Malaysian Media Awards Winners Showcase

2023 | |

Maxis : A Masterclass in Bid Defense

Advertiser: Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd
Brand: Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd
Credits: -


Objective & Challenge
Price Attacks With 99% penetration, mobile communication is saturated but remains rewarding as data usage per user is on the rise [2]. This is largely due to the increasingly mobilereliant world, which demands everything on the go, from productivity to ecommerce and services to content and entertainment. This makes telecommunication a fiercely competitive category in paid search. Maxis, the market leader in ARPU (Average Revenue per User) has become a common attack target. Competitors were bidding aggressively on Maxis’ branded terms keywords on search engine consistenly with different offers and low pricing plans. This has resulted in a huge spike in Maxis’ SEM cost metrics and limited campaign performance. Retaliating competitor will create negative consequences for brand and consumer equity and result in loss in margin. That leads Maxis to conclude it’s NOT about retaliating to competitors’ attack or offering competitive pricing, but about having the right ad to attract quality clicks from the right consumers. Looking inwardly but consumer centric to defunct competitors’ attacks. To do that, Maxis needs to drive consistency and relevancy in ad communication to improve CTR, conversion and page ranking. An overhaul of Maxis SEM where previously ad communication was frequently changed to stay relevant to searchers. However, this approach led to drops in page rankings as the SEM campaign was constantly in the learning phase.

Insight & Strategy
During the pandemic, the government launched Prihatin stimulus package which includes free mobile internet access for the public to financially support the increased demand of internet usage [3]. However, these benefits was removed once MCO is lifted on 31 Dec 2021. Accompanied by the gloomy economic outlook, many consumers who have raised their habitual mobile data consumption are available to be converted to various mobile carriers therefore pricing competition escalated [4]. Consumers seek mobile data plan with extensive coverage, stability, and high speed to support their various tasks and entertainment needs, these are the intrinsic value that attracts consumers. To regain Maxis’s market share, we must maintain Maxis’ ranking at the top of the search engine results page and generate conversion despite an aggressive pricing war. The search engine is a constantly learning machine, it stores vast amounts of user data and behaviors. Through automation and machine learning, Maxis can access this big data and generate highly relevant ad copies. This significantly reduces the time spent on manual optimization of search queries, avoids disrupting campaign learning caused by frequent changes, and leads to more stable performance metrics. With that Maxis will serve highly relevant ads that call out the intrinsic value to create consumer’s needs to convert and make a purchase.

3 automation approaches were identified to generate high relevancy ads that display latest intrinsic value that consumers are searching for. Approach 1: Creating Highly Relevant Ads That Is Deeply Connected To Consumer Needs. Maxis integrated automation in ad communication by using Responsive Search Ads (RSA) which allows the system to automatically experiment with various combinations to see which ones perform the best, ultimately serving the right ads to the right audience. The team conducted performance audit of ad copies over the past six months, identified those with high conversion rate and clickthrough rate. This analysis helped uncover the distinct intrinsic values that consumers associate with each product pillar. Based on the findings, new ads featuring the most effective combinations were implemented in the campaign. With this, Maxis delivers highly relevant messages based on consumers’ past search behaviour, addressing each individual’s intrinsic value, deeply connected to their user experience. Approach 2: To target the Untapped, HighConverting Value Consumers. 15% of searches are brand new every day on search [5]. Maxis opted for an automated approach by implementing Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) to expand the scope of relevant search queries, enhance discoverability, and thereby capture a greater number of potential customers for conversion. When users initiate search queries related to Maxis’ landing page, they will be presented with ads featuring relevant landing pages and headlines generated automatically through machine learning. Consequently, the displayed ads are considered highquality due to the strong relevance between the search terms and the content of the landing page, with ad descriptions directly extracted from the landing page content. Through DSA, Maxis avoids missing any relevant user queries and ensures ads are shown only when they are pertinent. The campaign’s improved clickthrough rate and sales conversions confirm that the consumers reached prioritize user experience over being price sensitive. Approach 3: Reduce Disruption Towards Campaign Learning To Reduce Cost Through Relevancy Search queries can come in many ways, as consumers search differently. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is an automation feature that Maxis implements in the ad copies, allowing the system to automatically include consumers’ search queries in one of the headlines when the search query matches with Maxis’ targeted keywords. This helps to frame consistency in showing highly relevant ads with consumer’s search term in ads served without needing to make changes to the ad copies. Maxis has reduced the frequency of making changes to ad copies so that the campaign doesn’t go into consistent learning phrases. Allowing the campaign to perform stably is able to see increments in conversions and achieve low cost per action.

Identifying untapped, valuable consumers and engaging with them through search campaign, Maxis saw positive impact on sales conversion & revenue drive. YOY Apr to Mar 2023 vs 2022, Maxis achieved an average of +58% increase in total Conversion Rate, cost per conversion drop 41% while Click Through Rate (CTR) has increased by +17%. Maxis also gained great momentum on Absolute Top Impression Share (Page Rank) from lower than 10% when the new SEM strategy started; to 80% in Q1 2023 and with that Maxis officially defuncted competitors’ attack. Automation with human intervention makes great results.