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Blog items tagged with "ecommerce-ppc"

Proven Tips to Better Optimize Your Ecommerce PPC Campaigns

Ecommerce PPC can be a complicated endeavor for even experienced advertisers. Fortunately, there are a few specific features that can offer the data and insights needed to make intelligent improvements.

Below we delve into 5 tips that can help you optimize your ecommerce PPC campaigns for dramatic improvements. Let's dive right in.

1. See "Search Terms" & Pinpoint Potential Negative Keywords

One of the most revealing features in Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter is information that can be viewed under the Dimensions tab (specifically "Search Terms".) Open the Search Terms for any particular ad group. This will show data surrounding exactly the queries that users have searched to trigger your ads.

AdWords Dimensions Search Terms

If you notice certain keywords that are not relevant or aligned with your bidding objectives, then:

  • Your keyword bidding strategy needs to be improved (often using more precise matching [see next tip below]).
  • You may want to pinpoint unwanted keyword variations and implement them as negative keywords (i.e. "polypropylene wetsuits" and "polypropylene wetsuit repair " - add "repair" as negative keyword.

Dimensions can offer a world of insight to better optimize your ecommerce PPC campaigns. Play around with various views and see what data you can turn into actionable strategies.

2. Improve Your Keyword Bidding Strategies

After looking at the Search Terms used in various ad groups, there may be obvious indicators to improve your keyword bidding strategy. For instance, if you notice a lot completely unrelated queries (i.e. your bidding on full-sleeve wet suits but Search Terms shows that your ads are showing for full-sleeve prom dresses,) you're probably using broad match bidding.

In short, never use broad match keyword bidding. Based on the example above, Google's broad match mechanism will assume "suits" is close enough to "dresses" to trigger your ad. It's a pretty lofty relationship, but it's how Google makes a lot of coin off amateur AdWords users.

Instead, always opt for more precise keyword bidding strategies, like +modified +broad, "phrase," and [exact] match. If you're unfamiliar with the various keyword match types, take 5 to read this nice post at WordStream.com.

3. Leverage Google Analytics to Assess Post-Click Activity

ecommerce PPC Google Analtyics Behavior

An often overlooked aspect of ecommerce PPC is assessing landing page effectiveness. This approach is more aligned with conversion rate optimization (CRO), or improving landing pages and the overall conversion funnel to prompt desirable action more often (i.e. greater sales, for ecommerce PPC advertising.) 

A good place to start when embarking on this Analytics journey is the "Behavior" tab in the left navigation. "Site Content > Landing Pages" will offer behavioral metrics as to how visitors are interacting with your most popular pages. "Content Drilldown" can help you see how visitors navigate your site, which can provide insights as to whether or not your conversion funnel is working as you intended it to.

Likewise, "In-page Analytics" is a fun feature that enables you to see just how visitors are interacting with each page and the distribution of how often certain links and buttons are being clicked. With these features, you might find it worth while to experiment with new calls-to-action and landing page variations. Each case is unique, so it's up to you to explore the data and devise CRO strategies and tests to make improvements.

4. "Peeling & Sticking" Keywords Into More Relevant Ad Groups

Ecommerce PPC - Peel n StickAd groups typically perform optimally when they include a very narrow grouping of highly similar keyword targets.

One of the biggest faults many ecommerce PPC advertisers make is cramming far too many keywords in a single ad group. Attempting to cover several different keywords with one ad results in a number of inefficiencies. When this is the case, keywords can often be further segmented into new or more relevant ad groups. In other words, under-rated peel n' stick strategy can be employed.

Coined by marketing specialist Perry Marshall, peeling and sticking involves taking poor performing keywords and putting them in other more relevant ad groups (or creating new, dedicated ad groups.) Solid opportunities for peel n' stick are typically with keywords with low quality scores.

For ecommerce PPC, this might be a keyword that represent product variation (i.e. "full-sleeve wet suits" and "sleeveless wet suits" in one ad group for "Wet Suits"). In the latter example, these two keywords should be in their own dedicated ad group, as they probably have unique landing pages. Additionally, you can often write more targeted ads. Often times when a weak keyword is placed in a different yet more relevant ad group, the quality score and click-through rate can increase.

5. Never Stop Split-Testing Ad Creative

Split-testing ad creative is an often overlooked practice to better optimize an ecommerce PPC campaign for better performance. Not only can the copy of your PPC ads impact quality scores, but ad copy also influences how well users respond to your ads (measured by click-through rate or "CTR"). For this reason, it's important that you split-test several ads per ad group.

Try running 3-6 different creative variations, depending on how many impressions a certain ad group is receiving. If you ads are getting a lot of exposure in little time, it might make more sense to split-test 4 ads, as opposed to just 2. In most cases, by including the primary target keywords in the ad copy, the ads' contextual relevancy can improve which helps to increase CTR and quality score.

PPC Split TestingFor this reason, it's beneficial to use all or some of the keyword phrase in the copy. Trying using multiple variations in your ad copy. One effective strategy is using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (shown in the middle ad in the image.)

Using this strategy will help improve the keyword relevancy of you PPC ads by having the headline of your ads to replicate what the users searches.

When using dynamic keyword insertion (DKI), you include a unique string in the headline like so: Ad Headline = {KeyWord:Kids Army Uniform} If a user's search query is more than 25 characters long (exceeding the headline's character limit,) the alternative phrase "Kids Army Uniform" will be displayed.

This strategy is highly effective in improving both CTR as well as quality score, especially for ecommerce PPC campaign management. Just be careful using this strategy, for your competitors maybe doing the same thing. This is particularly common for competitive, product-related keywords where there's a number of big budget advertisers.

What Say Ye?!

Tell us, what are some of your favorite PPC optimization tips and techniques? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Ecommerce PPC Tips to Advance Your Google AdWords Campaign

Learning the in's and out's of Google AdWords can seem like an ongoing endeavor. And to an extent, it is.

AdWords PPC TIps for Ecommerce

In an ecommerce context, PPC advertising can get really cumbersome. It's critical to be both properly educated and highly organized to make the most of your ecommerce PPC expenditure. 

In this article, I hope educate and inspire you to become a more proficient AdWords advertiser. Below I share five ecommerce PPC tips that reflect the knowledge and wisdom I have absorbed from my search marketing mentors.

And although these are ecommerce PPC tips, you can leverage these techniques for almost any AdWords campaign.

1. Split-Test Ad Copy, Relentlessly

One of the most common things I notice when optimizing AdWords accounts is that most PPC advertisers will only create one ad for each ad group. This poses significant limitations because ad copy has an immense impact on click-through rates (CTR).

Don't be lazy. Make the effort to split-test multiple ads for each ad group (ideally three to five ads.)

Try writing a slightly different headline for some ads, and perhaps a few minor variations in the supportive copy and URL extension. The key is to keep very organized with your split-tests and make incremental changes that can be gauged by performance.

One thing you must do when split-testing ad copy is adjust the campaign settings to rotate your ads to display evenly. This can be found near the bottom of the "Settings" tab under section titled "Advanced Settings" (see screen shot below.)

Ecommerce PPC TIps for Ad Rotation

Although Google claims that this option is "Not recommended for most advertisers," simply ignore this and carry on. Choosing this option will ensure that your ads receive equal exposure, and thus enabling you to determine the ad copy that gets the highest CTR.

I like to maintain a spreadsheet that keeps track of my PPC split-tests. In the spreadsheet I note specific changes I make, in addition to the time-frame and performance metrics of each ad. It's also important to make alterations to ads only after they have received adequate exposure (or have earned "statistical relevancy.") In other words, don't assume your ad copy sucks if you've received no clicks after 50 impressions.

2. Create Keyword-Specific Ad Groups

This is perhaps the most important tip for ecommerce PPC advertisers:

Create your ad groups around very, very closely related keywords.

The more narrow and specific you can get with each ad group, the more targeted your ads will be. Here is an example:

Ecommerce PPC TIps for Ad Grouping

Take a look at how the top ad from TriathleteSport.com is much more targeted compared to the lower ad from TYR.com (the actual brand of the wetsuit.)

The advertisers at TriathleteSport.com clearly have a dedicated ad group for the TYR Freak of Nature Wetsuit. TYR.com might have one ad group (and thus one ad) serving a number of overlapping keyword searches.

A good ecommerce PPC strategy for building campaigns and ad groups in AdWords is to think of brands (or product categories) as campaigns, and specific products or models as ad groups.

Create specific campaigns for each brand or product category that your online store has to offer. From each branded campaign, you can develop highly specific ad groups for each make or model of the given brand.

As a result, you can create focal ads with product/keyword-specific ad copy. Additionally, you can make strategic use of Ad Extensions per each campaign.

3. Employ Ad Extensions, Like a Boss

If your campaigns and ad groups are all structured as mentioned above, you can then employ Ad Extensions with immense creativity.

Ad Extensions offer many (and free) opportunities to make your ads pop and stand-out from the clutter. Additionally, you can use certain Ad Extensions to support other online marketing strategies.

Ecommerce PPC TIps for Ad Extensions

A few ecommerce PPC tips for using Ad Extensions are:

  • using SiteLinks to include product-specific links in ads that target more general keywords for brands or product categories (e.g. have SiteLinks to the top selling models of shoes ["Nike Flex Run iD"] in an ad that's triggered for a more broad keyword search ["Nike Running Shoes"].)
  • leveraging Social Extensions to show-off social authority and brand credibility. The ad will display how many Google +1's your ecommerce store has, thus increasing the level of trust shoppers have in your brand.
  • taking advantage of Location Extensions if you operate a big-box retail brand or an online store that has a tangible location. This technique is highly effective for local boutiques that want to advertise their products to a geographically-confined market space.

Many Ad Extensions can be used in conjunction with one another. This can significantly increase the real estate and click-through rates of your ads. To learn more about using various Ad Extension, check-out this Google Support page on the topic.

4. Use "Modified Broad Match" Keyword Bidding

When exact match is to narrow and restrictive (with respect to long-tail keyword searches) and broad match is just too general, try modified broad match bidding.

With modified broad match, you place a "+" symbol directly in front of the keywords that must be used in a searcher’s query in order to trigger your ads. This tip is highly effective for ecommerce PPC advertisers who are bidding on product-specific keywords the pose numerous search variations.

For example, if we bid on the keyword phrase +mens +saucony +guide (a popular running shoe,) those three words must be included in a searcher's keyword query for our ad to be displayed. This enables us to capture detailed long-tail searches like Saucony Guide 6 GTX for Men as well as Mens Saucony Progrid Guide Shoes.

Using modified broad match bidding also makes it a bit easier to do negative keyword research for select ad groups (which we cover in the next section.)

5. Know Where to do Negative Keyword Research

Hopefully you understand what negative keywords are and how to implement them in your Google AdWords campaigns. (If you do not, read this article on the subject.)

To get to the good stuff, below are my two favorite resources for doing negative keyword research:

  • The "Search Terms" feature under the Dimensions tab in AdWords - Search terms reveals the history of keyword phrases that have triggered your ads. Here you can pinpoint which unwanted variations to include in the negative keyword list. (For more insights on this, check out this blog post all about using Search Terms.)
  • Google Suggested Search (or "Auto-complete") - Open up Google search and start typing the keyword phrase you are bidding on. Often times Google will suggest keywords that not what you want triggering your ads. These negatives often include variations like "reviews," "kids," or "discounts."

The Last Word

Although most of these ecommerce PPC tips focus on Google AdWords, you can apply many of these PPC tips to Bing's AdCenter, as well as other advertising platforms. For more insights about AdWords optimization and campaign management, join this community on Google Plus.

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is search marketing specialist who spearheads the SEO and PPC campaign here at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Keep in touch with Tyler by following him on Twitter.

How to do Negative Keyword Research for PPC Advertising

Whether you're an ecommerce paid search expert or a newbie to PPC advertising, learning how to do negative keyword research can help minimize unwanted clicks while maximizing return on ad spend (ROAS).

For ecommerce PPC advertising, adding a few negative keywords can drastically improve a campaign's efficiency. Because ecommerce PPC campaigns are often composed of tons of ad groups spread out over hundreds of products and categories, small discoveries can have a momentous impact.

In this article, I will share with you some insightful tips to do negative keyword research and how make your paid search expenditure more cost-effective.

Negative Keyword Research via AdWords

Negative keyword research is just as critical as the initial keyword research that starts the campaign. For product keywords, pinpointing negative keywords is key to ensure ad spend is invested in the right variations.

Adding negative keywords to your AdWords campaigns and ad groups tells Google which keyword variations you do not want triggering your ads. For example, if you sell 'mens swimming goggles,' you may want to add the negative keywords 'free' or 'reviews' to ensure your ads are not triggered under searches for "free mens swimming goggles" or "mens swimming goggles reviews."

If you are using broad, modified-broad, or phrase match keyword bidding, you'll need to determine which keyword variations are causing unwanted impressions and clicks. To do this, click the "Dimensions" tab in the AdWords interface (while in a certain campaign or ad group.)

In the filter option under the Dimensions tab, select "Search Terms." Here you'll see a list of the keyword phrases that have triggered your ads over given period of time (which is can be adjusted in the top right of the AdWords interface.)

This keyword data can be extremely enlightening, and often times shocking. The shock is primarily due to Google's definition of "broad match" - leading many PPC advertisers to use only exact phrase match or modified broad match. Once you've found unwanted keyword variations under the Search Terms option, you can add these keywords as negatives, under the "Keywords" tab. The negative keyword list is located at the bottom of the Keywords tab, underneath the actual keyword list.

You can add negative keywords on ad group or campaign basis. One of the best ways to add negative keywords appropriately is to implement the unwanted variations as a phrase or exact match. So if we wanted to eliminate all variations surrounding "free," we'd simply add the word free in quotes. This way, any keyword phrase that is searched with the word free would not trigger our ad.

After doing some negative keyword research, you may come to find out that broad match bidding is too ambiguous (and thus costly) for your ecommerce PPC efforts. Because broad match semantics are often extremely broad according to Google, you may want to pursue more precise bidding techniques.

Negative Keyword Research via Google Search

Another way to pinpoint unwanted keyword variations is through Google Search, specifically Google's suggested search or 'autocomplete' feature. As you go to type any keyword query, Google provides more specific recommendations based on popular search trends. These suggestions can offer insights as to which keywords you'll want to add to your campaign's negative keyword list.

For example, the suggested long-tail keywords that Google offers above gives us a good negative keyword insight. Perhaps we don't sell "swimming goggles with nose cover." We will then want to add "nose cover" to our negative keyword list for that particular ad group or campaign. Negative keyword research is something that you can do on regular basis. Just be certain that you're not eliminating keywords that might offer good traffic.

This blog post was contributed by Tyler Tafelsky, ecommerce SEO and PPC specialist. Connect with Tyler on Google+

 

 

 

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