Unlocking paid search for a hard-to-reach business audience
PPC for a high-investment business product like Microsoft Dynamics can be tough. Because you’re talking to a very specific audience, with a complex path-to-sale, reach alone won’t do it. You need painstaking accuracy at a meaningful scale, while keeping costs low — a difficult brief in any channel. In July 2014, Microsoft challenged us to do just that, and transform their paid
search from an expensive catch-all to a proven-value sales tool. Our goal? To drive engagements on the Microsoft Dynamics site — including test drives, video views and white paper downloads. Microsoft knew that these interactions were a crucial step en route to conversion. We had to identify the prospects most likely to get involved, then find cost-effective ways to bring them in.
We started by overhauling Microsoft Dynamics’ site tagging, working with Bluekai to track user journeys more systematically, removing duplications and logging quality as well as quantity of visits. At the same time, we audited thousands of keywords, scrapping generic phrases in favour of more useful niche terms. In February 2015, we began testing to find the strongest areas for reinvestment. As the data sets were always going to be quite small for B2Bs, we started with the largest audience list possible which is the “All visitors” audience list and by leveraging remarketing in
search we compared returning visitors to first-time visitors. We also analysed the performance of brand vs non-brand keywords and trialled different types of ad copy. As a side test, we also targeted visitors who’d previously visited Office 365 pages, because of the high audience crossover.
Working at a niche level takes patience, but by keeping an eye on every detail, separating trends from anomalies and acting in sync with the data rather than ahead of it, we drove acquisitions up and costs down step-by-step.
Higher click-through rate
Lower cost per acquisition
Although first-time visitors were easier to find in large numbers, they converted less, delivering a lower ROI overall. Re-targeting drove fewer visits, but more conversions, so was much more cost-effective. By reinvesting in search remarketing and tailoring our messaging and keywords to attract returning users, we saw engagements climb even more. Four months on, we’re driving traffic that’s more targeted —and more profitable — than ever!
By understanding where PPC fits into our customer journey, iProspect is already creating tangible value for our business. They’ve proved that with the right strategy, we can reach high-quality prospects at a relatively low cost — making paid search an effective way to reach our targets.