Dust off your textbooks and boot up your laptops: it’s time to go back to school!

While “Back to School” might be a dreaded time for students, it also presents unique challenges (and opportunities) for retail search marketers. More than 60% of shoppers will begin their Back to School shopping online, and most shoppers report that online research will have a notable impact on their in-store purchase decisions(1). In a highly competitive online space, how can you as a search marketer work faster, act smarter, and make better decisions -- all before that final school bell rings?  

Today, we want to help you beat the Back to School blues and take advantage of the second largest retail event of the year. So we’re opening our school supply box and sharing a few successes we’ve heard from search marketers who’ve done their homework. Below are just a few powerful tools from DoubleClick Search to make sure you’ll get voted “most likely to succeed” in retail this school year, and beyond.

Keep your promotions organized with inventory-aware campaigns
Shake off that lazy summer feeling and get your new Back to School promotions in tip-top shape with inventory-aware campaigns, which let you use your existing Google Merchant Center feeds to efficiently and automatically update your search campaigns.
Our star student: Piston. Jennifer Johnstone, Performance Marketing Strategist at Piston, mentions: “Inventory-aware campaigns allow us to save time from manually managing product inventory, enable us to spend money on more efficient product level keywords and help us drive more revenue than manual campaign builds.” The team cut out the busywork by setting up inventory rules to automatically pause keywords when products go out of stock, and change landing page URLs when links in their feed change. The team also increased profits by expanding their keyword lists, auto-generating highly relevant SKU-level keywords. In a matter of weeks, Piston saw a 51% uplift in ROAS, 26% higher CTR, and a 50% higher conversion rate for their retail client -- all while saving around 38 hours over the past quarter.

Get to the top of the class (and the search page) with smart bid calculations
Become a math whiz with powerful bid management tools from the DoubleClick Search Performance Bidding Suite, which considers dozens of factors to make intelligent bidding decisions in near-real time.
Our star student: iProspect. To better manage their search campaigns at scale, iProspect adopted the Performance Bidding Suite for automated bid optimization—with some impressive results. Casandra Jones, Account Supervisor at iProspect, notes: “The one feature from DoubleClick Search that our team can’t live without are the bid management tools. It’s saving us 8 hours a week, compared to manual bidding.” Within 6 weeks of adopting Floodlight tag bidding -- a bidding strategy that leverages Floodlight to set unique goals for varying conversion types -- iProspect saw significant improvements for their retail client: 10% increase in click volume, 20% increase in daily revenue, and 20% decrease in costs.

Secure cross-channel opportunities with display remarketing from search ads
Not sure how to juggle your cross-discipline studies? With display remarketing from search ads, use paid search clicks from DoubleClick Search to show consumers display ads across major ad exchanges via DoubleClick Bid Manager, or across the Google Display Network, all with an easy and tagless workflow.
Our star student: VivaKi. In the search for the best deals, online shoppers can quickly get distracted. VivaKi implemented DoubleClick's display remarketing from search ads to make sure they didn’t lose their audience. With a turn-key setup on one integrated platform, the VivaKi team set up their remarketing lists in just a few clicks, and were ready to begin reaching customers with display ads via DoubleClick Bid Manager. As a result, VivaKi increased conversions by 32% for a leading insurance company, and reduced CPA by 66% for an automotive client.

Take notes on the important details, using labels across your entire campaign
Don’t get lost in all the “noise”. Highlight the need-to-know details using labels from DoubleClick Search to categorize, manage, and report on your most important campaigns, ads, groups, or keywords at a glance.
Our star student: The Search Agency. The Search Agency used labels from DoubleClick Search to break out of their existing campaign structure and easily track and manage attributes most important to them. Matt Grebow, Director of Paid Search at The Search Agency, notes: “Labels help us quickly identify account segments that are important to our clients, and provide the flexibility to adjust these segments along with any shift in business focus.” Beyond simply tagging different campaign attributes, we’ve seen our customers use labels in unique ways with other DoubleClick Search features, including combining labels with automated rules to manage their promotion schedules.

Ace your “report” card with better measurement from DoubleClick
Find out how your campaigns are stacking up with insights from our real-time, holistic reporting solutions. With a single view of your customer across display, rich media, mobile, video, and more, discover what’s working, hone in on new opportunities, and find your spot on the digital marketing honor roll.
Our star student: Digitas. In a dynamic search space, waiting 24 hours for reports to be updated, then mashing up and matching data from those separate reports, can feel like nails on a chalkboard. I think the biggest factor that goes into our decision-making process for a platform is its ability to handle data, “Sean McDonald, Vice President and Group Director at Digitas, remarked. “DoubleClick really allows us to view the data all in one place, and make decisions based off of what’s best for our clients, rather than what's best for our individual teams.” With reporting by device type, quickly compare how campaigns are performing on desktop computers, mobile devices, and tablets, down to the individual keywords. For cross-channel insights, use DFA Attribution tools to better analyze conversion paths.

Ready for the next lesson? Play teacher’s pet and tune in to the DoubleClick for Advertisers blog later this week to learn how DoubleClick Bid Manager can help advertisers engage with in-market consumers during the Back to School season, and get set up for success for the upcoming holidays.

1. Google data, 2013: http://googleshopping.blogspot.com/