One Stop Parking is essentially a marketplace - although the entire experience is branded under the One Stop Parking name -that allows users looking for discounted airport parking to park at nearby hotels that have excess space in their parking lots. This is typically much cheaper than parking at the airport or other privately-run airport parking lots near the airport. Customers take the normal hotel shuttle from the hotel to the airport.

Background was managing paid search in-house and approached us to manage the campaigns to improve cost and performance.

The problem

The paid search effort was taking time away from running the business. Additionally, they didn't have a PPC expert on staff and so thought they could benefit from bringing in an outside agency to help.

We met at their office in Northern Kentucky to discuss the current situation and campaign goals. After looking over the existing AdWords account, two things were clear:

  1. Not being paid search experts, these guys had done a pretty amazing job running the effort to date.
  2. Even so, it was clear there was definite room for improvement.

The problems were common ones:

  • Both the search and display network were enabled under the same campaign. This is never advisable as the two networks require completely different optimization strategies and serve slightly different purposes.
  • Ad extensions were not being utilized at all. Google has made it clear that ad extensions can improve click through rates. In fact, Google loves ad extensions so much that using them can provide an immediate boost in quality score and reduction in click costs.
  • Account structure could use some improvement. While they had setup campaigns and ad groups fairly well, reviewing the search query reports showed the existing ad groups could be broken down to more tightly target keywords and ads together. This would result in an increase in quality score and reduced cost per click.
  • There were few negative keywords in the account, leading to far too many irrelevant impressions and clicks, lower click-through rates, and higher cost per sale than necessary

We also identified some on-site issues that were likely reducing conversion rates.

  • Landing pages listed all parking locations for the selected airport, however, they were sorted in a way that sold out locations were at the top of the list. In some cases this resulted in only sold-out locations being shown above the fold. This could cause someone to believe all locations for the selected airport were sold out, even if that was not the case.
  • Changing drop-off or pick-up dates required a completely new search, including re-entering the airport. This was a cumbersome and confusing process. We user tested this with a small group and most users couldn't figure out how to adjust the dates at all.

The solution

This was a direct response campaign to drive bookings. Because of that, and the fact that there was plenty of volume to consume the client's budget on the search network alone, we disabled the display network completely.

Next, we setup ad extensions to improve click-through rate and quality score.

We grouped keywords into more tightly targeted ad groups and wrote all new ads.

We reviewed the search query reports and Google's keyword tool to identify negative keywords at both the campaign and ad group level.

Over the course of the next several months we tested ad variations and ad position to further reduce the cost per sale.

The results

The first month we took over costs actually increased about 15%. This is not uncommon and is primarily because we increased bids to target a higher ad position so we could establish a performance benchmark. It can be difficult to establish performance benchmarks at lower ad positions because click-through rates are always lower than normal at lower ad positions. Bidding for a higher ad position allowed us to get a picture of the best possible click-through rate.

Over the course of the next two months, costs dropped dramatically. By the third month, actual cost per sale was down 66% from baseline and continued a slow decline over the following months. The client opted to triple the budget and we were able to to scale those results to drive 3x as many bookings for the same ad spend as before they hired us.

They were amazing. In a very short period of time they were able to optimize our PPC campaigns and reduce our cost per sale to a third of what it was before.

Devesh Patel
, Owner / President, OneStopParking
Devesh Patel, Owner / President

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