Blinds.com, on target for online revenues of about $40 million this year, has boosted sales by about 7% while lowering its cost of sales by 25% with a tighter focus on where and how it spends its paid search dollars. The company saw those results within two months of implementing paid search campaign management and optimization services from provider NetElixir, says Daniel Cotlar, director of marketing at Houston-based Blinds.com.
Cotlar attributes those results to three aspects of search management and optimization services from the provider. One is a data modeling system for optimizing keyword selection and bids. Using tools at Google and Yahoo that tell marketers which searched terms across the engine have been associated with products in the retailer’s category, NetElixir’s system groups all the searched terms into clusters of relevance relating to each of Blinds.com’s main keywords. For example, says Cotlar, the keyword term “window blinds” alone has been associated with some 16,000 searched terms. "You’ve got ‘window blinds,’ ‘cheap window blinds,’ `discount window blinds,` ‘wooden blinds,` and ‘faux wood blinds,’ and under each of the terms, you also have variations such as misspellings,” he says.
The technology groups all the terms and their variations, then looks for in a systematic way-and maintains bids on-those that produce the highest click-through rate in each grouping. NetElixir campaign managers also produce copy for targeted listings, aimed at getting higher placements under Google’s AdRank relevancy algorithm. NetElixir also monitors for click fraud, flagging spikes in clicks, and multiple clicks from a single IP address, for example, both suggestive of fraud, Cotlar says. But he believes the biggest contributor to results has been augmenting automated bid management with more frequent human campaign monitoring.
Automated bid management tools generally limit the number of times bids can be adjusted within a set period, Cotlar says. NetElixir uses its own bidding tools but also does human monitoring of results. Much of that support comes from NetElixir’s operations center in India, where the labor compensation structure allows the company to provide 24/7 human monitoring and management of search campaigns in the U.S. at competitive rates. Campaign managers can manually at any time adjust bids based on what they are seeing.
“Every 10 minutes or so they do an analysis, and they will push bids up or down or even take a keyword down, depending on factors such as the time of day or what our competitor is doing,” Cotlar says. “Now we are generating a slightly higher number of conversions, but we are spending a lot less for them. It’s the result of having someone manage it very actively to keep us at the optimal price for a click. This makes sense for us because we are spending millions on search engine marketing.”