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How a focus on Smart Bidding helped Bark reach new countries and increase financial performance by 400%

Back to all success stories

How a focus on Smart Bidding helped Bark reach new countries and increase financial performance by 400%

Goals
  • Improve financial performance
  • Cut time spent managing bids manually
Investment
  • Smart Bidding
  • Dynamic Search Ads
  • Offline Conversion Tracking
Results
  • 4x increase in financial performance
  • Ad presence for 1,300 previously under-promoted categories
  • Launched in 8 countries across 5 continents

“We have progressively rolled out automated bidding to try and leverage the benefits of Machine Learning and reduce the team's workload. Each stage in the rollout has quickly eclipsed the returns we had seen from manual bidding and now all of our main accounts use automated bidding. We're now looking at expanding its use further to continue boosting the productivity of our in-house team.”

- John Oberlin-Harris, Chief Marketing Officer, Bark

About the company

2015

Bark launched

8

new countries where Bark are now established

5+

million customers

About the goals

Bark's main goal was to increase its profitability. While simple for users, Bark's model is complicated to manage spanning many industries and localities. This meant it took constant monitoring to achieve consistent and scalable returns on investment with the company’s previous manual bidding strategy.

The wide range of categories on their site added another level of difficulty. Although Bark’s bidding strategy was working well, it was time-consuming to maintain. The team had to continually adjust bids by hand so could only work on a small set of valuable core categories at once. Consequently, smaller categories were neglected and Bark was missing out on potential customers.

Bark’s other priority was to free up more time for its team. Less time spent on bids would provide more time to work on strategic changes such as writing ads, developing different categories and expanding the platform into new countries.

Investment

Bark took a holistic approach towards Smart Bidding, testing the effects of a wide range of Google Ads tools to determine which was best. This includes Dynamic Search Ads, Responsive Search Ads, Match Type Expansion and Offline Conversion Tracking. These solutions helped widen Bark's path to growth by expanding the placement of the company's ads.

Match Type Expansion, for instance, automatically finds and bids on search terms related to what potential customers are looking for. Similarly, Dynamic Search Ads use data from the site to create adverts leading to a specific landing page such as 'cleaners in Birmingham' or 'dog walkers in Detroit.

Another approach that brings Bark positive results is harnessing machine learning to predict how potential customers might behave in the future on the basis of past data. This is especially important for companies like Bark as the value of their product fluctuates. For example, demand for roofers drops after a storm because they're saturated with work from direct customers and don't need to use the platform to reach new ones.

Previously, the Bark team would need to act quickly to manually reduce bid prices and keep adverts profitable. Chief Marketing Officer, John Oberlin-Harris, explains that an approach led by machine learning makes this much easier. It "enables the system to react much quicker across a much broader set of categories and geographies than we could with the size of team that we have."

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic Search Ads are the easiest way to find customers searching on Google for precisely what you offer. They work best with well optimized pages where Dynamic Search Ads can identify themes and terms on the webpage.

Discover more about Dynamic Search Ads

Results

400%

increase in financial metrics

1,300

categories with an Ad Presence

8

new countries reached

By implementing Smart Bidding across its full range of categories, Bark was able to run ads for 1,300 categories that were previously considered unprofitable or which the team had no capacity to work on. Embracing the power of machine learning gave Bark the time to focus on launching into 8 new countries across Africa, Europe, Australasia and the Americas.

Today, Bark generates over 100,000 leads every week across eight countries. By leveraging Smart Bidding, it’s able to ensure the best leads get to the right professionals at the right time. With a 60% increase in advertising investment, Bark's year-on-year performance increased by a staggering 400% and Oberlin-Harris expressed "the amount to which it's freed up the team to do other things has been more than I expected."

Looking ahead, Bark is pleased with the progress it’s already made and is excited about exploring other ways to use Smart Bidding products. Oberlin-Harris tells us "we increasingly rely on Smart Bidding to find the areas that work. We're looking forward to continuing this as we expand into broad search terms in the future, and ensure we continue generating high-quality leads for all professionals across our various categories and geographies"

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