Smart bidding, micro-conversions and automation: a winning combination for the Alimentarium

How to improve the performance of Google Search campaigns with a Grants account?

The Alimentarium, a Nestlé foundation located in Vevey, Switzerland at the edge of Lake Geneva, is the first museum in the world devoted to nutrition and, for more than 30 years, has exhibited many aspects of human nutrition from a global and independent perspective. The Alimentarium is a pioneer with its new methods of training, sharing and teaching made accessible all over the world thanks to digital technology.

Context

The Alimentarium wanted to promote the museum and its activities as well as its online educational platform content on Google. As a foundation, the Alimentarium benefits from a Google Ad Grants account and so has a budget of $10,000 a month.

Goals

Not satisfied with the account’s performance and looking for more innovation, the Alimentarium entrusted its management to us in January 2018. With global coverage and in three languages, the Alimentarium’s campaigns were completely overhauled by our agency centred on three key criteria:

  • The local promotion of activities offered by the museum as well its exhibits to increase visitation
  • The promotion of its online content (articles, dossiers, technical datasheets) to a global audience by harnessing the intentions of internet users
  • The promotion of course material and games on its educational platform to reinforce its expertise to its target audience

Our campaigns responded to business or promotional objectives.

Strategy

Practically, we faced several challenges:

  • Maximising Search campaign performance whilst taking into account the regulation constraints to which a Grants account is subjected
  • Assuring total compliance with the new requirements in place since the start of the year whilst devoting maximum energy to the strategic development of the campaigns.

Our approach: automation! We decided to make use of automated bidding strategies that allowed us to maximise results by relying on Google’s algorithmic powers and machine learning. It was a strategic choice that also allowed us to avoid the maximum bid limit. Effectively, an Ad Grants account cannot bid more than $2, which often limits the impact of campaigns, except if conversions are factored into and combined with the automated bids.

Alongside this, we developed an AdWords script that automatically verified the main criteria that an Ad Grants account must adhere to and alerted us to any potential problems. This solution, developed in-house and 100% adapted to the context of Ad Grants, allowed us to save precious hours of manual verification and react quickly if a certain criteria was insufficient or non-conform.

We approximated that 99% of the time normally dedicated to this task of verification was now dedicated to strategic planning, consulting and creative work.

 

Attribution model and definition of conversion goals

In order to put our strategy in place, we had to define the KPI’s and configure the conversions in Google Analytics in advance. Up until this point the AdWords account only showed a few conversions so we saw a real opportunity for improvement.

First of all, we analysed user interactions with different types of content on the site and defined a list of actions that demonstrated a user’s exchanges.

From this, we defined several macro and micro conversions such as:

  • A sale
  • A reservation
  • Getting in touch
  • Downloading a PDF
  • Registering for or opening an account
  • Calls
  • Starting a game or a course
  • Completing a game or a course

In order to understand the contribution of different stages to the process of conversion, we adopted the position based attribution model. As soon as the data was sufficient we moved on to the data-driven model that integrates additional cues and exposes the full power of automated bidding.

At this point, a large number of our campaigns were using automated bidding. However, we noticed that, for some of them, the data was insufficient. It resulted from a low impression rate and below-average performances.

A second analysis, taking recent site developments into account, led us to consider two new conversions:

  • Viewing a video
  • The amount of times an article is read

Suisseo quickly configured a tracker for video views via Google Tag Manager and proposed a scroll tracking solution to the client.

Results

The results obtained for the Alimentarium are particularly positive. The analysis of campaign data shows that the smart bidding strategies allow us to not only meet the museum’s business objectives but also increase the foundation’s presence by generating more impressions and clicks. With a limit on the budget and an increased search rate on all key words, we benefit from a reduced average CPC.

The results below come from a comparison of the performance rate from the period that followed and the same period from the year before.


In numbers:

  • 36% increase in clicks
  • Average CPC reduced by 44%
  • 31% increase in impressions
  • 99% saving of hours
99%

saving of hours through automation

31%

increase in impressions

44%

avge CPC reduction

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