Adidas-owned fitness brand Reebok was facing a reduced market share in 2008, due in part to a lack of TV advertising. To remedy that fact, Reebok enlisted the help of digital performance agency iProspect, and gave the agency a brief that included both increasing the brand’s strength in the market and achieving a target 5.00 rate of return on ad spending (ROAS). First quarter 2009 failed to achieve that benchmark despite containing only less expensive branded search terms.
But in February 2009 Reebok launched EasyTone, a new line of women’s fitness shoes built using a proprietary technology that claimed to firm calf and buttock muscles as their users walked around. And in November of that year, the brand put iProspect to work designing and executing the performance-marketing portion of a holiday campaign to publicize the EasyTone line.
That was done by broadening the search campaign to include not only branded terms but also the unbranded phrases that iProspect was uncovering in monitoring social media conversations about the shoes. There terms included “the secret to great legs”, “nice legs great sole” and “talking boob commercial”, a reference to viral buzz about the mass-media ad campaign then running around the EasyTone line. This phase of the search campaign ran from Nov. 2, 2009 through the end of the year.
The results for the EasyTone holiday campaign were especially strong given the relatively slow performance early in the year. Paid search traffic increased 514% from Q1 2009 to Q4, while search volume on branded terms for EasyTone or Reebok went up 508%, indicating a large improvement in brand awareness. Reebok saw its most successful quarter for online sales in its history during that quarter, with EasyTone-specific campaigns comprising 51% of Reebok’s Q4 revenue.
In particular, Reebok’s revenue from paid search grew 1290% from Q1 to Q4 2009, and return on ad spend jumped 150% during the same period, enabling Reebok and iProspect easily to fulfill the original strategic aim of the EasyTone search campaign: keeping ROAS at or above 5.0 while enhancing the brand’s visibility in online search.