Success despite a pandemic, using a long-tail strategy and prioritized keyword segmentation

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Client Background

Sentry helps developers quickly triage and resolve programming issues thereby reducing stress, chaos, and potential financial loss by providing cross-stack visibility and deep context about errors. Each day, they process billions of exceptions from some of the most popular products on the internet.

Essentially: Sentry helps software teams build better software, faster.



The existing campaigns reached a plateau in conversion volume and we were struggling to reduce CPAs. We saw significantly higher CPAs coming from the Alpha (exact match keyword) campaigns, and we were seeing the majority of conversions coming from long-tail search queries in the Beta (broad match modified keyword) campaigns. We used these insights to restructure the account to capitalize on what was working in order to scale up conversion volume while lowering cost.

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JDM Approach

We combined bidding automation with our JDM Prioritized Keyword Segmentation strategy to capitalize on the performance from the long-tail keywords. We ran the Alpha-Beta evolved campaign strategy and introduced Gamma campaigns (true broad match keywords) to capture long-tail terms. Additionally, we tested new markets to increase conversion volume and further improve CPA.


We were seeing better performance from long-tail keywords, so we started pausing Alpha campaigns that focused on exact match keywords. We shifted our focus to the broad match modified Beta campaigns, and we leveraged Google’s automated bidding strategies to help us control the long-tail performance.

Our initial launch in phase one rolled up all languages (ie Java, Javascript, Python, etc). In order to scale the account and collect enough data so that we could effectively rely on bid automation. We used the Prioritized Keyword Segmentation strategy. We created new campaigns by breaking out the top- performing keyword segments, removing them from the larger keyword segment campaigns. This allowed for greater bid optimization on the top- performing keywords while allowing more budget to be tested on the unproven keywords.

We found that long-tail keyword segments combined with bid automation led to greater return than focusing on hyper-targeted Alpha campaigns, so in our second phase we introduced gamma campaigns to cast a wider keyword coverage net. We again employed bidding automation to control the performance on the long-tail and found that the wider audience produced a lower CPA and greater return as there was less competition on the more obscure search terms.

In our third phase, we began to introduce new campaigns for different markets and geos. We followed the Prioritized Keyword Segmentation strategy, segmenting top performing categories into their own campaigns, while prioritizing the budget on the larger keyword segment campaigns for testing unproven keywords. We ended up segmenting different geos into 3 different tiers based on their performance deeper in the product funnel.


The Results

We began implementing the Prioritized Keyword Segmentation strategy in November. By pulling out the top performing keyword groups into their own campaigns and capitalizing on the long-tail keywords, we immediately saw a huge increase in performance. The overall CPAs dropped from $256 in November to $128 in December, a decrease of 50%.

Performance continued to improve as we phased out the Alpha campaigns. At the end of February, we took it a step further by introducing Gamma campaigns. Gamma campaigns allow us to open our targeting a little bit wider, and that allowed us to further capitalize on the trend of longer-tailed keywords that were performing better.

Stay-at-home orders in our top markets were put in place in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many companies were pulling back on spend, we were able to scale the account further. We expanded our Beta campaigns into new geos and markets. We followed the same Prioritized Keyword Segmentation strategy that was used in the initial US launch.

After launching Gamma campaigns and expanding into new geos, we were able to grow conversion volume by 166% and improve CPA by 39% month over month. This helped Sentry achieve its highest volume of conversions in company history during the month of April, despite the economic shutdown due to the pandemic.

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