Exact increase traffic and search activity by integrating branding and lead generation in a single data-driven full funnel

March 2018

Business software developer Exact drive efficiency and increase the relevance of their marketing by uniting brand and performance advertising in a single, data-driven funnel.


Prove the value of Automated, Data Driven, Full Funnel Marketing

Understand the impact of online brand advertising on website visits & lead generation to make informed budget decisions and produce high ROI

Gain learnings on how branding & performance marketing teams can work together to make Exact’s advertising strategy more impactful


Full Integration of various aspects of the campaign: media, targeting, measurement & attribution

TrueView geo experiment to show the value of upper funnel video ads

Create a united campaign team consisting of people from both branding and performance business units


See: Exact reached and engaged with 3.7M business professionals who watched 1.4M videos

Think: business professionals showed a 111% increase in searches for Exact, which resulted in 10K incremental site visits

Do: From the engagement Exact realised 154 Trial & Demo conversions. Always-on lead-gen retargeting saw a 121% increase in conversions

In common with some of the world’s most successful technology companies, Dutch business software developer Exact was founded in a garage. In 1984, six students came together with the intention of building great enterprise resource planning (ERP) and accounting software. Since that day, the company has grown to almost 1500 employees across offices in 14 countries, and now provides its software and services to 375,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) throughout Europe.

Commitment to Innovation

Innovation has been at the heart of Exact’s mission from the very beginning, developing accounting products for businesses and accountants as well as industry-specific solutions in manufacturing, professional services and wholesale that help their customers make smarter decisions. This desire to improve the efficiency and success of businesses is also visible in the company’s approach to its own marketing activity. “Our biggest challenge is increasing our product awareness and the growth of our lead intake,” says Karsten Mosterd, Global Digital Strategy & Innovation at Exact. “Our sales department is therefore highly dependent on our marketing activities, and to achieve an acceptable cost-per-lead we need to eliminate waste and only show our ads to the right person at the right time.”

Around 66% of all Exact’s sales leads are generated by online advertising, but despite online’s importance, Karsten and his team saw further opportunities to improve. “There was a big gap between product awareness and brand awareness, caused by different departments, misalignment of KPIs and media budgets,” he says. “Ultimately though, we were talking about the same target audience, just at different stages in the sales funnel.” This division led to inefficiency and missed opportunities, with audience insights not always being shared between the two marketing teams.

Creating a Data-Driven, Integrated Approach

To address the disconnect, Exact decided to combine the branded and performance elements of their marketing into a single data-driven, full funnel integration. “The idea was to have both departments targeting on the same channel, at the same moment and with aligned content. By doing this we increase our media impact and awareness within our audience sweet spot,” says Karsten. In practice, this involved breaking down the internal barriers between the brand awareness and lead generation sides of the business, and refocusing on the customer. With this done, the newly aligned team were then able to collaborate on strategy, channels and tactics, budgets, creatives, measurement, technology and targeting.

To achieve media coverage across stages of the funnel, Exact used YouTube, Google Search and Display advertising. TrueView video ads were used to build awareness at the top of the funnel, with Display and Lightbox ads coming into play further down to drive product consideration. Finally, an always-on Search campaign combined with Display remarketing and strong calls-to-action, ensured that the brand was ready to attract any in-market consumers at the base of the funnel.

Benefitting from a Full Funnel

Exact measured the impact of these changes using a sophisticated geographical experiment to understand the incremental leads generated. This was done by identifying test and control regions in the Netherlands, and exposing only one region to the campaign. The results of this study showed an additional 10,000 incremental sessions and 154 conversions driven by the new approach, demonstrating the value of the project. In addition to the extra traffic, Search Lift studies also revealed a 113% increase in searches for Exact’s brand name from viewers who had been exposed to the campaign’s YouTube ads.

 “We’ve built a true integration, so we’re able to follow-up each touchpoint through the full marketing funnel,” says Karsten Mosterd, reflecting on the results of the reorganisation. “We have no more silos, and are now really focused on customer centricity. There’s more collaboration and knowledge-sharing between departments, and we can now start to think about delivering integrated marketing both on- and offline - it’s very exciting!”


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