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The Simply Group optimises spend and pay-per-click activity

  Article , Retail , Success stories

Using Adobe and Bing Ads together boosts clicks and revenue

The path to more customers

The Simply Group logo

Do you like trekking up a less-travelled mountain path? How about scuba diving to the depths of the ocean floor? Maybe you just like hanging out at the beach, catching some rays. No matter what the outdoor adventure, UK-based The Simply Group has got your back. The Simply Group, comprising of Simply Beach, Simply Scuba, Simply Hike and Simply Swim, offers 25,000+ clothing and equipment items for scuba diving, skiing, fitness, swimming, camping, hiking and more. Customers in search of such outdoor products can find them online or at the company’s brick-and-mortar shop in Faversham, Kent.

With its revenue heavily skewed towards the digital world, The Simply Group relies on a solid paid search strategy for success. Sally Allsop, Head of Marketing at The Simply Group, handles the company’s pay-per-click activity with the help of Adobe and Bing Ads. “We strive to open our websites, products and brands to audiences that want to engage with us and buy from experts.”

One of the reasons why we looked to expand our reach into Bing is because we know that there's a target market out there that we weren't reaching by using only one search engine.

Sally Allsop, head of marketing, The Simply Group

Marketing many brands

The Simply Group consists of four separate entities under one umbrella, each independently introduced between 1995 and 2006. There’s Simply Swim (fitness and leisure swimsuits, competitive racewear, goggles and training aids), Simply Scuba (scuba diving and snorkelling equipment), Simply Hike (outdoor clothing, camping and hiking gear) and Simply Beach (luxury designer swimwear, beachwear and accessories). The company also now produces its own swimwear lines, Jo Severin and Halocline.

Marketing for one brand is hard enough, but imagine marketing for four, each with a different kind of competitive base. “If you picked four brands, there couldn't be four more polar opposites in terms of target audience,” says Allsop. For example, Simply Beach only sells to women, while the Simply Scuba customer base tends to be more male.

“One of our biggest challenges is to differentiate ourselves in a price- and convenience-driven market,” says Allsop. “We do this by offering quality products and a layer of top-shelf customer service with social media marketing tools, such as YouTube videos with expert advice about products.”

Adobe full service

Adobe logo

Adobe works with Allsop to implement campaigns, set bids, launch promotions and strategise digital marketing initiatives. “We provide what we call a full-service engagement,” says Adobe account manager Ryan Trowbridge. “Sally briefs us on promotions, and we build and run them along with account hygiene.”

Allsop sees the benefits of Adobe as twofold. One is the strong relationship she’s built with Trowbridge and the account management team at Adobe. The value of such communication and collaboration can’t be overstated. At the same time, she finds Adobe technology extremely helpful and better than the competition for her needs. “It produces the best return on investment, which is what everybody's looking for,” says Allsop. “You don’t want to generate the most sales if they're not profitable sales. It’s about being in the right position for the person who’s most likely to then purchase, with the least amount of spend.”

One resource in particular that Adobe uses to help Allsop is Adobe Advertising Cloud Search. It helps to optimise search activity for keywords across all search engines. This includes portfolio bidding, layer audience bidding, geo bidding and device bidding. “We can simultaneously work across multiple search engines to best optimise and report on performance,” says Trowbridge.

Adobe Advertising Cloud Search is powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s framework for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Adobe Sensei powers performance optimisation, forecasting and spend recommendations, and it makes complex bid and budget allocation decisions using dimensional data like audience, device and location. “It's becoming an even greater part of our bidding solution, adding in greater granularity on dimensions and various ways of splitting portfolios and optimising spend across them,” says Trowbridge.

Bing Ads extends reach

The Simply Group has increased year over year impressions and clicks, overall click-through rates and orders from the Bing Network.

The Simply Group has increased impressions, clicks and Bing Network orders.

For Allsop, Bing Ads helps complete the circle of a full paid search strategy. “One of the reasons why we looked to expand our reach into Bing is because we know that there's a target market out there that we weren't reaching by using only one search engine,” points out Allsop. “It just seems crazy that there are people out there asking to be served information and products that we aren't reaching.”

Allsop has seen the results herself. For example, Simply Swim and Simply Beach have found a significant percentage of their female demographic by using Bing Ads, even though it represents only around 10% of their paid search budget. That means that not only does Bing Ads help The Simply Group tap into a new audience, but it also targets that new audience more effectively.

Two areas that Allsop and Adobe focus on with Bing Ads are layering audiences into the bidding activity as well as locations. “We create audiences in the Bing Ads platform,” reveals Trowbridge. “We then sync these with Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, which we use to collect data and then optimise bids. In Bing Ads, we set the bid adjustment, which serves as an extra layer on top of the base keyword bid. We then add on what we want to push this audience to, which improves efficiency.”

A surge in performance

The benefits of using Adobe and Bing Ads together have been an increase in traffic from the Bing Network by 25% month to month, with revenue and orders improving by more than 50% month to month. The fact that revenue is growing faster than traffic means that the audience they’re reaching is spending more. Allsop points out that the standout so far has been Simply Scuba, where conversion rates have increased by almost 3% month to month.

The Simply Group also has great statistics for impressions, which have increased by 51% for its four sites. Those impressions have, in turn, improved clicks by 150% and click-through rates by 65% year over year. All of this means little, however, if they don’t help convert the sale. To that end, orders from the Bing Network are up 87% and revenue has increased by almost 100% year over year. Taken individually or as a group, these numbers speak volumes about the success of the Adobe and Bing Ads partnership.

Looking ahead, Allsop hopes to expand her company’s relationship with both offerings. “At a time when consumers are demanding better quality products, cheaper prices and faster delivery,” she says, “we can put our business in front of them within our niche markets.”

See a summary

View or save the infographic to see how The Simply Group achieved a 65% boost in click-through rates and gained nearly a 100% increase in revenue year over year using Bing Ads.

  Download the infographic