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ModCloth Boosts Paid Search Revenues 22% with Marin Software

Search engine marketing and optimization are vital to success in the competitive e-Commerce marketplace. Online-only retailers specifically are faced with the challenge to increase awareness, pique interest and drive traffic to storefronts effectively. ModCloth, a merchant that provides independently designed fashion and décor, relies on paid search tactics to grow brand awareness and drive online revenue from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing advertisements in more than five countries.

After adopting Marin Software in November 2010, the retailer increased paid search revenues by 22%, improved time management among employees, and created a more efficient paid search program to further its business.

In addition to considerably higher traffic, click-throughs and conversion rates, ModCloth also experienced increased keywords under management by six-fold; decreased costs-per-click by 14%; and reduced time spent on reporting and bidding by more than 30%.  

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ModCloth also added 14 new campaigns and more than 135,000 keywords during Q4 2011, based on the Marin Software application, according to Theresa Rockovich, Search Engine Marketing Specialist at ModCloth.

“Our paid search program is an integral part of our customer acquisition strategy,” Rockovich told Retail TouchPoints. “In an effort to sustain growth in the online channel, we needed to partner with a robust software platform that allowed us to scale our campaigns quickly as the business matured. Since we manage our paid search accounts in-house, we were looking for a software partner that allowed us to maintain complete control, while customizing the dashboard to include relevant KPIs and creating efficiencies with day-to-day tasks.” The Marin Software platform was fully integrated in four weeks, with pixels added, URLs tagged and data sources identified, Rockovich reported.

A key challenge for ModCloth was prioritizing daily obligations and expanding its brand online effectively. Team members were inundated with organizing keywords and bid management in spreadsheets, and hours were spent downloading, manipulating and analyzing data in Excel. These manual practices led to insufficient productivity and increased likelihood of errors.

“Marin Software has allowed us to conserve time on very strategic tasks associated with daily campaign management,” Rockovich said. “Since these processes have been consolidated or entirely automated, our team can focus on more strategic initiatives and growing our paid search channels. We can now focus more time and energy making our search program more cohesive, with broader marketing efforts. The tests we conducted in the past two quarters have proven our hypothesis to be on track. In 2012, we plan on testing more dynamic experiments with many iterations.”

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Features within Marin’s platform, such as the ability to create automated alerts and reports, have improved in-house efficiencies significantly. ModCloth also can edit bids directly within the reporting interface. Through campaign copy, bulk upload, and keyword suggestion tools, the retailer has aggressively added keywords and maintained traffic quality by conducting frequent tests to determine a specific keyword’s performance.

“Our keyword expansion efforts were in line with one of our key high-level objectives: to increase visibility in areas that were particularly relevant for our business,” Rockovich said. “We identified areas of focus and thoughtfully expanded our keyword sets based on level of impact, being sure to focus on evergreen and seasonal categories, long-tail keywords, and a conservative match-type strategy. We made sure to track the incremental lift in traffic as well as transactions and revenue to measure the value-add by each area of expansion.”

By implementing localization and targeting strategies, ModCloth is driving more relevant audiences to its site, according to Matt Lawson, VP of Marketing for Marin Software. This strategy has increased awareness and traffic among the retailer’s target customers worldwide.

“Localization is a necessity with international paid search, since consumers find products using different words and are drawn to different creative depending on language and location,” Lawson said. “Marin’s tools are designed to make the process of geo- and language targeting easier, allowing marketers to replicate local campaigns across engines, identify local queries for keyword expansion, and manage the cumbersome process of appending tracking codes to URLs.”

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