Published November 2015
Investing in a unified platform with global reach
Jellyfish Online Marketing is the agency of record for a leading online university, which serves the higher education needs of working professionals. The online university views search marketing as an integral part of the marketing mix and as a valued channel for attracting prospective students. Since it operates in over 125 countries, the university requires a tailored approach to search marketing by region. Jellyfish leverages DoubleClick Search to provide this tailored approach across the university's large international search marketing portfolio. "It doesn't work to market the same way internationally as domestically, so we have all the international campaigns in their own account. We almost treat each individual region and country as its own little campaign," says Daniel Wilkinson, EVP of Global PPC for Jellyfish.
Jellyfish knows that reacting to real-time data is essential in order to manage the university's entire program around the world. The real-time bid management capabilities of DoubleClick Search were a large contributing factor to the agency's choice to use the Performance Bidding Suite. It automatically and quickly responds to trends and changes in keyword conversion yields.
As human beings, we're only able to optimize a couple times a week. We're slow and we're cautious. We've learned that the bid strategies make our actions more powerful by magnifying them with more frequent optimizations. When we trust the machine, it makes our life better.
Jellyfish also values the ability to consolidate its efforts on a unified technology stack. Since DoubleClick Search is integrated into the DoubleClick Digital Marketing ad technology platform, Jellyfish is able to track and optimize across devices, channels, and a long sales cycle. It can also bring all of the DoubleClick information into Google Analytics Premium for attribution modeling and other advanced analysis.
Reaching granular campaign goals
Data-driven marketing has always been at the heart of the university’s approach. It has regional lead volume and cost-per-lead goals, and works with Jellyfish to understand the extent of the opportunity to attract and convert prospective students by region. This includes using data to consider the quality of lead. Wilkinson says, "It’s not just the lead we care about; it's all these other quality conversion metrics that we really care about. For example, we want more leads for the master's degree and doctorate degree programs than for the bachelor's degree programs. We also want more leads in highly economically developed countries like Canada and the United Kingdom where enrollment rates are high."
Prior to using bid strategies, the missing piece to optimal search marketing was a dynamic engine that could consider the university’s volume, quality, and cost-per-lead goals and optimize for them using real-time feedback including online and offline conversions. When Jellyfish adopted the DoubleClick Search Performance Bidding Suite in June 2014 and began using bid strategies, they filled this missing piece. Now, the university and Jellyfish leverage bid strategies to monitor online and offline conversion data in real time and frequently adjust bids throughout the day in response to increasing or decreasing lead generation opportunities. Its goals are custom to each region and results are optimized globally.
It's not just one big bid strategy for the entire account, we’re able to tailor it to the priority countries and priority programs that we're running. So we actually run a mix of strategies customized to the client’s business needs.
Bid strategies helps Jellyfish ensure that the entire international account gets the attention it needs. Wilkinson says, "We have a limited amount of time in our day so we have to make sure to pay attention to where we can have the greatest impact. Bid strategies allow us to be more impactful on the top 20 percent of an account, but baked into that technology and that system is that the other 80 percent gets the love that it needs. It assures me that I’m not forgetting about any part of the account. Bid strategies cover the entire portfolio."
Deploying best practices with bid strategies
In managing bid strategies, Jellyfish has developed significant expertise in optimization. Wilkinson says, "If there's a brand new account, we would let DoubleClick Search watch and collect data to inform its algorithms before setting up the first bid strategy. After about a month, we would apply three to five bid strategies to the tier two parts of the account. This saves the biggest chunk, the most important chunk, for last. After a couple weeks of letting the tier two parts of the account settle, we would grow that to pretty much the rest of the account and that would take another couple weeks."
Jellyfish loves the way that bid strategies allows them to deal with increasing budgets. Wilkinson says, "Before bid strategies, bigger budgets would typically mean that we'd have to push harder on a selection of keywords. We'd have to identify where to put that money, and we'd have to figure out if we'd actually get more for that money by pushing harder. We used to have to go through a lot of manual checks and balances to figure this out. Now, what we're able to do with bid strategies is quickly scale our campaigns to take full advantage of bigger budgets. We simply change our campaign budget caps and update our bid strategies to say that we're being a bit aggressive right now. From there, bid strategies figures out where the budget should be allocated and makes sure that it generates results. Bid strategies will never push harder for the sake of pushing harder. We know that it's working because our cost per lead is improving while we're successfully scaling up to spend the bigger budget."
As just one example of scaling up, the university had a big influx of spend in Canada, which is one of its strategic regions. The additional spend came during a time of year where performance is strong, but typically the demand is relatively low. With minimal changes to bid strategies, and bigger changes to campaign budget caps, Jellyfish was able to very easily absorb extra spend, which was 20% higher than baseline, while improving the cost per lead slightly.
Bid strategies pay off
Jellyfish generated impressive results using DoubleClick Search bid strategies. Wilkinson says, "Bid strategies have paid out its dividends. It's making performance better and generating more leads."
The results in Canada exemplify the type of cost per lead and lead volume improvements that Jellyfish is generating. In comparing 30 days of performance this year versus last year, Jellyfish generated 29 percent more leads and an 84 percent improvement in cost per lead. With results like these, Jellyfish are now pushing 90% of all paid search spend through DoubleClick Search bid strategies.
Jellyfish generated more leads at a lower cost per lead this February with DoubleClick Search bid strategies versus last February, when bid strategies were not used:
"Overall, DoubleClick Search bid strategies has absolutely helped the business grow. For us, as an agency, we're seeing more media spend and revenue because of bid strategies. The hard work has paid off," says Wilkinson.