e. the campaigns were not as limited by budget). Combined with an automatic bidding strategy, this national campaign also consolidated the keyword targeting approach which generated an increase in search volume.  

Over the following months, as lockdowns further eased and media budgets were able to improve, Revium developed a new Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) campaign to support re-entering the highly competitive generic keyword territory. While this campaign had a higher CPA compared with the national brand campaign, it enabled us to generate additional leads from a broader, more competitive keyword base which also helped inform our broader generic keyword strategy for Genesis moving forward.  

By mid-2021, paid performance had improved dramatically which signaled the re-instatement of our club-level campaigns and location-based targeting approach (which operated alongside the new national campaigns). We were able to then activate more relevant and club specific ads and drive even more leads through the website.    

We consolidated 2 campaigns per club to 1 campaign, whilst using the DSA campaign and national campaign to inform which keywords had the highest search volume. We were then able to modify keywords based on each gym location and surrounding suburbs for a hyper-targeted approach which wasn’t achievable under the national brand campaigns.     

The Outcome 

The new revised structure and campaign approach for Genesis Fitness allowed Revium to continually test new bidding strategies, ad copy variants, and keyword targeting.  

Five months after re-activating the Genesis ad accounts, we were able to increase paid search conversions by 61% despite having a 40% lower media spend during that period.  

Compared with Genesis’ pre-COVID paid results, and despite having a 57% lower media spend when reviewing year-on-year performance insights, our team were also able to generate leads at a 39% lower CPA level. This means we were able to deliver new members to Genesis at a far lower cost which is always an important ROI goal for any leads-based business.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • Keep it simple and start small. Having a solid foundation is the best way to rebuild after periods of little or no campaign activity and allows for controlled testing of new tactics which will minimise disruption to the ads account (you can’t achieve your goals if your account is constantly in a machine learning phase).   

  • Review and restructure accounts if needed to facilitate changing operational circumstances. During COVID-19, media budgets were impacted and reduced dramatically across many industries. Simplify and consolidate campaigns and targeting where possible to give your media budgets greater performance opportunity.    

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