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Driving a 256% increase in conversions for a global automotive brand


The challenge was to increase test drive leads, brochure downloads and store locator traffic by only implementing YouTube independently, without the support of any other Google products such as Search, for a global automotive brand. YouTube has been a great provider to deliver awareness and engagement results through its massive reach with over one billion users, but the strategy and platform were expected to deliver atypical results to drive conversions. The challenge was to test, optimise and adapt the campaigns to deliver more efficient results over a course of time, while maintaining the planned budgets for the year. The KPIs focused on achieving the conventional results but also adding more incremental value to maximise engagement & actively drive concrete improvements in conversions.


The team adopted a test and learn strategy to foster an initial YouTube campaign using proven relevant audiences across the In-Market, Affinity, Custom Affinity & Custom Intent audience pool. The initial campaign focused on driving awareness, reaching a unique audience and creating remarketing audiences through a manual YouTube campaign. The campaign only incorporated optimisations ranging from device, demographic and audience-based bid adjustments.

Merkle then launched the main campaigns based on the best-performing prospecting audiences across each Market, along with remarketing activity retargeting website visitors & video viewers. These new sets of campaigns adopted automated bidding through True View for action campaign formats. The end of this campaign already delivered significant results proving automation through Google’s algorithm and signals was able to amplify the number of conversions. The team moved on to an extension phase and restarted the process of running manual campaigns in order to collect more remarketing audiences and meeting the additional client KPIs. Using learnings of the previous campaigns indicated that the remarketing audiences delivered the best results in terms of CPA and conversions. Based off these learnings the final set of campaigns were launched as a joint strategy of focusing purely on remarketing audiences, while leveraging automation through True View for Action to deliver the most efficient results.


The first set of campaigns ran for six weeks and resulted in extremely high CPA and CPCs, the inclusion of View Through conversions boosted the metrics but there was substantial room to improve. The campaigns were then revised to now purely focus on engagement and conversions through the automated strategy. After running for six weeks, they resulted in conversions increasing by 94%, the CPA dropping by a massive 75% and the CPCs by 15%. Automation also impacted the View Through conversions to jump by 379%. A further analysis of the second set of campaigns derived that remarketing audiences alone drove 32% of the conversions and boasted a 78% lower CPA. The third campaign was then focused on expanding reach and views and, as they were on a manual strategy, as expected did not result in efficient conversions or CPAs. Although, these campaigns introduced a much larger pool of audiences for remarketing by running for their period of six weeks. By focusing the fourth and final set of campaigns on remarketing audiences, while layering the automated bidding strategy, after six weeks of running we achieved significantly improved results of 256% increase in conversions, 86% drop in our CPA and a 62% improvement in our CPCs.




increase in conversions


decrease in CPA


decrease in CPC


increase in view through conversions

Keys to success

  • Early adoption of various audiences ranging from upper funnel to the lower level
  • Testing of automation based on Google’s recommended format and bidding strategy
  • Analysing campaigns and focusing budgets only on best performing audiences, while ensuring audience list sizes are adequate

Discover how we did it. Contact us today.

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