Charles & Colvard is the original creator of the moissanite gemstone and the premier online supplier for moissanite jewelry. Moissanite gemstones are similar to diamonds in their look and feel, but have several unique differences related to their sustainable sourcing and value.
In 2016, Charles & Colvard started to shift their brand strategy. They would no longer offer lower-tiered products, and instead focus only on their highest quality, premium product line – The Moissanite Forever One.
Our team needed to adapt our PPC efforts to accommodate this branding shift and find how to use this new brand image to our advantage.
As a publicly traded ecommerce enterprise that heavily relies on their digital advertising efforts, Charles & Colvard did not have a lot of margin for error.
Moissanite has always been a niche product, and it had always been a challenge to tell the moissanite story and the story of Charles & Colvard simultaneously.
When we would ask first-time buyers why they waited so long to purchase their first piece of moissanite jewelry, they would always say that they had just never heard of the product before. This type of feedback suggests that brand awareness is key, but we were hyper-focused on investing in the type of brand awareness that would eventually yield a return on investment.
A good marketer understands that their product is not for everyone, and they know how to avoid wasting time and money attempting to engage with fruitless efforts.
We needed to educate more people about moissanite jewelry, while emphasizing the value and premium quality of the Moissanite Forever One product line, and why you should choose Charles & Colvard as your go-to supplier for Moissanite Forever One products.
The shift to focus only on premium product lines took our niche product and shrunk the market size. Our products were no longer going to appeal to users that were making their decision on price alone.
The ultimate question, therefore, was to deeply understand the buyer journey. Our team needed to discover why people choose to buy moissanite over other gemstones, and how we can leverage this information to expand our customer base and build brand loyalty.
The first step was in-depth historical data analysis, followed by a complete account restructure.
Search terms that may have converted in the past were no longer relevant to our business. It was also critical that campaign level negative keywords were strategically placed throughout the account. This ensured that users are flowing through campaigns with the appropriate bids and relevant ads.
We found that many users were going to Google and Bing because they had questions about moissanite products, but not necessarily because they were in the market for moissanite products. We saw this as a unique opportunity to answer these questions while introducing new users to the Charles & Colvard brand.
We dubbed these users Information Seekers and developed a new campaign initiative geared specifically toward this audience.
Historically, these types of users would click on an ad and end up on a product catalog page. Now, they would be taken to a blog post or information page.
That’s right… we stopped trying to sell them our products.
This provided many benefits. It allowed us to gain credibility with many first-time moissanite buyers and gave us an opportunity to turn these first-time buyers into lifetime Charles & Colvard customers.
Further, by segmenting out this Information Seeker audience, it allowed us to develop more thoughtful, effective remarketing initiatives.
Attribution modeling is essential to understanding the buyers journey. We found that the average customer engaged with at least two ads over the course of six days before they made a purchase.
We could use our new account structure to develop a bidding structure around the different audience segments, including entirely new audiences that we wanted to convert to first-time buyers.
Our theory was that the same user will perform many different searches as they learn more about the products and consider the different moissanite suppliers. We drew it up on a whiteboard – First they’ll be looking for this, and then they’ll search for that, and then they’ll perform one of these searches when they’re finally ready to buy.
And then it happened that way. This theory, and the data that confirmed the theory, opened up so many opportunities for optimization. We could track the value of a top-of-funnel click compared to that of someone closer to their final buying decision.
We took these advanced remarketing audiences and added them to our search campaigns, allowing us at first to record instances of previous top-funnel audiences that are now performing bottom-funnel searches, and eventually would allow us to bid more aggressively on those audiences, as they averaged a higher-than-average conversion rate.
We even found that some campaigns may have looked unprofitable at first, but were essential in driving sales later on in the funnel.
We now had a model that could be used to profitably expose our brand to new types of audiences.
We were able to help Charles & Colvard implement their new brand strategy, ensuring a smooth transition and profitable long term growth strategy. Our average order size increased by 44%, supporting revenue growth of 22%.
Thanks to a better understanding of attribution models and the Charles & Colvard buyer journey, our digital advertising efforts became more targeted and effective. Year over year, our efforts resulted in a 61% increase in Return on Ad Spend, and a 51% increase in Net PPC Revenue.
Our findings helped set the foundation for what we’re expecting to be a very successful fourth quarter in 2017.
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