Going 'Goo Goo Ga Ga' for baby at Asda

The Challenge

In 2015, we knew ASDA were planning to run a baby and toddler event from mid-January to mid-February. These events are hugely popular, offering their key demographic (the ‘ASDA mum’) a range of great deals on products for babies and small children.

The events always perform well, but we thought we could go one better. So we brought what we know about the audience and the digital landscape together - creating a strategy that would bring in more sales than

ever. Our target was to see a clear increase in mobile traffic and a subsequent rise in conversions and revenue.

To achieve this, we’d need to do two things:

  • Make ASDA mums aware of the event and get them to the site.
  • Do it in a way that would maximise conversions, revenue and ROI.

The Strategy

During 2014 we’d noticed a trend of ASDA core customers (and consumers in general) doing more and more shopping on their phones — so we knew it was important to put mobile at the heart of our strategy.

Historical account data showed us the key times that people searched for baby products on their mobile devices. It also showed us that product listing ads (PLAs) perform particularly well, and are good for conversions, because shoppers can see images and choose exactly what they want.

Putting these two factors together, we started to build a targeting strategy using PLAs, focusing on the best times of day for traffic and conversion and down-weighting spend at less profitable times. 

We were confident it would work, but to prove it really worked we decided to test it, comparing performance before and during to get true, like-for-like figures. Essentially, we’d run our standard activity in the first two weeks of the event, analysing results in real time and refining our activity based on actual data. In the last two weeks, we’d switch to the new mobile-targeted PLA plan and record the difference.

Our ace in the hole was the iProspect scripting team, who wrote a custom script that let us modify our mobile PLA bids by hour of day. You can’t currently do this on AdWords or any other third-party platform, so our whole strategy rested on this essential bit of tech. 

The Results

  • 49%

    Increase in traffic

  • 12%

    Budget saved

  • 16%

    Increase in conversions

From an awareness perspective, the strategy was a hands-down win. Traffic to the baby event page went up 49% when the test was running compared to the fortnight before. Mobile traffic alone went up 44%.

The key was knowing our audience. By lowering bids during times when shoppers were less active online, or less likely to buy, we saved 12% of the budget, which we reinvested into the times of day that really mattered. 

This meant we were getting roughly the same levels of traffic and exposure in the early morning, and raising traffic by 20% in the afternoon for less. During peak evening times (17:00 – 23:00) we generated +86% more traffic with only a 0.01p increase in average CPCs on mobile.

Conversions rose too — up 16% during our ‘two weeks on’ compared to the previous two weeks. Proof that our mobile strategy was bang on the money.

Overall, conversions looked like this:

-        +15% between 13:00 – 16:00

-        +34% during evening times (17:00 – 23:00)

-        +24% during the weekday on mobile, and +38% at the weekends.

The evening and weekend results weren’t a surprise. Commuting, weekend leisure times and evening sofa-surfing are all good periods for mobile.

But the 13:00-16:00 window was a coup for us. From historic stats we had a theory that the pre-school run window would be a key time for the ASDA mum, who’s out and about, possibly with a few minutes to go online and check prices but not enough time to sit down at a desktop. We were right.

Capturing this traffic, based on a behavioural insight, put to work by our own custom bidding script, was the perfect iProspect moment. With perfect results for our client. 

Our baby events are always important for the business, particularly online where we know our customers like to shop for great deals during the event. Focusing on PLAs made sense as we know our customers are actively searching on mobile while on the move, dropping kids at school or doing the weekly shop at ASDA. Maintaining strong visibility across our baby PLAs on mobile gives our customer a great experience, while delivering efficient traffic and revenue. We know our iProspect team are best placed in the industry to activate innovative initiatives and the results speak for themselves.
Richard Barham Performance Media Manager,