Strategies for an eCommerce PPC model: Part two
Leveraging ad extensions
Product-based ecommerce models offer the ability to leverage more of the ad extension options and different ad formats. Product extensions can give you the ability to take more of the search page real estate, draw the user’s eye to your ad and send your traffic to more relevant pages on your site.
Product extensions take more of the search page real estate and draw the user’s eye to your ad and send traffic to relevant product pages on your site. Leveraging product feeds from Google Merchant Center and linking that with your AdWords account gives you the ability to show products beneath ad text. The use of images in the ad increases CTR substantially and drives users to product-specific pages on the site, one step closer to the purchase. Product extensions are also a good idea if you are in a price-competitive position. Should your prices be higher than the competition and they also using product extensions you may want to consider value-added messaging in your ad copy. Product extension ads are still driven by the keyword list within your account and also subject to the same CPC auction for determining the position of the ad.
Product listing ads are based on the same Merchant center account feed; however, your product listing ads (PLAs) do not require a keyword list. Your ads will display when someone searches for a term that is relevant to the products in your product feed and Google will display the most relevant product along with the associated image and price.
Product listing ads are also bid based on a targeted CPA. This makes determining the maximum price you are willing to pay easy to calculate. Take the price a unit and divide it by the desired ROAS. This ensures your campaign is effectively positioning that product for the targeted ROAS. However, a more effective method is to consider the targeted ROAS and profit margin from the product and make your calculation based on your profit per product. Because the PLA ads are showing specific products, calculating out the profit margin becomes much easier than it is with the search based campaigns where keywords could relate to multiple products at multiple price points.
SiteLinks can increase CTR as well as direct users to more effective landing pages. Experimentation with promotions, complimentary products, and specific product categories/subcategories can be tested within the ad to assist the user in finding the quickest path to conversion. Leveraging promotions in SiteLinks can be effective to advertise the promotion with minimal impact to the ad message itself. Rather than changing the entire message and landing page, the promotional SiteLinks can simply be appended to the ad allowing for quick implementation and minimal risk to performance.
Head and torso vs. Long-tail keywords
The balance between Head and Torso phrases in the keyword basket is a long debated question and the incremental benefit of long-tail keywords hotly contested. The one bit of advice I would offer in this respect is to, where possible, generate a core list of keywords, and determine if the CPCs on those keywords make sense to begin advertising on and be profitable (use your site’s conversion rate to make the calculations realistic). If the CPCs are too high to be profitable, continue to expand the keyword list and develop longer tail keywords. If the CPCs are reasonable and you can be profitable; launch the campaigns leveraging multiple match types to get as much of a CPC advantage as you can get, then mine the search query reports for keywords driving a decent amount of volume and add those to your campaign.
Also, consider the budget you have to work with. Smaller budgets demand lower CPCs. Generally, lower CPCs are realized with longer-tail terms and therefore the strategy may make more sense to develop the long-tail keyword basket. Longer-tail keywords also tend to be used at the end of a purchase decision process and therefore can offer higher ROAS; however, it is important to consider the type of purchase and whether or not you can still influence the purchase decision at the end of the cycle.
We all know that the last click attribution model is outdated and there are many articles about this topic so I won’t go into too much detail on that. What I will mention is that ensuring an effective paid advertising attribution model is in place to begin measuring your campaigns effectively. Assign value to each touchpoint in the purchase decision path will enhance the ability for your campaign to acquire, nurture, and convert prospects which will increase the overall effectiveness of your ecommerce campaigns.