The Great Marketing Experiment – PPC Update

You may have read my post a few weeks ago about the post about experimenting with PPC adverts. During that post, I spent just under £300 on different forms of pay-per-click advertising. I didn’t get much out of that £300, but I did learn a lot.

I ended the post by saying that we were going to try and use Outbrain and Reddit to try and drum up sales for our table tennis bats we sell on Amazon in Germany. The bats are very popular in the UK and USA but we have been finding it difficult to get traction and sales in non-English-speaking countries.

Outbrain isn’t your standard advertising platform. You can’t buy PPC adverts that lead directly to products, rather your adverts need to lead to blog posts or articles. For a week, we ran an Outbrain campaign where we paid to drive traffic to an article that is very favourable towards our bats: Der beste Tischtennisschläger für Anfänger.

Hopefully, people would read the article, go to Amazon and buy our bats.

This was a very good experiment because we could very easy to track how the adverts performed. Our sales in Germany were so low that any increase would be obvious and would clearly be linked to Outbrain. If we made more profit normal and that extra covered the cost of the adverts, the experiment would be a success. Otherwise, it would be back to the drawing board.

To work this out we took the sales from the previous month and calculated what the average gross profit per day was. We could then compare this to the profit we made in the week we spent money on Outbrain advertising.

Gross Profit: The amount of money we made when taking into account all expenses but not including what we spent on advertising at Outbrain.

For the month before we started advertising: 24 Feb to 24 March, we averaged €18.97 (£15.17) gross profit per day. 

I set a bid of 5p a click and a maximum budget of £25 a day. Here’s a screenshot from the Outbrain dashboard showing it how got on:

outbrain table tennis bat sales 2

£169.79 spent for 3,426 clicks. £24.26 a day, slightly below budget.

For the week we were advertising: 24 March to 31 March, we averaged €79.35 (£63.48) gross profit per day. That’s £48.31 extra gross profit.

That is quite an increase. And it was definitely linked to the Outbrain advertising. 4 out of the 7 days had higher sales than on any day in the previous month.

What is great is that the amount of extra gross profit was more than the cost of advertising. Over the whole week, we spent £169.79 in advertising and made an extra £338.16. Once we take out the cost of the adverts we still made an extra £182.32.

This is very very good. Especially as the results should be scalable. Every £1 we spent on advertising led to £1.93 of gross profit (93p net profit). If we set our budget higher then the profit should scale proportionally. £500 a day on advertising should get us £965 gross profit.

Over the next few weeks and months we will be aggressively scaling this advertising in Germany, and also launching similar schemes in the other non-English speaking Amazon territories: France, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

For once, this was a very successful experiment that beat all our expectations!

  • Interesting report Sam, I look forward to seeing your results when you upscale. I’m always looking at trying different experiments much like this one, unfortunately PPC isn’t my forte and I’ve turned a blind eye to the benefits of it for far too long, so this may just be the push I need to trail something similar myself. Hope you’re having a great time wherever you are. Cora / The Mini Millionaire.

    • Hey Cora. Yeah that was my point of view. I always thought it would be a waste of money/felt I didn’t know enough and would get ripped off. Glad I tried though!

      I’m currently in Santiago, Chile. I’m here for another week and taking a intensive Spanish language course. It’s not a bad life…

  • Luqmaan Rawat

    Found a typo. “This experiment was very because…”

  • Hi Sam
    Have you found the cost per click of 5 pence with Outbrain is still possible for UK country targeting and also in other industries?
    Meanwhile keep up the good work on a great blog and enjoy your travels!

    • Hi Paddy

      In my last post (http://www.arbing.co.uk/marketing-ppc/) I targeted the UK and a different industry and achieved 8p a click.

      Also I used reddit and got 3-4p a click.

      So it seems to range quite a lot, but the cost per click is still pretty low.

  • Teri Robertson

    advertising is hit and miss, and definately a numbers game. This time, you found niche market – only those interested in tennis would click the link, only those interested in tennis would buy your product….
    How do you intend to escalate? Find a similar article in different languages…..?

    • Yes exactly. Similar articles in different languages. But also increasing the budget. It was limited to £25 a day in this experiment. So it will be interesting to see how high that can go.

  • James

    It’s very interesting seeing your results so far, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a marketing campaign which produces such impressive results! I look forward to seeing your updates on how the expansion progresses and you take over the European table tennis bat market! I hope your travels are going well and you’re enjoying yourself!

  • drprashant shetty

    interesting article sam,i am uploading some tourist places videos on youtube whenever i visit new places i dont know how to do this type of advertising in youtube and earn profit

  • Hi Sam
    Not sure if this is right page to ask this question but can you post a link to who provided the German transaltion for your table tennis bats for Amazon?

    • Amazon provide a service to translate all your products for the other marketplaces. If you select ‘expand globally’ they have the option there. I think it was about £20 per listing per country.

  • Are you still using Outbrain Sam and have you managed to scale up the spend and profits?

    • Hi Paddy, Yes I am. It’s why I haven’t written a post about another form of marketing… I am still using Outbrain and still experimenting with other forms of PPC.

  • Watusi Boogaloo

    Hi Sam, that was a very interesting post that, I am sure, we all want to hear more about! Where are you now on this experiment?

    • Hey Watusi. Thanks! I am still working on PPC and it is going pretty well. I am doing more of the same but on a larger scale with the table tennis bat post on Germany. But I am also doing PPC on Amazon directly and using a few of Outbrain’s competitors. Still got a lot to learn.