Using Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to Drive Sales in Specialty Food


Starting Point

A specialty food e-commerce company, facing multiple internal and external changes, requested the aid of Today’s Business to increase sales in its SEM Campaign while also reducing its monthly spend. The client has been running Google Ads since 2002! The focus has changed throughout the years, but they never saw substantial increases in sales. The goal was to increase sales for both brand and non-brand campaigns, with an emphasis on new customer acquisition. Conversions for this account were strictly sales. 

To run effective campaigns, Today’s Business looked to optimize and create Standard Search Ads, Display Remarketing, Dynamic Search Ads, and Shopping Ads. A multi-angle approach was viewed as the best opportunity to scale for the best results. The SEM results during Q4 of 2018 were mind-blowing! 


Search Network Only Ads

searchnetwork ads 2

Search Network only ads appear in Google’s search results when someone searches for terms that are relevant to your ad’s keywords. This strategy is essential for us to maximize our efforts to drive traffic to our website when someone searches for our branded terms. Here we have the ability to set a max CPC for $1 so we can drive traffic to our website at the lowest cost, while still showing up in the top average position. 

  • Created a new structure by separating search campaigns into: Brand, Gourmet, and Gift Baskets
  • Brand Campaign:
    • Focused our efforts on Brand keywords as well as “brand” + coupon queries.
    • The cost/conversion on mobile was over 50% higher than Computers so we reduced that mobile bid adjustment by 35%
  • Gourmet Campaign:
    • Reduced the Mobile bid adjustment by 65% because it had the highest cost/conversion amongst all devices. That resulted in the lowest CPC at $0.81
    • Reduced the Tablet bid adjustment by 20%, which ended up making that device have the lowest cost/conversion at $20.44!
    • We added keywords like “gourmet cheeses” and “gourmet cheese gift” in 3 different keyword match types due to the seasonal spike in searches.
  • Gift Basket Campaign:
    • Created 3 Ad Groups: Cheese, Chocolate, and General
    • Over 90% of our conversions were coming from Computers so we decreased Mobile and Tablet bid adjustments by over 50% to maximize our conversions on the best performing device
    • We negative matched multiple keywords like: adult, recipe, and alcohol. They were irrelevant to our product and search term


Search Network

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  • Branded search generated over a 41X ROAS!
  • Branded search on Computers had over 17% Conversion Rate
  • Non-Brand Search had a low $1.21 CPC and 4.36% CTR
  • Gourmet campaign saw over a 2X ROAS while driving over 2,000 clicks to the website
  • Gift Basket campaign didn’t hit a ROAS, but we generated great awareness that helped build the remarketing campaign list over 500 visitors


Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads give the customer looking for your product or service the best experience by helping them find exactly what you offer. DSA’s are essential for advertisers to use when they are working with a well-developed website. DSA’s crawl the website to create ads and keywords highlighted on your website that typically can be missed when creating a standard Search Network only campaign. 

The reason we utilized this strategy is that the client has over 100 different products across multiple categories and keywords for relevant products that could be missed. We were able to focus on three categories and one for overall web pages: Cheese, Meats, and Oils. Throughout the campaign, we adjusted the default max CPC’s so that they all were under $0.50. This enabled us to get the most out of the DSA’s in regards to performance and cost. 

  • Reduced CPC’s under $0.50
    • In the Cheese Ad Group, we made the CPC’s $0.25 as it yielded the most conversions as well as clicks in the campaign
  • Reduced Mobile bid adjustment by 60% due to having the lowest conversion rate
  • Reduced Tablet bid adjustment by 50% because Computers was out performing that device


dynamicsearch stats 1

Dynamic Search Ads

  • Newly added campaign strategy targeting hundreds of products and long tail search queries which yielded a 340% ROAS
  • Cheese Ad Group generated over 90% of the revenue in the campaign
  • Over 50% of the revenue came from the Computer device


Display Network Only (Remarketing)


Display Network only ads are visual ads that show up on websites that have ad space to show the products or services to your audience at the right place at the right time. The most effective Display Network campaign is doing a Remarketing campaign. This allows us to target users dynamically who already visited our page and didn’t make a purchase. The reason we used this strategy is that we understand the purchase behavior of this type of user.

Many new users don’t take action on a website when they first visit if- they are using that time to do research and learn more about what you offer. By running display network remarketing ads, we are bringing the user back to our website when they click on our banner ads on other websites. This reminds the user to not forget about us and finish their checkout process. We don’t want to lose customers who have the intent of buying our products. 

  • Reduced Mobile bid adjustment by 70% due to having the lowest cost/conversion out of all the devices
  • Reduced Tablet bid adjustment by 45% as it wasn’t getting as much clicks as the other devices and it generated the lowest amount of conversions
  • Decreased the CPC’s to $0.30


Display Network Only (Remarketing)

  • Newly launched program targeting cart abandoners, buyers, and website visitors, in general, yielded a 290% ROAS
  • Generated over 1.5M Impressions
  • Drove over 8,000 clicks to the website


Shopping Campaigns


Shopping campaigns help promote your products on Google search engine. In order to do this, you need to create a Google Merchant Center account to send your product feed to your Google Ads account. The reason we utilized this strategy is that we are able to get better-qualified leads for both brand and non-brand searches. By showcasing our products on Google with a solid description, we give the customer the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. 

  • Shopping General: Focused on All Products
    • Increased Computer bid adjustment by 15% as it was yielding the highest return for device
    • Decreased Mobile and Tablet bid adjustments by over 70% due to the low conversion rate
  • Shopping Brand
    • Reduced the CPC to be under $0.10 to drive more traffic at a low cost for brand searches
    • Decreased Mobile and Tablet bid adjustments by 30-45% due to Computers having the most conversions and double the conversion rate


Shopping Ads

  • Costs reduced by 35%
  • Revenue increased by 53%
  • Avg. CPC was $0.26
  • Campaign spent $32,000 and generated over $127,000 in revenue

Key Takeaways

  • Today’s Business took the client in their most profitable month from 3X to 9X!
  • In the month of December, Today’s Business generated over $250,000 in sales while spending just over $28,000! That is a 900% ROAS.

About Today’s Business

Today’s Business is a multi-channel digital marketing agency based in New Jersey. We saw great success with a reduced spend because of their effective campaign structure, data driven-approach to incremental campaign improvements, and acute knowledge of the Google Ads platform as a whole. Our Test-Implement-Repeat approach allowed not only for efficiency gains but for substantial gains in the campaign scale. If you would like to learn more about our case study or our services contact us today.