Farfetch Eyes Global Growth With Improved Search Advertising

Online-only retailer Farfetch provides shoppers with anytime, anywhere access to unique fashions from all around the world. Founded in 2008, the eTailer has received significant support from the investment community. Most recently, Farfetch collected $86 million from a financing round led by DST Global, bringing its total valuation to $1 billion. The funding, which was announced in March 2015, is being used to expand the retailer’s operations globally. 

Although Farfetch’s extensive assortment has undoubtedly helped drive business growth, the retailer also has invested heavily in improving paid marketing efforts, especially search marketing. With approximately 20% of traffic coming from pay-per-click search engine advertising, Farfetch decided to shift from a third-party agency to in-house operations.

Bringing search marketing operations in-house was “always on the company roadmap,” explained Rich Brown, Head of Performance Marketing at Farfetch. “It was a big strategic decision. Because we grow so fast as a company, we’re now able to make decisions quickly.”


Farfetch executes acquisition campaigns through all of the core search engines — including Google, Bing, Yahoo! Japan, Yandex and Naver. To support its team of only four people, Farfetch worked with Adobe Consulting to optimize search portfolios and implemented an automated bidding algorithm via Adobe Media Optimizer. The system calculates the optimal spend on keywords to maximize campaign success.

“Unlike other companies that are trying to reduce paid search spend while still meeting their targets, we’re trying to figure out how we can leverage an increased budget to drive growth,” Brown said. “That means bigger and more complex paid search marketing campaigns.”

Within the first year of partnering with Adobe and implementing the Adobe Media Optimizer, Farfetch saw paid search advertising click-throughs increase by 74% and conversion rates swell by 13%. This boost contributed to the retailer’s year-over-year revenue growth of 119%.

A Market-By-Market Approach

Adobe Media Optimizer automates a variety of once-manual tasks, such as keyword management and paid search bidding. As a result, the Farfetch search team can focus on overall growth strategies and content development. For instance, they regularly meet with their merchandising cohorts to identify the most popular brands and products and develop new ads around those trends.

Even more importantly, Adobe Media Optimizer empowers Farfetch to capture a global view of paid search campaign performance and overall trends. This will become more helpful for the retailer as it continues to expand abroad. 

“We think of everything we do as being global,” Brown said. “When we’re rolling out a new activity we’re pushing it out to all markets as possible.”

Keeping this active pulse on search campaign performance also will help Farfetch better tailor campaigns for local tastes and preferences.

“We have to adapt our keyword strategy for different markets,” Brown explained. “Not only are you translating into different languages, you also need to hone in on local trends and nuances.”

This process, according to Brown, consists of a “never-ending list of questions” for the team. “There are always new scenarios and challenges we come up with and try to address from the customers’ perspective.”

But with help from Adobe Media Optimizer and by taking a market-by-market approach, Brown and his team can ensure “we don’t handcuff ourselves to something we think is going to work but then doesn’t.”

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