Belk, Inc. is a mainline American department store company with nearly 300 stores in 16 Southern states. The company seeks to be the department store of choice by providing superior service and merchandise that meets customers’ needs for fashion, value and quality. 

To better connect and engage with its consumers, Belk partnered with iCrossing, a marketing engagement agency, and Kenshoo to launch and manage its paid search and social advertising efforts.


Belk had been managing its search and social campaigns via the Kenshoo Infinity Suite and saw great results by utilising many facets of the platform. To take its program to the next level, the team sought to leverage search click data to create targetable audiences on social media.

The team wanted to target its highest value audiences to heighten overall performance, increase site traffic and conversions, and lower cost per acquisition (CPA). The goal of its campaigns was to reach users that already showed interest in products via paid search on Facebook and generate conversions.


Belk leveraged Kenshoo’s Intent-Driven Audiences (IDA) to automatically create and update Facebook Custom Audiences based on intent demonstrated through search engine activity.

To understand the impact of IDA, the team developed two tests:

  • A prioritised sale that positioned Belk’s current Facebook fans versus consumers that had searched for the Belk brand in the last 30 days.
  • A beauty campaign targeted to Belk’s current Facebook fans versus consumers who had searched for Belk, versus consumers who had searched for beauty brands over the same duration.

To gauge the success of each test, Belk looked at conversions as its primary key performance indicator (KPI) for these campaigns.

In conjunction with IDA, the team also leveraged offer ads that promoted timely discounts and deals to drive offline coupon redemptions and link post ads to drive online sales.


Through the use of Kenshoo’s IDA and the expertise of the iCrossing team, Belk generated extremely positive results in both tests.

Belk’s sale campaign saw a 545% increase in conversion rate for branded IDA audiences versus fans of its brand. The beauty campaign saw a 240% increase in conversion rate for Belk cosmetic searchers versus fans of its brand.

Overall, the test resulted in a 67% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA). In addition, the team saw a 400% lift in conversion rates when users were searching for Belk specifically (as opposed to non-brand terms), attributing positive brand recall in correlation with purchases.