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Concourse Media gets the scoop on CTR

  Article , Tech and Telecom , Success stories

Bing Ads features attract bigger readership

Concourse Media written in all caps with the word “Concourse” above the word “Media.” A logo depicting a capital C in lime green and capital M in gray are to the left of the text.

Searching for success

Searching for the latest scoop on your favorite celebrities? How about a how-to guide for leftover holiday ham? Or do you want tips to boost your metabolism? If you’re searching the web for answers to these and other pressing questions, chances are Concourse Media has it covered.

Headquartered in Guelph, Ontario, the Canada-based company got its start answering questions that people were searching for on the web.“We really began the business with a goal to create consumer-facing content,” says Ryan May, founder and CEO of Concourse Media. “Specifically, content that really answered popular search questions in the health, travel and food categories.”

Since 2011, the web content provider has expanded from three to six online communities — Goliath, Forkly, EscapeHere, SportsBreak, ActiveBeat and Fame10 — covering pop culture, food, travel, sports, fitness and celebrity news, with 25 million unique visitors a month.

With SEO, it's getting harder and harder for organic traffic to land in your lap. So, we've had to focus on the paid acquisition side of our business really since day one.

— Ryan May, founder and CEO, Concourse Media

The benefit of search engine marketing

From the beginning, Concourse Media has used search engine marketing (SEM) to understand what topics are trending on the web — and to expand readership. “We look at various search analytics to kind of get a sense of what people are looking for and craft a content strategy around some of those metrics,” says May. “You've got to have great content to answer that search.”

Ryan May, founder and CEO of Concourse Media, stands against a gray background. He is a bald, light skinned man in a navy blue suit jacket and black sweater.

Ryan May, founder and CEO of Concourse Media.

Yet great content can only go so far. That’s where paid search comes in. According to May, pay-per-click advertising has been a key component of the company’s strategy to attract more readers from the start. “With SEO, it's getting harder and harder for organic traffic to land in your lap,” says May. “So, we've had to focus on the paid acquisition side of our business really since day one.”

For Concourse Media, diversification is vital to the company’s paid search success. That’s why it relies on Microsoft Advertising as a key part of the company’s continuous SEM strategy. “The campaigns we’re running today have been with Bing Ads for many years,” says May. “Those campaigns have created a solid foundation for trying new tactics and features to expand our online readership and media footprint.”

A team effort

Elise Marion handles search acquisition for Concourse Media. According to Marion, the Microsoft Advertising account team has been instrumental in helping target new audiences creatively using new features. “Our interaction with the team has always been above and beyond what we expected of them to the point where we've even had bimonthly meetings with the Bing Ads team in Toronto, where they go through our accounts with us and give updates and new ideas.” Thanks to the account team, Concourse Media has implemented these features to great success. 

Elise Marion stands smiling and looking straight ahead into the camera. She is a light-skinned woman with strawberry blonde hair wearing a top with flower print, and stands against a burnished taupe background.

Elise Marion, audience development team lead for Concourse Media.

“We've tried a variety of different targeting methods with Bing Ads, including In-market Audiences, Remarketing and even the new Microsoft Audience Network,” says Marion, the audience development team lead for Concourse Media.

That team effort has led to some impressive results to date. The click-through rate (CTR) for Remarketing is almost 200% higher than the campaign average. “Being able to reconnect with users has improved the quality and amount of traffic to all of our Bing Ads accounts,” says Marion. 

The ActiveBeat account in particular has enjoyed great success with In-market Audiences. In-market Audiences are curated lists of potential customers who have shown purchase intent signals within a category, including searches and clicks on Bing and page views on Microsoft services. According to Marion, “The CTR for these In-market Audiences is almost 200% higher than the average for the campaign overall. It's a real asset for us because our websites are all different verticals. So, it's nice to have different audiences that we can target based on those topics.”

Recently, Concourse Media added the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network to its strategy at the suggestion of the Microsoft Advertising account team. “The account team recommended that we have a campaign that only targeted syndicated search partners,” says Marion. “We're willing to try any strategy because we have such a good relationship with the Bing Adsteam, and we saw success pretty much right away.”

The results overall have been staggering. “The CTR for the syndicated search campaign is over 130% higher than the next best performing campaign targeting only Bing, AOL and Yahoo websites,” says Marion. “Despite having only started in Q4 2017, today the syndicated search campaign acquires the most traffic out of all campaigns in the ActiveBeat account.”

The next level of success

Concourse Media has achieved:
Remarketing CTR increase 200%, In-market Audiences CTR increase 200%,
Syndicated search CTR increase 130%

Concourse Media increased click-through rates with Remarketing and In-market Audiences.

What’s next for Concourse Media? Bigger reach, better CTRs, lower costs and reduced workload, of course.

“We currently focus a lot of our time spot-checking and ensuring quality is where it needs to be, and that campaign profitability is what it needs to be,” says May. “But there's a lot more under the surface in terms of optimization. We're doing a lot of that stuff manually still. That's the one thing I would layer onto this is that we want to focus more on opportunities to help us reduce workload.”

Moving forward, the company will continue to work closely with its Microsoft Advertising account team to implement new, innovative features and use them to reduce the campaign management workload. “Obviously, our partnership with Microsoft has been a cherished one for us,” says May. “It's not only led to us having a long-standing marketing partnership on the platform, but also, strategically, a lot of the campaign strategy that's come out of working with Bing Ads has helped our business tremendously.”

Strategically, a lot of the campaign strategy that's come out of working with Bing Ads has helped our business tremendously.

— Ryan May, founder and CEO, Concourse Media

See a summary

View or share the infographic to see how Concourse Media increased click-through rates by 200% with Remarketing and In-market Audiences.

  Download the infographic