The Value of an “Unplugged” Second Look – A Paid Ad Case Study

Jaclyn Howell Jaclyn Howell March 12, 2018 Category Digital Marketing

A great digital marketing agency has to do a lot more than just implement digital campaigns. At Path Interactive, we collaborate with our clients to provide creative insights about their business that can help drive their overall marketing strategy. Often this means we have to think beyond what the client asks us to do in order to hit on new tactics to achieve their goals.

This is the story of how our team found a tremendous opportunity for revenue growth hiding in plain sight.

 

Once upon a time, a client had this problem…

Our client is a nationally-recognized management training company whose brand has a long and storied history. Our KPIs on the account were to maximize revenue volume while delivering an ROAS of 2.0 or better. When our engagement began in Q3’16, the company was facing revenue down-trending YoY. Despite a top-to-bottom restructure of the account, we did not see enough of a swing in performance by Q4’16.

Clearly, we needed something new to drive sales.

Our eureka! moment

Sometimes familiarity can be a challenge rather than a strength. Whenever one of my clients needs a new marketing approach, I take a fresh look at the existing assets, trying to see their materials as if for the first time.

So, I “unplugged” everything—smartphone, Outlook, HipChat, Twitter, all of it—and started scanning their website for things I hadn’t noticed before. I was searching for any new ideas or gaps in their marketing story that had escaped our notice.

In this case, what I found was a skinny bottom bar banner touting a $300-off promotion, buried on of the site’s deeper, low-traffic pages.

$300-off promotion? We’d never discussed coupons as part of our 2017 strategy with the client, and none of our campaigns had said anything about discounts. We didn’t know anything about this banner, and it wasn’t even under the purview of our primary client contact. Another team had pushed it out to support their own email initiative. As is sometimes the case in large, traditional companies, departments operate separately, and they may not be fully aware of what the other is doing. But since this coupon was already approved, we asked permission to launch a pilot search campaign to promote it.

 

The data has spoken

Turns out this was a solid bet. After just one month, the revenue driven as a result of this promotion accounted for 22% of the total CPC revenue that month.

With proof of concept in the bank, we expanded our plan in the following quarter by rolling out multiple promotions, at different dollar values, including a Cyber Monday offer. And, since we had enough hard evidence to rally the client’s web team to the cause, we were able to test different landing page strategies.

We determined that the best revenue-driving offers were those that had a dedicated landing page experience. The data spoke, and conversions were better with a dedicated experience. Also crucial was home page exposure: once we convinced the client to move the banner ad up from the depths of the website, the impact was really significant.

Higher discount = higher profit

By running multiple tests, we were able to determine that the higher the discount, the more profitable the offer was. Take a moment to let that sink in, since many business managers will not buy into this notion at first. They might fear that they would be giving away their margin, but this is not necessarily true for the long-term bottom line.

In fact, we were able to promote as much as $700 off while still blowing our ROAS goal out of the water. This industry is highly competitive, and very expensive. We found a sweet spot to revitalize sales without sacrificing overall margin/ROAS. We were able to identify areas of efficiency outside of promotional campaigns to balance out the discounts. And we were able to sell it to the client because we conducted properly-executed tests that convinced data-conscious managers.

Key takeaways

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that this test was not a “band-aid.” It was a test that laid the foundation for long term success. Because we were able to identify a languishing opportunity, test it carefully, and then back our recommendations with solid data, we moved our client’s overall digital marketing strategy in a new, more profitable direction. Not only did we drive business results, we also gained more trust from the client.

These strong results led us to build and launch search campaigns and ad groups in 2017 that focused on keywords for training discounts and promotions. The promotion keywords alone have driven over $185K of revenue year-to-date; ad creatives overall have driven over $500K of revenue year-to-date.

Conclusion

While a marketer’s first inclination may be to look outward for new revenue streams, sometimes you can mine growth opportunity by first turning over all existing stones (i.e. internal assets). Not to get overly philosophical, but maybe what you’ve been looking for this whole time is right in front of you, if you can just let go of any preconceived notions and search hard enough.

By adopting this mindset, we found a catalyst for explosive revenue growth buried right inside a client’s existing asset.Implementing insights borne from thinking outside the box is what distinguishes a good agency from a true partner. And at Path, we’re forging true partnerships.

Want to know more about our work? Contact us today!

 

Co-Authored by Jaclyn Howell & Steven Lo

 

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