What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
One highlight is getting comfortable with return on ad spends and getting the executives to accept and be comfortable with that concept. Prior to Elite SEM, our ROAS was under one; now, we are actively pushing into the four range. In a short time, they took our AdWords campaigns from about eight to 800. They put all of our metadata in campaigns and automated some of the spend. That impact alone doubled our ROAS and almost tripled it. Over the years, we've continued to work with them to add services like conversion rate optimization, adding the Gmail domain. If the program does well, we continue to invest. If it goes poorly, we pull back the budget. It's been very collaborative and there was an immediate impact with the huge improvement in ROAS.
Our conversion rate is way up so metrics are strong across the board. They were able to bring in Google directly. We have been very focused on mobile conversion rate optimization. Last year, Elite SEM set up a day-long meeting with a Google Transformer. They deep dove on very specific use cases and code that could affect our mobile performance, mobile conversion rate, and mobile UX. I was able to bring out a treasure trove of optimization work to test. All of that work was incredibly helpful to get everyone internally on board with mobile as our primary growth factor for our site right now. I was able to get technical people on board with very specific changes to improve conversion rates. In the first year, our overall site conversion rate was up 22%.
Elite has been a great partner. Elite SEM offered better accountability from a limited ad spend. They immediately doubled, if not tripled, our ROAS soon after the engagement started. I was very impressed with their operational capabilities with Marin ad software. As we work with them, we become more educated about our advertising options, the competitive set that's out there, and what types of customers are responding to us.
How did Elite SEM perform from a project management standpoint?
We meet with them weekly, we do quarterly reviews on site, and we do bigger planning meetings once a year. They limit overhead so that they maximize the time that we spend with the people doing the work for us. We have a monthly check-in meeting with the paid search lead, the product lead, and the conversion rate optimization lead. We can always reach out to the folks managing our account. Their team is extremely responsive on weekends and evenings. They are experts who know our brand and know what's working for us. They bring us into their office regularly for general meetings about what's going on in digital marketing. The team turnover has been limited.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They have an innovative workspace, they have flex hours, they allow pets, and their compensation is driven by the performance of their clients. They are forward-thinking both in our advertising with them and how they treat their employees.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Only small things to improve come to mind. For example, cross-device conversion native to Google isn't available because of their software limitation. We have a work-around manually on the reports, but they could be more clear and regular on our attribution model.
Another issue is the monthly Google budget. Google likes to automate, including automating your budget. They want users to look at profitability instead of return on ad spend. I want Elite SEM to move to a profitability metric rather than ROAS, hopefully, sooner rather than later.