Smart use of data enables Royal Mint to adjust search bids to gold demand

The demand for gold is so highly volatile that The Royal Mint wanted to develop an alternative to traditional paid search strategies such as seasonal trend optimisations. They tasked Manning Gottlieb with developing a new approach that could capitalise on gold demand trends with no incremental budget and no integration with other channels while improving sales by 15% and reducing cost per acquisition by 40%.

About The Royal Mint
One of the world's leading manufacturers of currency
Retailer of coin collections, bullion and gifts
Headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales
About Manning Gottlieb UK
Part of Omnicom Media Group
Headquarters in London
Goals
Develop new paid search strategy to capitalise on gold demand trends
Maintain budget while improving sales by 15% and cost per acquisition by 40%
Approach
Hypothesised that FTSE 100 performance drops coincided with increased searches for gold
Conducted controlled test using TVTY to trigger digital campaign optimisations in real-time when relevant moments were detected
Linked Google Ads accounts to TVTY’s API to make bid adjustments according to FTSE 100 performance
Results
Outperformed sales target by 85%
Achieved 37% cheaper cost per acquisition than targeted
Reduced cost per click by 10%
Set all-time account record for PPC revenue

Manning Gottlieb created a strategy made up of three phases. First, the team would compile a list of potential socio-economic shock-inducing events for a period of three months. Then they would conduct a controlled test using TVTY, a platform that triggers digital campaign optimisations in real-time when relevant moments are detected. Finally, they would pick the best approach and make further optimisations to the winning strategy.

Unique analysis reveals valuable patterns

The effects of Brexit and the US presidential election formed the foundation of Manning Gottlieb’s information-gathering phase. On both dates the team observed huge decreases in the FTSE 100 price index, while gold investment search volume surged to record levels. Both events were linked to a significant degree of uncertainty.

With seismic events such as Brexit happening extremely infrequently, the team then sought to establish similar correlations around smaller events. They hypothesised that significant events cause instability in the FTSE 100 and that performance drops on the FTSE 100 coincide with an upswing in searches for gold.

The team studied a three-month date range and noted any events that were significant in steering the mood of the economy. For instance, these included the announcement of the UK budget, the release of the US stimulus package, the UK election, the end of the UK financial year and the first round of the French presidential elections.

When they plotted each event versus the local and global search trends for gold as an investment, they discovered clear correlations. They then trialled budget-boosting scripts to trigger over key political dates in the UK calendar, particularly the UK snap election. In spite of increased spend, however, they found they weren’t able to significantly increase impression share with automated budget adjustments alone – markets clearly reacted too quickly.

Consequently they evolved a new strategy. With a downturn in the FTSE 100 a better indicator of economic uncertainty, they decided to integrate The Royal Mint’s paid search activity with the moment-marketing technology provider TVTY. Using TVTY’s API they linked The Royal Mint’s Google Ads accounts to FTSE 100 performance, so that whenever the FTSE 100 dropped by more than 1%, the account’s ad groups would boost bids by up to 50%, enabling real-time reactions to moments of economic uncertainty.

The new data-driven strategy strikes gold

Following the launch, the team recorded 23 triggers. By measuring the time stamp data to isolate the hours in the day in which the conditions were live, they were able to segment the click and conversion data into control versus exposed and develop insights about the account’s performance.

First they measured whether there was higher engagement during the moments TVTY triggered, and observed an 8% increase in click-through rate. They then measured the effect this had on conversion rate, recording an increase of 26% when the TVTY condition was met and bids were increased.

By applying the new strategy over a one-month period, Manning Gottlieb overachieved The Royal Mint’s sales target by 85% at a cost per acquisition that was 37% cheaper than their goal, while also setting an all-time account record for PPC revenue. And although achieving high visibility might have meant higher costs per click, in the moments that bid adjustments were triggered the cost per click fell by 10%.

Looking ahead, the team hopes to uncover further signals to use in improving the account’s efficiency. With FTSE 100 decreases indicating moments of socio-political instability, they’re planning to test the inverse, by adding negative bid adjustment during times of social political harmony in an effort to conserve budget for moments of increased gold demand.

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