Our Work

Is it possible to cut paid search CPCs by over 50% with one simple experiment?

Split-testing Cult Pens ROAS bid strategy
with manual bidding yields incredible ROI
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Cult Pens is one of the UK’s leading stationery retailers, supplying everything from ballpoint pens and markers to luxury, fine writing fountain pens.

Following a move to a new website at the end of February 2023, the Cost Per Click (CPC) for their brand paid search campaign had decreased. We decided to capitalise on this change and test the extent to which we could further reduce CPCs, whilst still driving as many sales as possible with an improved Return on Investment.

We created a split test for their existing Brand paid search campaign, featuring a target Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) bid strategy of 800%, versus eCPC manual bidding. (eCPC is a Google enhanced form of manual bidding where Google steps in to pay a higher CPC if conversion is more likely).

We aimed to: 

  • Reduce CPCs without sacrificing Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Test target ROAS bid strategy against manual eCPC strategy
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Our Approach

With Cult Pens not facing any competitors in the auction for their brand terms, we knew we’d be able to launch an experiment to test how to lower CPCs without competitors stealing revenue.

We set up a custom experiment to split test brand traffic 50/50 between the ROAS bid strategy set at 800%, and a manual bidding strategy campaign, where CPCs were kept as low as possible. For the manual part of the test we were able to set brand CPCs very low, delivering clicks for as little as £0.02 per click on some days.

Whilst ensuring impression share didn’t massively fluctuate, and making sure we weren’t needlessly overpaying for CPCs, we continued to adjust Cult Pen’s brand CPCs to find the perfect balance between impression share, ROI and CPC. This experiment ran until statistical significance, yielding fantastic results for the client.

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When comparing the manual experiment vs the ROAS campaign, the results were staggering. The manual bidding strategy delivered a significant decrease in Cost Per Click and cost per sale meaning less budget was required to deliver an increased Click Through Rate (CTR) and Return on Investment.

The experiment demonstrates that although the AI driven bidding techniques that Google offer can deliver great results, for some clients it is worth checking what can be achieved through expert manual interventions. Whilst Data and Technology are great, it is our People who harnessing their power to deliver success.  


  • 58% decrease in CPCs
  • 61% Less investment required
  • 59% Decrease in Cost Per Sale
  • 53% Increase in ROI
  • 2% Increase in CTR

The client was pleaseed with the growth achieved.

Claire Durney, Director, Cult Pens said:

I'm thrilled with the incredible results equimedia achieved for our brand PPC test. Their willingness to test new strategies like these allow us to reinvest budget to the most effective areas for the best return. It's refreshing to work with a team that's willing to look for new ways to drive success!"

58% decrease in CPCs

59% Decrease in Cost Per Sale

53% Increase in ROI

Interested in seeing what we can do for you? Get in touch and let us know about your requirements today.

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