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How VOLT Lighting Used Sidecar to Drive Revenue Across Google, Bing, and Amazon

THE SCOOP

VOLT Lighting is an outdoor lighting retailer specializing in factory-direct, professional-grade landscape lighting. The company advertises on Google, Bing, and Amazon, along with Facebook and trade publications. With bandwidth at a premium, it sought a partner with a multichannel marketing solution that could ease day-to-day operations and improve performance. VOLT Lighting teamed up with Sidecar to increase performance across VOLT’s product catalog, reduce manual campaign management, and drive more sales.

PROFILE

Retail Category
Outdoor lighting
Website
Headquarters
Lutz, FL
Channel
Google Shopping
Google Paid Search
Bing Shopping
Bing Paid Search
Amazon Advertising

The GOAL

Increase Revenue, Brand Awareness, and Bandwidth

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Lutz, Fla., VOLT Lighting has several warehouse facilities across the U.S. The retailer has 437 SKUs in its product catalog and uses Google, Bing, and Amazon in its digital advertising mix, along with Facebook and trade publications.

Prior to partnering with Sidecar, VOLT Lighting worked with an agency to manage its search and shopping campaigns on Google and Bing. Its primary goals on Google and Bing are to increase revenue and brand awareness. Initially, the agency delivered results in each channel, but after a period of stagnant performance VOLT ended the relationship to take its shopping and paid search efforts on Google and Bing in-house.

“After seeing performance plateau, we decided to self-manage our Google and Bing campaigns,” said Matt Rehm, E-Commerce Manager at VOLT Lighting. “This approach was cost efficient and held us accountable for performance, but we quickly found it challenging to maintain.”

Manually managing Google and Bing soon became time consuming for Rehm. He began to think about ways to manage search engine marketing more efficiently, in particular by leveraging machine learning technology, an avenue VOLT had not previously explored.

Rehm searched the market for a partner that catered to VOLT’s multichannel marketing and advertising. He wanted a cost-effective, automated tool that required little manual management due to his limited bandwidth. Sidecar’s ability to work in both Google and Bing’s search and shopping channels immediately resonated with him. That’s where Sidecar for Shopping came in.

“Learning about Sidecar was a ‘eureka’ moment. Sidecar had exactly what I was looking for in a technology: solutions that leverage our data to drive better performance without heavy lifting on our end,” Rehm said.

VOLT’s partnership with Sidecar promptly led to stronger results in Google and Bing. Citing higher revenue and ROAS and lower cost and cost per conversion, Rehm was quick to explore Sidecar’s other offerings for its customers, particularly for Amazon Advertising.

“Amazon is a platform we had advertised on previously, and we were eager to increase our presence there,” said Rehm. “Sidecar earned my trust by delivering great results across our search and shopping campaigns on Google and Bing. When I learned about Sidecar for Amazon, I was excited to be a part of it.”

BY the Numbers

437
Products
in catalog
22%
Lower ACoS
In Amazon Advertising with Sidecar
47%
Increase in Conversions YoY
In Google and Bing paid search
54%
YoY Revenue Growth
In Google Shopping in first 30 days with Sidecar

The STRATEGY

Broaden the Marketing Footprint

VOLT Lighting launched its Google and Bing Shopping campaigns with Sidecar in March 2018, followed by Google and Bing paid search and Amazon campaigns later in the year. Sidecar employs a unique strategy to each channel to meet the retailer’s cost efficiency, revenue, and brand building goals.

Fill the Funnel Through Shopping Ads

VOLT’s house brand of products drives nearly all of its Google Shopping orders and revenue. Because of this, Sidecar breaks out Google Shopping across five campaigns—trademark searches for VOLT products, general searches for VOLT products, branded searches for other products, general searches for other products, and “additional” products, the latter consisting of all other products in VOLT’s catalog. This specific structure has led to increased conversion rates for trademark products and higher impression share across VOLT’s catalog in Google Shopping.

For Bing Shopping, Sidecar implements a trademark, general, and other campaign, the latter of which catches all remaining products. Sidecar pushes non-VOLT products in the trademark campaign on Bing Shopping to drive conversions and grow impression share. As more data accrues, Sidecar’s Search Query Manager technology then assigns the proper bids on these campaigns to meet VOLT’s cost and revenue goals.

“Sidecar’s always-on technology has resulted in far more efficient Shopping spend,” said Rehm. “Its ability to analyze our data and optimize our campaigns drives efficiency across Google and Bing Shopping.”

Build Exposure Through Paid Search

In Google and Bing paid search, Sidecar implements a trademark campaign, which catches all VOLT-specific keywords, and several non-branded campaigns. These non-branded campaigns include the remainder of VOLT’s non-branded keywords in paid search, including lighting kits, pathway lights, bulbs, and spotlights.

“Sidecar had already delivered stellar performance across Google and Bing Shopping, so we decided to test non-branded search,” said Rehm. “After seeing results there, we took the plunge on branded search, which has also been a spectacular success.”

Professional-grade landscape lighting isn’t an impulse purchase; a customer may show initial interest in these fixtures for many reasons, including adding value to the home or improving safety and security. This multichannel marketing approach places VOLT’s brand and products in front of customers at different stages in their path to purchase. This journey winds through multiple touchpoints, from researching YouTube videos and browsing Amazon to converting on Bing or Google Shopping ads. Influencing these customers at each touchpoint is why VOLT works with Sidecar on its cross-channel strategy.

“It’s essential that we’re highly visible on Google, Bing, and Amazon in order to achieve our business goals,” said Rehm. This requires efficient ad spend, which is where Sidecar provides tremendous value.”

Increase Product Visibility Through Amazon Ads

With Sidecar powering results in VOLT’s search and shopping campaigns on Google and Bing, the retailer decided to expand its footprint and join Sidecar for Amazon. VOLT had previously advertised on Amazon but in limited capacity. As more shoppers begin their path to purchase on Amazon, Rehm understood the importance of investing in the channel.

Sidecar and VOLT’s Amazon ads strategy breaks out across five campaigns. There are three sponsored product campaigns—automatic, manual, and product—and two sponsored brand campaigns—homepage and landscape lighting. The automatic campaign harvests keywords which Sidecar’s team of performance marketing experts use to select bids for the match type. Amazon then decides which search terms match to which products.

With the manual sponsored product campaign, Sidecar’s team takes VOLT’s top performing products and brands, along with its top correlating search terms, and enters them into an ad group. The technology then bids on keywords that Sidecar wants to match to specific products.

Sponsored brand campaigns are ads that serve at the top of Amazon’s SERP in banner form. Sidecar directs these ads to either VOLT’s Amazon storefront or a curated landing page. Users who click on VOLT ads are directed to the retailer’s storefront (homepage campaign) or the landscape lighting category page within the storefront (landscape lighting campaign).

For Amazon Prime Day 2019, Sidecar and VOLT ran three coupons of 10%, 15%, and 20% off selected items. Sidecar then increased bids on items included in coupons to increase exposure and traffic. This resulted in a significant jump in revenue across the two-day retail event. 
It’s essential that we’re highly visible on Google, Bing, and Amazon in order to achieve our business goals. This requires efficient ad spend, which is where Sidecar provides tremendous value.
Matt Rehm
E-Commerce Manager,
VOLT Lighting

the results

Cross-Channel Growth

VOLT saw immediate results in Google and Bing Shopping after launching with Sidecar. In the first 30 days of the partnership, Google Shopping revenue increased 54% YoY and ROAS jumped 81%. Over nine months, Google Shopping revenue climbed 155%, ROAS doubled, and impressions grew 160%.

Sidecar’s ability to change bids daily resulted in more efficient Shopping spend for VOLT. Rehm credits this bidding structure to VOLT’s higher ROAS, which in turn has enabled VOLT to scale up spend 28% and maximize revenue.

“Sidecar transformed our shopping campaigns, which had previously been an afterthought, into significant revenue drivers. Capturing and maintaining impression share in the face of increased competition is vital. New customers are more likely to discover our products, and our brand awareness continues to grow,” Rehm said.

Similar results followed for VOLT’s Google and Bing paid search campaigns. Since onboarding with Sidecar, VOLT’s paid search cost has dropped 11% while cost per conversion is down 40%. Revenue (+41%), conversions (+47%), and ROAS (57%) on paid search campaigns have skyrocketed.

“Sidecar has made Google and Bing paid search vastly more profitable and less time-intensive for us to manage,” said Rehm. “Maintaining a level of growth we’re accustomed to is a tall order, and Sidecar’s team and tech help us rise to the challenge.”

VOLT has also made substantial headway on Amazon Advertising with the help of Sidecar. Sales over the first 30 days with Sidecar were roughly equal to what VOLT drove in the three months prior to onboarding. Additionally, average cost of sale (ACoS) decreased by 22%. This drop in ACoS was particularly lucrative for VOLT because of the lower-margin sales on Amazon compared to VOLT’s website.

For Prime Day 2019, VOLT and Sidecar increased average spend 30% over the two-day period. This increased spend influenced major revenue gains. On July 15 (day 1 of Prime Day), revenue was 197% higher than daily revenue over the previous 30 days, while revenue on July 16 (day 2 of Prime Day) was 106% higher. 61% of VOLT’s total Prime Day 2019 revenue was driven by its three promotional coupons.

Rehm says this performance leaves him excited for the future of advertising on Amazon. “Sidecar enabled us to rapidly spin up our Amazon flywheel. As we become more efficient in our ad spend, we’re exposed to greater numbers of new customers who were previously unfamiliar with us. These customers might now be inspired to seek us out and learn what sets us apart in the landscape lighting industry.”

In addition to seeing better performance across the board on Google, Bing, and Amazon, Rehm has shored up coveted time for other marketing activities. Rehm has more bandwidth to focus on creative tasks and other large initiatives, including growing VOLT’s presence in additional marketplaces.

“Seeing results across our search and shopping campaigns and Amazon Advertising is key, but another great aspect of our partnership with Sidecar is that it frees me up to pursue larger strategic wins,” said Rehm. “We look forward to growing our digital footprint with Sidecar well into the future.”

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