The Protecting Planet Home advertising campaign represents the next step in Seventh Generation's movement to support ads running across the Google Content Network. The two advertising media appear to complement each other by getting closer to consumers through traditional and online media, according to Chris Middings, Web editor at Seventh Generation.
When Seventh Generation began supplementing search campaigns with campaigns on the Google Content Network, the manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning and personal care products experienced a lift in conversions and a decline in acquisition costs.
Originally, the company had increased its budget for search engine marketing, allocating 80% of the total to Google AdWords campaigns. Middings did not want to contribute to advertising pollution -- the type cluttering Web sites with irrelevant ads. But a tweak in perspective and better understanding of the Google Content Network made Middings realize he could do both.
So, Middings began to focus on running ads across the Google Content Network. He expanded the company's contextual targeting campaign by using broader keywords than with search, and began using placement targeting to select specific sites and ad Web pages where ads would appear.
The goals to raise conversions measured by number of coupons downloaded and registrations for the company's loyalty program, along with lowering the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) on campaigns to maximize the Web site's effectiveness, soon became a reality. Soon Middings expanded the company's campaign to match ads with the Web site's content by tapping into a broader range of keywords than he had previously done.
The campaign doesn't offer mobile coupons, but rather requires consumers to download and print the discounts. Technology platforms for mobile coupons "continue to develop," says Robin Kamen, general manager for digital at Seventh Generation. "The technology isn't at the point where CPG coupons can be used at any merchant."
Since no one standard to read mobile coupons exists, Middings counts conversions based on the number of coupons downloaded. He also considers those who sign up and join the company's loyalty program. Within a month, campaign metrics based on coupon downloads and loyalty sign-up increased by 102% and the cost per conversion decreased 28%. "I was a diehard search fan -- buying Google search, not really paying much attention to the Content Network," he says. "It's based on real numbers."
Each Monday morning, Middings looks at the numbers generated from every site the ads serve on, along with conversion rates and CPAs. If dissatisfied, he discontinues running ads on that site.
When ads started running on cloth diaper sites, Midding didn't think the sites fit into Seventh Generation's market. After all, the company offers disposable diapers. But the ads work, according to the Google Content Network reports looking at the cost for conversion.
Reporting features in the Google Content Network gave Middings insight into positive ad conversions on sites where he wouldn't have thought to see a market for the products. "Our gut feeling would have been 'no, we don't want to appear on that site,' but the metrics said 'yes,'" he says. "Clearly, if you get positive conversions, the ads work on that site." The Google Content Network has become a main part of Seventh Generation's marketing strategy. On average, the network gave the company some of the best conversion metrics it had seen for campaigns and the ability to instantly change buys based on reports the service provides.
Middings had limited success with Yahoo. "Their search partners are poor," he says. "If you look at organic traffic from Yahoo it converts amazingly well. Cost-per-click traffic from Yahoo converts poorly. If you look at organic traffic on Google, it converts well. Paid traffic from Google converts even better. That's how it should work. The paid traffic should convert better than organic, but that's not how Yahoo works."