Modern search. You’ve probably heard Google telling you to get on board with it. And as is usually the case when it comes to search, you should probably listen to them.
Samsung UK hasn’t hesitated to adopt it, teaming up with Performics to utilise modern search for its key flagship product launches. It has delivered rather spectacular results.
At the recent Performance Marketing UK conference, Neil Mandell, Samsung Electronic’s senior marketing manager, and James Foot, Performics’ PPC & eCommerce Lead, sat down to reveal how Samsung UK’s paid search strategy has embraced modern search to maximise performance – and how you can too.
Find the critical keywords
Samsung UK’s direct-to-consumer team has transformed since being put together in 2015. In 2019, they had 5% of Samsung UK’s total share of business, a significant amount for such a large brand. By the end of 2021, that had doubled to 10%. The fuel behind that rocketing growth is search.
Much of that has been driven by adopting modern search. “For every product we launch there are thousands of keywords that we target,” says Foot. “And the more time you’re focussing on optimising that from a manual perspective, the less time you’re focussing on testing, innovation, and how you move the needle forward.
“There was one major insight that drove this: looking back at past launches, about eight keywords drove around 85% of the revenue for us. Out of all those thousands of keywords, only eight actually made that big difference.”
Performics and Samsung UK set about embracing automation to optimise those eight keywords.
“The way we approached it was to simplify our structure,” says Foot. “We used to have 16 campaigns set up, with thousands of keywords. We struck that down to one campaign, with eight keywords, using a combination of phrase match and broad match, and that allowed us to lean on the automation to find the right consumers in the right place at the right time.”
Automation in search is becoming increasingly prevalent, and Foot says it will continue to grow. “For us, it is about discovering how we position the right message to the right user, then give the automation flexibility to test between it,” he says. “Then we take all those learnings and feed it really quickly into the first week, and the second week of a Samsung UK launch period.”
Get your spending right
Samsung UK Unpacked events are the jewels in the company’s calendar, with the launch of new flagship products. For Mandell’s team, this means that the right audience has to be targeted, and fast.
“The big launches can make or break our year,” says Mandell. “To give you an example, in February we had the launch of our Galaxy S22. If you think about how big those moments are in terms of a search demand perspective, everything builds up to that one exact moment. The modern search approach has allowed us to make sure that everything is flawlessly executed.”
“In those big moments you get a massive influx of search volume,” says Foot. “Typically you’ll never have enough budget to capture all of that volume, so that’s where modern search has been really important: to ensure we’re spending on the right people, and the right activity.”
Comparing this year’s launch of the Galaxy S22 to the 2021 launch of the Galaxy S21, revenue shot up 94% through paid search, while return on ad spend also grew 40%.
“A lot of that efficiency was driven by leaning on the automation to take care of the fundamental optimisation side of things,” says Foot. “That allowed our team to focus on more landing page optimisations, more creative optimisations, who we were targeting and how.”
“Let automation do the talking,” says Mandell. “Let the data play. Obviously, we want to lean into that and understand it, but we’ve got algorithms to take care of that.”
Stay on your toes
When a flagship launch has been successfully executed, conversations turn to what the next steps are for Samsung UK’s paid search strategy.
One area it’s exploring is Performance Max, which provides access to all Google Ads inventory from a campaign, and helps improve conversions across Google’s channels.
“With modern search, it’s about keeping us on our toes. And, for us, Performance Max is really interesting,” says Mandell. “The search experience is growing and evolving, whether it be through shopping or visual. But Performance Max also involves video like YouTube and Google Maps, where you can integrate with our stores.”
You do you
With a constantly evolving roster of modern tools available for performance marketers to understand their audience and grow revenue, it’s important to keep testing, to keep learning, and to keep evolving. Don’t get left behind. Equally, accept there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and work on what’s best for you.
“Think about what success looks like for your brand or your client,” says Foot. “For us, modern search is different for every single client we work with. Not everything Google and Microsoft tell you to do will work for you, so it’s about testing it and understanding how it helps your top-level strategy achieve your goals.”