How a rapidly expanding home care brand increased total conversions 225%.


Since its inception more than 15 years ago, TheKey (formerly Home Care Assistance) has experienced rapid growth and continued expansion. To take its continued growth into the next chapter, TheKey engaged Cardinal Digital Marketing to establish a true marketing partnership. At the time of the engagement, the group needed to accelerate its digital advertising efforts, with the goal of driving leads with far better cost-efficiency. And they needed to do so for two brands—HCA and The Key—simultaneously. Despite the company’s size and nationwide reach, its in-house marketing team was made up of less than ten people. When it came to digital ads, the team needed a hand. Unfortunately, the digital marketing agency they had previously worked with applied the same generic, decentralized campaign strategy across all locations, with less than satisfying results.

About TheKey

Since its inception in 2003, TheKey has become the leading provider of home care for older adults across the country. The in-home senior care provider and luxury homecare brand is now active in 76 markets across 40 states. Home to more than 10,000 employees and recommended by thousands of healthcare professionals and senior care experts, TheKey is well poised for continued growth.

HCA Website


At the outset of its engagement with Cardinal, TheKey had a couple of urgent business objectives. First, thanks to the strength of its established brand, TheKey wanted to increase market penetration with a particular focus on efficient lead generation. By their own team’s assessment, TheKey had a prime opportunity to reach a lot more hand-raisers for senior home care. What they needed from Cardinal was a way to target this audience earlier in the funnel to drive demand at the time of the precipitating life event (acute illness, a fall, etc.).

More specifically, TheKey was looking to implement lead quality tracking to ensure that their digital efforts provide actual business value. To that end, they were focused on specific segments defined by the total lead and client volume.


  • Seize on the strength of its brand to aggressively increase market penetration
  • Reach target audience at the time of need (earlier in the funnel)
  • Implement lead quality tracking
  • Drive a high volume of quality leads at a lower cost

Campaign Consolidations

When Cardinal first took ownership of TheKey’s account, our initial aim was to scale lead generation without losing any efficiencies. In order to accomplish this, we needed to leverage automated bidding for more informed bidding decisions (to coincide with our increased ad spend across the board).

One of the most fundamental and far-reaching steps our team took was restructuring TheKey’s existing campaigns. Our goal was to rely on a more consolidated approach that maximized conversion data at the campaign level. To get there, we took TheKey’s accounts from a local campaign structure to a consolidated national structure with immediate improvement in the cost-per-conversion (dropping 52% per conversion). In addition, we put together responsive search ads to layer on more automation and improved performance. Finally, we expanded TheKey’s campaign portfolio into display and discovery ads.

Omnichannel Media Mix That Improved Brand Awareness and Generated More Leads

The Results

Our combined efforts have resulted in a 225% increase in total conversions

Today, we like to consider ourselves a valuable partner that’s trusted to deliver a consistent, high-quality lead pipeline. In terms of TheKey’s goal of acquiring higher-value customers, we think the results speak for themselves:

Year over year, our combined efforts have resulted in a 225% increase in total conversions, including both phone calls and form submissions. While we had to ramp up ad investments by 56%, CPA dropped 52% compared to the period preceding our comprehensive account restructure.

Naturally, these were precisely the results TheKey was looking for. As a result, we’ve continued adding new locations and services to the project scope, including SEO and CRO. Moving forward, Cardinal will continue to serve as TheKey’s trusted digital partner in support of its aggressive growth objectives.

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