FIRST deployed an SEM winter campaign for Mags4Gifts involving cuisine, NZ Life & Leisure and NZ House & Garden Magazines.

CLIENT: Fairfax Media    |    PROJECT: Seasonal AdWords Campaigns

Increased magazine subscription within an acceptable cost per sale. How campaign sales target was exceeded by 45%.

Fairfax Media is the largest integrated metropolitan, rural and regional magazine and digital media company in Australasia. Fairfax Media has publications and websites throughout Australia and New Zealand. To boost sales over the winter period between Mother’s Day and Christmas promotions, FIRST deployed an SEM winter campaign for Mags4Gifts involving Cuisine, NZ Life & Leisure, and NZ House & Garden magazines.

Our objective was to achieve a measurable increase in magazine subscriptions within an acceptable cost per sale, over an 8 week campaign period.

Insight and analysis

Using valuable insights from the data within Google Analytics and intelligence gained from reviewing past performance of similar campaigns, FIRST honed in on the key drivers that would really impact results and achieve sales targets for the campaign.

It always pays to ensure the campaign is set up correctly from the beginning. By ensuring the campaigns, ad groups and keywords are closely aligned and targeted to each magazine title, reporting and performance measurement is far easier to manage and optimise.

By first persuading our target market to click on our ads over the competition, and then directing these users to relevant, targeted pages with a compelling offer (prizes), the campaign proved to be very successful.

Here are 3 key tactics employed during the campaign to help achieve the set outcomes:

  • Implemented and tested Google’s upgraded Sitelinks which proved to be more effective generating an increase in CTR of +1.12% for the campaign period.
  • Implemented a number of custom GA alerts which indicated significant campaign changes. This allowed us to review contributing factors to change and action insights accordingly to maximise sales.
  • Monitored both product and search activity to identify sales and traffic trends to maximise ad visibility on ‘hot’ sellers


By making incremental optimisation changes during the course of the campaign FIRST achieved the following results:

Exceeded the sales target by 45%

Cut cost per acquisition by 20%

Improved conversion rate by 60%

Generated additional 54% revenue over the goal

Cut cost per click by over 20%

“FIRST, continue to deliver for us time and time again on each campaign and have moved the performance needle up a notch each and every year. Their results speak for themselves, but, additionally, we enjoy working with FIRST because they take the time to really ensure we understand their thinking and strategy and what drives our ROI from Search. Our monthly brainstorming sessions are particularly useful and their clear communication around complex digital marketing issues is appreciated. I would not hesitate to recommend FIRST to any business looking to gain the edge online.”
– CHRIS PEARCE, Digital Marketing Executive

Key Learnings

An SEM campaign should not be approached as ‘set & forget’, rather it’s the ongoing refinement and optimisation during the campaign based off visitor interaction and response that can really help drive performance.

  • Use data to make informed, strategic decisions

  • Leverage technology and automation to keep your finger on the pulse of the campaign, use this data and information to feed back into campaign optimisation tactics.

  • Search is always evolving. Use cutting-edge tools and tactics to improve performance.

    A strong, compelling offer can be the difference between mediocre or ‘awesome’ results.

TIP: Split test different offers to see which resonates the best with your target market. Leverage this information for future campaigns.