Microsoft, an industry leading technology and hardware brand, looked to their paid digital agency, Dentsu, to advance their paid search practice to drive a significant improvement in performance efficiency across several brands. With lofty software subscription and bottom-line sales goals, Microsoft was looking for an integrated solution to advance their paid search efforts, specifically looking to drive up conversion rates and reduce cost/acquisition figures.
On their Xbox product, a leading gaming platform, the clients aimed to shift from an awareness driving and console sales approach to a purely revenue focused Xbox subscription KPI.
On Microsoft 365, a productivity cloud-based software, the clients were looking to increase overall conversion volume and subsequent lifetime value from their key customers.
Finally, Microsoft wanted to push their Surface product and drive incremental conversion value, ultimately building out their LTV with these customers.
Overall, the client looked to grow downloads, sales, and engagement to harness consumers as they searched for products at the bottom of the funnel.
However – there was one problem. Microsoft wasn’t comfortable sharing 1P data with the SA360 as it was a conflict of interest with Google.
With that, Dentsu set off to tackle these challenges with an advanced, free tech integration offering from our Google partners.
Microsoft was looking for a unique, brand safe way to drastically improve their performance across several of their products. Dentsu recognized this challenge and went to work on finding an integrated solution that would both protect MSFT 1P data while still setting the paid search accounts on a path towards efficiency.
With the task laid out in front of them, Dentsu partnered with the MSFT clients and our agency Google representatives to brainstorm some options. Following a few calibration sessions and some legal team confirmations, Dentsu unveiled a viable solution – test Google Offline Conversion Import.
Leveraging OCI would allow blinded conversion data to be sent from MSFT to the Google Ads UI. Simultaneously, MSFT would share actual performance data, including revenue metrics, with Dentsu.
Dentsu’s one-of-a-kind partnerships with both Google and MSFT allowed for quick action and deliberate decision making to drive results for the client. Dentsu took this masked data and paired it with the uploaded OCI data to develop a tROAS bid strategy testing plan in the Google UI. By activating, and iterating on this the tROAS bidding, Dentsu aimed to find the ideal proxy bidding algorithm inputs to drive performance excellence for MSFT. Following a few rounds of testing with our paid search and data analysis teams, Dentsu found a sweet spot for optimizing towards ‘actual’ revenue without exposing the MSFT clients to unneeded data sharing risk.
Along the way, this test spanned several months and used A/B and holistic testing iterations to find the best solution for the MSFT client. These tests included:
Head-to-head Google UI algorithm testing vs. another 3rd Party Tech Partner, stress testing the auction-time bidding capabilities of Google’s bidding tool
Several iterations of testing data passing capabilities and data accuracy
Weekly adjustments to tROAS bidding thresholds to find optimal bid constraints
With the data pipeline between Microsoft and Google established and testing complete, Dentsu was able to leverage smart bidding to great effect and drive bottom line performance improvements for three key MSFT lines of business.
Leveraging Google’s Offline Conversion Import tool led to impressive results for three key MSFT business units. These results had a direct bottom line impact on objectives for the MSFT clients. Details for each of the brands are included below.
Google’s Smart Bidding algorithm decimated 3rd party tech automation. Over the course of the two months test, Google was able to achieve a -76% reduction in CPA
Even more, the bidding strategy drove a 308% increase in customer lifetime value (LTV)
The test set the SEM team up for a 500% increase in planned budget from FY22 to FY23
Google’s Smart Bidding was able to push 36% higher spend to drive 50% more conversions at 12% more efficient ROAS.
Smart Bidding was more successful in serving ads to higher quality traffic with 18% higher CTR and a 24% increase in CVR.
Google’s Smart Bidding was able to achieve 9% higher LTV Revenue with 7% increase in conversion volume.
By leveraging auction-time bidding test campaigns saw 9% higher CVR and Microsoft stayed competitive in key seasonal moments.
Upon the completion of these tests, Google smart bidding was rolled out across applicable MSFT paid search products.
Dentsu’s regimented approach, in partnership with the MSFT client and Google, drove impressive performance improvements while leading to 10+ weekly hours in time savings all parties. Dentsu is looking to expand this strategy to other data sensitive clients in FY23.
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