Paid advertising has been an important part of growing a business for more than 100 years.
If you're starting an eCommerce business or looking to increase ecommerce sales, pay-per-click (PPC) is the form of paid advertising you'll use. PPC is one of the biggest drivers of traffic and revenue for all types of eCommerce businesses.
Read on to learn the ins-and-outs of PPC management, how to develop an advertising strategy, and some best practices to get you the results you desire.
eCommerce PPC: PPC Management For eCommerce
Pay-per-click, or PPC, management is the process of controlling a company's PPC ad spend. This includes creating an advertising plan, establishing budgets, and optimizing spend so you can cost effectively hit your eCommerce KPIs.
Effective PPC management requires constant monitoring, so it is either done by a dedicated member of staff or an outside PPC company. Part of an eCommerce manager salary should go towards hiring an experienced marketer to optimize this area of eCommerce marketing. Improperly managed PPC campaigns can cost a business a lot of money without helping to increase sales.
What Is PPC In eCommerce?
PPC, or pay-per-click, is a form of paid digital advertising where you pay each time a prospective customer clicks on an ad. These ads come in many forms including many types of Google search ads, organic ads, and dynamic ads as well as social media advertising.
For many eCommerce businesses, PPC is the biggest driver of traffic to their website, so proper management is key. Understanding how your ads are performing and where to put your budget will maximize ROI and help you maintain a good profit margin.
One important distinction is the difference between PPC, PPI/CPM. PPI, or pay per impression, is a form of paid advertising where you pay every time your ad is seen. CPM, or cost per mille, is paying per 1,000 impressions. As you can guess, paying for impressions is riskier than paying per click as it doesn’t guarantee a site visit.
eCommerce PPC Audit
To achieve the best results, eCommerce companies should regularly conduct a PPC audit. This is a full review of your existing PPC efforts to find areas that can be improved to better use your budget.
Here are four steps to running a successful eCommerce PPC audit:
First, pick a specific date range to look at. Anything less than a month is too small as it won't highlight larger patterns. We recommend looking at three months worth of data. This is enough time that it should give you enough data to get insight into the strength of your campaign without being overwhelming.
Second, evaluate your ad content. Look at the keywords and terms that are most effective and see if those are reflected in your ad content. If your ads aren't accurately representing your business or don't adequately help users, they should be revised. Make sure they're clear, concise, and built to drive customers to your site.
Third, Check your ad quality score. This is a metric provided by Google to rate the effectiveness of your ads. Google calculates your ad quality scored based on how relevant the ads are to the keywords they're targeting (relevancy), the percentage of people who see the ad and then click it to go to your website (click through rate), and the users experience on your site once they click the ad (landing page quality).
Ads with higher quality score can lead to better cost per click, and better ad positions in Google search results. This means you can improve the performance of your campaigns, while reducing costs, by improving your quality score.
Finally, revise your budget as needed. Invest in the ads and search terms that are best meeting your established KPIs. Don't be afraid to cut off or remove underperforming ads to create and test new ones based on your data.
eCommerce PPC Strategy
There are many strategies that you can use to optimize your PPC efforts. They can increase your click-through rate, incentivize conversions, and build customer loyalty. Since PPC is a big part of eCommerce growth, you'll need to know how to take control of your efforts.
Here are the five PPC strategies we think are most effective:
Pick the Right Times
One of the most important factors in running a successful ad campaign is showing ads at the correct time. If you're just starting out, you can schedule your ads to run 24/7. However, you should begin analyzing your reports to identify the times when engagement is the highest and most successful. Then, shift your ad schedule and budget to focus on those times.
Match Seasonal Demand Shifts
If you want to maximize the ROI of your ad spend, you need to track the demand for your products throughout the year. While not all businesses have seasonal spikes, all ad campaigns have seasonality. Your customers's behavior can change throughout the year, so you should track any demand fluctuations and predict patterns. Then, invest in more ads during the busiest times and fewer during the slow times or invest more when sales are slow to make up for downturn. This will ensure you get the most out of each dollar you spend.
Target Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer search terms that have less competition, but more intent behind them. By avoiding broad keywords and focusing instead on long-tail, you can spend less while attracting customers who are more likely to make a purchase after clicking an ad.
For example, as a food supplier, you would avoid terms like "coffee" or "snacks". These are high-level keywords that have millions of results, so getting your ads to be shown for the search term will be expensive. You’ll be competing with far more businesses so the ad space is more expensive. Instead, you would target more specific terms like "order wholesale coffee" or "snack dealer near me". These terms cost less to bid on and the users are far more likely to make a purchase.
Create a Negative Keyword List
Negative keywords are words that you don't want to rank for. It may seem counterintuitive to tell Google not to display your ads, but this a very important thing to do. It lets you avoid paying for ads that show up in searches that don't make sense for your business.
For example, if you run a wholesale food business that sells fruit your ads may come up in the search results for the term "fruit of the loom". Clearly, this term isn't relevant, so you've paid for your ad to be shown for no reason. By adding the term to your negative keyword list, Google will know not to waste your budget on people looking to buy underwear.
Run A/B Tests
An A/B test is where you show two different versions of something to random groups of people. In this case, you would run two different ads for the same keywords to see which performs better. Then, you invest your money behind the one that yields the best results. These tests are a great way to get a better understanding of your customers and can save you from spending too much money on underperforming ads.
PPC eCommerce Best Practices
Your PPC strategy should be flexible and tailored to your business. However, there are a few best practices all businesses can benefit from.
First, carefully plan where you'll advertise. There are many options for PPC ad placement. However, not all are equal, so you should only invest in the ones that will drive the best results for your business. For example, if you run a B2B wholesale business, LinkedIn might be a good choice. That's not the case for a direct to consumer business.
Second, set up proper tracking. If you run Google ads, but don't use Google Analytics to track them, you're missing out on valuable information. You can create an eCommerce funnel and see exactly which ads are generating how much revenue for you.This makes optimizing your campaigns even easier.
Third, remember that PPC isn't a replacement for good on page SEO for eCommerce. Paid advertising should supplement your existing marketing efforts. Focus on writing strong SEO content for eCommerce and eCommerce email marketing. This way you don't solely rely on PPC for driving revenue and lose as much revenue if anything goes wrong.
Integrating your PPC and organic SEO can have many benefits for your business. It gives you greater insight into the keywords that are most relevant, helps you create a better content strategy for eCommerce, and will improve your ability to create relevant ads. Pair your ads with a focus on eCommerce SEO including off page SEO for ecommerce. You should also perform an ecommerce SEO audit for the best results.
Are You Down With the PPC?
Paid advertising is a major revenue driver and should be a part of your eCommerce marketing strategy. By properly managing your PPC budget and ad campaigns, you can attract new customers and grow your sales. Follow the tips and steps above to start your PPC program off on the right foot.