Matthew Miller
Aug 4, 2021

How CP FreshMart won business by losing Google-search ad auctions

CASE STUDY: With Yell Advertising, the Thai food-delivery service purposely lost search-engine keyword auctions and wrote ad copy that called out the competitor in the above ad spot.

How CP FreshMart won business by losing Google-search ad auctions

Background and objective

CP FreshMart, a fresh-food delivery service in Thailand, wanted to inform the market about its differentiating proposition: free delivery without the minimum-spend requirements of its competitors. At the same time, the company wanted to make the most of a modest SEM budget.


Bangkok's Yell Advertising concocted the 'Search 'n' ambush' campaign. The team intentionally aimed to come in second place in auctions for particular keywords on Google search—the aim being to win the ad spot directly below a competitor's ad. Then, CP FreshMart's ad copy explicitly called out the competitor in the No. 1 spot, pointing out that those companies claimed to offer 'free delivery', but only for orders above a minimum spend threshhold.

Examples of the campaign ad copy (translated)

The team looked for keywords that people tend to search for relating to food services and delivery. These were divided into two types based on search volume: the highly competitive (expensive) generic keywords, and the less competitive (less expensive) 'long-tail' keywords.

The team then analysed the keywords using Google Keyword Planner to see the average monthly search volume and top-of-page bid (low rank and high rank) for each one. Then, the team bid for prices that would make the campaign's ads appear at the top of the page, but without winning the top-most spot.

A representative for the Yell team said there was always a chance that a CP FreshMart ad would appear above the ad of a competitor. However, "intense competitor research" found that the food-delivery market has very high competition for keywords, so the team knew that it would be difficult to end up on top without paying a high price. The team was able to monitor positioning and adjust accordingly during the campaign period.  


Within a month of the campaign, which ran in Janaury, CP FreshMart:

  • Doubled its number of new users, compared to the prior month
  • Achieved a 5X higher clickthrough rate for household goods, compared to the average
  • Scored a 151% increase in its total number of customers
  • Notched a 16X return on adspend on a campaign budget of US$18,750
  • Took in US$300,000 in revenue attributed to the campaign.

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