Bidding on brand name keywords is usually the easiest, most inexpensive way to see conversions from Paid Search activity. However, some brands are forced to bid against big resellers with even bigger advertising budgets. For these brands consistently appearing in first position may not be within the scope of their budgets. Unfortunately, this means resellers such as, John Lewis, are in a position to capture those easier to convert, inexpensive sales.
For brands struggling to compete against large resellers, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA’s) may hold a solution. RLSA’s give brands the ability to use their ad spend more intelligently by bidding on consumers who are more likely to convert. This helps brands appear in first position when it matters most. Ultimately, allowing them to steal back some of those sales without expanding their budget.
How do RLSA’s Work?
RLSA’s work in the same way as remarketing lists for online Display campaigns. By placing a tag on their website brands can segment visitors according to specific variables such as, pages visited or products viewed. A brand can then set bid multipliers and deliver tailored ad copy according to their on-site behaviour.
Most commonly RLSA’s are used for generic campaigns, which when compared with brand campaigns are generally more expensive with a lower CTR. However, with the use of RLSA’s brands see a higher conversion rate as consumers who have previously been on a website are more likely to purchase on returning. Though this feature can be extremely profitable for generic campaigns it is not often applied to competitive brand keywords, but for brands competing with resellers this can be a beneficial tactical strategy.
Brand Defence with RLSA’s
The team at Net Media Planet (NMP) explored this strategy for a fashion retail client who was having difficulty competing against larger resellers. The overall goal of the performance campaign was to increase sales, but due to poor conversion rates appearing consistently in first position would cause ROI to suffer. However, it cannot be overlooked that maintaining website traffic against resellers was also an important objective.
The first step in creating an effective RLSA strategy was to segment website visitors into relevant audiences. In this instance, visitors were segmented according to which products they viewed. Furthermore, visitors who had converted within the past week were excluded in order to avoid serving ads to individuals who were less likely to purchase.
After collecting and segmenting audience information the campaign was set live. Ads were targeted specifically to their on-site behaviour with tailored messaging to make it more personal. Since people returning to a website have a higher propensity to purchase bid prices were set at twice the initial bid.
Retargeting campaigns are expected to see a higher CTR and conversion rate as the consumer has previously shown an interest in the products however; the results NMP saw were staggering. The campaign saw increases in CTR by 102%, and incredibly a 280% increase in conversion rate.
It is accurate to assume that some of the increase in CTR can be attributed to the improvement in average position, where originally the ads had an average position of 1.7 they now sat in first position. However, the true value of RLSA’s can been seen when comparing cost-per-click (CPC) over the campaign period.
Looking at the graph above, bid prices were originally over twice as high for the RLSA campaign, thus making the CPC’s almost 120% greater than the non-RLSA campaign. However, as the campaign progressed the CTR continued to improve due to the highly targeted ad segmentation and messaging. This caused the quality score to increase, and average CPC’s to decrease below those of the non-RLSA campaign. This all occurred while still maintaining an average first position.
Though the RLSA campaign’s bid was significantly higher, and initial CPC costs were over twice as high, the improvement in CTR and quality score meant that overtime the campaign was actually cheaper and more effective to run.
Be aware that non-RLSA campaigns may suffer due to lower CTR ultimately, causing the campaign to lose quality score. However, this is offset by the additional clicks from the RLSA campaign which have proven more likely to convert.
A recent Bing study found that bidding on brand keywords increases clicks to a website by an average of 31%, and when not running brand ads 34% of missed clicks went to competitor ads versus 4% with brand ads. This data supports the importance of bidding on brand keywords, and protecting against competition. By applying RLSA’s brand campaigns receive more relevant clicks increasing conversions without expanding the budget.