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Croud increases cost efficiency with Microsoft Advertising Partner Network

April 2020

Croud is a global digital marketing agency powered by the best talent, custom built technology and the world's first crowd sourced network of digital experts. The company’s unique 'Croud Control' technology platform and network of 2,400 'Croudies' give it the means to automate what slows other agencies down and enable it to deliver more impactful and efficient results. 

Founded in 2011, Croud provides services that include SEO, PPC, content, programmatic, paid social, creative and analytics for some of the world's leading brands. Croud is a Microsoft Advertising Elite Agency Partner, providing cutting-edge solutions for clients.

Putting the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network to the test

One of the key challenges facing Croud was how to further develop its mature accounts and how to continue getting incremental conversions at an efficient cost across a range of clients. By working closely with the Microsoft Advertising account management team, Croud decided to test the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network to address this challenge. 

The partner network is a collection of high-quality syndication publishing partners that expands the reach of Microsoft Advertising. Publishers have their own brands and properties with ads powered by the Microsoft Search Network. The partner network accounts for one in six clicks overall on Microsoft Advertising and typically affords cheaper cost-per-click (CPCs) than on standard traffic from Bing, Yahoo or AOL. Due to this, Croud was very keen to try the feature to see if casting its net further would yield greater results across the whole account.

Discovering the major advantages of Microsoft Advertising search partners

Croud first cloned existing campaigns in its Microsoft Advertising account. While the original campaign maintained the ‘Only Bing, AOL and Yahoo! Websites’ network distribution targeting, its identical twin differed by serving ads purely through the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network. Using this strategy made it much easier for Croud to report and distinguish performance between standard targeting and syndicated targeting, while also giving the company increased control to optimise campaigns showing on third-party publisher platforms.

Croud realised a major advantage of the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network – its transparency in reporting on where the company’s ads were being shown. By using the Publisher Website report in the platform, Croud could easily identify third-party websites bringing in low quality traffic with little to no conversions and exclude them from future targeting.

Croud extends Microsoft Advertising Partner Network targeting across multiple brands

After running this test for a full month, Croud found that the new, optimised syndicated campaigns had not only driven an additional 14% conversions, but the CPCs were also considerably lower, bringing the overall Microsoft Advertising account cost-per-acquisition (CPA) down by 5%, according to Croud internal data (1 September-30 November, 2019).

Impressed by the success of this trial, Croud adopted this as part of its normal activity for the account and also extended Microsoft Advertising Partner Network targeting to three other brands in the company’s client portfolio. After a three-month period, Croud combined the results of the four brands and found on aggregate that the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network was responsible for reducing CPCs by 8%, acquiring 20% incremental conversions and bringing the blended Microsoft Advertising CPA down by 11%.

“By expanding our targeting through the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network, we have unlocked further potential to maximise conversions whilst also increasing cost efficiency,” said David Podesta, Croud’s PPC Account Manager. “The success of this feature for one client saw the approach being rolled out to other brands representing different industries and verticals, where we have since seen the same positive impact in driving more profitable results.”

By managing Microsoft Advertising Partner Network targeting through separate campaigns, Croud was not only able to further increase its reach across the Microsoft Search Network, but has done so in a way that brought in additional conversions in a more cost effective manner.

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