Gary FlynnToday we are featuring a guest post from Gary Flynn, Managing Director of TonerGiant.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading online printer and office supplies retailers. Read on as Gary shares his team’s experience adopting a bid optimisation software for TonerGiant’s PPC efforts. 

Almost every new idea in digital marketing comes with risk.

Calculated risk, obviously, but still risk nonetheless. And it can be quite hard to embrace something new, especially if it’s in an area in which you’re already pretty successful.

So if you’ve nailed your paid search strategy and spent hours, days and years perfecting it, is it actually worth the risk of ruining it for the sake of trying to be just that bit more efficient?

Knowing when the time is right

Since our business launched, we have used PPC as a customer acquisition medium.

It was, and still is, crucial to our growth. Just a year after launching our TonerGiant brand, we generated £1 million in sales, of which I’d definitely attribute well over half down to our investment and efforts in paid search.

We used to spend hours every day monitoring our campaigns, perfecting our bidding strategies and just generally ensuring that our main traffic source was still delivering for us.

Yet I knew something needed to change. As the MD of a growing business, and with other areas that needed my time and attention, it was becoming more difficult to manage our paid search campaigns. I wanted to find a way to be able to spend less time on the day-to-day management of our account, but still get great results from PPC.

Of course, passing the responsibility to a third party such as a digital agency was an option, but this was something that I didn’t want. After researching several paid search optimisation software products thoroughly, this was the route that seemed our best option, and we determined that Kenshoo would be the best fit for us.

Taking the plunge

I’d be lying if I said that this period is one that won’t leave you feeling even just a little bit apprehensive!

If you’ve poured lots of blood, sweat, and tears into your bidding strategy, suddenly letting software solution calculate all your bids (albeit within your defined goals) will definitely be a leap of faith. And, of course, there are the standard fears around ROI.

I wanted to find a way to be able to spend less time on the day-to-day management of our account, but still get great results from PPC.

But for us, I knew that this was a calculated risk, one that I was confident would pay off. Once you’ve given yourself time to get over the idea of suddenly handing over something that you’ve spent years building up to a new piece of software, you’ll find that you need not have worried.

First impressions

Speaking generally, one of the biggest things you will notice is the amount of time that you will save.

From managing the campaigns, ads and keywords, everything was just so much quicker! I had focused a lot on the bidding metrics but there was immediately huge improvements in managing and reporting. Trust me, the level of automation within defined rules that you get will exceed your expectations.

In addition, the software is pretty straightforward to use.

Results

We began to see improvements immediately.

In the first six months after investing in Kenshoo, compared to the six months before we installed it, we saw:

  • Conversion Rate increased 7.96%
  • Average CPC reduced 12.03%
  • Cost per Conversion decreased 18.51%

And things continued to get better. Another six months later we noticed that:

  • Cost per Conversion had reduced by 16.35%
  • Return on Investment (ROI) had increased by 14.99%
  • Conversions had increased by 18.15%

What we’ve learnt

Personally, since investing in paid search optimisation, we now have a much better understanding of what’s going on in our campaigns.

We’ve also been able to broaden our search landscape with Google Product Listings Ads and Bing, something that we now had time to actually explore and consider. Before, these new channels would simply have been too much work for us on top of everything else.

Also, our investment has allowed us to be able to be much more organised and slicker with our sales campaigns. So, for example, we can now pre-plan our January sale before the Christmas period, scheduling the start and end dates.

Is PPC optimisation right for you?

If you’re an SME with a mature PPC strategy, then an optimisation software product definitely represents a fabulous opportunity to take your paid search to the next level.

An optimisation solution like Kenshoo will help you to:

  • Build on your current performance
  • Keep control of your defined goals
  • Free up your time considerably
  • See better results over time

And, the great thing is that even if you recruit a paid search specialist full time for your business, or train up another member of your team in this area, an optimisation software is something that these employees will be able to use, too.

So embrace the risk, take that leap of faith and enjoy the rewards!