Wayfair Designs Search Ads with Engagement and ROI in Mind


Every brand has its own marketing style, but it’s good for marketers to revisit their strategies and occasionally give them a new look. Online home furniture and décor brand Wayfair updated its search strategy by introducing Yahoo search ads to drive engagement and ROI.

Setting the scene

Wayfair started using Yahoo’s search and native advertising marketplace, Yahoo Gemini, in May 2015. Dan Wulin, associate director of data science for Wayfair, says that the company’s marketers decided to use Yahoo’s advertising solutions after seeing that consumers who used Yahoo Search tended to purchase more and buy more frequently. They were also highly engaged.

“What we noticed was the customers tended to be higher value than average,” he says.

Wayfair’s goals for Yahoo Gemini were twofold: increase ROI by targeting these high-value consumers and drive engagement. The home furniture and décor brand was able to meet these goals by running targeted campaigns on Yahoo’s advertising platform.

Designing with data

To launch a Yahoo Gemini campaign, marketers first have to create an account. They can then click the “create a campaign” button within the Yahoo Gemini user interface and choose to drive one of three main campaign objectives—website visits, brand awareness, or app downloads. Next, marketers name their campaign and establish who will be able to see it. They tailor this audience by setting parameters based on location, language, age, gender, and interests. Once these steps are complete, marketers establish a campaign budget based on how much they’d like to spend on their ads per day or throughout the whole campaign. Then, they determine when the ad should start running, how long it should run for, and whether they should focus on clicks or conversion. At this time, marketers also set a bid, such as how much they’re willing to pay for each click. Finally, they create their ad by uploading an image or a video, as well as the appropriate text, such as a brief ad title and description, their company’s name, and display and destination URLs.

Yahoo powers this targeting by collecting consumer data through its apps, content, search, account registration, and email touchpoints and then unifying this information to allow advertisers to reach certain audiences based on specific criteria.

In Wayfair’s case, the company’s marketers decided to create search ads that focused on driving traffic to specific pages on the brand’s site. For example, if a consumer searched for “lamp” within Yahoo’s search engine, Yahoo would show that consumer a search ad that linked to a page featuring that product.

“We know that when it comes to finding the perfect home décor, most consumers start their searches online,” says Courtney McKlveen, Yahoo’s VP and industry lead for retail, travel, and QSR. “That’s why search advertising has been such a powerful medium for Wayfair to attract and convert consumers online. Through Yahoo Gemini search ads, Wayfair was able to help consumers get to the right pages of its site as quickly as possible, which helps improve conversion rates and boost online sales.”

Accentuating its results

According to McKlveen, Wayfair experienced click-through rates that were 240% higher than the retail industry benchmark after using Yahoo Gemini ads. She also says that the ads were “effective” at driving purchases.

For marketers looking to replicate Wayfair’s success, Wulin advises them to be willing to move quickly, test things out, and be metrics-driven. As he puts it, “If something works, don’t be afraid to just go for it.”

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