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Relevant keyword strategy leads to 238% conversion rate increase

To overcome off-target lead generation and high cost of product trials, we focused on centralizing relevant, high-intent keywords that attracted the right crowd at the right price.  

Client overview

ActivePDF is the leading global provider of server-side PDF automation and digital transformation tools. Using ActivePDF gives teams the ability to create, convert, modify, view, extract, and automate data to and from PDF files within software applications. 

ActivePDF technologies are represented amongst 40% of Fortune 500 companies and can be utilized across a large variety of solutions such as banking, financial services, government, health care, legal and more.  


Directive to ActivePDF is a fundamental cornerstone of a partnership that we rely on to communicate to our market that we are their digital transformation automation partner. And, we are right here for you. Directive helps us tell that story across the board to millions and millions of people.

Derek Gerber
Global Marketing Director, ActivePDF

The challenge

One of ActivePDFs largest drivers of new business is through leads generated from product trial sign-ups. The ActivePDF team is confident in the quality of their products and found that having users who utilized their technology often created a solid foundation for moving potential customers from consideration to “buy-ready”. The overarching goal was to build lead generation campaigns that utilized these free trials as the main offer.

One of the significant challenges faced was the quality of users signing up. ActivePDF received numerous product trials from collegiate students needing to use their software to complete various college projects. This audience was not aligned with ActivePDF’s ideal customers and, therefore, did not advance their pipeline. 

Another difficulty was the high cost of the product trials. While generating large volumes of trials was important, lead generation needed to be completed in a cost-effective manner.

The strategy

To overcome the obstacles of off-target lead generation and the larger cost of product trials, the Directive team concentrated on centralizing high-intent keywords that would resonate with users and condensed online forms for an optimized visitor experience.

Focusing on the big picture

The Directive team developed a new strategy that focused on high-intent keywords to increased relevant traffic to ActivePDF. We pivoted away from high-volume, yet generic, keywords and concentrated on longer-tail keywords with purpose. Although keyword costs grew and search volume lowered, the traffic quality upgraded.

Using Google Analytics, Directive found the number of users requesting a trial compared to users actually completing the form was massive. This data was a clear indication that we must optimize their form to reduce the friction users were experiencing once they requested a trial.

Putting users first

Working with the ActivePDF team, we narrowed the form to only include the fields that were vital for their sales department to to contact prospects in the best way. Previously, the longer form was used as a filter to weed out unqualified or poor-quality traffic. Once we adjusted our keyword targeting and were confident in traffic quality, we shortened the form fields required and greatly improved the user experience.

After seeing promising progress, we scaled this strategy across all product lines being promoted within the ActivePDF account. With this proven model, we worked with ActivePDF to expand into key regions internationally. 

The above tactics helped drive one of the most successful quarters ActivePDF has had in terms of growth.

296 Increase in lead volume QoQ from 324 trials to 1,283 trials
76 Decrease in CPA QoQ from $131.18 to $31.04
238 Increase in conversion rate QoQ from 1.91% to 6.44%

The results speak for themselves


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