How Woolworths Capitalised Every Search

3 Min Read. |


 About Woolworths

Woolworths Holdings Limited  is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country. The first Woolworths store opened in The Old Royal Hotel in Cape Town IN October 1931 by Max Sonnenberg and His sons Richard and Fred Kossuth.

Woolworths operates through both corporate and franchise stores throughout South Africa and neighbouring countries. Various store formats include full-line stores, food stand-alone stores, food and home ware lifestyle stores, stores offering textiles (clothing, footwear and home ware). Only a selection of merchandise is also available online.

Business Objectives

To convert every search into a sale and get the maximum out of the AdWords campaigns

Strategies Adopted

Keywords Analysis

Keyword data across Google Adwords and Google analytics for CTR, average position, average CPC, conversion rate, match type, impressions and clicks were analysed and non performing keywords were deleted. New keywords were identified and negative keywords were added to the account.

Tighter Ad Groups

Ads were made more direct and directed toward’s user needs rather than global needs. This resulted in higher quality score and CTR across the account.


Adverts and keyword URLs were deeplinked to the most relevant landing pages. Site content and inventory was regularly updated and bounce rates checked in Google analytics regularly to ensure Adwords traffic was taken to he most relevant available page.

Relevant Site-linking

Sitelinks were used as extensions to highlight promotions related to the product category. Sitelinks were updated on a weekly basis, resulting in overall increase in CTR across the account.

Dynamic Search Campaigns

Based on inventory and search queries, dynamic ads were generated from the Ads and users were taken to the most relevant landing pages.

Clever Use of Ad Copy Space

The ad copy space on brand terms (i.e. people searching for “Woolworths” and “woollies”) were used to advertise the latest campaigns (Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Summer dresses)

Match type triangulation

Employing keyword match type triangulation technique to ensure that bid was  higher on exact match keywords (with higher propensity to buy) and lower on phrase and broad match (where users were more likely researching options and less likely to convert).

Refining Marketing

Re-marketing audiences were created through Google Analytics, employing the Google Display Network, In-App ads and YouTube pre-rolls to re-market to them based on their previous browsing and purchase behaviour on the Woolworths site.

Device and Time Scheduling

Google Analytics data showed that best converting customers were users on specific devices at specific times of the day. Using enhanced campaign mobile bid adjustments it was ensured that ads were in top positions to capture the attention of this lucrative audience and drive an increase in transactions.

Results Achieved

Through the overhaul and continuing optimisation Woolworths was able to break all records for revenue and ROI achieved through the campaign in its 3-year history. The results for the period October 2013 –  September 2014 were:-

  • R32+ million Overall revenue generated (74% increase year on year).
  • 642% Overall average ROI (23% increase year on year).
  • R26 Decrease in cost per conversion (21% decrease year on year)
  • 5% Conversion rate (21% increase year on year).
  • 07:13 Average time on site (3.8% increase year on year).
  • 98% Sustained brand impression share.


It is important to concentrate and direct ads towards user needs for the audience to take notice. Advertising global needs may not be the most appropriate as it does not personalise a user’s requirement

It is very important to consider re-market customers as those are the ones who will spread maximum word of mouth.

Online presence should be achieved across all platforms and devices so that users can access the information anywhere, anytime.

Image Credits: Woolworths

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