PPC Influences on Shopping and eCommerce

Over the Spring of 2015 Philly Marketing Labs has been focusing on eCommerce and how it relates to the many aspects of digital marketing, including pay-per-click, or paid search advertising. We are lucky enough to have Tommy Sands, a Google Adwords Community Top Contributor and PPC expert, on our team. We thought that our eCommerce months would be an ideal time to lob some related questions his way and make the best of his knowledge on these complicated topics.

In what ways is PPC different for eCommerce vs. traditional lead generation?

First and foremost, I would say that the biggest difference is what we’re tracking and how we make decisions about our advertising. While you can certainly apply value to leads, tracking actual sales and revenue that are directly attributed to ad clicks provides a very different perspective from which you make decisions in a PPC account. Calculating ROI for an eCommerce account is a very direct process vs the ambiguity that can be involved with lead generation accounts.

What is a product feed and how does it relate to eCommerce PPC?   

In terms of AdWords, a data or product feed is what drives your Shopping Campaigns. Product feeds create the ads that are returned after a search on Google.com that allow users to buy or shop immediately. The data in these feeds can vary considerably depending on the type of business and variety of products included. Within your feeds, you not only include general product information but also attributes related to each specific product including but not limited to: descriptions, pricing, availability, sizes, colors and shipping information.

Advertising an eCommerce website is not limited to just product listing ads and shopping campaigns though; many different advertising strategies and mediums can be utilized. You can execute search, display, remarketing and shopping campaigns all with the same goal of selling products on your website.

What are some of the biggest challenges in using PPC for eCommerce?   How can they be overcome and are there any tools that can be helpful?

For an advertiser that is new to eCommerce advertising or shopping campaigns in particular, developing a product feed is often the first obstacle that needs to be overcome.  Many eCommerce website platforms and inventory management solutions now have built-in tools that will aid in creating product and data feeds and then supplying Google and Bing with your feed information. There are also many third party plugins that can assist in this process. Having an optimized and accurate product feed is the foundation from which a successful shopping campaign is created.

Determining user intent is always important in PPC, but is it even more important when using eCommerce?

User intent is something we as search marketers always work hard to discover and identify.  It is very important in an eCommerce campaign.  Ideally, we’re working to capture users who are very far into the sales cycle and are ready to purchase now. Now, this isn’t to suggest that capturing users while they’re researching or comparing products doesn’t have any value, because it certainly does.  Including specific language about purchasing and buying online, along with pricing in ad copies can certainly assist in helping with intent challenges.  Every account and campaign is different, and identifying the goals of the campaign, revenue and ROI targets ahead of time often allow us to make better decisions on how to properly target users within the sales funnel.

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