Premium Home Goods Brand Finds Paid Search Overvalued by 94%
Does my Google Brand Search investment drive incremental sales?
How many incremental conversions are truly driven by Google Shopping?
This household-name home goods brand balances exceptional everyday essentials with luxury, sustainability, and thoughtful design. What began as a US-based, direct-to-consumer company has rapidly evolved into a global powerhouse with a number of product lines, brick-and-mortar stores, and passionate customer community.
As a business born and raised by digital natives, the brand’s marketing team understands the power of online advertising and the importance of connecting media spend directly to business outcomes. Like many cross-channel brands,however, they struggled to get past the limitations of platform-level reporting. The brand’s VP of Growth knew that Google was a valuable channel. But because Google Analytics is better at tracking search conversions than Shopping, she and her team were unclear if both channels were necessary – or if they were cannibalizing each others’ conversions.
The team leveraged the Measured cross-channel measurement tools to evaluate the true value of these Google ad channels. With incrementality testing, they hoped to gain a better understanding of each channel’s true ROAS (return on ad spend), and with that knowledge, drive continued growth.
The brand selected a state-level, geo-matched market experiment to measure the true incrementality of their Google Brand Search and Google Shopping campaigns. Measured chose geo experimentation because it does not rely on platform reporting for results, calculates impact directly from the brands ecommerce conversion data, and does not require user tracking –particularly difficult in today’s privacy-centric ecosystem — enabling them to mitigate the last-touch limitations of Google Analytics.
Utilizing Measured’s data science-driven market selection process, backed by 2 years of brand conversion data, the brand deployed a three-cell test (Google Brand, Google Non-Brand, and Control) in highly-correlated states, allowing the brand to test media impact with minimal business investment while ensuring that the results would be indicative of their national market performance.
Following the geo experiment, the brand discovered that Google had been significantly overvaluing Brand Search while significantly undervaluing Shopping. In fact, the actual sales volume driven by Brand Search was just 6% of what Google claimed, while the sales volume contributed by Shopping was 115% of that reported by Google. For the Measured team, these results are unsurprising.
As Brand Search is a very low funnel tactic, it tends to be used as a navigation tool by high propensity consumers. Popular brands like this home goods brand, with a strong online presence, tend to turn up in the top search results anyway. As such, paying to be on the top of Google Search did not provide any incremental sales; it merely took credit for these inevitable conversions.
While Shopping tends to be undervalued due to weaknesses in Googles cross-device graph, there are additional factors at play: Google’s attribution tends to favor touchpoints later in the conversion pathway, so when there is conversion overlap between Shopping and Branded Search, Google gives the credit to branded search.Marketers who have experimented with attribution settings in Google Analytics may have seen this effect when non-branded search or shopping gets ascribed higher attribution based on first touch compared with Google’s default data driven attribution.
Ultimately, the brand was able to divest the majority of its Brand Search budget to more profitable tactics, and improved overall ROAS(i) by ~13%.
The team looks forward to partnering with Measured in the future to further understand how to allocate and optimize their advertising spend and continue to grow and improve the brand’s online presence. “Our company is growing quickly,” the VP summarized. “We’re grateful that Measured allows our digital advertising to keep up.”
“With Measured, we gained clear, definitive insight into one of our most profitable
channels. It gave us the direction we needed to allocate our ad spend based on real data, not platform black boxes, so we can operate with insight and precision.” -VP of Growth