The brief

Whittard of Chelsea is a retail heavy, high street business selling coffee, tea, and related products, including luxury gift items.

When the pandemic hit, Whittard had to close its 47 stores across the UK, meaning it could no longer generate offline revenue. We needed to drive additional revenue from our activity to help close the gap created by the forced store closures.

384%

YoY revenue increase for PPC

241%

YoY revenue increase for shopping

12.2m

Impressions from display

25%

Decrease in PPC CPA

The strategy

We ran ads for Whittard across search, shopping, discovery, display and video, using Google Ads’ smart-bidding strategies to drive maximum performance across all channels.

Audience

Consumer behaviour differed during the lockdown. We also had to reach customers online who would normally buy Whittard products offline.

We added various audiences into our Google Ads account on ‘observation’; this allowed us to gather data on audiences that performed best, which we fed back into our smart-bidding strategy so that high-performing audiences were targeted more aggressively.

We also uploaded Whittard’s first-party customer data and used this to create ‘Similar to’ lists to be used in our prospecting campaigns, and used insights from Audience Manager to plan our audience tests and tailor creative to match the audiences being targeted and appeal to them individually rather than a one size fits all approach.

 

International

Historically, we only ran ads for Whittard in the UK as they only have an English website. We ran campaigns targeting English-speaking customers across five new territories (Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark) to drive additional revenue. We included the delivery price for each market in the ad copy to ensure only users willing to pay the shipping costs would click-through to avoid wasting budget.

Search

Prior to the pandemic, we were using a Target CPA bidding strategy for non-brand search. When stores closed, conversion rates increased as users moved online so we switched the bidding strategy to Maximise Conversion Value to make the most of the influx of search demand. We also increased budgets temporarily while demand was high. Once we had enough data to optimise with, we moved to Target ROAS.

For brand search, we use Target Impression Share. Maintaining full visibility for brand searches was crucial as loyal customers who would usually buy in-store had to find the brand online.

 

Shopping

We used Google Smart Shopping campaigns to manage Whittard’s shopping ads. We also created a supplemental feed to split out products more granularly, and worked with ProductCaster to further break out important products and optimise product groups and descriptions.

Discovery and video

We ran campaigns ahead of Q4, Whittard’s peak season, to increase reach and build brand and product awareness, using the messaging “Share the wonder of a Whittard gift”. This was in line with the overall brand messaging and allowed us to target both Black Friday and Christmas shoppers.

We also ran tests to identify which ad formats, creatives and audiences delivered the best reach and awareness, ads that drove higher performance were utilised more and that budget was weighted towards audiences with higher conversion rates.

Results

The revenue we generated in 2020 was over double the original goal.

 

Non-brand search

24%

YoY increase in CTR

383%

YoY increase in sales

76%

YoY increase in CVR

384%

YoY increase in revenue

25%

YoY decrease in CPA

Shopping

  • Increased sales by 241% YoY
  • Increased revenue by 248% YoY.

Discovery and video

  • Display activity generated over 12.2 million impressions and 88,600 clicks
  • Video activity was awarded a Best In Class rating (measured via Google Brand Lift study).

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