Case Study: Building a new customer base in the UK

We are pleased to share a new case study of our work with well-known international travel brand, Sunweb. Adopting a new approach, we integrated Paid Search and Display advertising to help effectively reach a new audience and successfully help build a customer base in the UK.



Sunweb are a leading international specialist tour operator. They have an established customer base in Europe and were looking to increase brand awareness in the UK and build its customer base locally. They appointed us to help them achieve this through Paid Search and Display advertising. We believed that we could use an integrated Paid Search and Display advertising strategy to increase brand awareness and drive incremental bookings in the UK.


Our Approach

Sunweb has some brand awareness in the UK, and as such already has some existing traffic to the website from UK consumers. To capture this existing search traffic, we launched a Paid Search campaign promoting Sunweb’s holiday services through a series of text ads. Messaging was designed specifically to drive consumers directly to the website.


To expand reach further, we implemented a Programmatic Display prospecting campaign promoting Display ad placements on contextually relevant websites. This approach was designed to target new consumers who fit a pre-defined audience profile, who we believed would have an active interest in the type of holiday being offered by Sunweb.


To drive more online bookings, we analysed campaign conversion data to pinpoint the times at which most on-site conversions were made. Using this data, we commenced a retargeting campaign to pursue our target consumers at times when we knew that they would be most likely to convert.



The campaign has been a great success. Since launch, UK revenue has increased by +96% and bookings by +36% month on month. At the same time we have also managed to decreased cost per acquisition by 73%.


For further information on this campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by contacting Digby at [email protected]


5 Ways to Boost Paid Search Performance

Have your campaigns gone a bit stagnant? Paid Search campaigns can be a really effective way of increasing brand awareness and generating revenue.


However they take a lot of work to manage, and can easily stagnate if due attention is not given to them. So, to avoid your high performing campaigns turning into poor performing campaigns, we thought it would be useful to share some of our top tips and insights:


1. Think creatively to get your message across

There are a number of essential messaging and creative optimisation techniques that you should incorporate into your campaigns, these include;

  • Promote an offer in your ad copy – Use promotional or discount messaging with a good call to action. Consumers are more likely to click on your ad if they see an offer and they might not go onto your site if they don’t know you have a sale and other companies do.
  • Test new landing pages – Firstly, ensure that your landing page is relevant to the term searched to capture consumers while their interest is high. Secondly, optimise your landing page further by experimenting with different font sizes and colours. Trust us, it works! For one client we found that a landing page with a black background had a much smaller bounce rate than a white background. In another test, we changed the landing page from a product page to a category page and saw a +23.5% increase in revenue and a +49.8% increase in transactions.


2. Bid Intelligently

Bidding more intelligently can help you to target consumers at high converting times. By adopting a sophisticated bidding strategy you can make more efficient use of your advertising spend and drive more performance. There are a number of different bidding tactics that can be employed, such as;

  • Location Bid modifiers – Use these to adjust your bids in specific targeted geographical areas, for example by city. Achieve more performance by increasing your bids in locations that you know perform well. For one client we ran highly geo-targeted campaigns across 13 different locations. As a result CTR increased by +47.2% and conversions increased by +36.3%.
  • Mobile Bid modifiers – Use these to target the increasing number of consumers searching and buying on their smart phones rather than on desktop. For one client we optimised their campaign for mobile and saw a significant performance uplift, as a result 32% of their revenues now comes from mobile.


3. Add More with Extensions

With strict character limits in your ads, sitelinks can be used to promote more products, offers or services to entice consumers to click on your ad. Also use sitelinks to take over more real estate of the Search Engine Results Page and push out your competitors. There have been many recent updates to ad extensions, particularly on Google, which can help optimise campaigns further, these include:

  • Extended sitelinks – These are sitelinks that combine traditional sitelinks with text about a product or service that relates to your ad. These will enable you to show more information and highlight more benefits of your product or service.
  • Image ad extensions – These will allow you to show 3 relevant images above your Paid Search ad. Most consumers are drawn to visual content so this will make your ad stand out compared to other ads.

It is worth noting that Google also recently updated their ad ranking algorithm to incorporate ad extensions. So, if you have not yet optimised your Google campaigns with extensions you should start ASAP!


4. Remarketing For Search

A newer form of Paid Search marketing is Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), which is the process of remarketing to consumers based on their previous onsite behaviour. Use this approach to connect with more qualified consumers;

  • Target consumers in the Google search network that have already expressed interest in your product and help move them through the purchasing funnel. Consumers that have already viewed your product are statistically more likely to return to the site and make a purchase. For one retail client we saw an increase in CTR by +27.6% and an increase of +28% in conversions with RLSAs.


5. Going Beyond Google – Alternative Paid Search Options

Although Google still holds over 88% of market share in the UK, there are opportunities elsewhere;

  • Bing and Yahoo! are not to be ignored – There is less advertiser competition on Bing and Yahoo! in the UK which means that ad positions can be higher for less money! For one client, their campaign on Bing had a ROI more than 2x higher than Google. While search volume was much lower, Bing maintained a CTR that was +184% higher and a CR that was +121% higher than Google. We think that Bing and Yahoo! are well worth testing.
  • For international campaigns consider other search engines – Research your local target market and ensure that you select the right search engine for that country. For example, Yandex is big in Russia while Baidu dominates in China.


Hopefully these tips will give you some ideas to boost performance of your Paid Search campaigns. Good luck!







Image courtesy of:

Net Media Planet speak at SES London 2014

Earlier this week I spoke at SES London 2014, where I talked about how brands can develop a smarter retargeting strategy. Across both Search and Display, I talked about defining and targeting audiences, improving the effectiveness of creative, technology choices and use of timing in your approach. I also talked about the role of retargeting as part of the wider goal of direct response and brand awareness.


It was a great session with lots of questions and discussion with my fellow panellists Guy Levine, CEO, Return On Digital and Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board & VP & Managing Director EMEA, Marin Software.


Following a number of requests at the event, I thought I would share the deck:



I hope that you find these slides useful. If you have any questions about the presentation, or are interested in exploring retargeting further then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.