DA Megabus Case Studyv1 2 .pdf

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Megabus.com
With over 60 million customers served, Megabus.com began in 2006 and has grown substantially to become a
major player in the industry and a household name for many. Digital-focused since day one, Megabus.com relies
on the latest tech and features to continue to grow its customer base, as well as increase brand loyalty. Partnering
with Direct Agents several years ago, the Megabus account has gone through numerous tests and transformations
in an effort to truly maximize direct performance. Like any tests, there have been many that have turned out
successful, and many that have failed. By utilizing AdWords’ ever-expanding set of features, Megabus & Direct
Agents have developed a multi-faceted strategy that has led to exponential revenue efficiency with incremental
increases in spend. Below is a brief summary of the major initiatives and tests that led such growth across the
search ecosystem.



Goal: Improve ROAS. Megabus wanted a highly integrated strategy across various digital channels and looked to
optimize their current programs.
Challenge: The bus vertical has a massive search volume that is constantly increasing and shifting towards
mobile. Initially, we wanted a full presence for every route, but it proved to be impossible due to an expansive
search inventory and limited budget. The challenge came down to this: on a specific budget, how do we juggle
performance, brand awareness, and impression share while ensuring a maximum return? Through our data-driven
approach, we were able to allocate our resources with the best strategy to optimize our campaign. Allocating
budget was determined by a sophisticated strategy based on segmentation and granularity, ensuring a balance of
direct performance and brand presence was achieved while return grew substantially.
Process
Step 1. After referencing Google’s vertical-specific data, Direct Agents began to develop a long-term strategy
based on truly maximizing the budget, tapping into as much search inventory with low/no competition. In order to
maximize the budget, DA put a large emphasis on quality score, allowing for vast majority of ad spend to be
utilized efficiently. Beyond the continued quality score emphasis, the overarching strategy began by manually
pulling CPC bids down across the account while increasing ad spend. This is shown in the first seven periods of
the graph:



!
(Both the revenue and ROAS increased after YoY. The impact of ROAS is exponential; typically, at this kind of scale, as ad
spend increases, ROAS decreases. The large increases in revenue shown by the graph represent millions of dollars. )

Step 1 Results:
Increase in ad spend YoY during this period: 74%
Increase in revenue YoY during this period: 191%
Increase in ROAS YoY during this period: 67%
Step 2. Once several high volume keywords began to experience significant volume declines based on the bids
being too low, Direct Agents tested out AdWords’ maximize clicks automated bidding strategy. This allowed for
AdWords to make bid decisions in near real time, responding to increases/decreases in volume, as well as
competition. Initially tested on the highest volume areas of the account, the results came quickly. These results are
shown in the next 4 months in the graph:

!
Step 2 Results:
Increase in ad spend YoY during this period: 18%
Increase in revenue YoY during this period: 141%
Increase in ROAS YoY during this period: 104%
Step 3. Over the following months, Direct Agents & Megabus strategized a way to effectively improve performance
across the remaining areas of the account, while still ensuring brand presence was maximized. Utilizing a
campaign-tiering strategy, this balance was able to be achieved. The tiers were determined based on ad groups’
potential performance and volume, with each tier having its own budget and bidding strategy. For the worst
performing areas, budget was limited and a maximize click strategy allowed for maximum exposure. For the best
performing areas, budget was far larger and bids were controlled manually to capitalize on the higher returns.
This tiered strategy has been expanded as time has gone on and Direct Agents refreshes it on a consistent basis.
This refresh analyzes each ad group on performance and places them into the appropriate tier. Over time, this
analysis has taken into account seasonality, competition levels, vertical trends, cross device activity, holistic data
across all channels, and of course the individual ad groups’ return on ad spend (as well as assist rate). This
reallocation of ad groups has contributed to the ongoing upward ROAS trend all while the competition has
increased.

!
Step 3 Results:
Decrease in ad spend YoY during this period: 8%
Increase in revenue YoY during this period: 141%
Increase in ROAS YoY during this period: 104%
Of note, portions of this overarching strategy have been applied to additional accounts, such as Megabus Canada.
Results have followed a similar trend.


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