Earning a 35x return on ad spend (ROAS) by acquiring new workers' comp insurance policyholders through paid search


Earning a 35x return on ad spend (ROAS) by acquiring new workers' comp insurance policyholders through paid search


SAIF is Oregon’s leading workers’ compensation insurer. Since 1914, they’ve been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and keeping rates low for employers by focusing on workplace safety. Today, they provide coverage for 53% of the state’s workers’ compensation market.

As they gear up for 2020, they wanted to run a pilot program to explore the viability of paid search advertising for acquiring new policyholders. Having previously worked with Decoder on SEO, they brought us on board to help manage that effort and provide data-driven recommendations for a possible long-term engagement based on the results.



Paid Search Management


Salem, OR

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Workers’ compensation insurance is a legal requirement for all employers. Most businesses treat it as a commodity, looking for the most affordable option that meets their service needs.

Thankfully, SAIF has a century of credibility behind them and a strong value proposition. As a not-for-profit organization, they’re able to offer competitive rates and even pay employers dividends when policy revenues exceed claims in a given year — in 2019 alone, SAIF customers will receive $160 million in dividends. Beyond that, their policyholders are highly satisfied, helping them retain more than 99% of policyholders for the last 8 years.


Pay-per-click campaigns are always expensive in any insurance industry, with costs-per-click typically in the $10 – $50 range. Given those exorbitant costs, it’s critical to be highly targeted with any PPC effort and creatively manage bids and budgets to yield the best cost-per-conversion.

Decoder implemented very narrowly targeted campaigns, focusing on keywords expected to generate the highest conversion rates (and therefore the lowest costs-per-conversion). Adding extensive negative keywords also helped limit exposure for irrelevant searches.

As conversions started coming in, we were able to dial in spend around the most effective keywords, ad copy, and targeting options. Additionally, landing page recommendations were made to help improve conversion rates further.


Thanks to the help of the amazing team at SAIF, their insights into their customers, business, and the market at large, and their help in implementing many of our recommendations, the pilot program was an unqualified success: in just the first three months, our paid search pilot program generated more than $500,000 in total lifetime premiums for a 35x return on ad spend.

Much of that is due to the strength of SAIF’s incredible reputation, customer support, and policyholder retention. We were honored to be part of their ongoing expansion into digital marketing and growth as an organization.