Case Studies | Didit

Case Studies

Dun and Bradstreet: Driving Efficiency by Balancing SEO with Paid Search


Challenge:  Wasted Spend from Unnecessary Paid ClickthroughsAfter 160-year old knowledge and solution leader Dun and Bradstreet came to Did-it in 2004, Did-it discovered a pattern that created serious waste in D&B’s SEM campaign. Rather than bookmarking pages, repeat visitors used search engines to locate pages they had been to before—and proceed to those pages via search ads. But those visitors were highly motivated to arrive at their destination pages; and so if no search advertising were there, they would have proceeded to their destination pages through organic links. This means that the click costs created by those repeat visitors’ arriving through paid links was, effectively, wasted spend.Solution: Driving  New and Repeat Searchers  SeparatelyThrough passback information—acquired through Did-it’s search tracking technology, and studied closely by Did-it’s Search Analytics team—Did-it learned the keywords used primarily by repeat Dnb.com visitors. Did-it then cut off advertising on those terms. Because repeat visitors continued to their destination pages via organic links, there was no subsequent conversion loss.The removal of the unnecessary ads freed up large sums that had been tied down in wasted PPC costs, creating a tremendous efficiency gain for the D&B campaign.The Results:

  • Over 300% increase in Paid Search ROI
  • 28% increase in new site registration

Conclusion: The Importance of Paid/Organic CoordinationWhile Paid and Organic Search operate independently—each calling for its own unique solutions and unique goals—neither exists in a vacuum. Capturing the full opportunity of both requires locating the nexus points between them. This Paid/Organic coordination is the outgrowth of a larger Did-it Search philosophy. Did-it realizes that developing the most powerful Search solutions relies on working within a campaign’s larger context. That context begins at the search engine results page; but it goes much further: into website deeper pages, the client’s offline business, and even into market forces beyond the client’s immediate business sphere.By integrating that larger context within campaigns, Did-it is able to capitalize on hidden Paid Search opportunity, and to craft solutions geared around the client’s complete business.

Cingular overcomes one-size-fits-all strategy


For the second half of 2004, Cingular Wireless, a client of Did-it.com, stipulated a specific average cost per order (CPO) for Web site orders that took place through search.The main search marketing expense is the click-through, so a campaign’s CPO is mainly the combination of the cost-per-click spent on keywords and the frequency with which a search marketer advertises on any term. Cingular specified an average CPO for the whole campaign, but gave Did-it free rein as to how to meet that average.One option was to spend an equal amount across all keywords. A second option was to vary the spend for different keywords. For the latter option, the question remained as to what type of differentiated CPO strategy would work best.At the same time, the right software determined the possibility of a more differentiated strategy. A more specialized strategy would require software that could be customized easily to every new client. Without thoroughly flexible software, a one-size-fits-all solution would become the only option, and the “best strategy” question would be moot.Solution and Results Did-it found that some keywords converted well with minimal investment while other conversion-powerful keywords needed higher spend to achieve results. “Cingular,” “cingular wireless” and “cingular.com,” for instance, all converted easily. “Cellular phones,” “cellular” and “wireless phone” were conversion-powerful keywords requiring more effort. This suggested that a differentiated strategy would work best.Did-it created a multitiered CPO solution based around ease of keyword conversion and the ROI that a keyword would yield. The result was a bidding strategy through which keywords that offered low-hanging fruit got less spend; high-yield, high-hanging fruit got more.Maestro, Did-it’s proprietary bidding platform, was programmed accordingly. A below-average target CPO was set for low-hanging fruit. Target CPO for high-hanging fruit keywords was programmed at as much as 60 percent above the campaign average. This strategy let Did-it exceed its campaign target by 20 percent, creating thousands more orders for Cingular than anticipated. In the course of its relationship with Did-it.com, Cingular’s search-driven Web site orders have doubled.Emphasize Each Unique Element The best search marketing campaigns are those that recognize the full diversity of all campaign elements. Uniform solutions can achieve ROI, but in emphasizing each unique element marketers can take full advantage of every opportunity that a campaign offers.Diversification requires a high level of customization. Customization, in turn, requires bidding software that can be adapted readily to the new opportunities that every campaign presents. This software/strategy combination yields the best-tailored search campaigns.

Coach: Luxury Meets Opportunity


ChallengeAs a designer and producer of high-end goods and accessories, Coach has had more than half a century of experience crafting items that impress—and inspire. In 2003 however, Coach found itself less than inspired by the mediocre returns its SEM strategy of affiliate- driven search ads had provided. The luxury manufacturer wanted stronger ROI, a lower Cost per Order (CPO), and a more effective way of executing paid search tactics in time for their peak months during the holiday season.SolutionFrom October to January, Did-it used its industry-leading automated bidding platform Maestro to learn not only which branded terms were leading to sales for Coach, but also which ads, which landing pages and which generic keywords gave Coach the best grip on their market. Through creative holiday testing, changes in ad copy, advanced customized tracking and a controlled bidding strategy that put real-time value on orders, Did-it was able to optimize the client’s paid search campaign by the end of November.ResultsCoach has always been a player in luxury, and its online sales were never slow. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted to crush their competition in Search by increasing revenue without wasteful spending—and they wanted it fast. Did-it lived up to its reputation by driving down CPO 87% within one month, raising conversion rates 481%, and capturing a greater portion of market share for its client at a proportionally lower cost. This meant a 632% increased ROI, and a satisfied partnership on all sides. With the expert help of Did-it.com, in only three months Coach had it “in the bag.”What’s in a name, if the right people can’t find you? Coach realized their old approach to SEM wasn’t pulling its weight and enlisted Did-it.com to find a more tenacious strategy. By putting emphasis on search terms that increased revenue, tweaking copy and tracking landing pages, Did-it cut costs as a satisfied client saw its bags fill with cash.

Associated Bag Company: Searching Outside the Box


ChallengeAs a wholesale distributor of packing materials, Associated Bag Company has helped its clients ship goods for over sixty years. Warehouses, catalogs and a reputation for service carried the company far—but in 2003, the online age demanded more.Associated was running an in-house Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign with no object other than to increase rank and prominence. Bidding on keywords regardless of whether their visibility led to purchases was siphoning thousands of dollars every week; and the wholesaler realized that a lower Cost per Acquisition would be necessary in order to sustain a healthy online presence.SolutionNoting that that the optimal CPO for a repeat buyer was less than what was being levied, Did-it.com moved to eliminate wasteful spending practices. Using Maestro, Did-it’s proprietary bidding platform, experts were able to support keywords boasting high conversion rates while simultaneously cutting off more sluggish performers.Critical changes were then implemented to landing pages with the aim of not only increasing the number of inbound clicks coming through the site, but also of boosting their value by enhancing the likelihood of subsequent sales.ResultAt the end of one month Did-it.com had reached the client’s goal of a more reasonable Cost per Order and ahigher conversion rate. Comparing the first full week of Did-it’s involvement in June with the same period in July, Associated spent 52% less on SEM, while reaping a 1900% increase in order volume and achieving a 98% lower CPO.Today Associated Bag continues its lucrative partnership on a more extensive scale. In the first weeks of January 2005, the distributor saw its ROI soar by 74% as search costs maintained their steady decline. Just one more client with results signed, sealed and delivered by Did-it.Getting from Point A to Point B can be a daunting process for businesses that rely on the internet to serve their clients. For Associated Bag, finding the right SEM strategy meant finding a firm that could tailor its insight to both the company and its customers. Did-it provided not only a greater quantity of visitors, but a better quality of business. That’s searching “outside the box.”

Landing Page Case Study: Baker College Online


Didit’s creative team delivers results for users driven through paid search. We look to identify the best User Experience (UX) practices to discover opportunities for improving leads from landing pages.The Client: Baker College offers users 40 Career Programs for students to take online.OLD_LPThe Audit:

  • The original page design contained too much generic copy and even a video didn’t provide the proper engagement for visiting users.
  • The form was extremely long and the call-to-action (CTA) was placed well below the fold.
  • The tabbed navigation duplicated site content and often took users off the page and away from a conversion.

NEW_LPThe Solution: Targeted Landing Page Design

  • Several pages were developed targeting popular courses according to keyword research.
  • Copy is divided into easy to read, scanable sections and bulleted points.
  • Visual appeals to the target audience and directs users to a simple form.
  • Call-to-action stands out on the page.

The Results: The new page increased conversions by 80.24%graph_test

Maps Case Study: Corel


corelCorel is a global internet retailer in the computer software industry with a secondary focus on acquiring free trial sign ups. Even though the retailer is a recognized brand, they found that interest in online products were slowing.The ChallengeFor Corel, the challenge was to increase sales/trials and efficiency overall. Didit tested the correlation of conversion rate to geographic location on a micromanagement level. Unique bidding strategies by city/DMA were determined by Didit’s customized Map, created exclusively for Corel.InsightInitial tests used a compilation of all historical Didit conversion data across multiple business goal types including Lead Generation, ROI and CPO. More recent initiatives including this case study are utilizing Maps specific to business goal, business vertical, or other demographic data.Results (after one month of applying Didit Maps)

  • 111% increase in spend
  • 144% increase in revenue
  • 16% increase in ROI
  • 135% increase in sales
  • 204% increase in free trial sign ups

By concentrating efforts in higher converting geographic locations, the conversion rate increased by 15%case_History_ChartFollow UpIn more recent reports, 2 months following initial launch, the spend, revenue, and sales are still maintaining the increased levels and Corel has given approval for the expansion of Maps to additional product lines. “Corel continues to see increased success metrics as we utilize the audience targeting platform of MAPS to assist our overall search strategy.” – Derek Tucker, Global Marketing Manager

Client Testimonial – Corel


“Partnering with Didit has increased PPC revenue 68% (CAGR) over the last three years. We’re now able to run multi-platform ad campaigns as Didit’s full service model allowed us to have comparison-shopping-engines, Google Product-listing-ads and and Google Shopping campaigns run holistically alongside our PPC and display programs.There have been many additional benefits. For example, time spent maintaining and bidding on individual CSE listings has been dramatically reduced while raising revenue through Didit’s effective use of Inceptor’s daily bid management system. Set-up was also easy as Didit managed all technical aspects of setting up new CSE and PLA campaigns, including the need to write Regex expressions and other programming to optimize feed data.Overall, we have found that the alignment of CSEs, PLAs, Google Shopping, with PPC and Display has made our campaigns more profitable, easier to deploy, and less expensive to maintain. A fantastic result when you consider how easy it was to move to this new system.”

- Derek Tucker, Global Marketing Manager – eCommerce

Client Testimonial – Check N’ Go


Didit backs up their promises with performance. Check ‘n Go has collaborated with them on a number of complicated and crucially important marketing campaigns, and they’ve consistently delivered results.In March 2010, we hired Didit to take our search marketing to the next level. Check ‘n Go is a national company providing payday loans online, personal installment loans, cash advances, and check cashing to customers in the US, so we needed an SEM company with the tools and experience to manage integrated marketing campaigns with various moving parts. Didit’s marketing savvy and technological prowess made them the obvious choice.Didit’s team easily stepped into our marketing situation and aligned their goals with our business objectives. They were prepared from their very first day on the job without any tug-of-war over scope or priorities. They’ve seamlessly executed our campaign without asking us to connect the dots for them.One thing that really impressed us about Didit’s approach was that they didn’t bring preconceived ideas to our projects. They didn’t try to fit Check ‘n Go into a one-size-fits-all search marketing template. Instead, they researched our cash advance vertical and customer demographics so they could focus on our buyer targets from the get-go.Didit has been able to manage every aspect of our campaigns, from designing eye-catching landing pages; to overseeing our paid search accounts for Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google; to setting up automated optimization solutions.They’ve consistently met our expectations from a cost per funded loan basis, while also making incremental, manual improvements to our campaign. Prior to adopting their services, we struggled to optimize the channel based on our business goals, which change on a state-by-state basis. Didit devised a search formula to entice the most click-throughs in a way that gets more efficient with each iteration. Their software and team continually tweaked our results, finding better and better ways to increase volume while reducing the advertising cost per acquisition (CPA). Their software platform and manual improvements allowed us to optimize our campaigns based on the CPA, leading to successively higher monthly volumes.Didit also excels at client communication and follow-up. They welcome feedback and use it to the client’s advantage. We meet with their team frequently, and at every meeting they provide us with constructive and practicable feedback on what we could and should do to extend the improvements we’ve been making. They also update us with reports showing outlays and CPA.Didit has also run a/b tests to find out which landing pages produce the best results. This constant attention to, and monitoring of, our CPA has given us the ability to make steady improvements in our transaction volumes while lowering the CPA – two metrics that are vitally important to us. In addition, our ROI has significantly increased in the paid search channel.Since they work closely with Google, Yahoo, and MSN, Didit has been able to give us an unexpected edge over our competitors. We’ve experienced the highest ROI for paid search since opening the PPC channel in 2005.Working with Didit has made Check ‘n Go much more efficient internet marketers. They are ruthless about performance, and they don’t leave anything to chance. We’re getting more transactions, and each online installment loan we add is giving us a better return on our investment. That’s how we define success. When it comes to meeting our search marketing goals, Didit has definitely “done it” for us.

- Jean-Marx Mantilla, Interactive Marketing Director

Bio:Jean-Marx Mantilla leads the eCommerce team in his role as the Director of Interactive Marketing and currently reports to Doug Clark, Axcess Financial’s COO. Through Jean-Marx’s leadership and oversight of online marketing and ecommerce strategies, Check ‘n Go Online’s revenue continues to grow every year. He has more than a dozen years of experience in the eBusiness and technology management fields, where he specialized in digital marketing and eCommerce.Jean-Marx career in the eBusiness sector is notable for its many accomplishments. He launched first-generation ecommerce websites for Victoria’s Secret and Burton Snowboards. He served as consultant to numerous Fortune 500 companies as an Information Architect at US/Web CKS. And he led marketing and conversion campaigns as eCommerce Director for the internet retail start-up eJewelry.com.Prior to coming to Axcess Financial, Jean-Marx was VP of eCommerce Strategy at JPMorgan Chase. He’s a graduate of The Ohio State University.

Client Testimonials – various clients


“The best thing about working with the Inceptor/Didit team is their ability to adapt to changing market conditions.”

 Larry Davis, VP of Marketing for Ross-Simons

“They have made the organic online marketing channel a low-cost acquisition channel for us. We have been able to turn it around (from before) and drive costs down. It is of high importance for us to have them onboard.”

- Sr. eCommerce Strategy Manager, Fortune 500 Financial Services Company

“I would never recommend them to another company like mine. I want to maintain the competitive advantage I get from working with them!”

 eCommerce Client – Home Furnishings

“Inceptor brings to the table a broader view of the marketplace. Working with a vendor that can bring us larger marketing trends is very useful to us because we are very myopic. Their role is very important. They do the actual bidding and management of our campaign, plus they serve a technical and advisory role to our business.”

eCommerce Client – Sporting Goods and Apparel

“Our SEO account person is very quick to respond, well-versed in search engines, and sets expectations very well, which is what I need. They are not promising the world and then not delivering. That is what makes this a good relationship.”

Sr. eCommerce Strategy Manager, Fortune 500 Financial Services Company

“From my experience working with Inceptor/Didit, they are looking for ways to improve our PPC account and bring best practices. They are always looking after our business goals on a day in and day out basis.”

Client – B2B Services

“They handle everything. They launch it, do automatic feeds, and there is little involvement required on my part.”

 eCommerce Client – Home Decor

“We have been able to identify pockets of underdeveloped search terms to minimize our cost per click. Our team is not afraid to push back and share new ideas. It’s a pleasure working with Inceptor/Didit.”

Larry Davis, VP of Marketing for Ross-Simons

“I think the main thing they have really helped us is to keep our marketing dollars in front of us. Pay per click is very expensive. The cost of marketing was difficult to determine what makes money and what doesn’t. They have helped us to be more effective in spending our marketing dollars.”

eCommerce Client – Healthy Home Products

“Inceptor/Didit  understands it is about the business results, not just the eyeballs you get to your site. That is what sets them apart.”

Sr. eCommerce Strategy Manager, Fortune 500 Financial Services Company

“They are very knowledgeable about bringing best practices into what we are doing. They have brought tools to bear to help us understand our keyword campaigns at a granular level.”

 Client – Sanitation Service Industry

“There is a responsiveness and accountability working with them. They did exactly what they promised. If I need to reach my account manager, bam, he is there. They watch my campaigns closely. They keep me informed and they have had good results – return on investment.”

 eCommerce Client – Lighting and Architectural Products

Client Testimonial – Kaz USA


“Our company has been in business since 1926, and we have locations in 67 countries around the world. Our headquarters is just west of Boston in Southborough, Massachusetts. We do conception, manufacturing, and sales of products for Vicks, Honeywell, and Braun.We’ve been working with Inceptor for about 18 months. Inceptor/Didit built our accounts from scratch, and manages our Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, and Comparison Shopping Engine feeds. We selected them because they seemed to be knowledgeable, honorable, personable, and intelligent. All of these assumptions have turned out to be correct.Prior to 2009, we didn’t really have a direct-to-consumer business to speak of. Since we hired Inceptor/Didit, they’ve been an integral part of our journey from nothing to exciting. There has been significant growth in our business, and Inceptor/Didit has played a major role in that. We track our ROI, and while it varies from month to month, it’s typically 4 to 5 times our investment.The most important thing to me personally has been Inceptor/Didit’s ability to anticipate the next thing and remain flexible. I’m running a relatively new business within a larger business that expects big things from me. This makes me have to do things quickly and with more agility than is usually necessary, and Inceptor/Didit has been able to accommodate that.Inceptor/Didit is incredibly attentive to my needs. Many vendors send you a few emails and an invoice every month, but I’m in contact with Inceptor/Didit three to five times a week, depending on what is going on. Deadlines don’t constantly slide and fly by unmentioned like with many other vendors. They can accommodate my schedule and are always around for meetings when I need them.I would definitely select Inceptor/Didit again, and in fact, I have. We’ve signed four contracts with them at this point. I can tell other business owners that you’ll do better with Didit, and that they really have your best interests at heart.”Fred Hosley, Web Manager Kaz USA, Inc. Southborough, Mass.

Kaz USA: Integrated Approach to SEM Services


Few agencies can demonstrate the concrete effects that a fully integrated search marketing program delivers for a client’s business and overall revenue contribution. Working hand-in-hand with our client, Kaz USA, we were able to create a highly successful, proactive campaign leveraging the synergy between Pay Per Click (PPC), Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE), and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Data/learnings were passed from the CSE and SEO teams to the PPC team and the client. Close monitoring, good cross-team communication, flexibility, and quick action on identified opportunities are essential for maximizing revenue and return. The improved visibility across all three channels led to an increase in sales from both the CSEs and organic search.

Situation
Kaz USA is a global leader in healthcare devices and home comfort products with a brand portfolio that includes Vicks, Honeywell, Braun, and more. They distribute products via major retail brick-and-mortar and online partners, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon. They had no significant Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) online business prior to FY09. Their Web manager expressed his mission, I’m running a relatively new business within a larger business that expects big things from me.
Challenges
With a relatively limited budget, the goal is to launch, test, and develop the new DTC online program. It covers roughly 100 products across various categories, including air purifiers, fans, humidifiers, blood pressure monitors, and insect control. The CPCs for general keywords within their nine categories are high (average of $0.75). In order to meet their efficiency goal of a 4x return, we are limited in the number of products that can be tested and promoted within PPC at any given time. Although we are running thousands of keywords, the initial budget does not allow us to effectively target every unique product.
SolutionsManaging search campaigns focused on e-commerce with a tight budget requires an integrated approach that leverages the unique strengths of PPC, CSE, and SEO. For example, we use CSE as a proving ground for less popular or more obscure products. CSE programs are generally less costly than PPC campaigns and deliver a higher ROI. In this case, we allocated 30% of the clients overall monthly media budget to CSE and the rest to PPC.We capitalize on market changes to obtain the most efficient results. Our proprietary tool monitors CSE activity and alerts the entire account team of “hot products” and inventory status. If we see a product pick up significantly in traffic and sales in organic results and/or CSEs, we build product-specific PPC campaigns and then expand them based on performance. Launching a targeted PPC campaign often increases the number of sales for that same product in the CSEs.The daily CSE product feeds also help the account team keep tabs on products that are out of stock. During the period that any product remains unavailable, we pause all PPC bidding and CSE listings so that the media budget is not wasted on non-converting clicks.We used a multi-channel approach to promote the $49.95 HW-628 Honeywell Dual Window Fan in paid search between June 1, 2010 and August 31, 2010 on Google, NexTag, Shopping.com, Shopzilla, and PriceGrabber. During this time, we also provided recommendations for improving organic results in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Campaign ExecutionLast week of May 2010:In the midst of the first heat wave of the season, we saw a jump in CSE sales of fans, particularly the HW-628. This models sales increased 1900% in a single week. At the same time we also saw a large increase in organic traffic from fan-related terms.First week of June 2010:Based on the volume we saw in both organic search and the CSEs, we built a HW-628 Google campaign and launched 55 keywords focused on product-specifc terms. All keywords were launched with the target of top three positions and a max CPC of $1.50. The ad copy was product specific and referenced price along with low-cost shipping and handling. The intent of this copy was to convince the busy, uncomfortably hot searcher that this was a good buy so there was no need for comparison shopping.End of July 2010:Based on the positive PPC search performance, a test of the Google Content program was launched with the same copy that was used in the successful search network campaigns. In tandem with the paid campaigns, we provided specific SEO recommendations related to technical roadblocks, navigation, information architecture, metadata, and linking strategy. Kaz USAs timely implementation of these items increased organic visibility for the entire site. With first-page organic rankings for the product terms, a top three ranked PPC ad, and strong placements within the CSEs, we were in a leading position across all types of campaigns.ResultsWhile the HW-628 campaign was small in terms of the overall scope of this clients business (only 6% of the total spend), we proved that a truly integrated search campaign delivers results. Our site-wide results demonstrate that we can quickly apply this same approach to other seasonal and market opportunities as they are identified. The success of this sample campaign continues to be duplicated for other products according to the seasonal sales trends and opportunities that arise.HW-628 results: Results were well above Kaz USAs expectations. The product campaign was so successful that the clients product ran out of stock for a few weeks. The HW-628 SKU earned the second-highest percent of sales during the 2010 summer season; no other fan has ever been within the top 20 for Kaz USA. In addition, this campaign delivered over a 9x ROI in sales from PPC and CSEs. When comparing 2010 results to the same period in 2009, we delivered the following:

  • More than 3000% increase in unit sales (client estimates it would have increased 5,000% or more if they had been fully stocked)
  • Category “Fans” more than doubled the percent of revenue contribution
  • Organic traffic was up 600% and delivered a 35% conversion rate
  • After the PPC campaign was launched, we saw a 36% increase in average weekly sales of the unit in the CSEs

Site wide results:

  • Sales are up 60%+ YTD
  • For the month of August 2010, ROI was 4.6X and conversion rate 5.2%
  • YTD ROI meets the goal of 4x and is expected to be significantly higher through the 2010 winter and holiday season
  • Significant organic growth year over year. Google visits are up 246% and revenue increased 1,805%. Visits on Bing grew 1,218% with a 2,749% growth in revenue

CSE Program Improves Apparel Retailer’s PPC ROI by 17%


Continuously improving paid search ROI, especially a large and mature program, requires close monitoring, good cross-team communication, flexibility, and advanced technology.  For an online store, accurate inventory data and insight into the vertical-specific ramifications of that data is a major key to success.SituationInceptor provides search marketing services for a well-known multi-channel retailer in the highly competitive athletic apparel industry.  In business for more than 35 years, this retailer sells top brands and prides itself in offering the largest selection and hottest new fashions.  As a result of 5 years of Inceptor’s efficient management and pro-active expansion of their paid search program, our client’s dynamic inventory of over 26,000 product SKUs is represented by over 1.6 million keywords.ChallengeThe client’s goals are to drive sales at specific efficiency levels (Cost of Marketing) while hitting internally defined budgets.  As the paid search campaigns matured and expanded in size, the challenge was to unearth additional opportunities to improve ROI, especially in preparation for the increased competition and higher CPCs anticipated in Q4.Keeping up with the ever-changing inventory levels and product availability for an account of this size required an automated, yet very accurate approach.   We needed a way to effectively monitor our client’s product inventory levels without having to manually check and recheck millions of keyword URLs to ensure availability.SolutionA primary way to maximize ROI is to ensure that the media budget is not wasted on non-converting clicks. With weekly PPC spending in the 10s of thousands of dollars and weekly revenue in the 100s of thousands, the algorithm for optimizing paid search to account for changes in inventory needed more granularity.  With this problem in mind, the Inceptor Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE) team developed technology and process to manage these large scale PPC and CSE campaigns in an integrated fashion.

  • CSE advertising programs require product “data feeds” to keep the shopping engines up-to-date.  Our client was already providing a daily product feed for processing and submission to the CSEs.  So we used this daily CSE data feed to automatically identify when product-specific bids needed to be paused/eliminated in the CSE and PPC programs due to product unavailability.
  • The Inceptor team understood that determining “availability” in the apparel industry presents a unique dilemma. The problem goes beyond simply identifying those items that are totally out-of-stock. For bidding purposes, availability also requires having a sufficient variety of sizes in stock.  For example, if only size 5 of a specific model of shoe is in stock, a click on a PPC ad for that product is unlikely to convert.
  • In addition, retailers often discount the price on last season’s products, especially those with limited size or color availability. If these bargains are included in the feed to the CSEs, the listings are even more likely to generate many clicks, but very few conversions.
  • The Inceptor CSE team developed a specialized algorithm to determine what combination of sizes is “sufficient” enough to warrant any ongoing spending on clicks, both PPC and CSE.
  • Another complexity involves the effect of inventory changes on optimization for entire categories of products.  So the team enhanced its in-house-developed link checking tool to verify not only that all landing pages in the paid search campaigns are still active, but also to identify cases where a keyword represents an entire class of products that should be considered “unavailable” for bidding purposes.

The positive impact of this automation project improved efficiency in both time and money.  The time previously devoted to troubleshooting inventory issues was re-allocated to expanding and optimizing the account.   And, by eliminating thousands of unnecessary clicks on low inventory/out of stock products, the saved budget was re-assigned to higher converting areas within the account.ResultsA preliminary test of the newly developed technology was performed in late Q3 and the full program was rolled out in time for the busy Q4 holiday season.During the test period in the relatively slow early fall season, the retailer benefited from exceptional PPC savings, while continuing to maintain revenue at current levels.  A comparison of the key metrics 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the new technology was initially implemented shows:

  • Cost of Marketing (Spend/Revenue) decreased by 18%
  • Average Weekly Spend decreased by 14%
  • Average Weekly Cost per Sale fell by 10%
  • Average Weekly Revenue increased by 1%

To ensure we obtain the best possible results, the availability determination algorithm and link checking technology is continually tweaked based on ongoing results as well as new insights into the apparel sizing/availability dilemma. During Q4, the campaigns were diligently optimized and re-optimized and savings were re-applied to expand the scope of the campaigns.  As a result, the year over year results for Q4 were outstanding:

  • Revenue increased by 46%
  • Cost of Marketing decreased by 17%
  • Spending increased only 21%

Many agencies promote a fully integrated paid search offering but few can demonstrate the concrete effects on a large scale client’s business and overall revenue contribution.  Working hand-in-hand with our client, we were able to create a highly successful, proactive campaign leveraging the synergy between CSE and PPC programs.

Q4 2009 vs. Q4 2010 Improvements in Cost of Marketing and Revenue

Ross Simons Increases Revenue and ROI


ross_simons
The ClientRoss-Simons, America’s trusted jeweler, opened its first retail store in historic Providence, Rhode Island, in 1952, with a mission to provide exceptional quality jewelry and luxury items at the most affordable prices possible. Today, Ross-Simons is a thriving multi-channel retailer. The company operates www.ross-simons.com, fourteen jewelry stores in seven states, and mails more than 50 million catalogs annually across the globe.The ChallengeWhen Ross-Simons came to us for management of their PPC campaigns, they had two objectives. First, they needed to resolve widespread ad relevancy problems; via the different matching technologies, search engines frequently displayed the wrong Ross-Simons ad. For example, a query for “white gold jewelry” would trigger a “platinum jewelry” ad. Second, Ross-Simons wanted to maximize their non-branded revenue and ROI. As a catalog mailer with a 30-year history of mailing catalogs, Ross-Simons had very strong search traffic, conversion, and sales from its existing customers. However, their goal was to attract a new audience to its website and grow their buyer file.SolutionThe Inceptor team began by performing an in-depth audit of Ross-Simons’ PPC accounts to identify the causes of the ad relevancy problem. We rigorously reorganized the accounts and added hundreds of negative keywords. This ensured that search queries always triggered a relevant ad.The reorganization had the additional effect of creating exceptionally high Quality Scores. After the optimizations, 94% of the keywords had a Quality Score of at least 7 out of 10; 80% had an 8 or higher. These unusually high Quality Scores meant that Ross-Simons was receiving the lowest CPCs possible; the average CPC dropped 31%.After improving ad relevance, we developed a strategic keyword expansion plan to increase qualified traffic. Using specialized research and management tools, Inceptor was able to quickly and efficiently identify and launch thousands of keywords.We also paid close attention to keyword match types in order to maximize traffic and ROI. Through meticulous reporting and extensive testing, Inceptor (a Didit Company) was able to exploit high-volume Broad and Phrase match queries while still excluding irrelevant traffic; search impressions increased 26%.Results

  • Average CPC decreased by 31%
  • Qualified Search impressions increased by 26%
  • 10% revenue growth while ROI increased by 124%
PPC Case Study Account Structure

Larry Davis, VP of Marketing for Ross-Simons summarizes the Inceptor relationship as follows: “The best thing about working with Inceptor is their ability to adapt to changing market conditions and fickle search results. We have been able to identify pockets of underdeveloped search terms and words and minimize our cost-per-click. We are most happy with our team and their commitment to Ross-Simons. They aren’t afraid to push back and share new ideas. It’s a pleasure working with Inceptor.”

Advanced SEO Tactics Put National HR Firm on the Map


The client came to Didit to take advantage of a planned redesign and to achieve greater search visibility. Despite being a globally recognized brand and thought leader in human resources outsourcing and consulting, their website was invisible for anything other than brand-name searches.ChallengeThe site was not written with user-focused language, and consequently was not relevant to targeted search queries. Furthermore, technical issues at re-launch caused the loss of visibility for most keyphrases, and for non-US pages to replace the correct versions in US search engine indices.SolutionThe Didit SEO team identified the best landing pages for key search terms, wrote relevant metadata, and optimized page content. When the re-launch caused massive losses due to technical problems, Didit determined the causes and was able to identify solutions within 72 hours.ResultsWithin two weeks of the initial round of optimizations, the site went from being completely invisible in March to #2 for “hr consulting” on Google, and #3 for “hr outsourcing services.” Also, once the technical fixes were rolled out, the other rankings returned within one week.

Apparel Retailer Ups Revenue 35% due to Optimized Navigation


The client came to Didit to increase revenue. This online specialty clothing retailer has been in business for more than seven years, and had success in achieving visibility for key high-volume terms. However, revenue growth had stalled, with little additional growth in traffic and a declining average order value.ChallengeThe site was largely very good, but the navigation did not allow enough product refinement. Product subcategories included from five pages to as many as 12 pages of products, which was discouraging for visitors to have to click through. Furthermore, the lack of subcategory differentiation meant that the site was not visible for a host of Tier-Two and long-tail search terms.SolutionThe Didit SEO team realized that the client needed a stronger long-tail strategy. The team performed extensive search query research to identify the important product types, features, and brands. Then they extrapolated the language that customers were likely to use in long-tail searches. Finally, they helped the client organize their products into additional new subcategories that were relevant to longer, less-common search terms.ResultsOnce the new product classification schema was rolled out into the navigation, the year over year site traffic increased significantly. At the same time, the site’s conversion rate increased. Consequently, revenue growth increased to 35% over a one year period, despite lower average order values.

Didit Doubled Online Retailer’s Revenue


Our client, which just celebrated their 60th year in business, offers home improvement products and high-end small appliances. They wanted to build a search-friendly site that would expand their online visibility and generate more customers.ChallengesOur client had top rankings for their primary keyphrase, but was invisible for other relevant tier-one and tier-two keyphrases. Relatively few of their product pages were indexed, leading to low acquisition of long-tail traffic. Inceptor realized that their information architecture focused their link popularity on low-priority pages and limited their indexing. Furthermore, they lacked strong category pages that were relevant to customer search terms.SolutionWe analyzed the site’s HTML code, use of dynamic navigation, content and metadata, and internal and external linking structure. We designed new category-level pages that increased visibility for tier-one and tier-two keyphrases. We organized the product pages to support the link popularity of these categories and provide logical shopping paths for visitors.ResultsThe new information architecture increased the number of indexed pages and created greater visibility for both high-volume, high-competition keyphrases and for the vast numbers of long-tail keyphrases. Once the new site was launched, the client’s organic traffic increased by 60% over the previous year in the first month, and by nearly 200% within six months. The number of sales increased by 79% in the first month, and by 239% in six months.

Keyword & Account ROI Increased via Brand Match Type Management


IntroductionThere are a number of well-known benefits to buying brand terms in paid search marketing. Having a paid search ad in addition to your organic listing will generate more total revenue to your site than the organic listing will alone. Brand keyword buys also allow brand messaging and promotions to be updated in real time, instead of having to change your site and wait for engines to update your organic listings. And, you can prevent competitors from buying your name and diverting sales meant for your business. However, a branded keyword strategy should be more than simply buying your brand terms on Broad or Advanced match.ChallengeIn 2007, after Google introduced expanded Broad match, we observed average CPCs of brand terms increase by 209% and in some cases by as much as 226%. Similarly, when Yahoo! changed its advanced match algorithm in 2009, CPCs for brand terms increased 140% with some increasing as much as 190%. At the same time, traffic volumes driven by these match types increased significantly. However, neither engine drove an increase in revenue, bringing down account ROI. Our client’s brand keywords were only on Broad match in Google and Advanced match in Yahoo!. We needed to ensure that we were getting as much brand traffic as possible, while improving the efficiency of the brand keyword buys.ApproachWe expanded our brand keywords to include all match types in both Google and Yahoo. All other variables (ad text, bids and others) were unchanged during this time period. Once we had acquired enough data, we analyzed the performance of each match type.ResultsWe observed that the CPCs for Broad match in Google were higher than for the other matches, probably because the Broad keywords were now only being triggered by less-relevant searches. These high-CPC, inefficient searches had been obscured by the high ROI of the more relevant traffic that the Broad terms had previously also captured. Once the relevant, high-ROI searches were instead being captured by Phrase and Exact match keywords, only the less-relevant, inefficient searches triggered the Broad keywords.The chart below shows the results of buying all three match types for brand terms in Google:The Broad-match terms drove significantly less ROI than Phrase and Exact. As shown in the next chart, the brand campaign’s average CPC decreased by 85%, while ROI increased 661% after we paused the Broad-match terms.Further, the ROI across our client’s Google account as a whole increased 26.8%, from 771% to 978%.The same exercise was performed for Yahoo!’s Advanced and Standard matches, and resulted in an average CPC decrease of 394% ($0.34 to $0.09), with an ROI increase of 470% (343% to 1,612%). Additionally, the ROI for Yahoo! as a whole increased 40%, from 571% to 800%.ConclusionWhile branded terms will usually be the highest ROI and revenue-generating keywords, Broad or Advanced match brand keywords may drive a higher level of inefficiency due to the non-relevant searches that trigger them. Since brand terms typically drive the most click volume to your site, it is important to make sure that you are maximizing the revenue and ROI that your brand terms deliver. For some websites, buying brand terms only on Phrase and Exact match in Google, and on Standard match in Yahoo, delivers the greatest amount of revenue at the highest ROI. However, it is always recommended to test as results may vary across websites.The Broad-match terms drove significantly less ROI than Phrase and Exact. As shown in the next chart, the brand campaign’s average CPC decreased by 85%, while ROI increased 661% after we paused the Broad-match terms.Further, the ROI across our client’s Google account as a whole increased 26.8%, from 771% to 978%.The same exercise was performed for Yahoo!’s Advanced and Standard matches, and resulted in an average CPC decrease of 394% ($0.34 to $0.09), with an ROI increase of 470% (343% to 1,612%). Additionally, the ROI for Yahoo! as a whole increased 40%, from 571% to 800%.ConclusionWhile branded terms will usually be the highest ROI and revenue-generating keywords, Broad or Advanced match brand keywords may drive a higher level of inefficiency due to the non-relevant searches that trigger them. Since brand terms typically drive the most click volume to your site, it is important to make sure that you are maximizing the revenue and ROI that your brand terms deliver. For some websites, buying brand terms only on Phrase and Exact match in Google, and on Standard match in Yahoo, delivers the greatest amount of revenue at the highest ROI. However, it is always recommended to test as results may vary across

Maximizing Conversions by Running Competitive Sites


Introducing additional partner, micro- or promotional sites with the intent of increasing overall conversion rates has proven to be an effective strategy for several Didit clients*. Multiple sites tend to fall into three categories:

  • Partner sites that fall under the umbrella of the main company
  • Micro-sites to promote different areas of the business
  • Promotional sites to target specific products or audiences within the company’s vertical

The challenge with all three is to increase conversions even as the competitive nature of the multiple sites threatens to raise the cost per click (CPC).SituationA client in a highly competitive financial vertical planned to launch two micro-sites in addition to its main website. Although each of the sites varied only slightly in messaging, the intent was to raise overall conversions by appearing in more places on the first page of paid search results for the same keywords. In effect, they wanted to take these spaces away from some of their deep-pocket competitors.ChallengesWhile each site had its own unique purpose, the keyword lists for all three were exactly the same. This created a risk of driving up CPCs for the original site. In addition, the duplicate sites and keyword lists raised the potential for conflict with Google’s editorial guidelines for duplicate/mirror sites.

SolutionInceptor advised the client against launching all three sites at once; instead we together decided to benchmark the original site for three months, optimize the account and use the data collected to create a plan for launching the additional sites.During the three month test, Didit worked with Google to gain approval to add the first micro-site. After the data from the initial launch was analyzed, the site was activated using the same keyword list, but with CPCs set around 30% lower than the main site. This was to ensure that there would be no direct competition among sites.After six months of running the original site and the first micro-site with the exact same keyword lists, and finding higher overall conversions, the second micro-site was launched. Originally, it was expected that it would rank lower than the first two sites, but this quickly changed when the conversion rate of the second micro-site nearly doubled that of the first. ResultsManaging an account with three sites all competing for the same keywords seemed, at least initially, to be a risky idea, but with careful planning and optimization, the strategy proved sound.

  • Adding the first micro-site increased average monthly clicks by 68% while average spend increased by only 60%
  • Adding the second micro-site only increased average monthly spend by 4%
  • Average monthly conversions increased by a total of 114% after the second micro-site was launched

Content campaign raised brand awareness and drove 300% ROI increase


A Content campaign is an integral component of the Search Marketing mix. While Content campaigns are considered primarily as a vehicle for general branding, they can be leveraged to efficiently increase direct sales as well. Targeting the Content campaign to specific branded products and optimizing with a focus on conversions not only improved ROI but continued to drive traffic for branding.SituationA multi-channel retail client offered a line of celebrity-branded cookware and kitchen tools. A small mix of brand and product keywords was included in a single Content ad group for testing purposes. While the initial launch delivered sales and a positive ROI, the overall traffic was low, and therefore the branding goal was not met.ChallengesThe brand name value of the product line was under-utilized; the campaign needed optimizing for growth in traffic. At the same time, the ROI needed to be acceptable in order to develop a scalable Content campaign strategy for the rest of the branded product lines.SolutionThirty days after the initial launch, we implemented specific Google-recommended campaign optimizations designed to grow volume and increase brand visibility. The number of ad groups was expanded, with each group targeting a specific product. Also, Google added a large number of general keywords, high traffic product-level keywords, and celebrity chef-related keywords to each ad group. We tracked traffic to help determine which non-converting ad groups, keywords and ad copy needed to be changed or removed.After thirty days of running the Google-optimized Content campaign, we made more changes aimed at decreasing the non-converting traffic and lowering the cost of the campaign. Because the Content Network does not allow the use of negative keywords and match types, the delivery of ads for general keywords could not be sufficiently targeted. Consequently, most of the general keywords and other non-performers were removed, while the overall structure of the new ad groups remained. After optimization, each ad group was limited to 5 – 8 keywords for a specific product. In addition, the ad copy was updated to include promotions and calls to action, so that researchers would be more likely to become buyers. The test continued for another thirty days.ResultsOptimizing with a focus on direct sales via product and celebrity name-specific keywords resulted in an improved ROI, while driving significant traffic for branding purposes. Although the general keywords Google recommended for the Content campaign increased the number of impressions and clicks (and the costs,) it was not a scalable, efficient, or targeted program.

The optimization performed by Google drove a 1200% increase in traffic but at a return of less than 100%. After our second round of optimizations, the ROI improved upon the Google optimization by over 300%. In addition, the revenue remained consistent and traffic increased by 380% over the initial launch period.

New CSE program drives significant revenue and ROI


Supplying product data feeds to Shopping Comparison Engines (CSEs) can help retail clients to grow revenue with excellent ROI However, CSEs require a tremendous amount of management in order to be successful; the feeds must be customized to each engine, and must be frequently updated to reflect inventory changes. Most businesses do not have the technical resources or the time to devote to optimizing their product data feeds. Inceptor has seven years of experience and proprietary tools that enable us to efficiently and effectively manage CSE accounts.SituationA national specialty retailer came to us in mid-2008 for help with their search engine marketing program. They were looking for help in expanding revenue without sacrificing efficiency. Their very mature PPC program had reached a level where continued expansion was decreasing its ROI. Rather than remain focused solely on PPC, we recommended launching a CSE program. The client had previously tried Shopping Comparison Engines with in-house resources. The campaigns were paused due to poor performance: click traffic that drove few orders.ChallengesThe company has thousands of product variables to manage, including sizes, colors and other options. Inventory, pricing, and bids needed to be changed often, but the large data set made manual updates time-consuming and difficult to perform. The client needed a more efficient way to manage their product data feeds.SolutionThe Inceptor team built a highly customized CSE program that updates product information daily. We tailored the feed to each shopping engine to exploit differences in each engine’s use of metadata and search results display formats. We also helped the client set up internal systems to aggregate inventory changes, allowing us to incorporate them automatically. We managed the client’s huge and varied inventory with our proprietary monitoring and performance analysis technology. Our tools automatically set bids based on ROI goals, and identify inefficient categories or products, allowing us to manage and optimize feeds down to the SKU level. Our optimization experts quickly identify high- and low-performing categories and SKUs, and can adjust the feeds, metadata, and other factors to maximize results.ResultsDuring the first six months, the new CSE program drove significant revenue at an ROI comparable to the PPC program. Thus, we were able to deliver increased revenue from a program that the client had previously found to be unprofitable.
CSE Case Study – Inventory Interface

Integrated PPC-SEO Services Improve Lead Generation for a Biotechnology Firm


SITUATIONA world leader in the production and supply of reagents for the life science industry maintained a complex database of technical reference information about the enzymes they make available for genomic research.  This biolab sells tens of 1000s of products to the biotechnology research community.As part of their plan to implement a new Content Management System (CMS) and then undertake a major site redesign, the firm’s marketing team recognized that the use of SEO best practices would play an important role in the success of their new website.  At the same time, a relatively small budget was allocated to PPC and was managed with in-house resources.CHALLENGEThe client’s goal is to increase exposure to their target audience, biotech researchers, and develop new qualified leads, both those who are searching for a specific product and those who are looking for a general source of enzymes to purchase for their firm.   Given the wide assortment of niche technical terms involved, determining the key scientific terms to target as keywords for specific product pages is relatively straightforward.  However, it is more challenging to improve the home page rankings for general terms, such as “reagents” and “restriction enzyme,” which would best attract potential purchasers.As the CMS implementation proved more complicated than anticipated, it became apparent that the project needed the undivided attention of the in-house marketing team. There wasn’t enough bandwidth to continually test and optimize PPC campaigns.At the same time, the client continues to expand its product offerings into new areas which required additional keyword research and campaign design.  Technical conferences and their ongoing research publications are another source of new keywords to attract the biotech community to the site.SOLUTIONThe client signed up for Inceptor’s SEO consulting and support services to minimize any negative impact on organic rankings resulting from the implementation of the new CMS and design.  Since the redesign was expected to be a lengthy process, the Inceptor SEO team also researched and documented some interim optimization steps that would require minimal effort but improve visibility and/or usability for the existing website.  These short term improvements included addressing technical issues, such as the proper use of redirects; deploying a keyphrase strategy that focused on conversion goals; improving page relevance for specific terms by optimizing metadata and page copy; and providing guidance for low-cost information architecture improvements.Nine months after starting the SEO engagement, the client began using Inceptor’s PPC management services with the goal of making the best use of their limited PPC budget.  The Inceptor paid search team performed keyword research by leveraging learnings from the SEO team, applied negative keywords, revised ad copy, and restructured the search engine accounts to make tightly defined ad groups.The synergy between the PPC and SEO teams resulted in expanded traffic and provided additional opportunities for keyword identification and testing:

  • While PPC ads may go offline due to budget constraints, organic results are available to searchers at all times.   On the other hand, if organic results slip due to an algorithm change, PPC can temporarily ramp up to fill the void.
  • Using PPC with well-targeted ad copy for both branded terms and some well-chosen general keywords (along with adequate negative keywords to maintain relevance) helped to attract cost-effective clicks.
  • SEO techniques helped overcome the challenge encountered when Google does not display paid ads for infrequently searched, very specific keywords with a low CTR.
  • Appearing in both paid and organic search results on the same page helped to boost the total click through rate.

RESULTSThe number of organic visits from non-branded search terms improved by 75% year over year.  The top traffic-driving organic terms are specific technical terms, such as  “ecori” and “xhoi.” Meanwhile, as a result of the first six month’s of Inceptor’s PPC campaign restructuring and optimization efforts, the paid search Click through Rate improved by 1594% while the number of impressions dropped by 80%.  The well-targeted ads and better CTR improved the Google Quality Score and led to a 39% drop in CPCs and an improvement in average position from 2.7 to 2.1.  The top performing non-brand PPC keywords include relatively general terms such as “enzyme,” and “gene expression,” as well as some more specific terms like “DH5.“The CMS implementation is close to completion and the redesign project is still in progress, so the full impact of applying SEO principles is yet to be realized and fully measured.   And the PPC program is just getting underway, with improvements anticipated as additional optimization, Sitelinks, and testing techniques are implemented.Applying paid and organic search to the types of  terms for which they are each best suited allows the client to reach the broad spectrum of biotech researchers, whether they are looking for a specific product, technical reference information about certain enzymes, or simply for a reputable source of enzyme products.