EMP Merchandising, born out of a popular mail order catalog for heavy-metal fans, has built a strong online presence over the years. Traditionally focused on search campaigns to increase sales of merchandise like t-shirts, hoodies and jackets, EMP recently began investing in Dynamic Remarketing campaigns to capture customer attention with the right ad at the right time. As a result, the brand has seen Dynamic Remarketing conversion rates 2.3x higher than display and 1.74x higher than static Remarketing. It has also seen the cost-of-sale for Dynamic Remarketing campaigns decrease 30%.

Goals

  • Use search to grow reach, merchandise sales
  • Branch into display to widen exposure

Approach

  • Test Dynamic Remarketing to re-engage audiences with the right ad at the right moment
  • Use Display Ad Builder to create professional image ads
  • Test multiple ad formats to find what works best

Results

  • Dynamic Remarketing conversion rates 2.3x higher than display, 1.74x higher than static Remarketing
  • 30% decrease in cost-of-sale for Dynamic Remarketing campaigns
  • 50% more revenue from non-branded search campaigns
Published
August 2013
Topics

As Europe’s premiere “heavy metal online shop,” EMP Merchandising has connected fans of metal, rock, hardcore, punk, emo and alternative with music, merchandise and accessories since 1986. Headquartered in Germany, EMP Merchandising is present in 15 European countries and drives web traffic and online sales with Google AdWords, which it has used since 2007. “We are the largest mail order company in the world’s heaviest genre,” says Jasmin Benz, SEM manager at EMP Merchandising.

Though it has a strong online presence today, including robust social media activity and a YouTube strategy, EMP Merchandising has roots in its long-standing and popular mail order catalog, EMP Magazine. “The catalog is still one of our most important channels,” says Benz. “Because it has existed for 25 years, our clients have an emotional connection to it. Many people look in the catalog and then order from the online shop.”

Engaging customers everywhere on Google’s Display Network

EMP Merchandising has traditionally focused on its search campaigns, with the goal of increasing reach and sales of merchandise and apparel like t-shirts, hoodies and jackets. But in 2012, the group began experimenting with Google’s Display Network to support its strategy of “being everywhere where our customers are.” Benz was attracted to Google’s Display Network because of the transparency, control and flexibility it offers. “I like that Google’s Display Network offers granular targeting options, and the ability to target by keyword, placement, topics, interests and more,” she says. “From one day to the next, we can easily see which campaigns are working well and push them, and turn off those that are not.” She also appreciates having the option to bid on display campaigns on a CPC basis, rather than CPM.

I like that Google’s Display Network offers granular targeting options, and the ability to target by keyword, placement, topics, interests and more. From one day to the next, we can easily see which campaigns are working well and push them, and turn off those that are not.

Delivering tailored ads to the right audience with Dynamic Remarketing

In March 2013, EMP Merchandising began investing in Dynamic Remarketing campaigns to capture potential customers’ attention with the right ad at the right time. People who have already visited the group’s website see the group’s ads as they browse other sites in the Google Display Network. These ads are dynamically tailored to each person based on the pages or products they previously viewed on EMP’s site.

To show the most relevant ads possible, EMP Merchandising uses several defined lists of users, like shopping cart abandoners and people who leave the website without placing anything in the shopping cart. For even more granular targeting, EMP Merchandising classifies these lists by date range: It separates, for example, people who abandoned their carts within the last week from those who abandoned their carts within the last 40 days. Dynamic Remarketing permits EMP to re-engage these customers and encourage them to come back and complete their purchase. These segmented remarketing lists also allow for targeted promotion of EMP’s online video contest, which is connected to an upcoming television campaign.

Enhancing campaign impact with Display Ad Builder

To find ad creatives that would work best with the Dynamic Remarketing campaigns, Benz and her team used Google’s free Display Ad Builder tool to easily create professional-looking ads that match the look and feel of EMP’s brand. The group tested three creative templates: one exclusively featuring product images, one featuring information and images, and one featuring information without product price. EMP Merchandising also enabled an auto-optimized layout, which optimally adjusts the look and feel of the creative for each impression, based on where and when the ad is displayed. “After testing those ad formats against one another and analyzing the results, we found that the ads exclusively featuring product images consistently performed the best,” Benz notes.



Dynamic Remarketing lifts conversion rates, lowers costs

With Dynamic Remarketing, EMP Merchandising achieved conversion rates 2.3x higher than overall display campaign conversion rates, and 1.74x higher than static Remarketing conversion rates. And after running Dynamic Remarketing for a six-week period, EMP Merchandising experienced a 30% decrease in cost-of-sale for these campaigns. Additionally, Dynamic Remarketing had a complementary effect on EMP Merchandising’s search efforts – it generated a 50% lift in revenue from non-branded search campaigns. Benz says these early results are “awesome” and adds, “As long as Dynamic Remarketing is performing well, we’ll keep using it in our online strategy.”

Driving more business with a cross-channel strategy

EMP Merchandising continues to draw more impact from its AdWords campaigns by testing different Google tools and features. For example, in the months leading up to its large television campaign scheduled for this summer, EMP Merchandising is driving brand awareness and consideration with a suite of ad formats and targeting tools including AdWords for video, placement and interest category targeting, and mobile in-app ads. Given the strong results from Dynamic Remarketing, the group is exploring contextual targeting as a means to extend reach on Google’s Display Network. As its strategies evolve to reach more potential customers, EMP Merchandising aims to stay connected to music fans, both online and offline. “We’re Europe’s #1 rock mail order,” says Benz. “It’s what we are, and what we want to be in the future.”