In the UK and Germany, Office Depot enhanced its Shopping Ads with Merchant Promotions, a feature that highlights special offers for online shoppers. Ads with the feature showed a significant increase in click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate (CVR), and return on investment (ROI) in both countries.


  • Increase web traffic and revenue


  • Employ Merchant Promotions on Shopping Ads in the UK and Germany
  • Test Shopping Ads with and without Merchant Promotions


  • CTR improved 8.1% in UK and 9.8% in Germany
  • CVR improved 18.1% in UK
  • ROI increased 9.3% in Germany
February 2016

Testing Merchant Promotions to improve overall ad performance

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, Office Depot is one of the largest suppliers of office products and stationary in the world. Search marketing is one of the main ways Office Depot reaches customers online and creates revenue for its SMB and consumer brand, Viking, in the UK, Germany, and other European countries. The company had already been successfully employing Google’s Shopping Ads for some time. Shopping Ads display product images, prices, and the retailer brand when consumers search for relevant keywords.


In June 2015, Office Depot began testing Merchant Promotions in the UK and Germany. Merchant Promotions enhance Shopping Ads by highlighting sales or special offers - such as dollars or euros off, % off, buy-one-get-one-free, or free merchandise with purchase - which are then applied at checkout. Merchant Promotions are labeled at the bottom of a Shopping Ad with an annotation that triggers a pop-up with additional details.

"We saw Merchant Promotions as a chance to stand out among other offers in the Shopping Ads environment," explained Matt Sieben, manager, search engine advertising, Europe, for Office Depot’s Viking Brand. "We hoped this new feature could improve the overall performance of our ads," he said.

Merchant Promotions lifts CTR and CVR

Office Depot started by testing a money off promotion: £10 in the UK and €10 in Germany. The trial was very successful: in the UK, CTR improved 8.1% over the three-week test period. CVR also increased from 3.16% to 3.73% (a 18.1% lift) and revenue improved 25%.


The test was similarly successful in Germany: the CTR improved 9.77% and revenue increased 31%—increasing the share of wallet overall. These improvements, combined with 20% more ad budget, helped increase ROI 9.3%. "It was a huge success," said Sieben.

The CTR improvement shows that Merchant Promotions draw attention and make our products stand out in comparison to competitors using Shopping Ads.

To boost traffic and revenue, Office Depot will continue employing Merchant Promotions

Sieben thinks Merchant Promotions give brands the upper hand: "The CTR improvement shows that Merchant Promotions draw attention and make our products stand out in comparison to competitors using Shopping Ads. They provide an additional incentive for people to click, which lead to more conversions."

After testing Merchant Promotions, Office Depot now uses the feature in every campaign. "As one of the early adopters implementing Merchant Promotions, we managed to increase our clickrate by almost 10%, bringing in more traffic and more revenue. We will continue using the feature on more campaigns and in more countries,” said Sieben.