A long-standing PPC client with ClickThrough, Halfords Autocentre operates more than 300 autocentres across the UK, providing MOTs, car services, brakes, repairs and tyres.

Working closely with the Halfords Autocentre marketing team, the paid search department at ClickThrough tailored the account to drive traffic and increase revenue while maintaining budget.

ClickThrough in the last year have managed to ensure our PPC budget is being spent in the best possible way and the year on year results have been fantastic. We have seen strong growth in our key products and overall PPC has seen a rise in volume. The tools and expertise of ClickThrough have clearly worked wonders – as our PPC agency they are a pleasure to work with.

Halfords Autocentre digital manager, Andrea Pullen

Halfords Autocentres website

The Challenge

In 2015, Halfords Autocentre wanted to boost the volume of revenue from non-brand paid search activity despite budgets staying the same year on year. With this in mind, the ClickThrough team set their own objectives to improve the efficiency of the PPC account to make the most of the budget available while also ensuring that the volume of sales was not impacted too much.

The Strategy

The PPC team knew that they needed to ensure the account was in the best place in order to achieve these objectives.

“Firstly, we looked at expanding the amount of long tail, exact match keywords in the account as we know that these keywords are much cheaper than phrase match generic terms. We used the large amounts of search query data in AdWords to do this on a mass scale,” explained ClickThrough Marketing’s e-commerce paid search specialist, Ian Boyden.

Halfords PPC Ad

Creative testing was used to find out what ad copy worked best. The aim was to improve the CTR despite potentially lower ad positions.

“We ensured that the mobile strategy was positioned correctly; we could see that mobile traffic was growing at a rapid rate in 2015 but was still delivering cheaper CPCs than desktop and tablet. Through cross-device testing we could see that overall conversions were improving when we pushed mobile bids so we made sure we made the most of the mobile opportunity,” Ian said.

A crucial strategy that came into place in 2015 was using the technology that ClickThrough’s bid management system Kenshoo provides. Kenshoo Portfolio Optimisation, which is a sophisticated automated bidding system, was put live during the summer of 2015 and was set up to drive as many conversions as possible for the Halfords Autocentre budget. The PPC team also made sure that budget was being placed correctly to support the right products in line with the clients’ goals.

The Results

The aim was to maintain budget. However, 20% less budget ended up being placed in non-brand PPC activity while Halfords Autocentre saw revenue actually increase by 3%.

Impressively, the non-brand activity saw an 11% increase in traffic as a combination of long tail keywords and Kenshoo bidding technology lowered the cost per click by nearly 30% year on year.

Keyword expansion across the account boosted performance with some product categories seeing as much as double the revenue as a year ago.

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About the author:

Sarah McCay Tams is senior content and PR manager at ClickThrough Marketing. This includes planning and delivering on content for our clients as well as our own marketing materials. When her fingers are not dancing across the keyboard, her feet are on the dance floor – Salsa, Bachata and Rueda put this dancing queen in a spin.