Awareness-building through paid search and SEO: Virgin Active

About the client

Virgin Active is a chain of health clubs in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

The Virgin Health Clubs in Sydney and Melbourne offer memberships that feature world-class gym facilities and access to over 200 daily exercise classes.

The brand offers world-class facilities, premium amenities and top of the line equipment sourced from across the globe.

The challenge

Virgin Active is a chain of premium health clubs with world-class facilities and top of the line equipment. We worked with Virgin active Australia managing digital for all their health clubs in Sydney and Melbourne.

We worked with Virgin Active in partnership with their creative agency Marcel (a publicis agency). The client was looking to partner with a data driven and results oriented agency to help increase new member acquisition using paid search on Google Ads and SEO.

The primary goal for Virgin Active was to acquire new members at a profitable acquisition cost. The client also needed to work with an agency that had the capacity to understand each individual club’s addressable market based on their catchment area. It was also important to understand the different idiosyncrasies that exist within each individual club and be able to demonstrate these unique aspects of each club in the digital strategy.

Secondary to new member acquisition, Virgin Active wanted to increase brand awareness and solidify themselves as the go to premium health club in Sydney and Melbourne.

Scope of work


Paid Search Management


SEO Audits & Implementation


Attribution modeling


Analytics and Reporting

Our solution

Understanding the complexity and breadth of Virgin Active as a brand was critical to creating a strategy that is both successful and comprehensive. In order to do this we worked closely with Virgin Active stakeholders and their creative agency Marcel to ensure we have a holistic understanding of the brand and all available data.

Virgin Active was running Google Ads with another agency prior to us so there was historical data ready for us to analyse. Using a range of tools including Optymyzr, Google Analytics and data studio we were able to run an audit of the account and build specific reports to help us understand everything from auction insights, search term reports, budget allocation by club and its relationship to conversions etc.

With this insight we built campaigns that emulate the brand as a whole as well as takes account of the individual clubs. Some of the strategies we implemented including:

  • Use a combination of location appended keywords with broad geo targeting in particular campaigns vs using generic keywords with strict radius targets
  • Used ad customisers for generic campaigns
  • Using varying radius targeting for metro vs suburban clubs
  • Depending on the facility and location we build additional campaigns eg Virgin Active Norwest has a creche so we created a dedicated creche campaign and geo fenced accordingly

Beyond search we also advised on SEO conducting an enterprise level audit to help with informational architecture restructuring, technical SEO improvements and backlink audits.

In addition to the acquisition related campaigns we run an attribution analysis project to help Virgin Active better understand the contribution of each channel to conversions and shine more light on alternative attribution models to help better understand their marketing ecosystem.


Below are the results achieved for the clients;

  • 38% increase in new member acquisition
  • 20% improvement in conversion rates
  • 57% increase indexed keywords after SEO audit

Upskill your team with Google Analytics 4 Training!