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Case Study: TaxSlayer

The challenge

In the hyper-competitive tax-preparation category, TaxSlayer engaged DAC to craft a cross-channel strategy to retain customers on a year-over-year basis, while efficiently delivering new customers each tax season—especially to TaxSlayer’s premium offerings.

The primary KPIs were the number of customer registrations and the cost-per (CPR), as well as the number of completed e-files and cost-per (CPE). Average cart price was a secondary KPI, and we also wanted to focus on driving premium package purchases by targeting a more affluent demographic.

TaxSlayer logo

The solution

We applied our “Thinking, Planning, Doing” strategic framework to TaxSlayer’s challenge. When customers are thinking about doing their taxes, they want information on things such as tax law changes and available deductions. Content development and a robust organic search program ensured TaxSlayer would be a recognized authority on these types of informational searches.

When customers are planning their taxes, they use refund estimators to calculate their expected refund in advance of having received all their tax forms. DAC made TaxSlayer’s Refund Estimator tool more discoverable, bringing more quality traffic and building a highly qualified audience that could be retargeted at tax time.

When customers were ready to start doing their taxes, our granular approach to SEM optimization allowed us to promote the best product offering to align with each audience group’s needs.

Laptop displaying Facebook, which shows a TaxSlayer newsfeed ad

Rendered image of TaxSlayer digital display ads

1 Personalization

We used creative messaging across all media channels (online and offline), a sophisticated data-driven attribution model through VisualIQ integration, and an advanced deployment of Adobe Audience Manager. This enabled personalization of marketing messages to retain prior-year customers and to also “nudge” active customers through to completing the next step in their tax-filing experience.

2 Multi-channel targeting

Close partnership between DAC, TaxSlayer, and dozens of other vendor partners allowed us to accurately target messages across search, email, digital display, paid and organic social, affiliate, television, digital video, print, and out-of-home channels.

3 Gathering channel insights

Non-brand SEM emerged as the leading channel for direct response new customer acquisition, whereas branded search showed its value as a last-touch channel—sharing credit with awareness-building campaigns such as television and digital video.

4 Keyword strategy

SEO was a major first-touch contributor and instrumental in building re-targetable audiences. Our SEO team developed a strategic keyword list for various stages of the tax preparation purchase funnel to inform new page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and body copy on product marketing pages.

5 Content audit

To ensure TaxSlayer would rank for informational searches and to establish the client as an authority on the subject of tax filing, SEO performed a content audit and developed a new evergreen content section called “Tax Tips”.

6 SEO enhancements

SEO enhancements to information architecture on by allowed the Refund Estimator tool to rank better and capture more organic traffic.

7 Customized campaigns

SEM campaigns used a granular approach to keyword optimization, with tight message-matching in the ads and landing pages. Customized campaigns were run to known audiences (past filers and/or Refund Calculator users) to accurately target SEM messaging. Bid optimization was provided by AdWords Smart Bidding and a highly successful trial of Bing’s Target CPA beta.

8 Tailored messaging

Our retention audience segmentation exercise identified 10 critical personas, and we aligned messaging across all digital channels to reach these segments with the appropriate creative and offers. AdWords Customer Lists made large portions of these retention segments addressable via paid search.

The impact

Our approach drove transformative growth for TaxSlayer. We grew registrations by 56%, free efiles by 63%, and lowered cost-per-registration by 23%. But, even more impressively, we achieved:


158% increase in paid efiles


24% increase in organic site visits YoY


10% increase in profitability