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Background: Local Search as a Business Driver

Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) has been a leader in the complete auto care and tire industry for generations with four retail brands and 2,200 stores nationwide. The company aspires to be the most trusted provider of automotive services in the neighborhoods in which they operate.

Due to the importance of driving local business for their vast network of stores, Bridgestone partnered with the DAC group, a leading digital performance marketing agency, to run a highly sophisticated search marketing program. With skyrocketing costs and intense competition, 2016 was a critical year in BSRO’s SEM strategy. They were relying on it to meet critical business goals, including increasing qualified leads, sales and profitability for BSRO’s wide network of retail locations.

Challenge: The Road to Success

With so many retail locations across the country, one of BSRO’s major challenges is to drive local traffic and leads across their entire footprint. Their targeting must be hyper-local in order to drive customers to their nearest retail location, and the messaging needed to be relevant to each customer’s needs and specific market.  

Yet the hyper-local structure of their search campaigns made automated optimization challenging.  It was also very clear to DAC that BSRO needed to lead with mobile in order to take advantage of the impulsive nature of their customers and the micro moments where BSRO’s services come to mind. (“My car just got a flat and I need a replacement now.”)

Solution:  A Step by Step Approach

To ensure success, DAC started by restructuring BSRO’s existing campaigns in order to ensure they could be optimized efficiently. They leveraged Skai Dimension (a labeling system) to accurately and efficiently view and segment performance, create templated reports and simplify bid management and budget allocation.  

They also re-organized their keyword structure to focus on product categories at the highest level, and then each product category was broken into regions allowing for more efficient optimization and targeting while also ensuring customers were receiving the most relevant message for their needs and location. This was critical to ensuring mobile searchers were receiving the most relevant message from their nearest location. 

Once this clean-up had occurred, Skai’s Campaign Mirroring tool was put to good use, especially for new store openings, allowing existing campaigns to easily be duplicated and turned on/off with the flip of a switch.

Most importantly, the new and improved campaign structure enabled Skai’s Portfolio Optimizer (KPO) to be at it’s most effective. For starters, the team leveraged KPO to drive further efficiency and conversion in the competitive tire auction. In testing this on very generic and expensive exact match tire related terms, they were able to drive down costs and meet their desired CPL goal, while increasing overall conversions. As a result, they plan to roll KPO out broadly in order to automate optimization across all of their campaigns.

Results:  Zero to 60

Since the campaigns were restructured, the results have been exceptional. After allowing the accounts to ramp up, and testing copy and landing pages in the first two months, the team went full steam ahead with strong optimizations.  The new program structure enabled them to reap the benefits of local targeting while still automating their optimization.

When comparing 2016 to 2015, they saw a 14% reduction in spend, a 38% increase in tire quotes, an 88% increase in coupon prints, a 6% increase in appointments and a 72% increase in calls.

YoY CPC improvements included a 63% decrease in the oil change category, a 38% decrease in the tire category and a 31% decrease on brand terms.

Finally, with KPO for Firestone Tire keywords they were able to efficiently increase spend by 20%, tire quotes increased by 33%, cost-per-lead decreased by 10% and tire quote conversions increased by 4%.