Pushing Paid Search to Its Limits

DMS Success Story:
Strategic Testing to Maximize An Already Successful Campaign

Background

For years, Digital Media Solutions (DMS) had been managing the paid search campaign for a regional brand with multiple locations. Within recent memory, the campaign had always beaten the cost per acquisition (CPE).

Challenge

Despite exceeding campaign goals, the DMS Digital Agency team was looking to push the paid search campaign performance to surpass the prior year’s results (including the number of leads generated), even as overall paid search click prices were on the rise.

DMS Solution

Leveraging prior success, the DMS team continued to test opportunities to boost the performance of this brand’s paid search campaign. As approaches became proven and the prospect for more high-converting volume was identified, budgets were increased to maximize the paid search channel and bring in more and more customers at a cost well below the brand’s goal.

More ad extensions:

Ad extensions show as additional lines of text within paid search ads. In addition to providing prospects with supplemental information, the Google ad rank algorithm places ads with extensions higher in the search engine results page (SERP), and these ads take up more real estate on the SERP. With increased visibility, ad extensions resulted in higher click-through rates (CTRs) for this regional brand. 

  • Callout extensions: Shown as non-clickable lines of text, callout extensions serve to provide brand specifics while expanding the ad presence on the SERP. We added the number of locations along with other pertinent details to provide valuable information within this space.
  •  Structured snippets: Structured snippets are lines of text shown within select Google-defined categories. We used categories to display offerings at each location.
  • Sitelinks: Unlike the callout extensions and structured snippets, sitelinks are clickable and take the user directly to specific pages within a website. Multiple custom landing pages were created to allow for the display of multiple sitelinks, using as much SERP real estate as possible. 

Campaign optimizations:

  • Keyword-level: Sparkroom performance marketing technology tracks every lead and conversion back to the original keyword that generated it. This intelligence allows our paid search strategists to optimize based on conversion and sales data. Once we’ve identified the keywords proven to convert, we have additional leeway on cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-lead (CPL) prices, allowing us to bid more aggressively and secure higher page positions on those valuable terms. Throughout the year, we tested keywords and bid aggressively on those that brought success. Over the course of the year, the average CPC for the Google campaign rose 3.4% to boost the average SERP position from 2.1 to 1.8.
  • Product- and location-specific: Some products and locations had stronger conversion rates than others. We bid more aggressively on the strongest performing products and locations while pulling back on those that did not convert as well.
  • Channel-based: Although the Google Display Network provided significant reach and frequency due to low CTRs and CPCs, it was not converting to achieve the target CPA. As a result, most of the Google Display Network campaigns were paused with funds migrated to more successful efforts.

Ad testing focused on creating urgency:

 Ads that promoted expiration dates directly within the ad text had been used for some time. To create additional urgency, we tested countdown ads in Google, dynamically showing the number of days until the next expiration date. These ads resulted in a higher CTR and volume of clicks and, as a result, all of the ad copy was shifted over to utilize the dynamic countdown feature whenever applicable.

Continually refreshed banner ads:

Google remarketing is a proven way to maintain top-of-mind awareness with prospects who have visited a website without converting. But because of the high frequency sometimes delivered through remarketing campaigns, creative can get stale, becoming ignored and ineffective. To combat this issue, we regularly refreshed banner ads and saw a boost in the CTR as a result.

Results

The paid search campaign experienced YOY improvements for every tracked metric, including impressions (up 15%), clicks (up 74%), CTR (up 50%), form lead volume (up 100%), phone lead volume (up 51%) and CPL (down 7%). As a result, sales volume grew by 100% while the cost per acquisition shrank by 7%.

 

Do you want better paid search results? Contact DMS for a free audit of your campaigns, and we'll tell you if there are optimizations waiting to be made.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS) is an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients win in their business ventures and realize their marketing goals. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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