Chris Sonjeow, co-founder and CMO of LoveBook, said the company has seen a 57% increase in return on investment in the most recent year, compared with a year ago, working with Google AdWords, Google Analytics and data.
"We made a few attempts with Google AdWords early on to start this business," he said. "Sometimes the market and technology dictate whether something is successful."
Founded in 2007 by four guys from Metro Detroit, the platform allows people worldwide to personalize books communicating all the reasons why they love someone. The unique books built on custom technology, all in house, are bound in softcover or hardcover and can range from just a few pages to several hundred. Each page highlights the reason for a person’s love along with a cute drawing to help illustrate their feelings.
Despite Sonjeow's ability to test Google AdWords early on, it wasn't until 2015 that the foursome figured out how to understand their customers through search, data and analytics.
"We made a lot of mistakes along the way," he said. "Our first attempt at understanding our customers focused on hopeless romantic guys looking for a great gift for their wife, girlfriend, or significant other."
It wasn't until further research they discovered that females also were purchasing the books for their boyfriends and husbands. The insights forced Sonjeow and team to rethink LoveBook's marketing and advertising approach.
"We have a captive audience," he said. "People stay on our site building their books for hours."
The company keeps a database of keywords that helps to build out features in the product and build out targeted search advertising.
Although the amount invested in paid search varies throughout the year, today LoveBook spends about $100,000 monthly, Sonjeow said. If LoveBook spends $100 or $1,000 per day on Google AdWords, he said, the site sees a "28% increase in organic traffic when combined with paid ads."
The site now gets more than one million monthly visits. When a consumer clicks through a desktop or mobile search ad they are 2.5 times more likely to make a purchase compared with other advertising channels. Sonjeow said the desktop and mobile versions are seamless, but the former offers more design tools not yet available on mobile devices.
It's about making it simple to express love, whether just to celebrate love or to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. The opportunities are endless. While there are landing pages from search ads to events like graduations where a parent might make a book for their student child, the students can make books for their teachers and coaches.
Despite the main focus being firmly planted on romantic relationships and a bit on Mother's Day and Father's Day, the business model has an amazing opportunity to capitalize on personal data for those who opt-in. "We have not gotten that granular as to determine whether the person is married or dating," Sonjeow said, but acknowledged the opportunities.