Lonely Planet is the world’s most successful travel publisher, printing over 120 million books. The guides are printed in nine different languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Korean. Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and get to the heart of a place via guidebooks and eBooks to almost every destination on the planet, an award-winning website and magazine, a range of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community.
Lonely Planet used search to drive sales of their guidebooks through its online shop. With a small team, its Google AdWords activity was run by one person who managed the account manually and could only focus on day-to-day management of the account. This meant optimisation was focused on reducing costs and maintaining volume. They were unable to expand campaigns beyond Google AdWords onto Bing, or expand into new channels like social and display.
Lonely Planet was expanding its campaigns globally into 95 countries. However, manually managing campaigns from one location across time zones meant that unsociable work hours were necessary to make manual changes to campaigns in different time zones. Ultimately, Lonely Planet decided a better solution was necessary, and considered using an agency or a cross-channel performance advertising platform to drive incremental improvements in performance. However, the cost of any solution would have to come out of its media spend.
“Marin Software hasn’t just saved us time, it’s delivered outstanding financial results covering its cost many times over. This makes the decision of whether to use it or not a no-brainer. It’s also enabled us to expand onto more online advertising channels outside search, including retargeting and social advertising on Facebook and Twitter. The Customer Success team has also been brilliant, delivering a smooth onboarding, excellent training and useful strategic insight.”
Nikki Emmans / Head of Online Marketing / Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet did a comparison of four cross-channel performance advertising platforms and outsourcing agency options and chose to work with Marin Software due to its open platform approach and scalability across channels and geographies. Marin Software could seamlessly integrate with Lonely Planet’s Adobe Omniture analytics package and product feed from Intelligent Reach.
Marin’s automated reporting and campaign management features saved significant time for the Lonely Plant team, and gave them the ability to make optimisation decisions in minutes rather than days or weeks. Automated bidding also enabled Lonely Planet to bid towards ROI targets across 750,000 keywords, delivering results they would not be able to achieve manually. Finally, Marin’s scheduled actions feature, which schedules campaign changes to be made at a later date, has brought an end to the unsociable hours necessary to manage campaigns manually across time zones.
The time savings, which have enabled campaigns to be managed on a strategic as opposed a to day-to-day basis, have allowed Lonely Planet to expand advertising beyond Google. Firstly, using the Marin platform Lonely Planet has been able to clone Google campaigns onto Bing and find incremental performance improvements. Furthermore, campaigns have been expanded into new channels including retargeting and social advertising on Facebook and Twitter.
Because the cost of the Marin Software platform came from Lonely Planet’s media spend, it needed to cover its cost at a minimum and preferably more. The financial improvements delivered by the Marin Software platform covered its monthly cost every 2.7 days and annual cost every 32 days. Furthermore the platform delivered:
- 38% reduction in CPC
- 39% reduction in CPA
- 109% increase in CTR
- 7% increase in revenue
- 50% increase in profit
- 8% increase in conversions