In April 2018, we inherited a “mature” AdWords account for ServPro of the East End, a restoration and remediation company. The account had just over two years of optimizations completed by the previous management company, and was seasonally stable in terms of the average cost per lead. Read how our different way of looking at the data resulted in a surprising find, and how our additional account optimizations resulted in savings of nearly 50% while actually growing leads for the client!
Inheriting an account which has been under a different management entities’ purview is both a blessing and a challenge. One of the best things about these mature accounts is that we have data to analyze. While we have a ton of experience building new campaigns from the ground up, the right set of minds in-house paired with a years of data goes a very long way in our ability to be able to address the specific challenges of the area and business in question right away.
When we partnered with the East End ServPro account, we were also armed with the experience and insights of more than two dozen other ServPro and restoration company clients. We were [and are] fortunately very familiar with this industry, and set up an initially aggressive rebuild where we saw missed opportunities and wasted spend.
Our industry experience, as well as attention to the details that many companies miss were the primary factors in a big surprise that we discovered just a couple of months later…
At UnifiedSEM, at least once per month, we do what we call a deep dive into even the seemingly mundane analytics associated with our clients. In these “dives”, we spend time looking at dozens of pieces of data that aren’t generally a part of the key performance metrics. In this case, we noticed a serious anomaly on East End’s data set. During the week [Monday-Friday], there were nearly always 2-3 clicks on generic search terms without a conversion. These clicks almost always came between 6am and 8am, and were reliably on generic [read: expensive] keywords, reliably without a conversion.
In the restoration business, the cost per click in competitive areas can often be north of $70 per click! Every click that isn’t likely to turn into a lead is a not-insignificant amount of money that is flying away. While it is normal for us to find pockets of wasted spend, it was a surprise for us to find such a reliable pocket of non-conversion.
We conducted a thorough investigation, which included testing a time based bidding strategy called day-parting, analysis of the IP addresses and areas of town these early morning clicks seemed to be coming from and several more situation-specific looks. As it almost always does, the data told us the answer! A competitor of our client was waking up every morning and using various devices to search for the most common and expensive keywords and would click on our clients’ ads. The goal of the culprit was simple: to waste a chunk of our budget and mess with the analytics associated with some of the most competitive keywords.
After the analysis, our team researched potential solutions to this issue, then discussed the finds with the client. In the end, we recommended a third party, automated click fraud prevention solution, which our client approved enrollment in. The cost of this third party solution is only $25/month. The very first month after enrolling, our client saw a drop in cost of nearly 30% of their entire budget, without a meaningful impact on their total number of monthly leads. We are talking about several hundred dollars in savings in the very first month for a $25 automated solution. We also benefited from cleaner analytics moving forward, as the well wasn’t being poisoned by fraudulent clicks every day. This important change, combined with the optimizations based on cleaner sets of data allowed us to save the client 46% year-over-year in cost, while growing their overall conversions more than 15%.
Bonus: Though dedicated click fraud is an uncommon issue, we actually found four other clients suffering to varying degrees with the same problem. All of them are now also saving money!