November 30, 2020

Using Intelligent Decisioning to drive a 40% boost in Paid Search ROI

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How can I sustainably grow the business and who should I market to? These are the key questions facing marketeers across most industries.

In insurance, where the profitability of each policy is variable at the point of sale, answering these questions accurately is paramount. Getting it wrong can be costly and this is especially true in paid search where the wrong bids and clicks can waste thousands of pounds in minutes. Since every click is paid for no matter what the result, the wrong targeting can quickly lead to negative ROI.

So how has Avantia grown paid search ROI by 40% using data it already had? Put simply: by connecting Google Ads to our intelligent decisioning platform and teaching it the true value of each lead.

All paid search bidding is a live auction, so accurately estimating a potential customer’s lifetime value (LTV) is critical. Imagine for a moment that you were in an auction house… would you bid on something if you had no idea what it was worth? Would you bid £10 for every item no matter what? Would you buy anything going for £100 or less no matter what it was? Crazy as it sounds, that’s how many businesses run their paid search strategies.

Our marketeers had a bigger vision; they wanted to know each customer’s lifetime value in real-time and use that to power Google’s bidding algorithms. This could not be an average or a static number sitting in a spreadsheet; it needed to be unique to each customer and it needed to happen in real-time, just like online searches. 

Rather than invent a new system to do this, the team looked at Avantia’s intelligent decisioning platform (Cortex) where real time data is streamed and customer decisions are made.

The team knew Cortex already contained several LTV data streams for use in pricing. They created MarPod (short for Marketing Pod), which runs on Cortex and capitalised on this data.

MarPod benefits from quote information combined with 660 modelled values to make predictions about retention propensity, renewal prices and cost to serve. It passes a live data stream to Google, allowing it to see which customers will be of the highest value and gives it licence to bid on them accordingly.

But that’s not all. MarPod v2 was recently unveiled by the team in a company demo, and is now able to give Google data about offline conversions too. This means that when someone visits the HomeProtect website from a Google Ad and then calls, Google can see which of those callers became customers, and what their lifetime value is.

To date MarPod has delivered a 40% improvement in ROI in paid search alone, but that hasn’t been the only benefit. Feeding in the value of offline sales has allowed Google to learn which callers are the most likely to become customers, and which ones would be the most valuable.

In a 50/50 split test, MarPod v2 delivered 10x the call sales over a 6 week period, absolutely revolutionising our approach to driving telesales through Google.

Answering the question, How can I sustainably grow the business and who should I market to is a lot easier when granular and sophisticated customer data is put in the actionable hands of marketeers.

MarPod is just the latest example of where Cortex has delivered a step change in business performance. The continuous application of intelligent decisioning is the power behind Avantia’s ambitious growth strategy.