General Nutrition Center, Inc. (GNC) was searching for a competitive advantage—much like the one the brand constantly delivers for its health and fitness consumers. Rich Ads in Search on the Yahoo! Bing Network enabled GNC to stand out from some fierce competition with eye-catching visuals that enhanced click-through rates, and additional links that drove value-creating conversions.
For years, GNC, the largest global specialty retailer of nutritional products, has invested in search marketing to deliver strong conversion rates at a low cost-per-action. However, as the health and nutrition market grew increasingly crowded, the brand needed an additional competitive edge to stand out from all the clutter.
“At GNC, we’re always looking for new ways to push the envelope with our marketing campaigns,” says Shawn Freeman, Director of Online Marketing. “We wanted a new, innovative way to drive more traffic to our e-commerce site and, most importantly, increase revenue and return-on- investment.”
In partnership with its digital agency True Action Network, GNC turned to Rich Ads in Search to increase CTR and conversions. These ads, which appear in both Yahoo! Search and Bing search results, offer search advertisers the ability to display images, links, logos, videos and form fields in their ads—not just plain text. Rich Ads in Search are also unique because they give brands another clear competitive advantage: They are always at the top of the page, which has proven to get the most visibility and strongest CTR on the search results page.
“I’ve been managing search campaigns for years because the visual features make them incredibly eye-catching,” says Amy Hahn, Marketing Manager at True Action Network. “They are one of the best ways to make your brand stand out from all the other links on a search results page, especially when competitors appear right next to your brand.”
GNC took advantage of the extraordinary aspects of these search ads by displaying an 80 x 60 image of its logo and well-known tagline, “Live Well.” The company also grabbed users’ attention by including links that took them to its top four e-commerce categories: Vitamins & Supplements, Diet, Sports Nutrition and Protein. The goal was to make the links short and to the point so as to promote action. If a user was interested in making a purchase in a certain category, GNC wanted to make it easy for him or her to be just one click away.
“One of the best parts of Rich Ads in Search is that there are so many opportunities for the person to click—that’s a huge plus for search campaigns. The consumer can click on the image, the ad headline or any one of the site links,” says Freeman.
GNC ran its Rich Ads in Search campaign for two weeks and saw traditional search click-through rates soar during this time, to a whopping 40 percent. This represented a 700-percent increase in CTR for the brand.
“We were obviously very pleased with the results and how GNC was able to get a leg up on our competitors with a very visually stimulating ad,” says Freeman. “It’s great that Yahoo! offers this innovative search ad format that essentially functions like a display ad, and which no other competitor offers.”
GNC’s Rich Ads in Search campaign also drove more users to make purchases, quickly emerging as one of the brand’s top online revenue-generators.
“Everyone we dealt with at Yahoo! was extremely helpful,” says Hahn. “The template our rep provided was particularly valuable. It makes the set-up and testing of the ad very easy. I use it every time; I just copy and paste to create very dynamic, powerful ads.”
GNC is a leading global specialty retailer of health and wellness products, including vitamins, minerals and herbal supplement products, sports nutrition products and diet products. GNC has more than 7,500 locations, including franchise operations in 52 countries. GNC helps its customers Live Well through proprietary brands like Mega Men, Ultra Mega, GNC Wellbeing, Pro Performance and Longevity Factors, as well as nationally recognized third-party brands. GNC trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GNC.
About True Action Network
TrueAction NetworkTM is a full-service ecommerce and digital marketing agency and one of the nation’s leading performance-based marketing services companies. The agency provides innovative digital marketing strategies, award-winning creative, an advertising analytics and attribution management platform, and many other services. TrueAction Network is a wholly owned subsidiary of GSI Commerce. GSI Commerce is an eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) company.