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Despite being smaller than many of its competitors (it started out with just 13 employees) PCMall.co.za is on its way to becoming one of South Africa's leading IT superstores, with the help of Google AdWords.
Since PCMall.co.za was founded in 2005, it has grown to become South Africa's second-largest online technology retailer. Its website - PCMall.co.za - offers IT products to businesses and consumers across South Africa.
With an easy-to-use online store, nationwide delivery and a call centre able to process high order volumes, the company is handling an increasing number of consumers. In 2005 PCMall.co.za was nominated as one of the Top Computer Stores in the South African E-Commerce Awards.
"Driving traffic to our site has been a huge challenge," says Jerome McClement, Director, PCMall.co.za. "Before PCMall.co.za, there was only one major online IT retailer in South Africa, which had a well-established customer base within the online community. As the newcomer, we had to work hard to attract customers to our store."
McClement attributes much of this success to the company's long-running Google AdWords campaign. "Google is our biggest online advertising partner, and our AdWords campaign has played a key role in the growth of the company," he says.
Over the last two years, PCMall.co.za has devoted 70% of its advertising budget to online media. "In part, our strategy targets consumers who are already likely to be searching products online.
They are early adopters - people who are keen to have the latest gadgets and who use the Internet to inform their buying choices," McClement explains.
After running several trial campaigns with other search engines and sites, McClement opted for Google based on its unparalleled reach and its administrative and reporting tools.
PCMall.co.za began its AdWords campaign in June 2005. McClement's aims were to increase national traffic to PCMall.co.za while enhancing brand image and recognition, and boosting product awareness.
"The campaign is giving us fantastic results," McClement confirms. "Our sales follow our Google spend almost exactly. As the number of clicks rises, so too does the number of transactions.
"We structure our campaign very carefully, using the Google AdGroup system and the Keyword Tool to categorise our products and make sure we're reaching as many potential customers as possible."
Spend aligned with measureable results
"We targeted the same audience in our office campaigns by advertising in male magazines, for example. But with a pay-per-click advertising programme like AdWords we target people who are definitely interested in technology," says McClement.
"And we only pay when they click through to our website. With other media we pay merely to display an ad to potential customers."
According to McClement, the AdWords tools and tips used by PCMall to boost AdWords ad campaigns performance are:
- Know your audience and its behaviour to refine your AdWords campaigns and creatives. "With Google Analytics, we can see exactly where our traffic is coming from. By acting on this insight, we can improve our results - by modifying keywords and ad text, or creating new images," says McClement.
- Good timing is money: Use Ad Scheduling for better targeting. The use of the AdWords Ad Scheduling function provides PCMall.co.za with a higher level of targeting. For example, knowing that the majority of South Africa's internet users go online at work, the company switched the campaign off outside regular South African working hours. McClement uses this tool to avoid the cost of the click-through from non-South African users, who could mistake the site for its international competitors.
- Dual approach for better performance: Mix text and image ads. PCMall's AdWords campaigns consist of text and image ads. The image ads give PCMall.co.za a dynamic format for engaging users and conveying brand values. "These ads have really helped us to strengthen the site's image," says McClement.
With two staff currently working on the development of Google campaigns, McClement is planning a "Google drive" for the near future.
As well as reviewing the current campaign, this will involve the launch of additional Google campaigns that build on the success already achieved and learnings gathered with AdWords. McClement confirms: "Google is definitely an important factor in the continuing growth of PCMall.co.za."
FOR MORE INFORMATION about Google AdWords and tips on running an AdWords campaign, visit www.google.co.za/adwords or click on the Technology menu tab on this website.