Walmart SEM


  • Problem – Situation
  • Tasks – My Goals
  • Actions


"When I get up in the morning, after my Red Bull, I need to see the trends for all my managers."

~VP of Marketing

Walmart Labs is the innovation arm of Walmart. The SEM tool is a powerful tool that provides a bidding system
for the Walmart search campaigns and the analytics for their: management, traffic coordinators and the data scientists.

I was tasked, when joining the team, with redesigning the dashboard and user flow. They wanted me to identify the pain points and streamline the experience in order to have all of the users working from a single platform.

Search campaigns comprise an enormous amount of revenue for Walmart in addition to the COOP campaigns that they engage with their business partners.

It was paramount that the tool be easy to use in order to allow for quick glance reporting and ease of navigation around the tool.

They hired me to put a fresh set of eyes on the problem and design a solution.


Key Tasks
  • Watch the daily add campaign trends
  • Evaluate the ROAS
  • Create reports on campaigns
  • Optimize Adspend
  • Avoid Losses
  • Create a successful campaign
  • Increase revenue
  • Notification when outside ideal margins
Pain Points
  • Need my campaigns to launch at once
  • Need to integrate Adwords editor with management tools
  • Need notification to assist in managing campaigns and diagnosis of performance

Design Process

Problem - Situation​

Walmart was building a powerful Search Engine Marketing tool and dashboard.
Few people were adopting the tool. The users were using old tools, work arounds and calling the manager of the project to create reports for them because it was too difficult for them to use. There was no alert system in place to block the algorithm from bidding on words or the ability to override the system.

What are the pain points?

I created a list of pain points and created a heirarchy by identifying clusters or repeat complaints that came up during the interviews. The bold highlights in the list below were the clear clusters of pain points.

The Coop is not intuitive

It takes too many steps to get to the user’s campaigns, they want a separate My Campaigns button to present personalized information.

They only use ES IF there is an alarming trend in their campaign research, they go back to confirm. They would like to have the basic trends visible in Coop

The defaults for the dates in the management section and options section are not sufficient.

They don’t like the name Coop they prefer, Campaign or TBD.

The chart in Coop is not intuitive they end up going to excel to edit and create reports.

The Management area falls short of being able to manage the ad spend or change ad words. They end up going to the individual search areas.

The management team rely heavily on middle management to get up dates

The management team wants to see Metrics that display forecasting
The new bidding system should have a forcasting chart.

Who are the user’s and what are their goals?

Ecosystem: executives, traffic analysts, partners and data analysts, bidding SEM algorithm engineers and project manager’s

User’s goals:
• Need to see the daily/hourly adspend, clicks (traffic), ROAS
• Need to see the trends over time and seasonally
• Ability to easily track campaigns
• Ability to manage and adjust the adspend for maximum ROAS


Create a new personalized dashboard for the various user groups.
Create a Bidding System that would allow for overriding the algorithms in the system.
Create a simple to use campaign set up section.
Create defaults that allowed the users to see what they wanted without a lot of set up.

Tasks - My Goals

Research the Eco-System of users and stakeholders in order to define the project and it’s scope.
Understand the project user’s goals and pain points.
Research using a card-sorting process to re-establish a new streamlined global navigation.
Create a user journey, work flow, wireframes to display my proposal and new hierarchy of features.

Define user journeys for the primary users

Now that I had spoken to the users I could begin creating user journeys. This included a user journey and flow for the executives and marketing managers, the traffic analysts had a different need so a different user journey for each category of user.
Example: The managers were interested in seeing overall numbers and the traffic people needed to go directly to their campaigns that they were managing.

Further Research

After interviewing the users and identifying the needs for the tool, I needed to set up a global navigation. I created a card sorting research online for users, and emailed it to each of the users that I had interviewed as well as their co- workers. This was helpful in setting up default views and establishing what I would have for the navigation.

Journeys, Flows and Wires

“ I need a simple way to create a report for my managers and customers.”

~Traffic Analyst ​

Create a report user journey
Dianna the Traffic Analyst, opens the application. She then clicks on the Analytics navigation button and chooses My Initiatives. This defaults to a Month to Date display of graphics and information. She has the option to toggle to Custom Dates, Last Year to Date or Year to Date. These were the options she had requested during the interviews.

From these dates she is shown: adspend, number of clicks and return on adspend. She can edit the metrics of the table by turning any of these on or off and create a report based on the metrics displayed. Once the report is created she can save it to a file or send emails to her manager or partners.

The hierarchy of the navigation was defined by the card sorting and implemented by personalizing the display after a user has logged in and is identified.
Checking on traffic coordinator’s user journey
Dianna is a Traffic Analyst. She opens the application. She is working on the Electronics department’s campaigns. She is taken immediately to her personalized traffic information. It displays her name in the upper right. The new dashboard now displays the static overall numbers in the header. (This is of some interest to Dianna, but implemented mostly for the executives.) Dianna clicks on the Filter in the left column. Most of her campaigns are Web Initiated. She selects the Devices and Keywords. She can now adjust metrics by M to D (Month to Date) Y to D (Year to Date) or Fiscal Year. She can readily search by campaign name and create reports.

As she adjusts the metrics she can get a quick glance summary of the numbers below her graph or she can print out her graph and email a full report to her manager.

This was my V1 (version one) proposal for the new dashboard for Campaigns based on interviews and card
“ I just want to go to my campaigns when I open the application. Time is an important factor in terms of following the progress of my COOP campaigns.”

~Traffic Analytics Coordinator ​

Business Value


The SEM tool creates more revenue than all of online sales. The new dashboard and user friendly flow was implemented and embraced by the management leadership
and the Traffic Analysts.

The Traffic Analysts were instrumental in designing the solution and reviewing progress. This created an environment for buy in.

The biggest hurdle was the implementation of the Bidding Dash. There was concern for too big a swing in bid changes to the bidding process and too many people with access to override the algo. We resolved this problem and implemented the alert system.

The project was proudly announced in an All Hands by the executives.