United Kingdom
  • Marin Software’s powerful, Folder-based automated bid optimisation drove a reduction in CPA inflation of 171%
  • Cross-publisher management tools and bidding has meant that Sykes Cottages can more heavily invest in both Google and Bing with a 22% reduction in CPA on Bing and a 259% increase in volume
  • Additional investment in paid search is justified; 19% increase in volume of conversions for only 8% additional investment

At Sykes Cottages, we’re delighted with the results Marin Software has helped us achieve. Before, we struggled to run effective search campaigns and all our time was taken up with manual bidding. Now with automated bidding, we are able to focus on strategic testing.

Tom Lowes
Search Marketing Manager, Sykes Cottages

The challenge of acquiring new customers

Sykes Cottages is the UK’s leading independent cottage rental agency. Sykes Cottages has been in business for over 25 years and now have more than 4,000 holiday cottage rental properties available across the UK and Ireland.

All marketing activities are run in-house at Sykes Cottages and the team are very passionate about the business meeting the challenge of acquiring new customers very seriously. Sykes Cottages run several marketing channels including email, paid search, affiliates and retargeting.

Before they used Marin Software, Sykes Cottages did not have tracking in place that could accurately track new customer acquisition and manual bid optimisation was being carried out using un-reliable data and the team were struggling to operate the campaigns in an optimal way.

Finally, relying on publisher tools meant that running on both Google and Bing was impossible as there were not enough hours in the day to manage and optimise two sets of campaigns.

Following the customer journey

Consumers tend to tread a lengthy path-to-conversion when booking a holiday which presents a challenge in itself; how to continue to fill the top of the funnel with consumers making initial requests but optimise to the revenue which can only be counted at the point of conversion. If Sykes Cottages do not continue to fill the top of the funnel with interested consumers, they risk not meeting their new customer acquisition goals; however, if they fill the funnel with the wrong audience, they risk missing out on sales and reducing the return-on-investment (ROI) of their online marketing activity. Using Marin Tracker, Sykes Cottages are able to track multiple conversion types across all stages of the conversion funnel, from brochure requests and call back requests to bookings made with credit card payment and also owner pack requests.

The team at Sykes Cottages also leverage Marin Software’s powerful automated bidding solution to optimise bids on a daily basis, across both Google and Bing. This is a far cry from their manual process which was so time consuming that some keyword bids were only changed once a week and they no longer ran activity on Bing as they lacked the time to optimise.

Marin Software’s unique Folder based bidding solution allows Sykes Cottages to segment their campaigns into separate Folders which align to business goals, each with its own cost-per-acquisition (CPA) target. Furthermore, this set up facilitates rapid optimisation – the team at Sykes Cottages often move the Folder goal at times of high demand or if they are running out of available niche stock.

Being able to act in such a nimble way has drastically reduced wasted budget where stock is low but has also allowed the team to fully understand the impact of changing the goals which they were unable to do before because of the lack of granular tracking provided by publisher tools.

Reduction in CPA inflation and improved performance on Bing

As a result of turning on Marin Software’s automated bidding for Bing campaigns, Sykes Cottages saw an instant drop in cost per acquisition (CPA) of almost a quarter. Through cross publisher campaign management in the following months, conversion volume from Bing has grown substantially whilst CPA remains in line with Google. Sykes Cottages have also successfully reduced the rate of CPA inflation and significantly grown conversions year over year at a higher rate than they have increased investment.

  • Reduction in CPA inflation of 171%
  • 19% increase in volume of conversions for only 8% additional investment
  • CPA on Bing reduced by 22% year over year with Marin Software’s automated bidding
  • 259% increase in volume of conversions from Bing as a result of cross-publisher budget optimisation