Today we’re featuring part two in Q&A with Harriet Trotter, PPC Manager at Boylesports. Boylesports is Ireland’s largest independent bookmakers and online betting company offering a state of the art online sports betting, poker and casino gaming experience. In part one, Harriet shared how her team had been prepping for additional promotions and an influx of traffic during the World Cup. Now, she shares how their expectations aligned with actual results and what the team learned.

What results did you expect to see from your World Cup paid search efforts? How did your expectations differ from the actual results you saw?

The main thing we expected to see from our World Cup paid search promotional efforts was a significant uplift in search volume. Our goal was to convert as much of this traffic as possible to help grow our customer base.

The big questions were which of our campaigns would be driving most of this uplift, how our conversion rates would be influenced by the additional search interest, and when exactly during the month over which the tournament was taking place we would see the greatest potential. As expected, we saw a large impact from our World Cup promotion which we were running just before the beginning of the tournament to coincide with the highest level of user interest. In general, our expectations were met and the World Cup has certainly been a busy time for us.

What (if any) factors impacted your campaigns and caused you to shift?

Because we didn’t have any recent data to rely on when planning for the World Cup this year (with the last one being four years ago) we took a very flexible approach in our strategy. While we mapped out our expected spend, traffic, and acquisition levels beforehand, we also monitored performance very closely on a daily basis during the event so that we could quickly respond to any trends that perhaps didn’t tie in entirely with our expectations or developed out of the course of events. If we saw especially good performance around a certain set of keywords or a particular match, we would push to maximize performance and likewise if we saw a lull we had not quite expected, we pulled back.

Because we didn’t have any recent data to rely on when planning for the World Cup this year (with the last one being four years ago) we took a very flexible approach in our strategy.

A specific factor for us, for example, was England’s performance. Generally we see high levels on interest around England matches, but the team’s early exit from the tournament meant that we had to shift our focus after this to other high interest matches or promotional offers we were running during the tournament.

Did your World Cup efforts produce any surprising results? What did you learn that you will apply to next year’s World Cup strategy?

The areas in which we learnt the most were at a more detailed level around timing — we made adjustments to our strategy because many of the games took place in a different time zone to where most of our customer base is located. In addition, we learned what the most successful keyword themes were for such a major event and the best bid strategies to apply to different stages of the event.

These are all learnings which we will hopefully be able to apply to the next World Cup, but since this is another four years away we could also be looking at significant changes in the search landscape by then compared to today. However, we hope that we can use the insights we have gained on trends around a major sporting event for our planning for other events in the more immediate future as well.