Faversham, United Kingdom
Increase in revenue for the Simply Scuba brand
62% Increase in ROI for Black Friday week.
125% Increase in revenue for the Simply Scuba brand.
Achieved strongest November sales by optimizing campaigns and targeting audiences.
Scales search marketing by using artificial intelligence to automate bidding and optimize budgets.
Whether people like to climb mountains, dive deep into the oceans, or lounge by the pool, The Simply Group (TSG) has just about everything people need to enjoy their time outdoors. Through its four brands—Simply Scuba, Simply Swim, Simply Beach, and Simply Hike—the company offers a wide array of products to outdoor enthusiasts across the United Kingdom.
“One of the most unique things about working for The Simply Group is that each of our brands has a very distinct customer base,” says Sally Allsop, Head of Marketing for The Simply Group. “That makes an interesting challenge for the marketing team. At one moment, we could be putting together a piece about very expensive bikinis, then at the next, switching to think about what a 40-year-old male scuba diver wants to see in an email.”
Simply Scuba, one of the most well-known brands for scuba gear in the United Kingdom, tends to attract men over the age of 35. Simply Beach focuses on designer swimwear and beachwear for women, while Simply Swim carries competition swimwear, swim training aids, and everyday swimsuits for the entire family. Simply Hike, the company’s newest brand, offers clothing, footwear, and equipment for every level of hiker, from families planning a fun camping trip to experienced trekkers aiming to spend several days scaling an icy mountain.
TSG customers may visit the flagship store in Faversham to inspect scuba equipment or try on swimwear in person. But many customers shop at TSG’s e-commerce sites, which makes search advertising a key part of TSG’s marketing strategy.
When Allsop joined TSG, search marketing was performed manually and there was little reporting or data available to inform marketing decisions. The company’s marketing team needed to make sure TSG was getting the most out of its advertising budget.
“A lot of decisions about keywords, campaigns, and ad copy were made on gut instinct, instead of facts or testing,” says Allsop. “I decided that we needed to find an advertising platform that would automate processes and help us make decisions based on analytics.”
After comparing several platforms, TSG decided to implement Adobe Advertising Cloud within Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe Advertising Cloud Search uses Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, to accurately forecast campaign performance and optimize spend levels.
“Adobe seemed superior to the competition in terms of functionality, but we were also attracted to Adobe for its full-service engagement,” says Allsop. “As a small team, we needed expertise if we wanted to get the most from our investment quickly. Working with Adobe, we started seeing strong returns on our search advertising within the first six months of engagement.”
TSG works closely with Adobe experts to optimize its search marketing. Adobe handles day-to-day account optimization using Advertising Cloud Search. Rather than worrying about daily monitoring and optimization tasks, Allsop and her team can concentrate on higher value marketing work, such as polishing ad copy, organizing campaigns to promote new product lines, or finalizing budgets.
With Advertising Cloud Search Performance Optimization, powered by Adobe Sensei, TSG can track how well campaigns increase sales, drive people to websites, or any other goal. Then the feature compares this performance with the cost to bid on hundreds of search terms, and it formulates the optimum bidding and budget allocation to achieve the best possible returns on advertising investment.
TSG can plan campaigns and refine its advertising strategy more effectively with Advertising Cloud Search. Performance Forecasting and Spend Recommendations, both powered by Adobe Sensei, show the impact of different budget scenarios, and provide recommendations for spending. These features give Allsop and her team better insights into current and predicted campaign performance. Advertising Cloud Search also highlights if a campaign is underperforming, allowing TSG to quickly switch gears and adjust the campaign so that it better connects with audiences.
Within six months of using Advertising Cloud, TSG was able to optimize its search marketing spending based on data. Previously, the company followed typical industry advice to invest heavily in mobile search marketing to capture the growing mobile market. But the data TSG gleaned through Advertising Cloud Search made the marketing team reconsider that strategy. While conversion on mobile devices was good, desktop ads were performing much better. TSG realized that it was overspending on mobile search ads, which not only increased the cost-per-click on mobile, but it took away budget that could be more effectively invested in the better-performing desktop ads. With help from Advertising Cloud, TSG quickly adjusted its spend to reflect the optimal balance between mobile and desktop advertising.
“The reason why Adobe Advertising Cloud is so enticing is because it makes decisions so quantifiable and clear,” says Allsop. “We can use actual numbers and analytics to drive our decisions instead of just relying on our gut instinct. That helps us clarify our strategy and be more confident that we’re moving in the right direction.”
With Advertising Cloud Search automating much of the manual bidding, optimization, and analysis involved in search campaigns, TSG can focus on creating targeted campaigns and copy for key audiences in each of its four brands. It can also work on expanding the scope of its search advertising.
Through Advertising Cloud, TSG discovered great potential for ads on the Bing Ads platform. Advertisements on Bing Ads reach a large number of unique customers not reached by other search platforms. In particular, Bing Ads reaches female customers over the age of 35—a key demographic for Simply Beach and Simply Swim. By expanding reach on Bing Ads, TSG taps into new audiences and targets key demographics more effectively.
TSG has seen impressive results since switching to Advertising Cloud. The marketing team expanded search campaigns for Simply Scuba, which now has a leading market position. Simply Scuba has seen a 125% increase in revenue and a 21% increase in ROI year over year.
The company also recorded its strongest November sales in its history in 2018. The Adobe account team helped TSG optimize its strategy for Black Friday week. By focusing on pay-per-click advertising and Black Friday promotions, TSG increased sales 5% while decreasing advertising costs by 29% from the previous year, resulting in a 62% increase in ROI.
These successes are just the beginning for TSG. The company will continue to work with Adobe technology and experts to optimize its digital marketing.
“I’m a big fan of Adobe technology, but just as importantly, I appreciate the support that we’re getting from the Adobe team as well,” says Allsop. “No one person can do what Adobe can do. It’s a combination of great technology and great people that’s helping us reach customers and helping our business continue to grow.”