BNP Paribas Fortis increases search performance through Smart Bidding

February 2018

A subsidiary of BNP Paribas, BNP Paribas Fortis is an international bank based in Belgium. Together with Havas Media and Clicktrust, they wanted to boost downloads of their Home on the Spot app as well as drive consumers to acquire the BNP Paribas Fortis Prepaid card. In addition to maintaining costs, they were also looking to streamline the account structure, enhance operational efficiency and simplify bid management.


Drive product conversions and app downloads

Simplify daily bid management

Enhance operational efficiency


Tested Smart Bidding using Google Ads Drafts and Experiments

Scaled automated bid strategy Target CPA to campaigns across account


137% increase in conversions and 42% reduction in cost per lead on generic Prepaid card campaign

Up to 1,400% increase in installs with 60% reduction in cost per install on generic Home on the Spot app campaign

To meet their objectives, BNP Paribas Fortis turned to Smart Bidding1. This is a set of automated bid strategies that uses machine learning to optimise for conversions or conversion value in each and every auction. The team decided to test these auction-time bidding strategies using the Drafts and Experiments feature in Google Ads2 to compare the performance of the Smart Bidding approach against manual CPC bidding.

The team conducted their tests on campaigns promoting the bank’s Prepaid card and the Home on the Spot app. First, they created draft campaigns with the new bid adjustments. Then, they created experiments from each draft to test the changes against their existing bidding strategy. They also defined how much traffic and budget to split between the control and test campaigns, and how long the experiments would run. The experiments indicated a statistical significant uplift in conversions, and drop in cost per lead, allowing them to scale the smartbidding solution to all the other search campaigns.

According to 2017 internal campaign data, the generic campaign promoting the Prepaid card produced 137% more conversions at 42% lower cost per lead with Smart Bidding than without. The Home on the Spot generic app campaign also produced positive results, driving up to 1,400% more installs at 60% lower cost per install when Smart Bidding was used than when it was not.

“We saw very positive results from the test of Smart Bidding, which generated higher demand at a lower cost”, says John Tierney, Performance Marketing Manager at BNP Paribas Fortis. “It’s definitely a valuable addition to the media mix! As consumer behaviour becomes more complicated with more online research and multiple devices, Smart Bidding allows you to run campaigns more efficiently. Moving from manual adjustment to automated bidding allows us to make the most of our investment, giving us more time to focus on other aspects of digital marketing such as budget decision, ad creation, business analysis and campaign improvements.”

“The transparency of the Google Ads platform allows us to evaluate, test and adjust to optimise towards our goals.”

– John Tierney, Performance Marketing Manager, BNP Paribas Fortis

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