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Case Study: "Retail Company"

Anne Kennedy
Beyond Ink

Editor’s Note: Beyond Ink’s client has requested its name not be disclosed, but has allowed the use of its success metrics for the purposes of this Case Study.


Overall, Beyond Ink’s client, a retail Website, experienced a 50.5 percent increase in total visits during the eight-week holiday period through significant improvement in search engine referrals, newly added relevant links, paid inclusion and pay-per-click advertising. The client’s sales revenue increased 149.6 percent from the same period the year before, when no search engine marketing was in effect. Search engine marketing outperformed banner advertising by a factor of 36 in delivering leads. Though this co-op program ended December 31, sales continued to increase. Overall figures for Q4 2001 and Q 1-2 2002 are below.

Source of Leads Q4 2001



Paid Inclusions






Sales period Sales Increase from previous year Conversion ratio Sales per visitor

Q 1-2 2002




Q4 2001




Q4 2000




Comparing total sales to costs, the client received a $4.08 for each $1 spent on optimizing, paid inclusions and pay-per-click, an ROI of 408 percent, calculated on the SE leads we were able quantify. If we suggest the entire increase was due to the online marketing effort, then the return rises to $5.32 for each $1 spent overall, including for banner and tower advertising. These figures attribute the total sales to the campaign. While the total volume of people shopping online that holiday season increased overall, there is still the issue that all these new users had to find our client’s site! Even comparing only the increase in sales (260 percent) from the period the year before to the cost, the client received return of $1.63 for each dollar invested. For the first five months of 2002, sales have continue to increase 174 percent over the same period the year before, with no additional advertising costs beyond remaining Overture deposits, for overall return of $8.64 and $5.32 for calculated on the increased sales only.

There was no advertising other than on the Web during the 2001 holiday season.

Page views for holiday product pages and intro sections that served as landing pages for paid inclusion campaigns more than doubled from the first weeks’ views.

The campaign included several graphic banner and tower ads in selected vertical portals; the click through rate was extremely disappointing, varying between .75 and 1.25 percent.

Search engine results weekly referrals increase peak













Top Search Engine Referrals

Referrals from search engines showed immediate improvement following the Inktomi paid inclusion program, with new content and meta information implemented on product category pages to increase Google listings. Gaining new inbound links from relevant sites contributed to higher link popularity and ranking, as well as driving significant traffic to individual product sections.


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