Boost paid search conversions with Pay Day bid modifiers

4 minutes read
Adam - 10.12.2015

We all know the feeling of being paid on the last Friday of the month. The joys of a "millionaire’s weekend", being rich for three days before rent and the bar tab catch up... But the real question is, are you using this weekend to optimium effect when it comes to paid search conversions?

“You don’t need to be a dodgy loan shark to profit from payday!”

Below we discuss how to tailor the customer’s journey using your data and simple automation rules.  

The rise and fall

We were investigating seasonal trends across a large paid search client of ours. All the expected patterns emerged but there was a more subtle trend we noticed whilst looking over a longer (2 year period). Between the 26th of a month and the 3rd of the following month there was an uplift in conversion rates and volume.

This pattern was across all campaigns and the uplift ranged between 5-20%, enough to warrant action. We established that in Europe the average worker is paid monthly from the 25th-1st of each month, meaning that within this 7 day window the majority of workers are "fake rich".

Once we had agreed that this was the time range of employee payment, we checked our conversion data and saw that the more significant value purchases were made within 2-3 days of payment.

To test this we took averages of CVR, volume and average order value over this time range each month and compared it against the rest of the month and the total average. If there was a +5% variance, we decided to modify behaviours. This was a really simple process using automated rules for bidding and ad copy.


Pay day bid modifiers (Optimising bids)

On Adwords campaigns we were able to optimise the process using three really simple bid rules. On the 26th of each month we raised the bids by 10%, and then on the 3rd of each month we reduced the bid incrementally to bring it back to its original state. This is where it gets tricky. If you reduce the bid by 10% immediately, you will actually reduce your original bid which isn’t good for your volumes over a long period i.e.:

£10 + 10% = £11 >> £11 – 10% = £9.90

So to get around this, we set up two rules to decrease incrementally by 4.74% then by 4.54% an hour later, this will return the bid to close to its original bid:

£10 + 10% = £11 >> £11 – 4.74% = £10.47 >> £10.47 - 4.54% = £10.002

These incremental decrease rules keep the bids steady as there is only a very marginal increase in CPC.

Perfecting paid search ad copy

So now we had sorted out the bids, the next step was to ensure the ad copy was optimised. We created new sets of ads which were tweaked to the time period:

“This Payday Weekend Treat Yourself with A Widget!”

We labelled them with “Payday Ad Copy”. We then set two rules; one to turn on the ads for the payday period (26th) and another to switch them off on the required day (3rd of proceeding month).

Combining the data we had with these simple rules allowed us to change the whole customer journey. The changes were better tailored to the time period, increasing CTR by over 15% and boosted volume at a controlled CPA.

How about paid social?

The same method can be implemented for paid social but there are a few issues that arise. We would recommend creating two variations of your campaign; one for payday and one for a generic campaign. You would then follow the same process of turning on and off the Pay Day ad copy as required. The only issue is FB’s (twitter, Gemini etc.) conversion Optimiser.

Many people use automatic bidding on FB as it is effective and easy but just to be clear:

“If you are using conversion optimiser then this strategy isn’t for you.”

This uses historical data to serve ads to likely converters. This requires uninterrupted historical data to really perform, so if you are switching on and off for varied time periods you will confuse the system and start to see fluctuations. If you are using manual bidding (which we would recommend) this isn’t so much of an issue. not

It's fine to use this paid search strategy to your advantage and it can be applied not only to payday but other peak periods (i.e Black Friday, Spring Sales etc). What you need to remember is to keep your practises fair and your customers at heart.

You have the data and you have the know-how, so tailor your practices to your customer’s journey and you will see the benefits. Don’t use your customer’s data to spam them to oblivion on and around their payday! Do that and instead of being their preferred supplier you’ll just end up like another sleazy payday lender.


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