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Sylvan Learning wanted to reach moms in the U.S. more efficiently with its Search campaigns. Its syllabus for success? Applying bid adjustments for specific demographics to help lower the brand’s cost per lead for both branded and non-branded searches.


Increase visibility on search among women 25 to 54

Drive online form submissions at a low cost per lead (CPL)


Used demographics for search ads on all Search campaigns

Increased bids for its core demographic (women 25 to 54)


25% reduction in CPL for both branded and non-branded searches

Sylvan Learning helps kids around the world reach their potential with a range of customized courses, from catching up to a grade level to achieving higher SAT scores. It's the kind of resource parents dream about when they feel like giving their kids the best through every stage of their academic journey.

When parents are looking for the education resources their kids need, they often turn to Google Search. Sylvan wanted to make sure it was reaching them with the right message in those critical moments. In a highly competitive industry, the challenge for Sylvan was making sure it was there for its most valuable audience: women ages 25 to 54.

Sylvan's ad creative and messaging strategy was already focused on connecting with these customers; now the brand just needed the right tool to break through and be seen.

Sylvan gets its message to the front of the class with DFSA

Sylvan had already seen success in engaging moms by applying demographic insights to its campaigns on the Google Display Network and YouTube. Demographics for search ads (DFSA) presented an opportunity to bring this strategy to Search.

Marketers can use DFSA to amplify their Search campaigns by adjusting their strategy for consumers that fall within a specific demographic group (organized by gender and age range). Sylvan used DFSA to set its demographic targets to focus on women between the ages of 25 and 54—starting out with a 10% bid modifier—making it more likely moms would see the brand's message when they searched on Google.

"With demographics for search ads, we can concentrate our marketing dollars on the audiences most important to us."

Because Sylvan already knew these were its most valuable customers, it was ready to bid aggressively right from the start. For advertisers that don't have this pre-existing insight, starting with a 0% bid modifier and analyzing demographic performance over time is a good way to discover high-value customers.

"With demographics for search ads, we can concentrate our marketing dollars on the audiences most important to us," said Ya-Yung Cheng, senior director of digital marketing and CRM at Sylvan Learning. "The more we can hone in on appearing for high-value customers, in-market mothers, and our target audiences, the more we can improve our messaging and customer experience."

Sylvan graduates with lower CPLs

Sylvan reported great results using DFSA, decreasing CPLs by 25% for its branded and non-branded campaigns.

In addition to increasing bids for higher-value customers, Sylvan plans to further segment its age ranges and conduct more tests around bidding and messaging.