Evogear ups its search use

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After switching its Internet marketing focus from shopping comparison sites to search engine marketing last year, multichannel merchant Evogear watched its revenue from search take a 45 percent jump over expectations in the past six months.

Evogear sells skiing, snowboarding and wakeboarding gear and apparel via its e-commerce Web site at www.evogear.com and in a store in Seattle.

"Shopping comparison sites were one of the primary means of conversion," said Nathan Decker, director of e-commerce at Evogear.

With an annualized growth rate of about 80 percent every year since its launch five years ago, the company has been doing something right. Still, the executive team felt something was missing.

"Today, we're definitely focused on where the remaining traffic is that we need to capture and that is in the pay-per-click space," Mr. Decker said.

In December, Evogear implemented a paid-search solution designed specifically for retailers from Channel Advisor, Morrisville, NC.

Now, instead of manually bidding on keywords, SearchAdvisor raises and lowers bids based on conditions set by Evogear. The company can drill deeper into the analytics and design campaigns on a keyword basis.

"In the past we were throwing away some campaigns that could potentially have been lucrative," said Ricky DeJong, search marketing manager at Evogear.

That's because the company was able to look at only the overall return on investment. With SearchAdvisor, it can see the ROI on every keyword in a campaign. Evogear expanded its pay-per-click campaigns to Yahoo and MSN, which have had higher ROI and conversion, Mr. DeJong said.

However, it is SearchAdvisor's more retail-specific capabilities that really have Evogear doing somersaults.

For example, one of the tool's offerings is the ability to manage bids based on margins. Retailers can adjust bids on keywords for individual products based on the profitability of that item and not just overall ROI.

"We're pretty excited about that since we haven't been able to analyze keywords at that level before," Mr. DeJong said.

Since the company's three major product lines have different margins, managing the pay-per-click campaigns for each should improve results, he said. Evogear expects to start using this function in the fall.

With the 45 percent increase in revenue from search since launching SearchAdvisor, Evogear plans to increase its commitment to search marketing this year. Mr. Decker said the company will increase its list of keywords tenfold this year.

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