Coffee break with clients: the value of branded keywords with Vineyard Vines

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | 1:02 PM

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Here on the Google Agency Team, we commonly get requests to share case studies, both as a way for you, our agency partners, to feel confident in the effectiveness of a product or strategy, but also for you to learn best practices and be inspired by best in class examples.

To provide you with more case studies more often, we're pleased to bring you a new blog series, "Coffee break with clients." Each post will highlight a brief chat we've had with a client on how he or she has used a Google solution to solve a marketing challenge or meet an advertising goal, focusing on specific steps that you can replicate for your own clients.

For our first post, Google Account Manager Kali Steinman had the opportunity to sit down with Quinn Veysey, Direct Sales Manager of Vineyard Vines, a clothing company known for its fun, comfortable attire. Vineyard Vines worked with Google to execute an experiment to determine the value of branded keywords to its paid search efforts. The company asked itself "are we bidding against ourselves and incurring costs that could be better spent growing the brand?" Here's what Quinn shared:

Q: What were the goals of your experiment?
A: Our goal was to get quantitative data showing whether there was value to bidding on our branded keywords. On one hand, we felt that by bidding on our brand terms, we were paying for keywords that may have been at the top of the organic search result. On the flip side, if we were missing out on conversions/sales, it may be valuable to pay for those terms. Basically, we wanted to take the visceral piece out of the conversation and replace it with facts.

Q: How did you set up and execute the experiment?
A: We worked closely with Google to conduct the experiment in a statistically meaningful manner, from concept, execution, and analysis.

We set up an A/B test in Google AdWords by creating two campaigns, each targeting half of our focus demographic marketing areas (DMAs), distributed so each campaign targeted a similar audience size. The first campaign included brand terms while the second campaign did not. The test ran for 30 days.

Q: How did the Google solution perform?
A: The results were impressive. We realized that by paying for our brand terms, there was only a 33% cannibalization rate - in other words, by not running on branded keywords in paid search, we only made up one third of the clicks with organic traffic, losing out on thousands of incremental visitors to our site. We also found that the conversion rate on branded keywords was 5.12%

Q: What actions, if any, did you take as a result of this campaign?
A: We immediately tripled our ad spend with Google and are still making impressive double digit ROAS.

Q: If you did not use this Google solution, how would things have been different?
A: We would have continued spending precious time debating personal theories on the value of branded keywords to paid search that had no data behind them. We are now taking search much more seriously and are incorporating it as a significant factor in our growth strategy.

For more information on geographic targeting options, visit the AdWords Help Center.