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Bid Optimization & Seasonality – CPG


Retail conversion is one of the trackable and attribution nightmares of today especially with all the data, optimization, and online strategy tools at our disposal. A leading baby product retail client was interested in how we can improve our reach and frequency during a key seasonal time of the year.

Variable Media explained we were the right partner, but the proof would be in the results. We leveraged a combination of competitive bid optimization, seasonality, cohesive click types, and ad length to outperform the year prior. Having previous campaign history, we audited the results and projected at the minimum a 10% improvement. Our results will surprise you.

To the right provides a year over year comparison looking at the months of Q4. We can clearly see an improvement of reach, specifically in December. In the below, we dive into how we achieved these results with 25% less spend

YOY Reach Comparison
  • 2015 Reach
  • 2016 Reach

The challenge is to reach more people across the US efficiently and effectively. While having a year over year benchmark is helpful, this information does set a bar that Variable Media must perform better than. Our projection is at the least a 10% improvement based on our campaign audit.

Also, we will be battling seasonality with e-commerce and holiday advertisers in their peak season reaching a similar user base which will ultimately increase costs.

  • Bid Optimization:

    Will our bid strategy yield the necessary results to show improvement year over year? Based on our analysis combined with new bid optimization features which include cross-platform adjustment down to the ad group level we feel that improved reach and frequency is possible.

  • Click Types:

    In an effort to create additional engagement we leveraged new click types such as cards, end screens, and website links.

  • Creative & Targeting:

    Demographic & Audience target remained constant year over year. However, the introduction of bumper ads (five-second ads) would have an impact, we just didn’t know what type at the time of development and implementation.

Leveraging proprietary bid optimization combined with bumper advertising we were able to drive better performance in our first month of activity. All delivery and performance metrics improved

  • Bid Optimization:

    Applying an always-on approach, we monitored and analyzed on a daily basis. Moreover, our cross-platform bid levers proved useful combined with shifting inventory from solely desktop to a 50/50 split between mobile and desktop aided delivery performance.

  • Click Types:

    Instituting these new engagement opportunities propelled our click-through engagement specifically on the mobile device where before cards and end screens no click-through opportunity was possible.

  • Creative & Targeting:

    Thirty-second, five-second, and long-form creative was tested to compare valuable video metrics which play a pivotal role in the AdWords video algorithm. In comparing these placements, our best opportunity to maximize efficiency would be to pair our long form with bumper remarketing removing our thirty-second efforts which were contributing a lower CTR and comparable CPV.

Results across all delivery and performance metrics year over year proved better than projected.

  • Bid Optimization Impact

    Based on the first month of the quarter’s results, the client knew they could spend less and earn more. Advertising spend decreased 25% due to a 77% decrease in CPV results in a 17% increase in impressions and a 2.25x increase in views from 4.5M to 10.3M

  • Click Type Influence:

    In comparing 2015 Q4 to 2016 Q4, our vCTR doubled from 1% to 2%. Mobile generated the majority of clicks making up over 60% of the overall. Additionally, with 25% less spend we produced 88% or 45,000 more click volume.

  • Creative & Targeting:

    Bumper media made up 20% of total cost generating 31% of click volume at a 3% vCTR. The improved engagement performance was strategic remarketing which was implemented to re-engage users who were exposed to an ad previous. This strategy proved effective adding frequency point at a fraction of the cost.

    At a $0.01 CPV, this unskippable five-second ad unit also produced the lowest CPC and CPM well below the campaign average.

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