311% Increase in overall Conversions


Increase in relevant conversions


Decrease in cost per conversions


Times more applicants than client’s initial goal


The City of San Leandro is a diverse community located in the Bay Area of California. The city has a population of over 89,000 and is home to a variety of industries, including technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. The San Leandro Police Department (SLPD) is the city’s law enforcement agency responsible for maintaining public safety and enforcing laws.

2022 was a tough year for law enforcement agency recruitment and retention. 2023 has seen these challen- es further compounded as municipal, county, and state agencies, like SLPD, are experiencing a constant cycle of retirements, resignations, and fewer hires, leaving the communities they protect with understaffed agencies and potentially underqualified officers.

Agencies have had to make concessions such as signing bonuses, higher salaries, and flexible schedules. Yet, this has led to even greater frustration for employers since doing all that still does not guarantee candidates will apply, let alone pass through all pre-employment phases.

Given the situation, SLPD turned to digital marketing, specifically by running Google Ads themselves, to seek recruitment applications and offer a simple, streamlined application process. However, the results were far from successful as expected. That’s why the City of San Leandro went seeking help from an expert.


The Challenge

SLPD approached us at Hite Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in law enforcement recruitment, to help them increase their number of employee candidates. The department had the specific goal of obtaining 5 recruits (entry-level) applications or 2 lateral applications per month. Hite Digital was chosen for our expertise in the public safety industry and proven track record of success.



The primary objective was to properly implement a pay-per-click (PPC) ads campaign to target and attract people who were already actively seeking recruit or lateral transfer opportunities in law enforcement. Targeting this high-intent traffic would, in theory, increase the likelihood that those who engaged with the ad would also follow through on completing an application.

PPC Campaign

Conversion Tracking Adjustments

We identified that conversion tracking for the PPC campaign they were running on their own had not been set up correctly, and crucial data was missing. The conversions they had been tracking were simply page visits, and they had not been counting the actual number of candidates completing the actual application.

This issue was in large part caused by the fact that SLPD’s online application was hosted on a third-party platform: governmentjobs.com. Though this is a standard practice for the industry, the platform did not provide SLPD with a way to track conversions from their ads when an application was completed.

We were able to overcome this problem by directing prospects coming from the PPC ad to SLPD’s recruiting website, setting up a simple job interest form as the main call-to- action (CTA), and inviting them to fill it out to register their basic demographic information prior to automatically redirecting them to the job posting and application on the Government Jobs website.

Though this method of tracking still did not allow us to track the conversion conversion all the way through to the completed application, we surmised that it was likely a high percentage of the candidates willing to complete the job interest form would also eventually complete the full application. This method also allowed for an easier streamlined process for tracking conversions and had the added benefit of providing SLPD’s recruiters with contact info for those prospects who completed the form but did not follow through on submitting an application.

Cost per conversions

Ad Targeting Adjustment

We also identified that the department’s ad targeting was poor. They were geographically targeting parts of the country where it was unlikely an experienced law enforcement officer would want to transfer to a California law enforcement agency for various economic and/or socio-economic reasons. They were also targeting the elderly and children with their ads. We adjusted the targeting to focus on geographic areas and demographics more likely to yield interested candidates.

Performance Max Ads

To further expand the audience targeting strategy, we suggested running Performance Max ad campaign. Performance Max is a new goal-based and automated Google Ads campaign type that uses AI to display responsive ads in the main Google Ads networks: Search, Display, YouTube, Gmail, Discover.

This type of campaign allows to create personalized videos and upload them to showcase in Google’s platforms as ads. We pitched the idea for a short video featuring the Chief of the SLPD referencing a recent event to connect with a specific target audience, as well as creating the campaign targeting specific locations:


SLPD Campaign vs HD Campaign Total Results

SLPD had previously obtained 219 applications on their own and found 32 suitable candidates out of the applicant pool in a period of 11 months: from January through November 2022.

With our help, SLPD received 240 applications and 45 suitable candidates in a 4.5 months period: from December 2022 through April 2023 (less than half the time before we stepped in).

Looking at it in an equal time frame of 5 months:

    From July to November 2022, SLPD received:
  • 77 applications
  • 7 suitable applicants
    With Hite Digital's assistance, and in 2 fewer weeks, SLPD got:
  • 240 applications
  • 45 suitable candidates

5 Month Performance Comparison

Resulting in a +311% increase in overall applications and +643% in applicants that moved forward.

Performance Max Ads

The results achieved with the Performance Max ads video were amazing, attracting more than 6.5M impressions and more than 850K views. It soon became the best-performing ad of the entire campaign, featuring on platforms such as YouTube.

Results for our Responsive Video Ad

+ 6,500,000 Impressions
$ 160 Cost / Conversions


Through Hite Digital’s expertise in law enforcement recruitment, adjustments to the targeting, proper setup of conversion tracking, website improvements, implementation of a PPC campaign, and Performance Max ads video campaign, SLPD was able to achieve a significant increase in their recruiting efforts.

The department was able to surpass their initial goal of 5 recruit applications or 2 lateral applications per month and was able to find suitable candidates faster and with a more cost-effective ad spend.

The City of San Leandro made the right decision with Hite Digital. What are you waiting for?

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