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Younited sees growth with search partners

  Article , Success stories

Credit provider taps into goldmine of high-converting traffic

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Fast growth in credit

Fast-growing businesses need a North Star to orient their growth around. It gives them a sense of strategic direction and enables the agile thinking that gets them there. It’s the same for effective search campaigns: Finding the right KPI to focus on can give you the control you need while freeing up innovative approaches to increasing volume and impact.

Younited, the challenger credit provider that’s entering a period of hyper-growth across Europe, is a business that knows the value of North Stars.

When he joined Younited as Search Engine Advertising and Display Manager, Jackson McKee knew that the guiding light for the business was to become Europe’s leading provider of credit. The best way to achieve that goal is to reach every potential customer at the moments in their lives when they need to borrow money. “Our internal user research shows that there are lots of different types of personas within the group we need to address,” he says. “It’s not a case of having one Ideal Customer Profile. Everyone needs a loan once or twice in their life, and we want to be there when somebody feels that need.”

Search is the key to engaging this vast and varied addressable market—and Jackson’s search strategy is therefore focused on volume. However, not all volume is equal. When you can’t second-guess what a potential customer looks like, it helps to be able to sense check that more traffic actually means more customers. That’s why when Jackson set about building his search strategy, he decided to use cost per acquisition (CPA) as a lever of control.

Our main metrics are growth and cost of sales, and Microsoft is so efficient that it’s bringing our overall cost of sales down.

— Jackson McKee, Search Engine Advertising and Display Manager, Younited

Trusting the algorithms to deliver data at scale

“I like an approach where I can adjust my target CPA and use it to control how much I spend,” he explains. “Instead of capping budget, I want to be able to raise the target CPA to increase how much we spend or lower it if I’ve got less budget that month. That gives me more control than an approach based on maximizing conversions”.

It also gives Jackson a real-time perspective on how the traffic he drives translates into actual customers rather than credit searchers who just get a free quote and move on. Spotlighting how search contributes to the bottom line in this way revealed a rich seam of clicks converting into actual credit customers: Microsoft Advertising.

“When I got here, I could see that Microsoft was delivering a good financing rate in terms of people converting to become real clients, and so I wanted to maximize our potential on the channel,” says Jackson. “I restructured the campaign to get as much data on my keywords as possible so that I could harness the power of automation to deliver predictable, sustainable results. I’ve moved away from manually handling keywords and optimization because I believe that algorithms can do the job better—especially when you’re dealing with large campaigns.”

Revisiting search partners—with immediate results

Confidence in automation comes from Jackson’s clear strategy to control a high-volume campaign through a single metric that matters. That same confidence has enabled him to take Younited’s search advertising beyond the major search engines—and meet credit searchers wherever they are searching online. Doing so involved extending the campaign to Microsoft Advertising search partners. Our consumer research shows that 40% of buyers now use multiple search engines to complete their personal tasks.

First though, Younited had to overcome the misgivings of its previous experience of syndicated search. “It tends to be a human response that if you’ve tried something once and it didn’t work, you never try it again,” says Jackson. “That was the case with Younited’s historical experience of Microsoft Advertising search partners. However, I could see that Microsoft Advertising was working for us, delivering really good results—and I wanted a way to scale that channel while working within the same high-traffic keywords.”

Jackson used the same guiding light of algorithms around a target CPA to optimize for syndicated traffic. “If we were still doing everything manually, then I probably wouldn’t have tried it—but when I saw how well target CPA was working on Microsoft Advertising, I knew I could trust that approach to optimize the campaign for me. Being able to mix automation and Microsoft Advertising search partners led me towards revisiting the channel.”

It was a decision that delivered an almost immediate impact. “Within a couple of days, I was seeing more conversions—and when I did my monthly offline reporting, I could see that those conversions from Microsoft Advertising search partners were delivering financed loans at a higher ratio than other search channels,” says Jackson. “We saw a 16% incremental increase in conversions, and we could see that happening at a 63% lower CPA.” With the addition of the search partner traffic, the campaign drove 32% incremental sales revenue.

The combined impact of restructuring Younited’s Microsoft Advertising campaign and then extending it through search partners has established Microsoft as more than just another search channel. “Our main metrics are growth and cost, and Microsoft is so efficient that it’s bringing our overall cost down,” says Jackson. “It’s meant that we’re activating this strategy more widely and rolling it out internationally as well. We’ve basically hit on a goldmine.”

Within a couple of days, I was seeing more conversions.

— Jackson McKee, Search Engine Advertising and Display Manager, Younited

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