For the last seven years team at Robin has been relying on Google Ads as a primary source of new leads. During that period, Robin made no significant optimizations to the initial Google Ads account structure.
The account was managed by their co-founder, who was responsible for all marketing activities.
With business growth, their marketing team started to expand. They saw the need to hire a PPC agency to manage & grow their Google Ads account.
From the start of cooperation with Robin, it was clearly communicated that we should think more about how to increase the number of leads rather than CPL.
Running accounts are especially tricky when taking over, even more, if it’s the main source of revenue for a business. Rocking the boat too much would make everyone super uncomfortable and we had to avoid it at all costs.
Robin Jobs account ran for 7 years, with correct conversion tracking and a ton of historical data we had to go through. Right from the start, we communicated to the client we are not going to make any change in the account for the first 14 days.
We used this time to strategically plan what and when we were going to change in the account. An additional challenge was the fact that Robin Jobs advertises in 14 different markets in Europe, with keywords and ads in local languages.
Luckily for us, conversion tracking was set up correctly for the big majority of the account’s lifetime. We could trust our data, which made everything much easier.
The biggest problem with the Robin account was the lack of negative keywords. There were very few negatives, only on some campaigns.
Right from the start, we knew this was the area where we could improve the most relatively quickly, and it was the dimension in which we would spend most of the first month.
With 60.000 unique search terms present in the account, it took us a good few weeks to analyze them all, find what’s irrelevant and organize them into different negative keyword lists.
Account advertises in 12 different languages; Translating and understanding search terms was the biggest challenge, and the entire process lasted longer than usual, but in a week after implementing negatives, we saw CTR increasing 12%, and Conv. rate increased 7%.
Simultaneously, we focused on monitoring the performance of different keywords in different countries. The Priority was to get on top of every campaign, understanding the specifics of each market and the setup that was up and running in each country (settings, match type, bidding strategy, ad & LP).
In the mid-first month, we already had a road map for the various experiments and tests we would run in each country.
We needed to understand the best possible direction in which we should develop the account moving forward.
One big, missing part of the account was remarketing campaigns, it was never run before, and no audiences were created.
In the first month, we created all audiences we will use later. Since audiences need some time to populate before they are ready for use, creating them as early as possible helps speed setup up.
Keywords for each market were very similar, but the general settings of campaigns differed quite a lot.
We had to decide – Which tests are the Priority right now and what would tell us the most about the direction in which we should develop the account?
We started experimenting with bidding strategies, match types, and keyword grouping based on all analysis and performance monitoring in the first month.
Conversion tracking in the account was correct, and the conversion event already had a lot of reliable data, so optimizing toward conversions was the only way to go.
All campaigns were already either on Max. Conv. or on the TCPA.
The goal was to test one bidding strategy vs. the other, understanding what would happen with the conversion volume and CPA in one market when these bidding strategies were tested one vs. another under the same conditions.
We chose six countries with an Impression share between 30% – 60% (meaning we have room to grow).
Out of 6 chosen countries, three had to grow with a number of leads, and 3 had too high actual CPA.
For the first two weeks, differences in the performance were marginal. In the third week, we started seeing more significant differences.
For campaigns where we had to improve profitability, TCPA was a clear winner.
In campaigns where lead volume was the goal, both strategies brought a similar number of leads, but TCPA campaigns had 5-15% lower CPA.
At the end of 2nd month, experiments brought 18% leads for the same ad spend, with 19% lower CPA.
The other set of experiments aimed to show us if SKAG (single keyword ad groups) or STAG (single themed ad groups) structure would work better for our account.
We chose four countries that dominantly had either broad or exact and phrase keywords.
Most of the campaigns were in SKAG, and we believed that grouping a few similar broad match keywords inside one ad group would give more breathing room to smart bidding strategies.
All four chosen countries were already running on TCPA and were fulfilling targets in terms of conversion volume and CPA.
Campaigns which we transformed into STAG structure and changed keywords to the broad match, after a month, showed us 10-20% more conversions with 7-20% lower CPL.
Based on our experience, we knew STAG structure is the way to go since SMART bidding strategies need room to breathe and try different approaches.
With all our findings & tests run in the first two months, in the third month, we were ready to start transitioning campaigns to the STAG structure. STAG structure will give us greater control over our performance objectives and create an optimal environment for smart bidding strategies.
Most of the keywords in the account were Exact matches, with a few phrases and Broad keywords.
With a strong base of negative keywords we built in the first two months, we were ready to transition most campaigns to broad match type keywords.
We had to be careful since significant changes always reset the algorithm, and campaigns re-start the learning phase.
We divided all countries into three priorities to avoid rocking the boat too much. We applied all changes strategically, in a set order (instead of all at once).
The process lasted six weeks; This allowed us not to change things more than once every two weeks.
Grouping keywords in themes and being more granular with several ad groups allowed us to write more tailored ads for each ad group.
When the structure is changed this much, you usually expect a few weeks of weaker performance, but we didn’t have that scenario here.
Right from the start, even during the learning period, we saw improvement in the performance:
When comparing our third month in the account with the month before, we spent 7% less, achieving 12.7% more conversions with 17.47% lower CPA.
With broad keywords targeting a wider range of search terms, the focus in the third month was on filtering out all irrelevant search queries, optimizing new keywords and the TCPA target.
When comparing three whole months since we started working on the account with the time before that (June-August vs. March-May 2022), we see 16.87% more spent with 29.08% more conversions and 8.69% lower CPA.
At the end of the third month, we ended up surpassing the target number of leads and the target CPA in 11/14 markets.
Give us a month more, and we’ll be 14/14! 😉
PLAN FOR THE NEXT PERIOD
Ad Improvement & Optimization
When we tested the ads, it became clear that many elements performed differently in each country. The best practice is to have 2 responsive search ads per ad group, with 12-15 headlines and 3-4 descriptions. We don’t have 2 ads per ad group yet – the live ads lack the optimal number of headlines and descriptions.
That’s right, we started working on a major fix as soon as our structure changed and experiments began. We created new ads, based on the historical ad performance and started coordinating with translators to translate everything correctly.
Hopefully, we will resolve our issues with translation in a few days!
Audience Layering & Personalization
When we take over an account or build a new campaign, the first thing that happens is adding all relevant audiences to search campaigns on “Observation.”
We want to start collecting as much data as possible with each conversion and audience layering does exactly that.
Whenever someone converts, Google tells us if that person is in any of the audiences we added to the campaign, on Observation – it doesn’t affect targeting or bids; It just collects additional information about users.
When we collect enough data via Observation, which usually takes between 2 and 6 months, we can start breaking down our non-brand search campaigns, by adding an additional layer of targeting – an audience.
By duplicating best-performing keywords and ad groups, and adding them to best-performing audiences, but this time on “Targeting”, allows us to not only optimize our bid for each audience but also to further tailor ad copy for every group of users we’re specifically targeting.
Changing Google Ads Primary Conversion
There are two conversions business cares about: “Registration on the platform” and “Job Booked”.
Only the first one was visible in the Google ads account and for years, the algorithm learned and optimized toward registrations on the website only.
Right away, there was no doubt that we want to have “Job Booked” visible in Google Ads – not only conversion and when it happens, but the revenue it generates for our client too.
When we did conversion tracking, we set up new conversion in Google ads, which fires when a person gets accepted to the job where he/she applied.
We have this conversion in the account for, now, 3 months already, set as “Secondary.”
We couldn’t, and still can’t risk changing the conversion action platform optimizes towards for years, because it would affect account performance significantly and would make our experiment results inconclusive.
Our plan is to let Google ads collect the data on “Job Booked” conversion for at least 6 months.
Even then, we can’t just switch out the event; Experiments with a gradual increase in % of the traffic which goes towards a new optimization event are a way to go, to ensure no big fluctuations happen in the process.
When we get to run the entire account on the final conversion with the correct revenue generated, we will be in the best position to scale an account drastically, without losing the profitability we currently have!
This is probably the biggest, the most important, the riskiest, and the most lucrative optimization we can do in this account.
If you feel like you have reached a plateau with your Google Ads account, don’t panic. The safest thing is to start from the basics and reevaluate the account from the bottom to the top. Check if everything is set correctly and optimized to the fullest.
The next stop on this journey is experimentation. Without tests, you’ll never know what biding strategy or account structure works best for your specific business goals.
Following this logic, we optimized and skyrocketed Robin’s performance in three months. We ensured that everything was appropriately set on Google Ads. These efforts, in return, brought lower CPL while increasing the number of leads – all thanks to hard work!
We know that every business has different needs when it comes to advertising. Our agency helps our Lead Generation clients find the right strategy using PPC, Web Analytics and CRO methods to increase online profits.
When you’re running a business, the last thing that should be on your mind are ads. We want to help our clients spend less time worrying about making money off of them and focus more energy on what matters – building and growing their company.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us show you how we can help improve your business.
To grow Robin, we focused on:
- Keyword-level optimization
- Negative keywords
- Smart bidding strategies optimization
- Country-level CPL & Conversion volume optimizations
- Google Analytics 4 Setup
- Ad Testing & Improvement
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