Gravytrain AdTech Suite

Automated PPC accounts delivering outstanding results including Conversion Rates increasing by 16%, Cost Per Acquisition decreasing by 29% and Revenue increasing by £130,000 YOY.

adtech case study

In June 2015 the whole Gravytrain team were empowered to embrace technology and “Be Brave”. Following this, we set out to revolutionise our offering by creating a bespoke, in-house AdTech Suite for the exclusive use of our clients. Each piece of tech needed to solve common issues and improve our clients’ accounts with the ultimate aim of fully-automating PPC accounts within just 12 months.

The Brief

Key members of the Paid Search team were asked to analyse the market and determine key areas of demand when it came to AdTech solutions. During this process it was decided that out-the-box products were not able to provide the desired results or be easily adapted on a client-by-client basis. Therefore, it was agreed that Gravytrain would create our own AdTech Suite for the exclusive use of our clients.

The Goals

As our Paid Search team has years of experience when it comes to PPC and Google AdWords, best practice told them that for any strategy to be successful it needed to be optimal in terms of speed and scale.

Therefore, when researching the AdTech market, our team always kept ROI in mind, thus negating the creation of applications that may seem impressive but don’t always deliver the desired monetary results.

The main goals for our AdTech Suite were:

  • Create AdTech to improve the four key areas of paid search campaigns: Budget, Keywords, Conversion Rates and Cost per Acquisition (CPA).
  • Aim for a success of minimum 10% for each application.
  • Fully automate clients’ accounts within 1 year.

Our Approach

From our research we were able to determine four factors of any paid search campaign that would benefit from AdTech: Budget, Keywords, Conversion Rates and Cost per Acquisition (CPA). Therefore, our Paid Search team set out to create four applications that would improve each individual metric but could work in combination together at all times.

In order to provide flexibility to clients, we wrote our applications in JavaScript so that they could be easily ran through Google’s AdWords interface. In terms of testing, we started on small batches of each ad campaign before scaling up to include entire Ad Groups and campaigns.

Naturally, fail safes were included in each application. For example, the CPA Management Application included parameters which ensured that spend could not go over a designated amount. This ensured security at all times, even whilst the applications were being rolled out across larger accounts.


Four pieces of technology were created to optimise the main aspects of any paid search campaign, including:

CPA Management – Each day, the CPA Management Application automatically reviews and updates bids at a keyword-level based on how well each keyword has performed over the previous 30 days in relation to the individual product’s predefined target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA). The new daily MaxBid for each keyword is calculated using the below formula, which makes use of client’s sales and AdWords data.

PPC case study

IPL = Average Income per Lead (per product)
PM = Desired Profit Margin

Keyword Optimisation and Growth – Each week, the Keyword Optimisation and Growth Application iterates through an account’s Search Query Report, identifies converting queries that have triggered non exact-match target keywords and adds the query as an exact-match keyword to a relevant AdGroup.

Conversion Rate Optimisation – Dynamic Landing Pages allow account managers to identify niches applicable to a particular product, create new super-relevant pages for the niche based on a template page and start advertising for these niches within minutes. Using this application our clients have seen some outstanding results, including a £10,000 increase in revenue in just 5 months.

Budget Management – The Budget Management Application is based on historic (the same time, previous year) conversions and lost budget impression share from the client’s AdWords accounts. By using these two metrics, we are able to estimate the potential conversions each day of the month could receive and then use that data to determine the budget for each day. Our tech then checks the daily spend hourly to ensure spend doesn’t exceed the allocated daily budget. Thus ensuring budget is spent in the optimal way, every day. Below are two formulas that are used within this tech; the first shows how potential conversions are calculated (using the aforementioned metrics) and the second shows how we use this figure to calculate the daily budget (daily potential conversions in relation to total potential conversions for the month).

Case study ppc

Where n = TotalDaysInMonth

The Results

Since the preliminary stages of implementation in July 2015, our clients have seen their records for revenue, lead volume and profit generated by PPC broken every single month.

For example, in January 2016 PPC revenue for QuoteSearcher broke the £100,000 mark for the first time – a £40,000 YOY increase. PPC now accounts for 50% of all revenue generated for QuoteSearcher, this is up from 34% the same time last year.

Gravytrain adtech case study

Individually, each piece of technology has provided some outstanding results:

CPA Management (Time period: 7 months)

Metric Result
  • Total = £570,000
  • YOY increase = £130,000
 Lead Volume
  • Total = 32,629
  • YOY increase = 11,612
 Conversion Rate
  • Increase = 16%

Keyword Optimisation and Growth (Time period: 3 months)

Metric Result
  • Additional = £15,000
 Lead Volume
  • Additional = 553

Conversion Rate Optimisation (Time period: 5 months)

Metric Result
  • Additional = £10,000
 Lead Volume
  • Additional = 407

Bidding Management (Time period: 2 months)

Metric Result
 Conversion Volume
  • 43.93% increase (651 to 937)
 Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Decreased from £9.82 to £6.94 (29.38%)

In summary, Gravytrain now provides a whole suite of AdTech, with each application delivering outstanding results time and again. Furthermore, we achieved our goal of having a fully-automated account within 12 months, meaning paid search ROI for our clients has never been better.

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