ThriftBooks is the largest direct-to-consumer seller of used books in the world with more than 13 million titles in stock at any given time. Wheelhouse DMG has managed paid search for ThriftBooks since 2011.

Driving strong ROI for a bookseller with 13 million titles requires a digital advertising approach that is both expansive and highly responsive to the dynamic nature of used book inventory and to frequent fluctuations in marketplace demand for a specific title – or used books in general. Promoting millions of titles requires millions more ads and product listings.

Our Work

From modest beginnings (our initial market test required a budget of just $2,000), Wheelhouse DMG built, and continues to manage, a digital campaign of immense complexity and sophistication. The total number of titles in stock at ThriftBooks has grown from 1 million to 13 million as their revenue has risen through our SEM work with them. We rely on intensive data analysis combined with a third-party bid management platform to maximize performance.

In late 2019, we began testing a form of dynamic bidding for select campaigns, carefully tuning campaigns and expanding implementation only when ROAS targets were met.

By January of 2020, performance consistently was meeting or exceeding ROAS targets and we began to expand application across the account – work that accelerated as the business climate and consumer purchasing habits dramatically changed in early March.

The Results

On a year-over-year basis, we dramatically improved performance for both KPI’s, increasing revenue by 95% (from $28.7 million to $56 million) in 2020 versus 2019 and ROAS by 13% over that same period. As the year progressed the impact of our strategy matured, the rate of improvement also accelerated, with year-over-year revenue up by more than 122% in November. It is worth noting that, in our nine years of managing paid search for ThriftBooks, Wheelhouse DMG has driven an average annual revenue increase of 64% while simultaneously meeting or exceeding ROAS targets.


Increase in revenue from 2019 to 2020


Increase in year-over-year revenue


Increase in ROAS from 2019 to 2020

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