The marketplace of pre-owned luxury watches and jewelry aims to maximize its Google Shopping ads, which are key to its web traffic.

More than half of TrueFacet.com’s traffic comes from search.

As of Oct. 4, search accounted for 67.5% of all of TrueFacet.com’s desktop traffic, according to digital analytics firm SimilarWeb Ltd. So having a strong search engine marketing strategy is a high priority for the pre-owned luxury jewelry and watches online marketplace.

To help manage its search campaigns, including its Google Shopping campaign, TrueFacet Inc. brought on digital marketing firm Elite SEM in April, says Zach Beatty, the marketplace’s head of acquisition marketing. Google Shopping ads show up at the top of search results, featuring a product  image, a brief description and prices from various retailers.

Elite SEM tweaks the online marketplace’s product feed that it sends to Google Shopping by ensuring it meets Google’s specifications, Beatty says. For example, if the retailer listed a product color as “midnight”, the vendor would change it to “black” so Google could easily categorize it in search results, says Evan Kirkpatrick, director, shopping and feed at Elite SEM. That’s because shoppers don’t type in “midnight bracelet” to Google, but rather “black bracelet.”

Retailers also need to ensure their product titles are optimized for Google, meaning all the words a consumer would search for, such as a brand or size, are in the title provided to Google, even it if is not listed that same way on the retailer’s site, Kirkpatrick says. The vendor ensures that  product titles are uniform across Google, for consistent branding, Beatty says.

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The vendor also categorizes products in TrueFacet’s product feed to ensure each item is properly tagged so the correct model of the product, not just a similar model, shows up in Google Shopping results, he says. This is important because if a consumer then clicks on the Google Shopping image, she is taken to that product page. Such traffic is highly valuable to TrueFacet, since that shopper is looking for a specific product and she is taken directly to it on the online marketplace’s site.

The shopping ads have boosted the retailer’s traffic coming from paid search. As of Oct. 4, TrueFacet.com received 46.5% of its U.S. desktop traffic from paid Google search, the highest compared with any other traffic source. This percentage has increased since it hired Elite SEM. Previously, traffic from paid search between October 2015 and September of this year accounted for 39.0% of TrueFacet.com’s traffic.

By comparison, luxury consignment retailer The RealReal receives the majority of its U.S. desktop traffic directly at 34.8%, according to SimilarWeb data. Paid search is only 12.4% of its traffic, and organic search is 16.0%. The RealReal is No. 206 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

Working with an agency to manage search campaigns is advantageous because search-focused vendors have the staffing to scale projects and execute campaigns, and the insider knowledge about trends in search ads and what other retailers are doing, Beatty says. Given that TrueFacet.com has 50,000 marketplace items that are continually changing based on what consumers are providing to list, having a vendor for search makes sense, he says. Plus, Elite SEM will provide analytics to the marketplace to ensure TrueFacet  is hitting its goals. The companies have weekly performance calls.

On average, Elite SEM charges a monthly fee of $6,000 to $8,000 for clients, Kirkpatrick says, although costs can scale up to $1 million per month depending on the size of the client.

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TrueFacet allows consumers to directly list their products on the site, much like they do on eBay, or the seller can ship it to TrueFacet, which will take the photos of the product and list it. Either way, TrueFacet authenticates the products and product parts. For example, if the product is a Rolex watch, TrueFacet will ensure that the watch is composed of authentic Rolex parts. TrueFacet takes up to 20% of a product’s selling price. About 50,000 products are listed on the site from more than 70 brands. The marketplace, launched in 2014, recently raised $6 million in funding led by venture capital firm Maveron LLC.

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