Meta & Google Ads

Achieving +450% new customer growth for online courses

How we helped Debate Mate scale new customer acquisition at a profitable CPA

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Meta & Google Ads



Debate Mate Virtual is an online debating platform for students aged 6 to 16, with a charitable arm focused on improving social mobility by working with schools. We started working together in June 2022, with the goal of scaling new customer acquisition for their online debating clubs profitably through Meta & Google.

Project Execution

Pivoting to a taster signups conversion journey

When ethix started working with Debate Mate, activity was focused on getting users to directly buy courses from the site, but with limited success.

Based on our experience of other similar clients, we knew that commitment to an extended course can be a significant barrier to purchase. On our recommendation, Debate Mate pivoted to promoting the free taster events. These tasters had historically shown strong conversion rates from attendance to course purchase. Plus the act of signing up fed Debate Mate’s first party email lists, providing extra value.

We used Google Tag Manager to set up tracking for these taster signups on the website.

Calculating a new KPI

Now that we had 2 different conversion pathways, we needed a new, unified KPI, so that we could report on performance in real time, rather than having to wait until weeks after the free taster to report on how many new customers were generated. To do this, we used predicted conversion rates, based on historical value:

Taster optimisation

We continuously tested the taster process, including:

  • When we should run taster sessions
  • How frequently we should run taster sessions
  • How many taster sessions should be available to sign up for at any time
  • The optimal format of the taster signup form
  • Whether we should be using an on-site signup form or on-Meta lead generation form

Throughout our testing, we focused not only on getting cheap taster signups, but also generating signups that were most likely to convert to new customers. Our learnings led to us maintaining a strong New Customer CPA as we scaled spend.


We started by reducing the New Customer CPA to a profitable level. We then maintained this CPA as we scaled, resulting in +450% termly new customer growth:


Don’t just take our word for it. Hear from Debate Mate in their own words how they found working with ethix…

"Working with Ethix has been transformative for Debate Mate! Over the past 2 years of our partnership, we have been blown away by their professionalism, responsiveness and expertise. Our paid advertising strategy went from chaotic and ineffectual to focussed and data-driven with the help of their team. Following extensive creative testing and campaign optimisations, we saw significant improvements to ad performance and consequently strong growth in new customer acquisition. Not only are they great at what they do, they’re also a delight to work with and a pleasure to get to know - we couldn’t recommend them more!"

Hester Cameron, Communication & Marketing Lead

Do good, better

If you’re an educational charity or online course like Debate Mate - we would love to work with you. 

Get in touch below to see if we’d be a good fit.