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HubSpot’s optimization events drive qualified leads for Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums found a unique solution. They used HubSpot and Google’s integrated solutions to drive new, high-quality leads and be ready for what’s next.

  • 36% Increase in pipeline from paid search

  • 2x Increase in paid search conversion rate

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla is a Canadian software company offering community forum solutions that help businesses connect with millions of customers around the world, drive brand loyalty, and foster meaningful connections.


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    Challenging market conditions call for a new strategy

    Vanilla was recently acquired by Higher Logic, making these onetime competitors the biggest player in an increasingly competitive space.

    As such, it became critically important to optimize every variable in their marketing strategy. Vanilla was faced with several challenges, including how to:

    • Reach new audiences
    • Improve lead quality to build a stronger pipeline
    • Better measure offline conversions

    To address these questions, Vanilla needed to use the insight from their existing customer data to guide their marketing strategy, and they needed tools that could integrate easily with their existing systems.

    As a longtime HubSpot user, Vanilla historically relied on the platform’s lead management and reporting tools. Now, HubSpot’s new integration with Google Ads enabled the company to take their lead generation strategy to the next level by syncing their ad campaign data with their customer data.

    A data-driven approach to conversion management

    Vanilla began by pivoting its marketing strategy to optimize for sales-qualified leads. The first step: mapping its lead-to-sale journey—in its long sales cycle—to pinpoint the true value of each conversion action leading to the sale.

    After connecting their Google Ads account to HubSpot, Vanilla used the optimization events tool to import those conversion values and sync them with their offline data. This enabled Vanilla to determine the precise moment when a customer lifecycle stage turns into an opportunity.

    Optimization events also allowed them to use Smart Bidding to maximize their conversion values, so their ad campaigns started to bid toward the most valuable leads.

    Ultimately, optimization events enabled them to import offline conversions, measure and optimize the results of their ads, gain a deeper understanding of their marketing efforts, and focus on their most important outcomes.

    Optimizing for the highest-quality leads yields results

    Despite increased prices and the growing competitive landscape, Vanilla achieved impressive results.

    By shifting their bidding strategy to sales qualified leads, their pipeline from paid search rose 36% over the prior year, and the demo page conversion rate from paid search doubled – increasing from 4% to 8%.

    In addition, Vanilla was able to create more granular campaigns and connect with new, affordable leads.

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