Wasserstrom Revs Up Paid Search

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The Wasserstrom Company, a 110-year-old business based in Columbus, Ohio, supplies restaurants with a wide array of products including dinnerware, cooking supplies, catering items, bakery equipment, storage items, and more. "Anything that can be carried around a restaurant, we supply," says Dale Edman, the company's vice president of e-commerce and online marketing.

Although Wasserstrom was well known among organizations in the food service industry, the chances that the public would recognize the brand were slim. To grow its public-facing business, the company sought help from AdLucent, a firm that offers paid search, pay-per-click, and search engine marketing services to retailers.

Wasserstrom has been working with AdLucent since 2010. One of its latest projects with the firm involved Google's Product Listing Ads (PLA).

"As our relationship matured with AdLucent, they came to us last year and said, 'Google's doing this new thing…and we really think this is something you should look into,'" Edman explains.

Soon after Wasserstrom began looking into the benefits of Google's PLA program, the search giant announced it would eliminate its free shopping service. Google Shopping had provided Wasserstrom with about $1 million in revenue a year. "We were already on the path to start implementing the PLA," Edman says, "and this just put more emphasis into getting it done quicker."

The Product Listing Ads allow advertisers to include specific product information, such as an image, title, price, and promotional message, in their ads. The Product Listing Ads appear in their own box on Google Search, separate from standard text ads and Google Shopping. Advertisers manage their campaigns on AdWords, and as with the bidding process for other AdWords products, advertisers must indicate how much they are willing to pay for each click on their ad.

Wasserstrom gives AdLucent access to its customer databases through an automated system, which AdLucent's team analyzes to identify the most profitable search words to bid on and how much to allocate for each term.

Wasserstrom launched its first ad on Google's PLA service last summer. Since then, AdLucent has driven 81 percent year-over-year growth of public revenue. In addition, the food service supplier's PLAs have yielded average click-through rates and conversion rates that were 136 percent and 118 percent higher, respectively, than other online text ads.

AdLucent provides a valuable service, Edman says, through its ability to make bidding suggestions for each product ad "on a micro-level." If Wasserstrom were to handle the bidding process by itself, it would most likely have to lump its bids into larger estimates and fail to drive the same revenue levels that AdLucent makes possible, he adds.

Working with AdLucent, Wasserstrom decreased the amount of people needed to monitor and update ads from at least two people to one person. Wasserstrom would also need the software AdLucent has to manage the program in-house, creating further delays, Edman says. "We're very good at what we do, but there are other things we need help with. To successfully manage PLAs, it's almost certain that you'll need a partner like AdLucent to help you."

The Payoff

By having AdLucent provide assistance with Google's Product Listing Ads, Wasserstrom has:

  • achieved 81 percent year-over-year growth of public revenue;
  • garnered 136 percent higher click-through-rates; and
  • attained conversion rates 118 percent higher than its other online ads.

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