Brand Breakdown Part 3: Phlur (Google Suite)

We’re back again to smell the roses and search for the thorns of DTC perfume brand Phlur. We’ve tapped the Pilothouse Google team to do a deep dive into their Google Suite to see what’s working and what they’d suggest for improvement.

🛍 Shopping

Phlur is bidding against a heavy hitter, the well-known beauty retailer Sephora. Sephora sells Phlur’s products for the same price, meaning Phlur’s got some stiff competition. 💪

When searching for Phlur products, the only listings we see on the main search page are from Sephora. However, Plur does rank above on the ‘Shopping’ page!

When selling products through such a large retailer, sometimes it’s best not to bid on your brand name at all. 👀

Why? Competing against a brand with a considerable ad presence is tricky, and your efforts may prove to be fruitless when your products are already selling through another retailer’s ads. 🤷‍♀️

If you’re a brand that needs to gather data on your audience to grow the data pool in your Ads and/or Analytics account, bidding on your own branded terms may be a necessity!

If that's the case, the Pilothouse Google team recommends looking toward scale rather than a target ROAS bid strategy, which an eCommerce retailer may be tempted to utilize.

Let’s be real here. You’re not looking to compete with a brand as big as Sephora. 😔 What you’re looking to do is get eyes on your products!

This is where the target impression share bid strategy really comes in handy. The team wouldn’t recommend using this bid strategy outside of brand searches, but when hitting as many searches as possible is the intention, target impression share can’t be beaten. 🏆

🔐 Build trust with the “Trusted Store” badge

Even with all the eyes in the world peeping your product, ads are useless without trust. Shoppers love legitimacy, so give ‘em what they’re looking for!

Make sure you bulk out your ads with product reviews (*woot woot* social proof) and shipping information. 💫

See if you can spot the difference between Sephora’s ad (left) and Phlur’s in-house ads (right) for the same product: 👇

We trust you see the difference. 😉 Notice that little “trusted store” badge?

The badge isn’t something you can simply apply for but is something to consider as a retailer.

🚨 Your brand is automatically given this badge once meeting certain customer satisfaction criteria using Google’s Shopping experience scorecard program.

These metrics include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Return policy
  • Seller rating
  • Shipping speeds

Want more info on getting that Google blue tick? Check out this nifty article from Google here. 👈

If you’re not sure where your brand stands, you can track the information in the “Overview” page of the Google Merchant Center. If you haven’t yet been awarded the badge, there will be a rankings overview for you showing where opportunities for success are.

Not only does this badge help with consumer trust, it will also give your products a boost when bidding against similar listings by businesses without it!

🔎 Search ads

In case you didn’t know, us DTC peeps are way up in the north! We don’t have any ads in Canada for Phlur yet… but we also know that they’ve just recently launched international shipping. 🌎

When searching for “phlur” in the United States, they consistently rank above Sephora in Search ads, and the ad content seems much more relevant to shoppers. 👇

Phlur’s ads have a great suite of Sitelink extensions, and the Pilothouse Google team is very happy to see the usage of image extensions as well. These provide a killer CTR boost at no extra cost. 💸

We noticed that Phlur’s Search ads don’t show on any branded search terms beyond just “Phlur”... at least, from what we can find.

From our analysis, their top organic terms are all searches for their “Missing Person” perfume which blew up on TikTok earlier this year.

However, there are no ads to be found for a search of “phlur missing person” 👥. Instead, we’re only shown ads for their products at Sephora.

We’re not sure if this is intentional, as we mentioned before that bidding against yourself can be ill-advised… but this could be an excellent opportunity for a Search campaign experiment! 🕵️‍♀️

In a Search campaign experiment, Google Ads will allow you to test directing a set percentage of your traffic to a different bid strategy, such as target impression share.

Testing a bid strategy intended for overall reach may yield some interesting results contrasted against a bid strategy meant for returns. 🤯

🕸 Web traffic

If we’re honest, Phlur could use some scaling, at least on the paid side.

Their paid traffic to the site nearly matched their organic traffic back in October 2019. But since then, they haven’t seen anything close to that level. 🚗

Their organic traffic exploded from April to May 2022, growing nearly 9x in less than a month. That’s no surprise, given that their products launched on Sephora’s online site at the end of March 2022 and hit in-store shelves on April 8th, 2022.

The Pilothouse team recommends capitalizing on this buzz as much as possible and heavily scaling paid ads during times of high intent or when lots of buzz is generated.

This would have been an incredibly valuable opportunity to gather third-party data going into Q4. But wait! With their organic traffic levels still increasing steadily each month, it’s not too late.

Shoutout to the Pilothouse team for the always stellar insights.

That’s a wrap on part three of our Phlur Brand Breakdown! See ya next week for part four.

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