When the pandemic started impacting construction activity and outdoor/indoor events across the US in March, one of our clients in the construction equipment space tasked our team with driving incremental leads and revenue to offset COVID-related declines in areas of their business.
While we were able to uncap PPC budgets and drive incremental results, we wanted to do it efficiently and not jeopardize our ability to hit ROAS and CPL goals that we set at the start of the year. With promising account restructure results under our belt from late 2019, we turned to Google’s automation features to help us scale the account and take on the challenge.
In January 2020, we began experimenting with Smart Bidding strategies such as Target CPA and Maximize Conversions in some areas of the account. After seeing promising initial results, we continued launching experiments and even switching some campaigns directly over to Smart Bidding to increase adoption and accelerate performance improvements.
Since PPC performance in the construction industry varies heavily by location, day of week, and demographics, Smart Bidding was able to adjust bids based on historical and forecasted data to unlock efficiency across the majority of our campaigns. In addition to switching strategies, we also applied a variety of retargeting audiences to the campaigns to give the automated strategies additional signals with which to optimize.
To mitigate risk, we implemented these optimizations in waves based on campaign priority and performance while also keeping a close eye on Smart Bidding learning periods and results.
💡 Learn how we hedge for Smart Bidding and automation risk at Seer.
In addition to implementing Smart Bidding, we also took a look at messaging across the account to make sure we were highlighting the right unique value propositions (UVPs) and calls-to-action (CTAs) given the environment.
With curbside services and cleanliness being important to customers, we leveraged Responsive Search Ads to promote the client’s updated pickup offerings and safety protocols.
Similar to Smart Bidding, we used a phased campaign approach and kept a close eye on performance when rolling out RSAs.
Not only did these allow us to test out additional ad copy components, but they also optimized ad copy variations based on each searcher’s device, location, search behavior, and conversion likelihood. We also expected that quality score improvements stemming from RSAs allowed us to show for additional, relevant search queries across most campaigns.
Smart Bidding and RSAs gave us more trust in how bids and messaging were being updated in real-time.
We were able to adjust copy across the account to highlight updated pickup and safety protocols and show those variations more often.
Additionally, as construction activity and stay-at-home orders changed across different parts of the country in the Spring and Summer, we were confident that Smart Bidding would take note of any sudden search interest or conversion rate changes and adjust bids and budget allocation accordingly.
In a manual bidding world, these same adjustments would have been extremely tedious, with the uncertainty of future restriction changes looming over us and causing us to pivot soon after.
When combining Smart Bidding and RSA adoption with strategic budget increases across the account, we achieved the best of both worlds — incremental results and stronger efficiency.
When comparing performance from January-June 2020 to the previous year, we saw a clear increase in revenue with ROAS also improving significantly:
- Revenue: +102%
- ROAS: +12%
- Leads: +80%
- CPL: Flat
To achieve these improvements while scaling spend across the whole account was a huge accomplishment that positively impacted our client during the Spring and Summer months.
Throughout 2020, we’ve continued to adopt Smart Bidding strategies and implement RSAs across the rest of the account.
This has resulted in similar performance improvements that we saw from January-June earlier in the year, as we’ve been able to continuously adjust efficiency targets and optimize messaging.
Continuous CPA improvement in one campaign using tCPA
We’ve also been able to confirm that Smart Bidding is automatically allocating more budget and adjusting bids at the state-level during weather events.
When Summer and early Fall hurricanes hit parts of the country, we saw that Smart Bidding took note of search interest and conversion rate spikes and adjusted accordingly.
In terms of RSAs, we’re now able to test and update messaging across the account, at scale, based on campaign and asset performance.
Giving up control and leaning into automation can be tough, we know. However, adopting solutions like Smart Bidding and Responsive Search Ads allow businesses to automatically adjust budget allocation, bids, and messaging in real-time based on countless user signals.
Whether your business is impacted by weather or sudden consumer behavior shifts, we’ve found that automation features can be trusted to drive results and mitigate any potential negative impacts.
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