Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a vital part of any retailers online marketing strategy. But how can you ensure you’re getting it right and not wasting that all-important budget?
Perhaps you’re investing a lot into your Google AdWords account, but not seeing the return? A successful PPC account is always a work in progress. It’s an on-going project that requires regular maintenance and testing to get the most ROI from your advertising budget. There are a number of ways you can improve your account and overall PPC strategy, but there are some very common mistakes to be made. We’ve therefore put together some top tips on how to avoid them.
Correctly setting up a merchant centre account is the first step to building a successful PPC strategy. A well set up merchant centre account can be used for Google, Bing and Facebook. Unfortunately, they are ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the structure of your merchant centre account, however, a good way of doing it is to have the structure of the account reflect the structure of the website.
This way you can keep a close eye on the different areas of your website and easily manage the categories. In addition, it’s important to review the guidelines provided by Google to make sure you are using the best practice.
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s a very common mistake for a lot of PPC accounts. Quite simply, if you don’t have KPIs in place you cannot measure the success (or failure) of an account.
Knowing where your account performs best, and where it is struggling will allow you to adjust your strategy and achieve better results. Whilst cost per acquisition (CPA) is a metric used by many in the world of PPC, it is important to have a Return On Investment (ROI) or cost-of-sale target in retail to guarantee the profitability of your account.
Google AdWords is a live auction so the bids placed yesterday may not be the correct bid you’ll need to place today. Consider the cost-per-click (CPC) bids within your PPC account, consider the profit of any conversion and finally consider the Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) that any activity should be generating. It is important to regularly review your account for any CPC bids that are too low or too high and implement any necessary changes.
A top tip for bid management would be to experiment with automated bidding strategies once you have a good amount of conversion data. This will help to reduce the amount of time required to make manual bid changes.
Ad copy is one of the keys to the success of retail search but it should be consistently tested and refined. The best ad copy needs to drive a strong Quality Score, include special offers and USPs, and ensuring the copy reads well is crucial. Replace any generic ad copy with location specific or seasonal ad copy, which will perform much better. It’s then vital that you are always testing three or four ad variations at any one time and reacting to the fluctuations in performance
Many retailers have no ad scheduling set up and this is often because they want to maximise sales and feel it is more beneficial to have the account running 24/7. While in some limited cases this may be true, it’s often a better strategy to save PPC budget when the account is statistically less likely to convert and reinvest this budget into times of the day when it’s more likely to convert.
For example, in the auto parts industry Monday has the highest number of sales whilst Sunday has the lowest number of sales. Around 1am-8am drives the lowest number of sales but at a strong ROI. This data can then be used to optimise the ad scheduling strategy.
Smaller retailers will see a huge benefit in taking advantage of location based advertising. All the main search engines and social media platforms allow you to display ads (both text and image) in specific locations. This can be done at city or town level (such as ‘Oxford’ or ‘Abingdon’) or by using a radius around a location such as ‘10 miles around Abingdon’ or ‘5 miles around OX1’.
Because the message can be specifically targeted at a chosen location, it can be tailored to that audience. National retailers rarely push out local messages, focusing on a more general approach, giving local retailers an advantage.
It is unlikely that you will run all your AdWords accounts all year round. Therefore, it’s important to look at trends data to ensure you are planning for product seasonality. If you have been managing your account for a while, the data available to you is invaluable and can be used for more accurate creation of future campaigns. However, bear in mind that if you have a wide range of products, the seasonality of different products will be varied as well.
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