49% total website revenue growth
The Solar Centre wanted to achieve 40% website revenue growth year-on-year, which is an ambitious target for any business. Having successfully achieved this the previous year, the challenge was then in sustaining this level of growth*.
Managing the PPC channel for The Solar Centre, our target was to support this objective (PPC accounting for 54% of total website revenue). The other key KPI we were measured on was to ensure ROAS remained above £3.
*NB: The Solar Centre’s new product strategy was also expected to contribute to this.
Having worked with The Solar Centre for over five years, the ‘quick wins’ typically available when we start managing a new client account (for example restructuring the campaigns or reviewing keyword lists), had already long since been implemented and the gains realised.
Therefore the growth was going to have to come from other means; some of the main contributors are outlined below:
Being an early adopter of Google developments
Our PPC experts applied new Google products and features as they rolled out, to keep a step ahead of the competition. This included testing different Smart Bidding strategies and implementing Smart Shopping campaigns – both of which worked well for The Solar Centre.
Responsive Search Ads were adopted for all campaigns, allowing us to test ad copy variations on scale for the first time, and learn faster which combinations worked best.
Whilst in the past traditional Display campaigns had not yielded the desired results for The Solar Centre in terms of the strong revenue and ROAS focus, we decided to revisit this with the new Smart Display campaigns. By only paying for conversions, we were able to move away from paying for clicks and impressions – effectively giving The Solar Centre free brand awareness whilst any conversions contributed to the positive ROAS we were seeing.
Learnings from the recent Google Retail Summit and regular contact with our Google Account Manager provided additional resources to tap into, and enabled us to apply the most appropriate best practice to the account.
Making non-brand work
As for many of our clients, an ongoing challenge was to bring new customers into the brand. This relies heavily on being visible in the search results for non-brand terms e.g. ‘solar lights’. Though we were bringing a lot of traffic through Smart Shopping and Brand campaigns, we wanted the non-brand search area to improve as well, as impressions for these campaigns were down.
After focussing additional optimisation time on them, which included testing the new campaign types and bidding strategies mentioned above, we started seeing improvements. We also started measuring them weekly and separately to the rest of the campaigns, so we could really see how they were performing.
Getting more from Bing
Bing has generated mixed results for our clients. Though it is a smaller area than Google, all incremental gains are important to capitalise on. We were pleased to see that by applying changes such as bidding on fewer broad match keywords (moving instead to broad match modified keywords for more accuracy and ad relevancy), we saw good growth and greater efficiency of spend from this channel.
In the first half of 2019 versus the same period in 2018, The Solar Centre experienced:
- 49% total website revenue growth, from a 36% increase in sessions (30% growth in new sessions), and a 55% increase in transactions
- PPC drove this trend, with an even stronger 69% revenue growth, 55% increase in sessions (50% growth in new sessions), and 79% increase in transactions
- PPC conversion rate increased just over 14% year-on-year
- Overall ROAS stood at £3.92 versus £3.41 last year. For non-brand terms (Google) this was £3.02 versus £2.44 last year
- Bing saw revenue increase by 33% and ROAS go from £2.94 to £4.02 versus last year