All results shown in this case study are specific to the work we did for DealTrend LLC. Results vary from client to client and cannot be guaranteed.
We manage the online marketing for a large US Daily Deals site. Our experience in the UK and North American market started with 6 years of optimised Google Search Ads campaigns, in the retail sector, to use as a baseline. With conversion rates to sale of 4% and a ROAS of 125% average, our three retail clients were happy with our performance. Daily clicks ranged between 50,000 and 70,000.
To expand our opportunity in retail we introduced a new channel via Google Shopping to grow customer acquisition and sales.
- Increase sales
- Build / acquire new customers
- Reduce experimental spend
- Find more relevant users (shopping / sales intent)
Both Ben and I have been working in online retail sales and ecommerce for over 10 years now. We’ve seen a few things change over the years, but there has been one recurring problem faced by ecommerce stores and affiliates alike.
“How on Earth do we successfully market a huge product database?” is a question that is constantly running through the minds of even the most experienced marketers and business owners.
When thinking, in terms of Google (that’s our bag really), it can be tough. If it’s organic traffic you’re looking for, that is a huge initial outlay on content and a natural link building strategy. Think… If you’re selling products sold by other retailers, you’re going to need unique content on those products. If you are a reseller, dropshipper or an affiliate; you’re going to be working with generic product descriptions and specifications that have been distributed to all resellers. Unique content is seriously resource intensive, but we’d suggest working on this over time. It’s not something you’re going to get off the ground fast.
Moving on to Adwords (search text ads) we face a different problem. We find it is always the same! Simply put, it’s very tough to create genuine search terms using a product catalogue. Product titles are often long and over descriptive (containing manufacturer name, part number and other unique identifiers), making it difficult to know what to strip out and what to include. It’s also difficult to understand the users intent. When a user is in the market for a particular product, are they going to be searching for specific product titles? Probably not, it’s going to be a broader, more generic search.
We were fortunate enough to qualify for an ‘Accelerated Growth Team Account Manager’ (due to our account spend and activity), allowing us access to new Beta programs. The most notable beta, was the acceptance of aggregators and affiliates into Google Shopping. We were given the opportunity to load a subset of our product database (300k products) to a Google Merchant account and allowed to market them, using Google Shopping.
We began by analysing historic sales reports, from the likes of Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Sears - pulling out historic top sellers and seasonal products. We focused on products that had high search volume along with high commision. Due to the fact we were representing an affiliate (very low margins 3-5%) and competing with retailers with much higher margins (20 - 60%) we knew we had to be smart.
By segmenting product groups, by RPC (Revenue per clickout), we could easily track which product categories were performing well. We simply needed to ensure that our cost/conversion was less than our RPC and we were in profit. On a more granular level, we were constantly running product reports and search term reports, ensuring any poor performing search terms or products were removed.
User acquisition was 60% lower for Google Shopping vs Search Campaigns
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) peaked at 200%, a huge increase over Search Ads at 125% average.
An Average ROAS settled out around 155% within 7 days of optimisation with more room for improvement
Conversion rate from Shopping campaigns was 3x higher than that of Search Campaigns
** Disclaimer: All results shown in this case study are specific to the work we did for DealTrend LLC. Results vary from client to client and cannot be guaranteed.
Other things to note
Google Shopping set up takes away the pain of product related keyword targeting and expansion. The result is the ability to generate quality sales and engaged users in a much shorter time span.
CPC’s can be slightly higher, especially if the focus is on traffic, however the 3x increase in conversion to sale easily offsets the increased CPC’s
The user data captured allows you to build segmented audiences with shopping / purchase intent much quicker resulting in a lower overall acquisition cost.
ROAS is a simple calculation of total revenue / total cost. It is important to note ROAS was calculated on paid search sales only. Additional benefits for the three retail sites we worked with are acquiring users for future re-engagement campaigns such as re-marketing, email marketing and direct users.
From the Google Shopping results it is clear that Google Shopping in the retail space is
Much easier to set up initially (when you consider product and keyword matching being a common problem for traditional search)
Product catalogs are easier to manage
Catalogs are more logical and has a variety of extendable data allow for better optimisation
Removes the need to find relevant, shopping intent keywords
Removes the need to expand keywords that work
Reduces wasted spend using real data to find good keywords and to optimise
Users engage with shopping blocks on google properties with the intent to buy
Google Shopping blocks are set to expand over third party search providers and potentially the display network.