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Sweetwater Creates a Frictionless User Experience through SEM


With a combination of an increase in program scale after a technology transition and shifting market conditions, Sweetwater experienced a surge in purchases leading to lower-than-usual available inventory. As a result, cancellation rates started to increase as shoppers realized that items might not ship for a prolonged time.

“We see Merkle as an extension of our team. While the rest of the country shut down - Merkle created a structured workflow to allow immediate reaction to a shifting landscape. Through a combination of business data, machine learning, and human relationships we were able to provide the best possible experience for our customers while driving impressive growth.”

Jeff Ekblad

Director of Performance Marketing, Sweetwater


After numerous years of bidding through proprietary technology, Sweetwater partnered with Merkle to transition to Google’s bidding technology, which fueled its customer acquisition growth through machine learning algorithms.

Merkle leveraged SA360 tools to allow Sweetwater to replenish its inventory based on current run rates to automatically pause or resume campaigns. This ensured that users only see ads for in-stock inventory and can navigate to landing pages that display in-stock items.

Through online collaboration tools and daily standups, the team worked closely on campaign execution with an agility that allowed a pivot as business priorities evolved. Working in lockstep and investing time in understanding the details of the new bidding technology, Merkle reconfigured the setup and adjusted the volume of SEM campaigns in market, to ensure Sweetwater capitalized on market opportunity amid warehouse limitations.

In addition to optimizing revenue stream, this project created a seamless user experience and allowed Sweetwater to provide appropriate follow-up to new customers acquired during this turbulent time. As a parallel, we stood up a strong foundation for future growth through subsequent purchases and loyalty.



reduction in cancellation rate from SEM campaigns


increase in new customer share of orders driven by SEM campaigns


YoY improvement in ROAS, with increasing program scale

Keys to success

  • Custom solutions developed by leaning in on cutting edge technology while leveraging Merkle Google stack expertise and in-depth knowledge
  • Close partnership between Merkle and Sweetwater, resulting in thorough understanding of Sweetwater’s business model and ability to ingest first-party data to drive success
  • Ability to pivot fast and adjust as market conditions change, while keeping long-term vision as a North Star for day-to-day execution decisions

Discover how we did it. Contact us today.

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