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RKG Releases Paid Search Retail Case For Universities

Many of our employees began their careers at RKG right out of college, so fostering a strong connection to universities and college students has always been important to us. As part of our ongoing outreach efforts, we’ve recently developed a paid search retail business case to provide materials for business programs that use the “case method” and/or professors seeking content to drive a quantitatively-based classroom discussion (or team competition!).

The 20-page case, put together by industry experts and leaders based on real-world data, centers around the fictional advertiser “FineBooks” and includes an overview of the digital marketing industry, an introduction to paid search advertising, and a history of the “Big 3” U.S. search engines.

To get access to the full case and/or request RKG personnel to come and facilitate the case, please contact us at [email protected].

The following are a couple of excerpts from the case, as well as a full table of contents:

Excerpt from the Introduction:RKG Paid Search Retail Case_Page_01

It is September 2013. Adrienne, a Paid Search Team Lead for RKG, analyzed a historical performance report for a new retail client, FineBooks. FineBooks executives were coming to visit the following week for an intensive Q4 2013 strategy meeting. Having recently won the business from another agency and with the fourth quarter rapidly approaching, the pressure was on for RKG to deliver strong year-over-year (YOY) results for FineBooks’ paid search campaigns.

Adrienne reflected for a moment on how the search engine marketing (SEM) channel as a whole has undergone phenomenal growth, especially during the past decade. In 2012, North American advertisers spent $22.9B in SEM, a 19% YOY increase and a staggering 459% increase compared to the $4.1B spent in 2004, RKG’s first full year of business.[1] During that same time, RKG has grown to become one of the largest privately held SEM agencies in the world (as measured by global advertising spend under management).

As the SEM channel has grown and become an integral part of FineBooks’ marketing mix, Adrienne knew that a comprehensive strategy and combination of tactics would be necessary to deliver the highest SEM-driven Q4 revenue to date. RKG has a wealth of data from the previous agency (dating back to September 2012) that could be analyzed to optimize future performance. Now Adrienne has to decide how to move forward.

Excerpt from “The Challenge”:

The RKG team had only a short time to analyze all the data and determine the best way to optimize FineBooks’ account. A small subset of FineBooks’ historical paid search performance data since September 2012 has been imported into a MySQL database to be integrated with RKG’s proprietary tracking and reporting systems. This historical data can be considered representative of the entire account; the analysis will reveal strategic recommendations applicable to the entire account. The data includes keyword-level performance for two nearly identical FineBooks campaigns, one run on AdWords, the other on Bing Ads. Instructions on how to retrieve this information from the database for analysis are provided in Exhibit C. A tutorial on Excel PivotTables is provided in Exhibit D.

As Adrienne and her team reviewed the latest performance figures for FineBooks, she paused to reflect on potential future tactics RKG should consider for increasing FineBooks’ revenue, ROAS, and market share. While a cursory review of the data suggested that paid search was profitable for FineBooks, Adrienne was eager to understand what a more thorough analysis would surface. Glancing at her smartphone, Adrienne noticed the upcoming internal briefing with her team to prepare for the FineBooks strategy meeting.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Transformation of the Retail Industry by the Internet

    • A Brief History of the U.S. Retail Industry

    • The Evolution of E-Commerce

    • The Current Landscape of the Online Retail Industry

  • Search Engine Marketing

    • Search Engine Optimization

    • Paid Search

  • RKG, a Merkle Company

  • FineBooks

  • The Challenge

  • Appendix

    • Exhibit A: Paid Search Overview

    • Exhibit B: Important Metrics & Ratios

    • Exhibit C: Accessing the MySQL Database

    • Exhibit D: Microsoft Excel PivotTable Tutorial

    • Exhibit E: Microsoft Corporation Business Overview

    • Exhibit F: Yahoo! Inc. Business Overview

    • Exhibit G: Google Inc. Business Overview

    • Exhibit H: Additional Resources

To get access to the full case and/or request RKG personnel to come and facilitate the case, please contact us at [email protected].

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