ModCloth Leveraged Paid Search Marketing To Reduce Its CPC by 14%

5 Min Read. |


About ModCloth

ModCloth is a top American e-retailer of vintage-inspired and indie clothing, decor and accessories. They sell items from various brands and come up daily with new product offerings. The company was launched as a website in 2002. The founders, Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger, built ModCloth with a passion for creating remarkable fashion. The company is headquartered in San Francisco. Their claim to fame has been a remarkable shopping experience experienced by the customers, who can voice their feedback. Their customers are welcome to browse their product descriptions and stylebooks, shop their vast collection of indie designs, and give their valuable feedback by speaking to their friendly customer representatives.

ModCloth’s Business Objectives

Marketing through a PPC campaign is an effective way to help a website own the search engine results page (SERP). It also has the potential to make a significant difference on the bottom line of the business, by increasing the business revenue.

ModCloth, also used PPC as one of its key marketing strategies by advertising on Google, Yahoo! and Bing networks. By the end of year 2010, ModCloth intended to make a significant growth in their paid search effort. However, they knew that the processes currently used by them would not be sufficient to achieve their goals.

They were looking for different strategies to scale up their PPC search campaign. In addition to using keyword expansion and budget management as ways to supplement their campaign, they also felt the need to take the help of a technology to automate certain processes, that could help them meet their objectives.

Approach / Strategy Adopted By ModCloth

ModCloth had to move from its labour intensive and manual process of paid search to an efficient, automated model to achieve its targets. They went about doing the same in a organized, step wise approach.

Step1: Understand That The Manual Process Will Not Succeed In Meeting The Overall Goal

In 2010, the paid search effort adopted by ModCloth was very manual. The company was overseeing approximately 150,000 keywords explicitly for bids and the team used only free tools for the same. The entire effort of keyword expansion, appending, tracking parameters and auditing was done manually. Hence, it took more effort and time which could be used by the team for new product offerings and innovating other key strategies in the paid marketing space. The SEO was also a very cumbersome process which involved a resource to upload ad copy and do complete data analysis.

Step2: Selecting A Paid Search Partner

The team decided to seek help from a digital agency to partner with them and help them perform the above mentioned activities more effectively. The criteria for the selection process were as follows:

  • Bidding up or down with intelligent algorithms
  • Robust data analysis capability
  • Efficiency in day-to-day campaign management
  • Ability to expand campaigns and searches
  • Ability to automate the application of bidding rules to thousands of keywords

Based on the above mentioned criteria, they scheduled a number of face to face meetings with various partners. In addition to this, they also conducted on-site visits before making the final decision.

Step3: Get Information Technology

The IT integration was done in Q4 when a lot of work was happening internally and the company was working in a very fast pace. ModCloth’s decision to get the IT department involved in implementing the new software was a good one which made the entire process smooth.

Step4: Project Planning And Keyword Expansion

After the vendor selection was completed and the new software integration into ModCloth’s website was done, a project plan for the new paid marketing process had to be created. It was time for keyword expansion.

Also, ModCloth’s other objectives included creation of customized strategies for low – medium and high risk keywords. It also included using long tail keywords through which they could capture low volume but highly relevant traffic. A lot of importance was given to the ROI of the campaigns. The number of active keywords was increased from 150,000 to 700,000 in the first 2 months. This addition of keywords happened due to the addition of long tail keywords.

Step5: Testing and optimization

ModCloth conducted regular split tests on the landing page and various other elements of the paid search. More focus was given to the landing page testing in order to ensure that the filtered traffic lands on the relevant page.

Step6: Automated bidding and reporting

The automation of bidding process was one of the most important steps taken by ModCloth which helped them to achieve their goals. They set up separate campaigns for their various products and monitored them individually. They configured automated reports to track the performance of the automated bidding. Due to the automation process, more time was available with the team to strategize and plan their next steps. It also took out unwanted efforts which the team had to put in earlier.

Results Achieved By ModCloth

With these efforts, ModCloth was able to achieve good results in a matter of 2 years. They moved on from being a manual process oriented organization to a software based automated one. The following results were achieved:

  • Paid search revenue increased by 22%
  • Managed keywords increased by 500%
  • Cost per click costs reduced by 14%
  • Time spent on reporting and bidding reduced by 30%


In this case study, we can observe that the company adopted various means to change and improve their current processes in order to achieve their goals. They moved from a manual process to an automated process. They also involved a dedicated team to do the required analysis to get the desired output. Adoption of strategies like keyword expansion, use of long tail keywords etc. was adopted to bring about a positive change.

Image Credit: Joyent

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