Surpassing Expectations

Portent Helps Linode Increase Conversions 186% and Decrease Average Cost per Conversion 54% Year over Year.


Linode came to Portent with an ambitious goal to take their PPC efforts to the next level. They wanted to increase conversions, maintain profitability, and gain an edge over the competition.

Objective 1: Increase conversions 33% in 12 months.

Objective 2: Improve average ad positions over their two largest competitors.

Strategy & Target Audiences

Linode provides server and cloud hosting for hourly or monthly fees. Their customer base typically consists of developers and IT managers.

We identified three main audiences which we considered “high intent” – those most likely to convert upon visiting Linode’s site. The first audience we labeled “Brand” and consisted of users who were already aware of Linode and its offerings. The second audience we labeled “Virtual Private Server” and consisted of users actively looking for VPS services. The third audience we labeled “Linux Hosting” and consisted of users who were looking for Linux-specific hosting solutions, which is Linode’s specialty.

In addition, we identified two primary on-site audiences which we used for re-targeting purposes. The first audience segment consisted of users who have visited a landing page already but did not convert. The second audience segment consisted of users who visited key pages on-site which indicated their network preference.

Using these five unique audiences, we designed campaigns with dedicated landing pages depending on where a particular audience sat in the sales funnel. With unique strategies for each audience segment, we tailored our strategy to complement each audience with value propositions designed to resonate most with their needs.

Implementation & Creativity

We tailored ad copy to highlight “instant activation” – one of Linode’s unique selling points which separated them from their competitors. Many people in this search space mention 24/7 support and “X amount of RAM for $XX”, but the convenience of a quick setup was largely ignored. Instant activation became our main selling point.

We also recommended changes to landing pages, stripping them down to the essential points needed specifically for each of our paid search audiences. Afterwards, we ensured the design of our banner ads matched these revised landing pages. We also ensured the messaging of all of our ads matched their respective landing pages, each designed for one of our target audiences.

Results & Evaluation

Through the creation of newly created segmented customer audiences with detailed campaigns, we were able to help Linode fly by their paid search goals for the year. On the front end, we witnessed the following changes in our click metrics:

  • Between our expansion of keywords and creation of specific retargeting pools, we increased their Impressions year over year by 24%.
  • We bolstered our bids to be competitive in the VPS space, which increased our CPC by 3%.
  • Through new creative, new offers, and better ad positioning, we also improved our CTR by 4%. This increase led to a 33% increase in cost.

These changes in click metrics helped us gain the additional user volume we needed to achieve our main objective. Linode separated itself from the competition in its ad copy and saw a consistent increase in average ad position for our target audiences.

Our audience-specific targeting and optimized landing pages provided conversion rates which exceeded our expectations. Not only did we help Linode meet their goal of increasing conversions 33% in one year, we helped them surpass it by huge margins. Linode ended up seeing a 186% increase in conversions year over year. Furthermore, the improvements in conversion rates led to a 54% decrease in the average cost per conversion.


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