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As a Software as a Service (SaaS) HR systems company, ELMO Talent Management Software helps companies give employees annual training and testing necessary for government compliance. Looking to build its brand and become more well known in the marketplace, ELMO turned to AdWords Search Network with Display Select, a hybrid campaign that runs across search and display. Reaching the most consumers at the best ROI, the company's cost-per-lead is 40% lower on display than its search ads, and year-on-year revenue growth is 40%.


Gain visibility for its superior SaaS product

Find a fresh path to new customers


Created new campaigns using AdWords Search Network with Display Select


40% lower cost-per-lead on display over search

20% of the leads for some courses now come from Display Select

Year-on-year revenue growth of 40% since joining AdWords

ELMO Talent Management Software is an SaaS HR systems company based in Sydney, Australia. ELMO has developed more than 2,000 online eLearning modules that help companies such as Staples and Ericsson give employees the annual training and testing they need for government compliance.


ELMO started in 2002 “with three people in a subterranean office with ideas and technology,” says CEO Danny Lessem.

By 2011, the company felt it had built a superior SaaS product, yet it still wasn’t well-known in the marketplace. “A lot of other inferior products had the reputation of being the market leaders and innovators,” says Lessem. “We did some research and saw that the quickest and most efficient way to gain visibility was with Google AdWords.”

Search Network with Display Select is at the forefront of our success now. It gives us the best chance to reach the most customers at the best ROI.

—Danny Lessem, CEO, ELMO


In 2011 ELMO began running AdWords search campaigns, using keywords such as “corporate training” to reach businesses that were actively looking for what they had to offer. It was a success—so much so that by 2013 it felt it was maxing out traffic for super-competitive keywords such as “LMS” and “Performance Management System.” As it looked for new ways to find more leads, it tried AdWords Search Network with Display Select, a special hybrid campaign that combines display and search advertising.

ELMO’s ads continued to run on search, but also as display ads on highly targeted websites where potential clients might be browsing. Search Network with Display Select chose only the display sites most likely to convert for ELMO, devoting 10–15% of the total campaign budget to those sites.

Why run both search and display? “Because the sum is greater than the whole of the parts,” says Lessem. Search tends to drive more click-throughs, while display ads promote the ELMO brand. “The display campaigns are the real winner when it comes to perception and brand awareness,” says Lessem.

Search Network with Display Select helps ELMO compete with major international players in their space. Display ads promote the ELMO brand and give it the visibility and stature the company had been missing. “The combination of search and display levels the field for us,” says Lessem. “When we ask our prospects how they found out about us, what closed the deal was seeing our brand on the Google Display Network.”


Three years after beginning its AdWords campaigns, ELMO has the reputation it deserves as Australia’s leading provider of online compliance training and eLearning consultation.

Twenty percent of the leads for ELMO’s Workplace Health and Safety courses now come from Display Select. Even more surprising, their cost-per-lead from Display Select is 40% less than from their search ads.

“We’ve had revenue growth of 40% year over year over the last two years,” says Lessem. The company has grown to 50 employees and more than 500 clients and is proudly opening its first Asian office in Singapore.

“Our message for other companies is that with online marketing, you don’t have to be intimidated by larger companies,” says Lessem. “Search Network with Display Select is at the forefront of our success now. It gives us the best chance to reach the most customers at the best ROI.”