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Waitrose Ads

How to appear top of Waitrose search results with Citrus Ad

A Waitrose customer searches an average of four times during each online shop. Therefore this provides a substantial opportunity for brands to surface their products to the top of these searches.


The supermarket shop is a competitive space, making the chances of your products showing for a customer’s search all the less likely. Thankfully, there is a solution - Waitrose Citrus Ads.


Any Waitrose online shopper may have noticed the three sponsored products that generally sit at the top of search results and category pages. These are placements that brands have paid for, whereby they are bidding to have their product show up at the top of the results, much like advertisers do on Google search results.


How does Waitrose choose which product to show first?

The Citrus Ad platform assigns a relevancy score to every ad that enters the Waitrose Ads auction. This is done through a combination of factors:


  1. How likely the platform deems a customer to click and buy a product. It’s likely that Waitrose also factors in historical data - consider the purchase data that Waitrose has on its users from past shops. This therefore enables the platform to “predict” how likely a customer is to buy a product.

  2. How much an advertiser has bid to appear in the results, and also past performance. The higher you bid, the more likely you are to appear (as long as the ad has a good relevancy score).


In addition, the Relevancy and Quality score is calculated through compiling together Click Through Rate (CTR), Conversion rate (CVR) and Cost Per Click (CPC).


Advertisers are charged on a cost per click (CPC) basis. This means that you are only charged when a customer clicks on your ad, or adds it to their basket. The minimum that an advertiser can bid on Waitrose ads is £0.50, however, it’s rare to get impressions at that level. So bid fairly aggressively.


It’s important to stress the importance of relevancy. It’s not as simple as just bidding the highest, and you’ll appear top of the results. Naturally this wouldn’t be a fair system for brands with smaller budgets than the big boys. So always keep relevancy in mind - the more relevant your ad is to a customer, the less you’ll have to bid to win the auction. 


Often, two advertisers will have similar relevancy. In this instance, you will want to ensure your maximum bid is higher than your competitors. Of course, this is easier said than done, so requires an element of tweaking your bids until you get a higher impression ratio (i.e. your ad shows more frequently for the number of impressions it was eligible to appear).


The Auction

The Waitrose Ads auction is based on a 2nd price auction model. This means that the winning bid will only ever be £0.01 over the next highest bid. This is great for advertisers - technically you could bid £10.00, but still only pay £3.01 were the second place advertiser only bidding £3.00. 


There may be times where you see your CPC is lower than your cost per acquisition (CPA). What this tells you is that customers are buying multiple of your products, from a single click. This is great to see, as it means your average basket size is higher.


Below is how product performance metrics appear in Waitrose Citrus Ads.


The attribution window

It is important to allow your ads time to perform. Just because a user clicked your ad on a given day, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would have purchased there and then. They might come back tomorrow, next week, in a fortnight to make the purchase.


Waitrose Citrus Ads are able attribute a sale up to 21 days. This means if someone clicked an ad today, and purchase in three weeks time, the sale would get attributed to your ad. If they purchased in three weeks and one days time, it wouldn’t be captured.


The lesson here is to not judge your results to quickly. We always seek to give campaigns time to bed in, for this very reason. More on this below, in our 5 expert tips.


What’s not allowed?

Unfortunately, it is not permitted to bid on a competitor's brand or product terms. Your ads will be rejected.


Also, it is not allowed to bid on complementary terms - Waitrose like to ensure product results are super relevant. Sainsbury’s advertisers will be familiar with “Cross-sell” ads, which allow you to bid on products that might pair well with your product. e.g. fish and chips. Bread and butter. Sadly, this isn’t permitted on Waitrose, so if you are also listed in Sainsbury’s, it’s worth considering also running ads on the Sainsbury’s Nectar360 platform. We can also help out here.


5 Expert tips to success

  1. It always pays to think like a customer when picking your search terms. And to remember that a high percentage of people will be searching on mobile phones. Therefore, inevitably, misspellings will occur. So be sure to include these in your search terms. E.g. “cream crackers” and “cream crakkers”

  2. Eventually you will begin to see which keywords are driving the scale. For any higher cost (but profitable) keywords you would like to assign more spend to, it is worth isolating them into their own campaign. That way you can be sure they are getting sufficient spend. The less competitive terms are then left in their own campaign.

  3. Monitor ROAS. Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) is the true measure of success. Essentially this calculates how much revenue you’ve taken versus how much you’ve spent. i.e. a ROAS of 100% would mean you are making £1.00 for every £1.00 you spend. Therefore ideally, you would want to be over a ROAS of 1 to be “profitable”.  Waitrose Ads benchmarks a ROAS of 200% to 400% as being a good result. Any search terms that are delivering over 100% ROAS should be kept running and monitored. If they don’t improve over time, they can be removed.

  4. Another metric to watch is Click Through Rate (CTR). This tells you how many people that are served your ad are clicking them. A CTR of 2% and over is where advertisers should be aiming. The key to a good CTR is ensuring the keywords you select are relevant to the customer.

  5. As mentioned above, give your campaigns enough time, ideally 2 to 4 weeks to optimise and build enough data to make decisions from (and to sweep up those 21 day attributed sales). Regularly check where your products are appearing on, and if they are too low, then look to increase CPC bids for 50-100%, and review after an hour. You can always knock the bids back down again if it gets too expensive.

Waitrose Ad Placements

Waitrose Citrus Ads presently offer three campaign types. It’s possible there will be more added in the future. Below is a brief overview.


Search - In Grid

Products are eligible to appear in this space, based on relevant search terms selected. A maximum of 3 sponsored products will appear in this space.


Category - In Grid

This campaign type places your ads in the relevant category for your product. Therefore, there are no search terms required for this ad type. There tends to be less relevance with category pages, given they encompass multiple sub-categories. With this in mind, category campaigns tend to have higher CPA’s.


Offers - In Grid

The Offers placement is for products that are reduced. Waitrose Ads do give you the option of always having this campaign type running, whereby anytime your products are on offer, they’ll automatically start running.


What next...

Waitrose Citrus Ads gives brands a huge opportunity to generate low cost sales, and to steal a march on the competition. As a relatively new ad platform, it is worth getting ahead of the game and using it now, before the rest of your competition catches up.


Get in touch with us below to find out how we can help you get started.


Looking for help with your retail strategy, specifically Waitrose Ads?


Get in touch below or book a brand intro call.

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