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Red Letter Days boosts profitability with fully automated search campaigns

  • Improve Red Letter Days’ profitability
  • Restructure approach to bidding
  • Restructured all search campaigns with an automation first approach, and launched dynamic search campaign strategy to pick up high value incremental customers they had been missing on search keywords
  • Used Return on Ad Spend bidding to boost profitability
  • Moved to a fully automated smart shopping campaign to drive up value
  • 35% increase in conversion value
  • 10% higher return on ad spend
  • 20% higher profit from Google Smart Shopping through remarketing

“Before using Google Ads’ Smart Bidding our non-branded activity was unprofitable. We were bleeding money and not getting enough return. With the help of Google Ads, we’ve stopped the over-reliance on the Red Letter Days brand, and leveraged everything that Google’s products offer us to be at the forefront.”

- Alex Torres, Head of Performance Marketing Manager, Smartbox Group UK

About the company


employees in the UK


gift experiences offered


of customers would buy again

About the goals

When Red Letter Days was acquired by Smartbox in 2017, they faced the challenge of making the brand more profitable. “We didn’t know who we were and where we fitted within the experiences industry,” says Senior Performance Marketing Manager Alex Torres.

They quickly identified that their key demographic was professionals who wanted to find great experiences to give to their loved ones, but who might not have the time for the elaborate organisation it can take to arrange such a gift without the help of a dedicated service.

Once Red Letter days had that important insight, their goal was to identify those products that were in highest demand among that demographic and to apply the right strategy to market to this audience.

About the investment

Having previously outsourced to an agency, Red Letter Days moved their performance marketing in-house, hiring a PPC expert to manage the migration and lead the deployment of new digital marketing strategies, in particular adopting Smart Bidding.

Also under the Smartbox umbrella is Red Letter Days’ sister company Buyagift. Pooling the resources and insights of both brands enabled the marketing team to look at the discrepancies between them to figure out what Red Letter Days’ coverage lacked. It became clear Red Letter Days was missing as many as 15,000 top keywords that Buyagift had already been using.

Once these and other gaps were covered, the Red Letter Days team developed their marketing strategy through Google Ads Smart Bidding, running different types of ads simultaneously and gathering insights about their audience.

What are ad groups?

An ad group contains one or more ads that share a set of keywords. Each of your campaigns is made up of one or more ad groups. Use ad groups to organise your ads by a common theme. For example, try separating ad groups into the different product or service types that you offer.

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increase in conversion value


higher return on ad spend


higher profit from Google Smart Shopping through remarketing

Before using Google Ads’ Smart Bidding, Red Letter Days’ non-branded activity had been very unprofitable. As one of the earliest gifting businesses to launch in the U.K., they felt they had become complacent and over-reliant on brand awareness. Since the move, the business has been markedly more profitable, with an impressive 35% overall increase in conversions. Once they had identified the gaps in their coverage, adopting Smart Bidding enabled the company to refine the traffic coming to its website, extracting valuable keywords from campaigns they have run as well as stopping traffic they don’t want.

This strategy has helped Red Letter Days gather insights on what’s going on in the market and taught them to take inspiration from the search queries coming through for gift experiences they don’t offer. This is a rich source of fresh ideas for the business, allowing them to source the most sought after experiences and turn them into new products for their customers in a retargeting process that has earned them a 20% increase in profits from Google Smart Shopping.

The most popular products sold through Red Letter Days have recently shifted from adrenaline junkie pursuits towards more leisurely activities: one-night hotel breaks and spa treatments for two are now some of their most popular products. They’re also able to target key celebrations and events thanks to this more sophisticated digital marketing strategy, developing a successful keyword-based campaign for Valentine’s Day 2020, for instance. These smarter marketing decisions are proving profitable, resulting in a 10% higher return on ad spend.

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