Vertbaudet Brings Paid Search In-House and Boosts Sales with Skai
Vertbaudet is a leading online retailer in France, selling children’s fashion, maternity wear, and toys. The company has a 40-year retail heritage which also includes 64 bricks and mortar stores nationwide.
Search advertising is the primary marketing channel for Vertbaudet’s online retail business, helping to generate sales for upwards of 5800 items, many of which change every season. In order to retain better control over this strategically important area and to improve performance as activity scaled, the company decided to switch from using an external agency to managing search in-house at the start of 2016. As well as wanting a smooth transition, Vertbaudet also had some tough initial goals:
- Increase overall customer orders without increasing Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
- Improve the performance of Google Shopping Campaigns
- Grow its overall customer base by increasing orders from new customers who it could then harvest for repeat business in future
Vertbaudet chose Skai as its search partner to optimize bids, automate program management and reporting and identify and maximize opportunities. Skai’s easy to use technology, powerful bid optimization engine, automation and time-saving features and history of innovating to help clients improve performance, including the integration of search with other digital and offline marketing activity, was exactly what it needed.
Vertbaudet was also convinced Skai’s highly responsive and knowledgeable team would minimize the learning curve to manage search in-house. Working with Skai, the retailer rolled out a search advertising strategy based on the following key elements:
- It automated and optimized bids for 200,000 keywords, using sophisticated statistical modeling through Skai Portfolio Optimizer (KPO), a proprietary solution for model-based portfolio bid optimization. Significantly, this included optimizing bids on the large number of long tail keywords for which there is often little available performance data.
- A bigger part of the search budget was allocated to Google Shopping Campaigns. Vertbaudet restructured the campaigns and created a dedicated portfolio to work on each category with its own targets. Management and performance of Shopping Campaigns were improved using Skai’s customized Product Listing Ads (PLA)-specific bid policy. Skai also enabled Vertbaudet to split out high performing products into their own Google Shopping Campaigns product groups to allow for more granular bidding and optimization.
- New customers to the Vertbaudet website are identified using a pixel and retargeted with ads on Google using Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). For instance, expectant mothers who had the potential to become long term customers.
- The program budget was made to work harder by supporting Vertbaudet’s paid search activity on Bing to take advantage of the high ROI ad inventory. Skai Campaign Mirroring ensures any change to the Google campaign is now automatically applied and synchronized to Bing, saving time and eliminating duplicated effort.
- Skai’s detailed cannibalization reporting revealed instances where Vertbaudet was overspending on broad match keywords. The budget was then used more efficiently by restricting those bids to exact match keywords.
- Spend was more effectively controlled using Skai’s Halogen predictive modeling engine. This used past campaign performance and a wide variety of market data to provide forecasts and scenario plans that were automatically applied to in-market campaigns. For example, it was able to identify the specific level of spend to achieve optimal results while minimizing CPA
Even during the potentially disruptive changeover of moving paid search in-house, Vertbaudet was able to generate significant performance improvements. Year-on-year gains for the six month period, July to December 2016 included:
- Traffic increased by 30%, while impressions grew 63%
- Cost per acquisition remained the same
"Skai enabled us to build a successful search advertising strategy. As a result, we enjoyed a significant uplift in sales, including those from new customers, without increasing acquisition costs,” said Marie Mooney, SEA & Social Ads Manager from Vertbaudet. “The automation capabilities meant our in-house search manager could work efficiently, with time to think, plan and take advantage of opportunities."