SHL Schweizerische Hotelfachschule Luzern and Webrepublic implemented an exploratory campaign to identify new high-potential markets and gain insights into target audiences all over the globe. The project demonstrates that Google Ads are not only applicable for promotional purposes – the targeting capabilities are a useful tool for conducting digital field research. The fact that brand visibility more than doubled illustrates the success of this innovative approach.

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Project overview

Initial Position

SHL launched the bachelor’s degree program internationally at the end of 2018. After a successful market entry, SHL wanted to increase its online presence and additionally gain further insights on where to target users in the digital landscape. With demanding customers that have very individualized needs, the process of identifying the relevant data provides a challenge. 


Logo SHL
  • Sector:Education


This campaign aimed to explore potential student enquiries in Switzerland and internationally for a Hospitality Bachelor program in Switzerland. Specifically, the campaign goals were to:

  • Match online data with offline data on high potential markets
  • Identify new high potential markets
  • Benchmark potential countries
“By running various Google Discovery campaigns, we not only identified new potential markets and regions, but also gained additional market insights. The increased knowledge resulted in a more efficient and effective budget allocation with substantial campaign improvement.”

Maria Ramstad Kristiansen

Head of Marketing & Student Recruitment, SHL


Webrepublic’s approach was to implement Google Discovery campaigns for three months to target users that demonstrated interest in SHL competitors and to gain additional market insights for international growth opportunities that might not have been identified via offline channels. 

Discovery Ads are ideal for this strategy due to their functionality of targeting custom audiences in combination with targeting users across multiple Google properties. 

For this campaign, users who had visited global competitor websites over four months were targeted. Throughout this time Webrepublic optimized towards achieving the highest impression share possible to get a clear mapping of each region. A single-image Discovery Ad campaign was run in tandem with Google Search Ads to make sure that the user journey was fully covered, if any potential students were to be reached during the live campaign.

Google Discovery Campaign

Google Discovery Campaign for SHL


  • 204% increase in brand visibility
  • 18% increase in quality traffic
  • 11 new potential markets identified

By running Discovery campaigns SHL were not only able to identify additional potential countries but also re-evaluate the potential of current markets. This allowed for improved budget allocation and targeting of their digital marketing efforts. Discovery Ads were key to this success since they allowed SHL to reach a large section of the market with minimal campaign costs compared to using other channels. 

“While most agencies use Google Ads for purely promotional purposes, we at Webrepublic utilized Google Ads’ targeting capabilities to conduct digital field research for SHL. By innovating the way that we use standard ads we generated massive amounts of industry and user data at minimal cost.”

Webrepublic AG