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Powering efficiency in paid search advertising

  Article , Financial services , Success stories

Energy provider improves efficiency with automated bid solutions

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Powering efficiency in paid search advertising

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French utility company ENGIE supplies electricity to 27 countries in Europe and 48 countries worldwide. In the competitive energy market, ENGIE worked with its media agency Performics to improve the efficiency of its paid search campaigns.

When Microsoft Advertising announced the beta of Portfolio Bidding strategies in the summer of 2021, Performics saw this product as a great opportunity to increase performance across the whole ENGIE account. Using a combination of Portfolio Bidding Strategies and Target Return-on-ad-Spend (TROAS), Performics successfully doubled the return on ad spend for ENGIE.

We are delighted with the results of portfolio bidding and target ROAS. It has made us super-efficient, which allows us to continue to invest more in the platform in other areas.

— Benjamin Audoin, Head of Acquisition, ENGIE

Testing to improve performance

In the summer of 2021, the Performics team noticed that ENGIE could improve the performance of their Microsoft Advertising campaigns and conducted A/B testing. “We were reliant on Search Ads 360 to automate the bidding on the account, but we suspected that there was greater opportunity with Microsoft Advertising,” said Naoki Taniguchi, Team Leader SEA at Performics.

Splitting the budget from one of the larger ENGIE campaigns, Naoki decided to manage half the budget through Search Ads 360, and manage the other half using Microsoft’s TROAS automated bidding strategy. Almost immediately, TROAS outperformed in the test conditions, and, within a few weeks, TROAS had doubled without loss of conversions.

“We were surprised at how quickly the algorithms were able to optimise performance for the client and create such a big uplift in our return on ad spend,” commented Naoki.

Scaling automation with Portfolio Bidding

After seeing the benefits of the initial test, Performics were convinced of the efficacy of Microsoft’s automated bidding but needed a way to scale. “ENGIE has a lot of different campaigns to target niche audiences,” said Naoki, “the problem with these smaller campaigns is it’s difficult to get enough conversions for the system to properly automate optimisation.“

Fortunately, Portfolio Bidding Strategies had just become available in the French market for Performics to beta test. The benefit of portfolio bidding is that campaigns are optimised in aggregate, so even the smallest campaigns can still be addressed. With the help of the Microsoft Advertising account team, Performics automated the entire ENGIE account with the target ROAS strategy that had worked so well in the first A/B test.

The results were phenomenal. Between July and October 2021, Portfolio Bidding and TROAS increased conversions by 40% and the conversion rate went up by 25%, and all whilst maintaining a flat cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and meeting its aggressive ROAS target. At the same time, ENGIE’s impression share also increased by 23%, providing higher visibility for the brand on the search engine results page.

ENGIE’s Head of Acquisition, Benjamin Audoin said: “We are delighted with the results of portfolio bidding and target ROAS on Microsoft Advertising. The algorithms and our teams optimised our accounts so quickly and so well, it has made us super-efficient, which allows us to continue to invest more in the platform in other areas.”

We were surprised at how quickly the algorithms were able to optimise performance for the client and create such a big uplift in our return on ad spend.

— Naoki Taniguchi, Team Leader SEA, Performics

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