e-Commerce Paid Search Case Study

Our client is a leader in consumer software for Mac computers. Our client’s flagship product is an all-in-one utility suite that helps speed up your Mac by addressing universal binaries, logs rotation, cleaning out unneeded languages, application un-installation, caches, and other issues that unnecessarily take up extra disk space and slow down users’ systems. Users are able to download a free trial of the software before buying.

The client came to CPC Search hoping that we might grow revenues and profitability of their PPC program. Upon auditing the client’s Google AdWords account, we noticed that there were multiple opportunities to optimize and expand Search and Content campaigns for this client. After 6 months, CPC Search has achieved very significant results*e-Commerce PPC Case Study (03-05-2010 16.47.17)

  • Revenue up over 100%
  • Profit (after agency fees) up 73%

Every client is different, but for this particular client we focused especially on separating out Content from Search campaigns, adding and managing content placements, expanding content ad groups in the spirit of Google’s ‘Cast Your Net (CYN)’ technique for contextual campaigns, and on restructuring the Search campaign by creating multiple ‘child’ ad groups from what had been a small number of original ad groups in the Search campaign. We also had the wind to our back inasmuch as the client proactively sent additional display creative which, when rotated into our Content campaigns, improved CTRs markedly. In keyword land, ad fatigue is typically not much of an issue – the nature of keywords is that users search for what they need at the time, and later they are searching on something else that they need. With display ads, on the other hand, users may be seeing an ad again and again because they continually visit the same blog, for example. So, refreshing Content creative (display or text, actually) can actually do good things for CTRs.

* Note – we have used ‘100’ as the month-0 benchmark number – revenue and profit numbers therefore represent percentage growth from month-0, rather than actual revenue and profit for this client. Also, we net out our PPC agency fees since we took over from an internal team rather than from another SEM agency.

  • Mike D

    Great case study Terry! Congrats. I was intrigued that you wrote a lot about the content/display side. I thought you were of the opinion there’s usually not a lot of oppty there and efforts usually better spent on optimizing the paid search side of the house. Has something changed with Google’s offering, or something else new happening in the market?

  • Hey Mike, I think the Content network has gotten bigger in the last 8 months or so, and Google is also beta-testing additional ways to target users within the content network – but the main reason I think Content is working well for the client in the case study is that the product is as much an impulse buy as it is something that folks search for. I think that is the big issue here.

    I do think we are spending more money on Content relative to Search than we were 8-12 months ago as an agency – sometimes it works really well, sometimes not. Interestingly, we’ve found for 1 client that not only does content work well to acquire user registrations, but it actually converts to paid customer on the back end even better than search. Go figure!