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Case Study: Creating a Highly Functional MVP for Seer

04-01-20 Katie Jennings

Learn how we collaborated with Seer Interactive to build an MVP app that helps their clients cut down costs on PPC campaigns.

Sparkbox uses technology to support the business needs of a diverse range of partners. Whether we’re creating retail platforms or assisting with internal apps, we collaborate closely with client teams to understand and solve some of their most critical challenges.

In the spring of 2019, Sparkbox engaged with Seer Interactive, an industry leader in pay-per-click marketing, SEO, analytics, and related integrated digital marketing services. Seer needed a minimum viable product (MVP) that would help users find wasted spend in pay-per-click (PPC) ad buys. The MVP would need to be live within just a few weeks for a demo at a prominent industry conference.

Executing on a Big Idea

About three years ago, Seer began using business intelligence tools to take a more comprehensive look at the vast amount of data generated by client PPC campaigns. What they found is an often costly issue that many people don’t even know they have: on average, between 5 and 20% of a PPC account can be eaten up by irrelevant search terms that will never generate productive engagements with site visitors.

Even for campaigns where the return on investment is positive, a huge amount of revenue is wasted. So Seer created a product to help clients identify patterns leading to irrelevant terms, enabling them to prevent waste after click 1 instead of after click 100K. Sparkbox came on board to help create a lean version of this tool that could be offered for free to help the marketplace understand the problem, to spark interest in the product, and to help Seer generate conversations with potential new clients.

The app, called Saving Benjamin Lite™, allows any user to create and upload a search term report for analysis. In seconds, the tool will generate keyword groupings that appear to be wasting valuable PPC dollars. Users receive feedback about how to negate irrelevant keywords at the campaign or account level, instantly saving them money and increasing the return on a PPC investment. Of course, users can always learn more about improving their marketing campaigns, and Seer will gladly connect with them to explore additional opportunities.

To build the app, Sparkbox created functionality that securely uploads a user’s search term report to Amazon S3, holding onto it only long enough to rapidly process and perform keyword analysis using an algorithm composed in Go. Seer and Sparkbox iteratively adjusted the algorithm to identify keywords that were likely wasting money and to calculate how much money could be saved. This process uncovered the many use cases and types of results the app would need to return based on the analysis. We built the application with Ruby on Rails, which allowed us to begin quickly and move efficiently toward a working product. We integrated Seer’s lead generation form with their Saving Benjamin Mailchimp campaign.

Read more about our work on performance improvement with Seer.

Sparkbox/Seer Collaboration

Sparkbox brought its collaborative approach to the project, combining expert project management with close client engagement. Weekly stand-ups ensured that everyone on the team was working from a shared vision for the project and was up to speed on what was needed to keep moving forward productively while accommodating changes on the fly.

“I felt less like I was engaging with an agency we hired, and more like I was engaging with the team that was built around me to help us get this project done. That team integration and problem-solving was really fluid.” —Erin Simmons

With the MVP completed in time for the conference, we began an iterative process of adapting the site to respond to Seer’s evolving needs and messaging strategies, changing the visual design and copy based on feedback from beta users and optimizing the upload process.

“The Sparkbox team was more than able to meet the technical requirements even as we, the client, needed to adjust them to respond to user observation.” —Erin Simmons, Marketing Lead at Seer Interactive

Since inception, Saving Ben Lite has helped Seer reach over 4K users with their message and generate over 200 leads.

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A portrait of Vice President of Business Development, Katie Jennings.

Katie Jennings

Vice President of Business Development