How Bukalapak achieved 5X ROAS through machine learning

Jennifer Arif, Jolita Lias / August 2019

Finding innovative ways to reach more consumers doesn’t have to cost your marketing team valuable time and effort. With new automated solutions, marketers can achieve a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) while saving time on manual campaign optimization.

In 2018, Indonesia accounted for 94% of SEA’s $23 billion e-commerce industry. Today, the country’s massive e-commerce sector continues to grow, along with the number of brands looking for innovative ways to compete for a piece of the pie.

As one of the largest e-commerce companies in the region, Bukalapak receives a high volume of website visitors via direct traffic, Shopping ads, Google Display Network ads, and YouTube ads. But when the brand noticed too many potential customers were browsing its website without converting, it knew it had to reconsider its marketing strategy. In an effort to reach consumers who were more likely to buy its products, Bukalapak turned to Smart Shopping campaigns.

Experimenting with automation

By combining standard shopping and dynamic remarketing campaigns, Smart Shopping campaigns use automated bidding and ad placement to promote products to users across Search, Display, and YouTube. The automated solution also allows brands to reach high-value users who have already seen its ads or visited its site directly but left without converting.

Always open to trying new strategies, Bukalapak launched a three-month Smart Shopping campaign focused on 5% of its Shopping ads traffic using a maximize conversion value bidding strategy. The rest of the brand’s traffic (95%) was assigned standard shopping and dynamic remarketing campaigns, and the results of these were measured against the automated alternative.

The team was able to launch the Smart Shopping campaign with little manual effort by:

  • creating a separate campaign with a determined traffic split and a recommended daily budget.
  • uploading the Bukalapak logo and image banner for responsive display ads.
  • designating Indonesia as the country of sale.

The campaign combined the brand’s existing product feed with Google’s machine learning algorithm to serve more than 40 million products to potential customers across multiple channels — all while automating ad placement and bidding for maximum conversion value.

Smart Shopping campaign saves time, boosts ROAS

The Smart Shopping campaign achieved 5X higher ROAS than the standard shopping effort while also driving 4X more conversions and 300% growth in conversion value, leading to 2.5X more new customers. “The automation not only allowed the team to focus less on manual campaign optimization but also helped them boost relevance among high-value users,” said Tushar Bhatia, associate vice president of growth at Bukalapak.


The impressive results encouraged Bukalapak to increase its investment in Smart Shopping campaigns by 27X over the past year. The brand plans to remain at the forefront of innovation by continually testing new products and further optimizing its campaign strategies.

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