Google Online Marketing Challenge
Stephen Hearty, Ruiyun Hu, Travis Hu, Donnacha Kinsella, Sangha Park, Youjia Wang
Client Profile Zaida (http://www.zaidauk.com/) is a primarily wholesale business that sells various home accessories ranging from rugs, runners, cushions to tea cosies. All their products are handmade in Kashmir, a north-western state in India known for the finest quality chainstitch needlework in the world. Zaida uses these skills to create high-quality rugs in various styles, which they offer through direct sales on their online store. The company consists of 1,500 employees working in Kashmir and 20 full-time paid employees internationally. Our primary contact with Zaida, Mrs. Maria Hearty, is the CEO of the company since she founded it in 1998. The store does not have a huge social network presence, preferring to do most of their business through trade shows and their website.
Market Analysis Most of Zaidaâ€™s current business is done through wholesalers. Zaida sells their products to retail shops all over the world, mainly through trade shows and fairs. The main trade shows they attend include the Spring Fair in Birmingham, UK, and Maison & Objet Fair in Paris, which help Zaida make business with various European retailers. They have also attended fairs in Japan and have business partners in Japan and South Korea. 60% of their overall sales are international and domestic sales (UK) make up 40% of their sales. Their busiest business periods are 2 months after their Spring/Autumn fair shows and the two months leading up to Christmas. The general target consumers are between the age of 25 to 55 and are from middle to upper class. The potential customers may love home soft furnishings with exotic, traditional, western, contemporary or abstract designs. Zaida competes with other Kashmir and India-based chainstitch suppliers, many of whom have already copied their designs. However, Zaidaâ€™s quality and commitment to customer satisfaction sets them apart from their competition.
Current Marketing Since their main business is wholesale, most of Zaida's marketing is done through international trade fairs. Spring & Autumn Fairs in NEC Birmingham UK, Maison & Objects Fair in Paris (twice annually), Decoration & Design Fair in Melbourne, Australia. The Paris show particularly is attended by customers from all over the world. Zaida have acquired clients from as far as the US, South Korea and Japan. Zaida’s direct online business is much weaker than their offline wholesale business, although they do have an online store that offers products directly to customers. According to Maria Hearty, owner of Zaida, the ‘the percentage of direct sales from the website is just 1%’. The online store makes buying from Zaida very convenient for prospective customers, as they accept all kinds of payments, ranging from PayPal to credit cards, and the shipping is affordable at only £5 to UK customers. The weakness of the website lies in a lack of search engine marketing for their direct sale services and low visibility in the search engines for popular search terms. Without any particular promotions or using PPC, Zaida’s website has an average of 2482 impressions per day and approximately 10000 unique visitors. This low visibility leads to low awareness of the website and direct online sales.
Conclusion As the awareness for Zaida’s website is low and their direct sales on the website is miniscule compared to their wholesale, we will focus on Zaida’s potential for direct online sales in the limited time and budget. We decided to focus on rugs as they have the most products available for sale in that category on their website. With Google AdWords, we will be able to expose a wide variety of Zaida’s rugs to the target market and also increase website traffic and impressions.
Proposed AdWords Strategy Based on the weakness of our current marketing and the broad picture of the Google Online Marketing challenge, our main goal is to boost the online direct sales to individual customers and increase brand awareness. We have also decided to focus on one product category, rugs, as they have the most items for that category. Specifically, their main product has three sub-categories: traditional rugs, contemporary rugs, and abstract art rugs. Among all three categories of rugs, the keyword “contemporary rugs” has the highest global monthly searches. Thus, in order to increase brand awareness in categories in which Zaida is less known, we decided to spend the largest portion of our budget on “contemporary rugs”, as Zaida has a variety of diverse products for this category that may appeal to customers looking to buy a contemporary rug. By doing so, we will be able to increase the click through rate and brand awareness of Zaida’s web page and online direct sale services.
In order to achieve our campaign most effectively with limited time and budget, we have decided to geo-target nationally in the UK. We will focus only on Google.uk because Zaida is based in the UK and offers relatively cheaper shipping to UK customers. Ad Rotation will be used in the first week of the campaign to test the effectiveness of the ads. Consequently, optimize ad serving option will be used to show better performing ads more frequently. We will use the Keyword Generator to create a targeted keyword list. Negative keywords will include “free-shipping” and “cheap”. The intention of the proposed campaign is to increase traffic to the website and increase direct sales via Zaida’s website. Our ultimate goal is an average of 218 clicks, 57,000 impressions, $1.24 CPC and CTR of 2.8% during the three week campaign.
Campaign Overview The primary goal of our campaign for Zaida was to increase site traffic, gain more awareness of the brand and products and increase sales. The major objectives for the three week campaign to achieve an average CPC of $1.24, a CTR of 2.8% , 57,000 impressions, and an average of 218 clicks. The three campaigns were for traditional rugs, abstract rugs and contemporary rugs.
Evolution Of The Campaign Strategy For the consideration of boosting the brand awareness and attracting more traffic to the website, we chose rugs as the product category we will advertise because this is the category that has most products under it, so there will be a higher possibility for our advertisements to be seen or searched by people. After the discussion with our client, we decided to create 3 campaigns depending on various rug categories, namely, contemporary rugs, traditional rugs, and abstract rugs. After analyzing the market situation, contemporary rugs is given the priority over the other two categories.
During the first two weeks of our campaign, we added some keywords that were recommended by Google Adwords like "uk rugs", "rugs", "funky rugs"; we also deleted some key words that get very low impressions or clicks like "rugs online", "traditional hanging rugs", "indian traditional rugs". Below is the graph for our campaign during the first two weeks.
At the end of the second week, we noticed that we still had a large amount of money left, which was around $120, so we increased the budget significantly to each campaign in order to complete our campaign as planned. we increased the budget for contemporary rugs from $5 to $11 per day, traditional rugs from $3.57 to $7 per day, and abstract rug from $2.86 to $4 per day. As a result, we get a significant change on both the number of clicks and impressions at the last week. Below is the graph during the last week and the graphof the entire campaign.
Comparison Between Pre-Campaign Goals & Actual Campaign Performance Table 4 briefly introduces our group’s pre campaign goals for Zaida. Specifically, it includes three campaigns, namely traditional rugs, contemporary rugs, and abstract art rugs. We’ve assigned them with different Ad groups and keywords (basically short-tails) according to our research and discussion, as well as Google Adwords’ recommendations. During the campaign, we found most of our pre-assigned keywords worked properly, except for the following three: Indian traditional rugs, traditional hanging rugs, and rugs online. These three keywords together generated only 1 clicks and 54 impressions in about two weeks, so we cut them off to maximize the cost-efficiency.
Table 5 illustrates the comparison between our proposed budget (red numbers) and the actual budget (black numbers). There’s not a huge gap among those two budgets, but still, they represent two different trends. The proposed budget (red numbers), generally speaking, is based on a gradually increased trend. That is because we’d like to test the real market reactance of our pre-assigned keywords initially, and gradually increased the budget according to their real performance. However, the actual campaign’s budget (black numbers) shows a different trend of how we were using the money. People could easily tell that we’ve put most of our budget on the beginning and the last week while only put a relatively small portion of the money on the middle week. That is due to the strategy changing of our group. Because we found that the impressions and clicks of our client will increase much quickly if enough budget was put on the first week (to create a buzz and attract public attention online). For the second week, we just follow the first week’s pattern and made a smooth transition to the third week, so only a relatively small part of money has been put. And for the last week, we were just simply put all the budget we still had at that time into our campaign in order to fully utilize the Adwords system.
In table 6, we can the comparison between our pre campaign goals and the campaign performance of our group’s Google Online Marketing Campaign. Fortunately, we’ve gained significantly higher clicks (365 vs. 218) and impressions (73,142 vs. 57,000) than we had expected from the Internet users who searches on Google.co.uk. But due to the extremely high amount of impressions we’ve got, our CTR (click through rate) turned out to be fairly low, reached only 0.5%. It’s much lower than our pre campaign goals (2.8%). As for the CPC (cost per click), the real campaign performance ($0.68) is also lower than the pre campaign goals (1.24$). Nevertheless, whether it’s a good thing or bad thing still remains unsolved. Because higher CPC usually means higher position of the advertisement that illustrates on Google, which is a good thing for it could probably attract much more impressions and clicks, but lower CPC could also be beneficial to our online campaign for it helped to save our budget and hence made our campaign last longer. In general, according to the final results and the comparison between the results and the preset goals, our group members all agree that we’ve done a great job for helping our client Zaida to launch a successful campaign on Google.
All the three campaigns reached over 50 clicks and got 73,143 impressions. Among these key words campaigns, contemporary Rugs got the highest number of clicks and impressions. Therefore, he budget allocated for this campaign was one of the highest. Abstract Art Rugs produced the highest CTR, which is already 0.91%. While compared with others, the impressions and clicks of abstract art rugs are the lowest (6,132 and 56 respectively). Moreover, traditional rugs campaign performed well, as it got 30,052 impressions. But the clicks are relatively low, so the CTR is only 0.33%, which is the lowest. Increase in clicks and high CTR were necessary for this campaign in order to produce a desirable result. Table 2 presents changed results by each week and indicates the steady increase in clicks and impression. During the first the week, the clicks and impressions already reached 96 and 16,080 respectively. The clicks almost doubled in second week and the impressions increased by about 2.5 times in third week as compared with it in first week. As for the CTR, it showed an uptrend in from week 1 to week 2, but it was 0.50% in total because it declined to 0.37% in the third week.
Highly targeted keywords lead Internet users to click the ads, thus generating high CTR. Some keywords were added or deleted at the second week in order to improve clicks and CTR. Total average position of ads was 5.2 and some keywords had high number of clicks. Table 3 below shows some best performing keywords based on clicks, impression and CTR.
Based on the clicks, UK rugs campaign got the most clicks, which were 52. When compare them in terms of impression, rugs definitely performed best, which got 19,716 impressions. Also, contemporary rugs performs well as it got 1.20% CTR. Moreover, traditional rugs and modern rugs has good result as well in terms of the overall statistics.
Conclusion We were successful in some areas, but we were also not as successful in others. The total clicks exceeded our expectations, as we got 365 clicks when we initially expected 218. We were also very successful with our impressions as we got 73,143 impressions, which was 16,000 impressions over what we were predicting. However, our CTR was not as good as we have hoped, at only 0.5% CTR. Perhaps the most disappointing factor in our campaign, our average position came at 5.2, which was definitely a lot lower than what we have liked. The low average position may explain for why our CTR was also so low. However, we did achieve the initial goal of raising brand awareness through the impressions and the clicks. Unfortunately, as we have not been able to find out if the online sales have increased since the campaign started, we do not know if we have succeeded in that area.
Learning Objectives & Outcomes Through this challenge and through carrying out the campaign, we hoped to learn more about online advertising and Google AdWords, as none of us had any experience working with this medium. We believe that we learned a great deal about Google AdWords through this campaign, and we also learned about other valuable aspects of advertising as well, such as budgeting. By working with a limited budget we learned how to allocate a budget effectively, which we believe will come very handy in our future endeavours. Moreover, working directly with statistics regarding CTR, CPC, Average position and impression, and AdWords components like keywords, we were able to learn with our own experience how each of these factors worked in a campaign.
Group Dynamics Our group has a very diverse cultural background, coming from Ireland, Canada and China. The dynamic between our group was quite good. We used mobile communication, email, a facebook group and google drive to share, work and keep in contact with our team. We used google docâ€™s in order to constructively work and help each other. We set up an email address for the team to use in order to create our GOMC profile. Our email epitomized our team spirit. Group4go!!
Client Dynamics The group and client dynamics were quite different to how we worked among ourselves. The management of Zaida are family relations of Stephen, one of our group members. This made the dynamic quite different. The fact that Zaida are based in the UK also led to communication challenges. There is a time difference of 6 hours. Stephen was the main point of contact between the company and our team. If we had any queries or questions we addressed these to Stephen who in turn relayed these to Zaida. Stephen used both facebook and private email for communication between our team and Zaida. We found Zaida a pleasant business to interact with. Their responses were timely and efficient.
Future Recommendations Although we feel our communication system worked quite well we would recommend that future teams use a company closer to the location of their team. There was a lot of responsibility on Stephen in order to find out as much information as possible for the team where as if we had all the chance to meet with our client we would have been able to understand the business dynamics and operations quicker. It also put too much responsibility on one team member to get the answers we wanted. We would recommend that groups choose a small business which has some previous experience in online or has a well developed website. This will allow the group to use more targeted key words to increase the click through rate. Although we got a huge number of impressions we would have liked to get a higher click through rate. We feel other groups could achieve a higher CTR if they use a local business which they could use quite tight specific key words. We would also recommend the use of google analytics as much as possible to optimize your adwords campaign while it is active. This is the best way to learn about your performance and try to improve it. The final recommendation our group would make is to use multiple advertisements for each campaign. This could help to increase the number of click throughâ€™s for the amount of impressions you get.