The renewable energy industry is growing, big time.
According to CNBC, in the U.S., of all new power capacity added to the grid in 2018, about 30% was from solar. In addition to these increases, nearly every segment of the renewable energy market is seeing rapid price declines.
It’s easy to see there is tremendous room for growth, which is why Renogy, a renewable energy company, reached out to our team to help them supercharge their organic and paid efforts. While we’re a little biased, Renogy’s products are truly some of the best portable power products on the market today. Hands down.
So far, it’s turned out to be a solid partnership. We’ve integrated closely as a team with a clear growth marketing roadmap that includes tactics for PPC and SEO. In 2 months, we were able to generate $192,853 in additional sales for November and December by only adding $172 bucks to the budget.
“Working with the Tuff team is an absolute pleasure. They’re incredibly sharp, goal oriented, and fantastic strategists. Most importantly: they get results! Everyone on the team is very personable and we always look forward to our meetings. Integrating the Tuff team has been one of the best decisions we’ve made and we are confident that we’ll do very well scaling up with their help.” – Evan Huynh, Marketing Director, Renogy
In this article, I’ll take a close look at the part Google Ads plays in building and optimizing an ecommerce growth strategy:
We started with a profit-focused strategy
When your online store has different products at different price points and margins, you need to think of them differently. Why? Because not all sales are created equal.
When we took over the Renogy account last year, structurally it was in great shape. Campaigns were organized, settings were optimized, and ads had an above average CTR for the industry. If we had only cared about volume, we would have given this account two thumbs up and kept it humming.
But for Renogy, we cared about volume and profit. So, we needed to analyze the account through a profit-focused lense if we were going to make any meaningful improvements.
We evaluated the value of each sale in the account, not just volume of sales, and identified big discrepancies in ROAS. For example, one ad group generated $250 from $200 spent and another generated $1,200 from $200 giving us a ROAS 1.5 and 6.0, respectively—a significant difference in return for the same amount spent. From a volume perspective these campaigns are equal (each generated one sale) but when you factor in revenue the picture changes quickly.
Armed with the above information, the very first thing we did in the Renogy account was update our analysis and reporting to follow a profit-focused strategy, the goal to achieve as high of a ROAS as possible without losing scale. This helped us:
- Reallocate existing budget to higher ROAS campaign
- Set more profitable campaign spending limits
- Know where to focus our efforts first
- Where are the low ROAS campaigns in the account? Can we update these and get them more profitable?
- Where are the high ROAS campaigns in the account? Can we pump more money into these without dropping our return?
Then, flipped standard shopping to smart
Out of all the existing campaigns in the account, Renogy’s shopping campaign was driving the lowest ROAS. We tackled this first.
With our profit-first focus, we dug into the analysis for the standard shopping campaign and realized that it wasn’t structured around the most profitable products and search terms. Instead, it treated every product – from the $49 solar speaker to the $1,200 lithium battery – the exact same.
In this case, three of this campaign’s 100+ products were spending half of the budget over a 30-day span. And they’re only bringing in a tiny 11% of revenue. Ouch.
Because Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords, your product feed takes their place and is responsible for the signals that connect people’s searches with your products. For a quick win and momentum boost, we flipped the campaign from standard to smart and stripped out any product that was sucking up spend without delivering a solid return.
Within a week, our negative ROAS shopping campaign started turning out a consistent 668% ROAS week over week over week.
Took back control of our bids
Deciding which bid strategy is best is probably one of the most debated topics among campaign managers. And with 20+ bidding strategies on Google alone, it’s easy to see why. Every account is different and different strategies work for different accounts.
With Renogy, the original account was setup using a Maximize Conversion bidding type. Maximize Conversions is what Google calls a fully automated bidding strategy. This means there are no individual keyword bids set by account managers that Google factors in. Google simply chooses a CPC bid based on the goal outcome of the bidding strategy.
While Maximize Conversion bid strategies are more hands off and require less time in the account, they are dangerous for accounts with goals for profitability or efficiency. With this campaign strategy setup in the Renogy account, Google was spending the full daily budget regardless of conversion performance.
So, again, we went back to our goal. Our goal for this account is to make profit. So, we updated every campaign to a Manual CPC bid strategy to take back control of spend. Manual cost per click allows you to set bids at the keyword level.
With us inching into the holidays with heavy promos and thick auction competition, we wanted as much control over the bids as possible to stay competitive and direct spend to the keywords most profitable.
And finally, bulked up sales with the right promos
This final strategy we had very little to do with but it’s worth mentioning in the grand scheme of it all. While we were busy making profit-focused account optimizations, the Renogy team strategically rolled out product promotions and sales to support our revenue targets. In turn, we were able to supercharge these sales with Google Ads by:
- Updating search ad copy to match the promo and sale messaging
- Build sitelink and promo extensions to accompany our campaigns
- Bulk up display efforts promoting the sale
Each one of these promotions, small and large, helped us bulk up our growth trajectory with Google Ads.
Building and optimizing an ecommerce growth strategy on Google to get results like this is not easy. It’s not rocket science either, though. If your execution is data-driven and your product is high quality, you can see results like this, too. If you want to explore more about how to scale your customer acquisition with Tuff, or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.
We’d love to work with you.
Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing here mountain bike downhill.