Dream Agility Blog

Music Magpies Google Ads Tips From Their £208m Journey

What can you learn from Music Magpie’s stellar growth?

Music Magpie, the leading UK seller of refurbished mobile phones, games and tech came from nowhere to push household name Mazuma Mobile off the coveted top slot, Magpies phenomenal success led to them floating with a value of £208 million. Quite an achievement when you consider they were selling second hand Books, CD’s and DVD’s when we first started working with them and had a modest presence on Google. We have won a number of awards over the years with Magpie for innovation and performance, they’ve had some unique challenges that we’ve overcome – but if it was easy everyone would be doing it!  

What can you take from their journey and apply to your business to improve your growth success? Read our full blog post where we reveal our top 5 takeaways for stellar growth.


  1. You have to have great quality data – get yourself a cheeky 5-10% uplift with effective dynamic feed optimisation. Don’t be misled by the sea of green in Google Merchant centre, it only shows a product has been accepted not that the data is correct or even decent quality. It’s a challenge if you only have a few thousand products in your database, but when that runs into millions, that’s a big data piece. If you have missing images, Google will tell you the first few, then it’s up to you to find the rest, if you have thousands missing that’s a job for a machine. Our first iteration of our Visual AI (DAIV) was built to solve this problem. To visit a web page and identify the image URL of an appropriate image to match the description. Improving the quality of your data and removing data that’s irrelevant or unnecessary in titles and descriptions can give a quick 5-10% uplift in sales. If you’re in fashion we have a dedicated free fashion feed audit that you can use.  

  1. Get front and centre in Google Shopping. If you’re selling products you have to be here. A well optimised manual campaign jacked full of negatives with remarketing will give you better results than Smart – which is essentially just hijacking your brand. Google has always been a nightmare for technical products, the move onto Smart has given some companies false reassurance that it’s working for them. Smart Shopping is a black box, you can neither see nor control what’s going on. Once you’ve put the budget in, that’s about the extent of your involvement. Googles machine learning is mainly driven by conversions, what converts consistently? Your brand. If smart is working better for you than your traditional shopping campaign, you probably didn’t have a great structure or enough negatives. The good news is that there are ways to structure Smart campaigns that can get better performance from them if you’re not getting the growth you were getting originally from them.  

  1. Pricing Strategy. Nobody wants a race to the bottom with pricing, everybody loses then. With a granular campaign on Shopping it’s easy to spot when you’re losing on price. One minute a product is selling all day long, the next you’re shelling out on ads but conversions have vanished. Get to know your competitors and keep them guessing where you’re going with your pricing. By including your cost of goods in your inventory feed you can make sure you’re always marketing profitably, as opposed to for Googles benefit.  

  1. Invest in tech. If you’re using what everyone else is using, you have no competitive advantage. Google gives everyone the same access to the same data, unless you have proprietary tech to do something different with it, don’t expect to outperform your competition- unless you are guaranteed the lowest in price. Music Magpie were first movers on everything we put out and it worked to their advantage.   

  1. Don’t mess with your budgets and make sure none of your campaigns are limited by budget. Some companies have a tendency to change their budgets throughout the month. This causes havoc with Google as it has to recalibrate its spend. Combine that with their policy of being able to spend 200% of budget in a day or 120% of the budget in the month and you won’t get the sales you would’ve got if you’d set it and left it. Use bids or bid modifiers to control spend if you need to increase or decrease budget unexpectedly, it’ll do far less damage to your campaigns and keep performance where you expected it to be. If you can work to a ROAS target and keep the budget unlimited, it’s a far better scenario for ensuring sales and ROAS are maintained. You don’t need to worry about a massive bill from Google, if it was as easy as turning on a tap of money to achieve sales, that’s all anyone would do. To hit big spends at a good ROAS takes time and skill.  

If you have a challenging account, with a large feed, high spend or large conversion value items and would like to have a chat about any of the aspects in the article where you could use our technology to achieve exponential uplifts, please book in for a demo and we’d be delighted to give you some personalised advice.