When you work with a niche product, or in a niche industry, you have to be creative to get in front of new customers. That’s exactly what the Latvian audio technology company Sonarworks did when marketing its latest product.
In 2019, Sonarworks re-launched its intelligent software called SoundID Reference with new and improved features. Created for audio engineers, producers and sound designers, this technology provides ultimate accuracy for consistent reference sound between speakers and headphones.
Despite being well-versed in digital marketing, Sonarworks recognised this was a different kind of launch. Many music creators may not realise they need this technology until they can hear what it does. The brand knew it had to be inventive to reach new customers.
Sonarworks partnered with digital performance agency iProspect Lithuania to test out a new strategy centred around Search to reach the right kind of audience across the globe. Once they identified their priority markets, they used automated solutions to make implementation quicker and scale faster.
The search to go global
Prior to the launch, Sonarworks’ marketing efforts were focused mainly on the U.S. — they didn’t have a solid global strategy mapped out. Looking at historical data in Google Analytics, the teams identified 20 regions to advertise in, monitoring execution closely to see where they got the best results.
They found there were five markets driving the majority of conversions: the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, France, and Germany.
“We put each of our five high-performing markets in a separate Google Ads account, with its own budget, to have more control and oversight,” explains Kamilė Račiūtė, performance team lead at iProspect. They also continued monitoring the other 15 markets, but combined them into one account in Google Ads.
The team was looking at trial activations, which is when a user starts a free trial for the software, and monitoring revenue. So if a country was getting more activations month-by-month and also bringing in revenue, that was an indicator to move it into a separate account and give it more budget.
Bundling awareness by implementing automated solutions
Across all campaigns, the teams implemented automation with Smart Bidding. This uses machine learning to optimise bids in real time for each and every auction — so they were able to spend significantly less time on bid maintenance and focus on strategy instead. They chose target cost-per-action (CPA) for Search ads to automatically set bids to get as many conversions as possible at, or below, CPA.
“We had a high target to reach – to lower CPA by four times. The only way we felt we could achieve this ambitious goal was by using automation,” says Kamilė Račiūtė.
Since most people aren’t searching for SoundID Reference unless they’re familiar with the brand, a big challenge was finding the right keywords to bid on. So the team researched keywords related to complementary products and software to build awareness.
Reaching music creators around the world
Six months into their new strategy, Sonarworks had generated over 5.5X more monthly users and increased its revenue by 80%.
The increase in Search volume also contributed to better results from a CPA perspective, down 85% compared to 2019 campaigns.
When the pandemic hit, the world went into lockdown. Live events were cancelled and many artists worked on their music at home. As a result, the brand saw higher search volumes across a range of keywords during that time including ‘sonarworks’ and ‘garageband’.
We had a high target to reach — to lower CPA by four times. The only way we felt we could achieve this ambitious goal was by using automation.
Sonarworks is continuing their global expansion in 2021 with a focus on China. The brand is applying lessons from their automated strategy in the hopes of replicating their past success, while closely following trends in the new market to identify emerging opportunities in relevant categories.
“We are definitely using Smart Bidding in our campaigns going forward,” says Peteris Asbahs, digital marketing lead at Sonarworks. “It saved us so much time on maintenance and now Paid Search is our leading user acquisition channel.”
- Niche market? Focus on finding an audience using Search to reach customers that may be interested — wherever they are in the world.
- Tap into search volume to identify priority markets for international expansion.
- Consider breaking out high-performing markets in paid search accounts to gain more control over performance and budgets.
- Work smarter, not harder. Lean on automated solutions like Smart Bidding to help improve results.