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GetFPV Doubles ROAS After Switching Google Search Management to Sidecar


GetFPV is an electronics retailer specializing in racing and first-person view (FPV) drones. With thousands of SKUs and a rapidly growing market, GetFPV needed a smart way to stand out from its competition on the Google paid SERP. Although it was able to drive traffic from paid search and shopping ads on Google, it always saw traffic decline when spend declined. It wanted a more efficient way to manage costs so that it could spend less on Google Ads and still expand traffic. At the same time, the retailer wanted a data-driven, consolidated solution for managing both paid search and shopping campaigns on Google. That’s when GetFPV turned to Sidecar.


Retail Category
Sarasota, FL


Achieve Greater Efficiency

GetFPV has grown rapidly in recent years, explains VP of Digital Commerce Roy Fung. “Drones have taken off, and in 2016 our business rapidly expanded,” says Fung. “That was when we decided to grow our marketing efforts beyond organic search and into Google's paid search and shopping channels.”

At first, GetFPV worked with an agency that encouraged the retailer to increase its spend on performance marketing channels to achieve more traffic and sales. While increasing spend always drove more traffic, GetFPV couldn’t measure whether the traffic was driving as much revenue and return as possible. “Whenever I asked for data to better understand Google Ads performance, the agency team never had a complete answer for me. They couldn’t demonstrate efficiency,” says Fung.

Part of the problem was that in Google's paid search channel, GetFPV relied heavily on dynamic search ads, an automated ad format that provides little control over spend or insight into how bids are set. The ads allowed GetFPV to ramp up its presence in paid search quickly, but they also drove up costs without insight into ROI.

While entering the performance marketing space was a positive step for GetFPV, the retailer knew it needed to focus on efficiency to continue growing its business.

GetFPV also recognized that competition in the drone market would continue to amplify. Its competitors began to invest in performance marketing and directly compete in Google Ads. The retailer was looking for an edge—a data-driven solution that could improve Google campaign performance, increase efficiency, and simplify management. At the same time, it wanted a more unified strategy for managing its search and shopping campaigns. Sidecar for Shopping offered the solution and strategic expertise GetFPV needed.

BY the Numbers

Google Paid Search Revenue Growth
in first three months YoY
Increase in
Google Paid Search ROAS
in first three months YoY
Decrease in Google  Shopping Costs
in first three months YoY
Increase in Google  Shopping ROAS
in first three months YoY

The strategy

A Holistic Approach to PAID Search & Shopping Campaigns

GetFPV first started working with Sidecar in March 2018 to manage its Google Shopping campaigns. “We wanted to use Sidecar’s machine learning technology to achieve the same revenue while saving 20% to 30% on costs,” explains Fung. “I knew in a growing industry like ours, spending money on the right technology would put GetFPV well ahead of our competitors.”

Initially, GetFPV targeted a 10:1 ROAS goal. To achieve this, Sidecar’s team developed a focused bidding strategy that set individual product bids based on traffic value. Sidecar for Shopping analyzed previous performance data and developed campaigns to appropriately target traffic with high and low purchase intent.

Sidecar’s Search Query Manager feature identified the most valuable search queries on Google Shopping and determined the appropriate bid based on purchase intent. The natural language processing (NLP) technology used high-intent or branded terms as negative keywords in GetFPV’s non-brand campaign. Similarly, it negated generic, non-brand queries in the branded campaign. Sidecar’s technology constantly evaluates these terms and adjusts product bids as more data accrues, allowing campaigns to gain efficiency over time.

This approach allowed GetFPV to calibrate its product bids for shoppers who have different levels of purchase intent and accurately target the entire sales funnel.

After experiencing significant gains with Sidecar for Shopping, GetFPV decided to apply a similar, data-driven approach to paid search with Sidecar for Paid Search in August 2018. Sidecar’s team revamped GetFPV’s paid search strategy by implementing key learnings from Google Shopping. This allowed the technology, to quickly identify top-performing terms and products that would inform the structure of GetFPV’s branded and non-branded campaigns. Rich data insights allowed Sidecar to make an immediate impact on GetFPV’s bottom line.

Sidecar for Paid Search also incorporates NLP technology to understand GetFPV’s website and determine which landing pages are the best fit for a specific paid search ad, improving ad relevance and performance. The result of this intelligent approach was a quick ramp-up period that achieved GetFPV’s ROAS goal of 10:1 in just over a month.

In addition to branded and non-branded campaigns, Sidecar created an education-focused paid search campaign. These ads targeted research queries like, “What are FPV drones?” and directed consumers to landing pages that informed consumers about emerging drone technology.

“These types of campaigns educate consumers about different drone products, which is really important because it’s such a new industry,” says Fung. “Paid search is a great way to educate consumers, introduce them to who we are, and build our reputation as a leading drone provider. Later on, they may decide to come to us when they’re ready to purchase their first FPV drone.”

Promotion was another key part of GetFPV’s strategy for both Google's shopping and paid search channels. Every month GetFPV highlights a new brand or set of products in its promotions. Having Sidecar manage promotions for Google's shopping and paid search channels saved Fung a significant amount of time. “Instead of going to multiple vendors to coordinate these promotions, I just had to speak to Sidecar once. I only had to create one promo code.”

The consolidated promotion strategy boosted GetFPV’s performance because ads often captured a greater share of the SERP, occupying both the Google Shopping carousel and paid search results. That increased engagements with GetFPV’s promotions and drove a surge in conversions. During particularly successful month, GetFPV saw ROAS jump to $13.12 in Google Shopping, a 24% increase over target ROAS.

Having multiple avenues to deliver promotional messaging allowed GetFPV to engage consumers in more meaningful ways and enhanced its impact on the SERP.

Ultimately, Fung says that the success of GetFPV’s Google Ads campaigns comes down to the regular, intimate support of Sidecar’s team. “The support from my customer strategy team at Sidecar was amazing,” says Fung. “They don’t just set the campaigns and forget them. They look at my data every week, and tell me what is going well and areas for growth. They are constantly evolving the strategy as our market evolves.” 
When I signed on with Sidecar, the goal was to increase revenue while improving efficiency. From 2017 to 2018, ROAS easily increased 100% from 6:1 ROAS to 13:1 ROAS on both channels, so we absolutely met that goal. Sidecar is saving us hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Roy Fung
VP of Digital Commerce

the results

Rapid Growth & Peak Efficiency

GetFPV saw immediate results after making the switch to Sidecar. Three months after launching with Sidecar for Shopping, GetFPV decreased costs 50% year-over-year, beating its cost reduction goal. During the same time period, ROAS increased 126% on Google Shopping.

The electronics retailer experienced similar gains when it launched Sidecar for Paid Search a few months later. Costs dropped 14% in the first three months, period-over-period, while the retailer exceeded it’s ROAS goal by 34% during the same time period.

“When I signed on with Sidecar, the goal was to increase revenue while improving efficiency,” says Fung. “From 2017 to 2018, ROAS easily increased 100% from 6:1 to 13:1 ROAS on both channels, so we absolutely met that goal. Sidecar is saving us hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

GetFPV continues to see success on both channels. In the first three months of 2019 it grew revenue 13% year-over-year on paid search, and increased ROAS 27% year-over-year on Google Shopping.

Looking ahead, Fung plans to transition from a strategy driven solely by efficiency to a profit-driven model. Sidecar recently developed two new campaigns on Google Shopping to meet this objective. One campaign groups high margin products together and increases the bids on these items. The second employs Sidecar’s Search Query Manager feature to target high intent search queries for high margin products.

“We want to increase ad spend on products that have higher margins because one of our goals in 2019 is to increase profitability,” says Fung. “Now that we’ve maximized efficiency, we’re ready to spend more on Google’s paid search and shopping channels to drive profits.”

“Sidecar’s team is great at finding solutions to our unique problems,” adds Fung. “They have an intimate understanding of the data for both channels, and they’re always coming up with alternative solutions as our market evolves and becomes more competitive. That level of communication and support is critical to our success.” 


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