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AdWords Ad Extensions Tips for Ecommerce PPC Advertising

The ad extensions feature in Google AdWords is must-utilize for ecommerce PPC advertisers. Not do ad extensions help to enhance the appearance and coverage of an ad, but they are also free to implement.

It's important to understand how use AdWords ad extensions appropriately, especially if you're doing paid search advertising for an ecommerce site. There are five main ad extensions that you can leverage for you PPC campaigns. These include:

  • Location Extensions
  • Product Extensions
  • Call Extensions
  • Sitelinks Extensions
  • Social Extensions

In this article, we are only going to focus on the three most ecommerce-relevant ad extensions. These are product, sitelinks, and social extensions.

Prelude to Using PPC Ad Extensions

First and foremost, it's imperative to understand that ad extensions are implemented on a campaign-wide basis. This is important to keep in mind because PPC campaigns are often times set-up with only a couple campaigns containing a number of vastly different ad groups.

Like ecommerce PPC management as whole, you want to be a specific and targeted as possible. Before implementing any ad extensions (particularly sitelinks or product extensions,) make sure that it will make sense across all ad groups in the campaign. If not, you may need to do some PPC optimization or campaign segmentation.

Tip for Using Product Extensions

Product extensions are one of the most powerful options for ecommerce PPC advertisers. These ad extensions are not to be confused with Google Shopping Listings, which are often seen in the top right of the Google search results.

Product extensions are ideal for more branded keyword-based PPC campaigns (not so much campaigns targeting specific products.) The idea is, when a Google users searches for a certain brand or product category of that brand, you as the PPC advertiser can leverage product extensions to offer them more specific options.

Take advantage of product extensions for popular, top selling items. This can drastically facilitate sales by minimized the conversion funnel. Think of like this: if the user clicks on a product extensions link, they are mostly likely interested in purchasing that exact product.

Tip for Using Sitelinks Extensions

Sitelinks offer endless opportunities to get creative with the presentation of your ads. You can use sitelinks in a similar manner as product extensions by taking Google users to more specific landing pages. However instead of adding sitelinks for products, you can leverage promotions, such as clearance or seasonal sales.

What's great about sitelinks is that they offer tremendously flexibility for ecommerce PPC campaigns. Additionally, sitelinks can help expand your ad's real estate coverage in the paid search listings. It is important ensure that you're bidding enough so that your ads are seen in the top, premium listings (typically top 3 ad spots.) Ads that are not in the premium listings will no be able to show the sitelinks.

Tip for Using Social Extensions

Social extensions are connected to an ecommerce store's Google Plus page. This extensions is very powerful for brands that have a strong Google Plus following. If your ecommerce site doesn't have very many followers, the impact is less powerful.

With social extensions, the ad will simply shows how many people have +1'd the brand's Google Plus page. What's nice about this ad extension is that you can use it make side-column (non-premium) ads standout more in the search results. Social extensions will also give your ecommerce store an added level of credibility by showing how many people have endorsed your business on Google Plus.

By taking advantage of AdWords ad extensions, you can leverage a powerful tool to help maximize your search exposure while increasing the effectiveness and conversion potential of your ecommerce PPC campaigns. It's great feature for web presence optimization and bring about the outcome for you paid search advertising efforts.

How to Use Google AdWords "Enhanced Sitelinks" to Bolster Paid Search Performance

The sitelinks extension in Google AdWords is a powerful way to help maximize the real estate of your paid search ads. In essence, the sitelinks extension enables paid search advertisers to display links to certain pages within the website.

During the early stages of testing, Google claimed that ads that included sitelinks experienced an average of 30% greater click-through rates. Additionally, for more broad-based keyword targets, sitelinks can also help facilitate conversions by taking users to a more specific landing page (a big bonus for ecommerce advertisers.)

The advantages of using sitelinks continue to grow. Now, Google will display "enhanced sitelinks" on select keyword searches that are very relevant to the advertiser.

Currently, enhanced sitelinks are automatically generated by Google, so they may vary in appearance. Nonetheless, you'll want to take advantage of sitelinks and try testing this Google AdWords ad extension. Below I show you how to do it.

Setting-Up Sitelinks Extension

Upon creating a new campaign, you'll want to enable the checkbox under the section "Ad extensions" that reads, "Sitelinks: Extend my ads with links to sections of my site."

For existing campaigns, click into the "Ad extensions" tab in the main AdWords interface of the campaign. Next, choose to view the Sitelinks extension, and proceed to set-up a "new extension."

Each sitelink that you implement should have a unique landing page, in addition to having one ad to match each sitelink. In order for the sitelinks to work properly, users must omit the "http" when entering URL's.

Depending on how keyword relevant the query is to the site, ads may display two, four, or six sitelinks. Mobile ads will show a maximum of two sitelinks.

Google suggests keeping the text for each sitelink short and concise to maximize the number of links that can be displayed in each ad.

Last Word on Enhanced Sitelinks

Enhanced sitelinks are in their early stages of adoption amongst advertiser. They will only appear in ads that are directly above the organic search results, otherwise known as the premium placements.

Paid search advertisers can increase the likelihood that their enhanced sitelinks will be displayed by improving their Quality Scores and/or increases their max bid. Stay tuned for more insights and strategies on leveraging sitelinks and other ad extensions in Google.

7 Impactful Ecommerce PPC Strategies

Managing a PPC campaign for an ecommerce site can be a cumbersome endeavor. In addition to keeping everything organized, ecommerce advertisers battle a lot of clutter in the paid search arena. With big budget retailers dominating the playing field, it's now more challenging than ever to stand out in the SERPs.

Building a well-structured campaign and employing the right ecommerce PPC strategies is paramount for success. Regardless of your business type, budget size, and overall competition, there are a number of techniques to make your ads more effective. Below we highlight seven effective strategies for ecommerce PPC advertising.

Peel n' Stick

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 Pay Per Click advertisers make is cramming far too many keywords in a single ad group. Attempting to cover several different keywords with one ad results in numerous inefficiencies. When this appears to be the case, the keywords in an ad groups can be further segmented, or in other words, peel n' stick can be employed.

Coined by marketing specialist Perry Marshall, the peel n' stick strategy involves taking a poor performing keyword and putting it in another more relevant ad group (or creating a new one.) Good peel n' stick opportunities are typically found in keywords with low quality scores.

For ecommerce PPC, this might be a keyword that represent product variation, such as a specific model that's worthy of a new ad group. Often times when a weak keyword is placed in a different yet more relevant ad group, the quality score will increase. Similarly, a new, more targeted ad can be written.

Split-Testing

Ad copy is an often overlooked component when optimizing a PPC campaign for better performance. Not only can the content of your PPC ads impact quality scores, but ad copy influences how well users respond to your ads (measured by click-through rate or "CTR"). It is thus important that you split-test several ads per ad group.

Try running 2-5 ad 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 makes more sense to split-test 3-5 ads, as opposed to just 2. By including the primary keywords of an ad group in the ad copy, the improved contextual relevancy helps to increase 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, 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 AdWords 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.

Ad Copywriting

Successful PPC ads will include three important elements to promote greater click-through rates (CTR). These include:

  • Offer - what's the product you're offering
  • Value - why buying from your ecommerce store is beneficial
  • Proposition - what kind of action the user should take

The offer is almost always a given and is typically included in the copy naturally. The value and proposition of the ad are the elements that most often go overlooked. The proposition is simply a call-to-action, or a verb of some kind. A few of the most common for ecommerce PPC is "Shop," "Buy," and "Save." Get creative and try more appealing verbs like "Discover," "Gain," or "Realize."

Express value in your ad copy is one of the greatest challenges of copywriting. Paid search ads have limited character space which makes it difficult to sum-up the unique benefits and qualities. Some of the most obvious and over-used examples are "Free Shipping" or "100% Money Back."

In some instances, taking a more emotional approach can be highly effective. Take the time to learn about the product your advertising and its target market. Knowledge is the best sources for great ideas for ad copy.

AdWords Ad Extensions: Product Extensions

A powerful PPC advertising strategy that can significantly help improve CTR is using ad extensions in Google AdWords. Ad extensions are simple enhancements that can greater improve the presentation of your paid ads.

Keep in mind that ad extensions influence an entire campaign (not per ad group,) so any ad extension you implement will impact all ad groups within that campaign. One of the best ad extensions for ecommerce PPC is product extensions. Using this extension will show an image for the specific product being advertised.

For competitive keywords, this strategy can really make your ads stand out from the clutter. In fact, eye-tracking studies have shown that product extensions are among the most effective techniques to capture the attention of Ecommerce PPC Product Extensionssearch engine users.

To use product extensions, you'll need to set-up a Google Merchant Center account. This is basis for Google's shopping results which display in the top right side of the search engine results. After this account is established, you can sync your AdWords account with your Google Merchant Center account to start using this excellent extension.

AdWords Ad Extensions: SiteLinks

Ecommerce PPC Sitelinks Extension

Another effective ad extension is using Sitelinks. With this extension you can include links in your PPC ad that take users to specific pages of your ecommerce site. Not only can this help make your ads appear more prominent in the search results, but sitelinks can help facilitate conversions on broad keywords like "triathlon wetsuits."

In a campaign like this, you ad sitelinks to men's or women's wetsuits or perhaps certain brands. Utilizing the sitelinks ad extension can also contribute to greater usability by minimizing your conversion funnels.

Keyword Bidding

PPC Keyword Bidding StrategiesA great method to make your paid advertising more efficient is employing keyword bidding strategies like modified broad match. Unlike broad, "phrase," or [exact] phrase match bidding, modified broad match uses a "+" symbol in front of keywords that must be included in the user's search query for your ad to appear.

For instance, if we bid on the keyword phrase +access +control +systems, those three words must be used in a user's search query for our ad to be shown. (So the keyword phrase "access control systems for banks" would trigger the ad, however "security access system" would not.)

This bidding strategy can help ensure that you ads are being shown when users search long-tail keywords or phrases with greater detail. Another advantage of using modified broad match is that the cost per click (CPC) for some keyword combinations is significantly lower.

You can try using creative bidding strategies like security +access +control. By leaving "security" as a broad match (no "+" symbol,) our ad may display for searches like "surveillance access control" because "security" and "surveillance" are closely related with respect to Google's broad match standards.

Remarketing via the GDN

Have you ever visited a product page on an ecommerce site (did not make a purchase) and later while browsing other websites (or even watching a YouTube video) noticed ads being served of that same ecommerce store?

That's called remarketing, or advertising to market segments that may have had some previous contact with your brand. However, instead of using Google Search, the most effective remarketing channel is using the Google Display Network or GDN. 

Remarketing via the GDN is a bit unique compared to traditional paid search advertising. As an advertiser, you need keep in mind that those individuals being served display ads are not actively shopping like they are using Google search.

Remarketing is the strategic process of serving a follow-up ad to someone who has already connected with your site. This practice, although very powerful, can sometimes appear intrusive, so it's important to use this approach in moderation. Google has recently unveiled some new features in Google Analytics for remarketing.

In essence, Google has made it more efficient to create highly targeted customer lists and run ads to these individuals.

Summary

Depending on the size and nature of your online store, ecommerce Pay Per Click advertising can be a complex undertaking. In addition, to properly structuring your campaigns and ad groups, developing effective strategies for ecommerce PPC is essential to thrive amongst your competitors. We hope that these seven strategies will help you stand out from the crowd and start realizing greater return on ad spend.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO.

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