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Being successful in the niche (Part 2): PPC is the key

Niche-Part2

Last Tuesday, we spoke about how online niches work and that the placement on the market is most critical for the growth within a niche. Countless online shops are all competing for the attention of the customers and therefore must choose their advertising channels carefully. One of the most important online marketing channels is paid search, which we will be writing about in more detail today.

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Being successful in the niche (Part 1): How online niches work

Niche Market

More and more online retailers are entering the already crammed e-commerce market. In 2013, 25 percent of e-commerce transactions in this country were generated by the top ten online shops[1]. Despite their dominance in the market, a large part of the cake still remains, which is then divided among many, smaller online retailers. To gain footing in this highly competitive market, a niche presents itself to all the newly established businesses, for them to occupy and to concentrate on their specialised product area.

Within two comprehensive articles, my colleague Marc and I would like to show you if it’s worth investing in a niche shop, which challenges you may face, and the chances it offers you. Let’s start!

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The underestimated potential of Long Tail: what to keep in mind implementing it in your PPC strategy

Long-Tail-Part2On Tuesday, I tried to illustrate why it is important to consider the Long Tail in your PPC strategy. It not only leads to better CTRs and quality scores, but also raises profits and improves the cost-turnover ratio. Today, I want to tell you what to keep in mind implementing the Long Tail in your PPC strategy in order to achieve all those great things I just listed.

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The underestimated potential of Long Tail: why you should consider it in your PPC strategy

Long-Tail-Part1

Paid search has become the crowd puller of performance marketing and the appeal of it is based on more than simply high measurability and transparency. It’s effectiveness is indisputable. Regardless, eventually opinions are divided regarding one topic: The Long Tail. What many have dismissed as hot air, for us is actually a practical way to make PPC campaigns more profitable. Therefore, I want to show you why you should look at Long Tails (Part 1) and what you have to keep in mind implementing them in your PPC strategy (Part 2).

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Google introduces Callout extension for AdWords

On Wednesday, Google announced a new extension for AdWords: callouts. It basically let’s you ad extra text, e.g. detailed information about your products, services, etc., below your ad.

Callout

Callouts are quite similar to sitelinks, offering additional information for the user and likely boosting click-through rates. Nevertheless, callouts have no links lodged. They are plain text, which makes it easier for advertisers to use them in a more flexible way.

Callouts are managed from the Ad extensions tab. This is also the case for reports and schedules.

New callout

Right now, callouts appear in ads at the top and bottom of Google’s SERPs and can be displayed along with other extensions like ratings, reviews and call extensions.

Whether it’s free shipping on all laptops or a price match guarantee on smartphones, the more information people have, the better purchase decisions they can make online.

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The transition to Google Shopping – What do advertisers have to care about?

Google Shopping

There are only a couple of days left until Google abandons its PLA campaigns, which will then be completely replaced by the new Shopping campaigns launched earlier this year. For this reason, I want to give you a short overview of what to keep in mind and how you can work on a smooth transition – in case you have not done it yet – including an easy step by step guideline which will help you to get ready during the last couple of days!

What are Product Listings?

Product listings have become one of the most vital parts of any successful PPC strategy, especially for retailers offering products with a high online competition. In comparison to usual search ads, product listings offer the possibility of actually seeing the product before clicking on the ad, including the price, shipping costs and the most important product information delivered in the title (see image on top).

Why the transition?

Questions arise why there actually has to be a transition from PLA campaigns to Shopping campaigns. I will try to answer that question: product listing have become an important part of retailers’ campaigns, sometimes spending up to 60 or 70 % of the total paid search budget on PLAs. Until Shopping campaigns were launched, PLA campaigns have always been modified search campaigns connected with a client’s Merchant Center. Therefore, developing dedicated campaign types was just a matter of time.

In addition to that, PLA campaigns could not offer you detailed reports of the performance of single products unless you set up your campaigns very granular – one product ID per ad group. But with the new Shopping campaigns you get far more new data via Google, such as performance data on products and brands. All of which can be found either on ad group or campaign level.

What to keep in mind during the transition

Ideally, you have already transferred your campaigns to Shopping campaigns or are almost done with the transition. According to my experience, it takes a while for every campaign to achieve a performance in scope with your key performance indicators (KPIs). Therefore, Google recommended a gradual transition when it announced the end of PLA campaigns.

When you already have enough data on your PLA campaigns, you can use this data to build up your new Shopping campaigns. Just figure out which brands, products or product types already work well and start with these for your campaigns. Give the product groups their own ad groups. Others, for example brands, can be set up within one ad group at the beginning and gradually be split up as soon as you see that enough relevant and valuable data has been gathered. If you split them up granular, you should also make sure to exclude other targets and other products in “All Products”!

Have you used AdWords Labels with your PLAs? Don’t forget to rework them, make them Custom Labels and use more relevant product targets to set up your campaigns. Choose these carefully and make sure they reflect ad groups and campaigns you intend to set up.

If you offer seasonal products give them a label and set up an own campaign for them. With Shopping campaigns, you have the possibility to set campaign priorities. So if you want to promote your ‘sale‘ products separately you can set up an own campaign for them, set their campaign priority to high and make sure that they are only displayed via their own dedicated campaign. While this campaign is active, your labeled products will not be displayed via other Shopping campaigns.

You should also make sure to use the extra reports now being offered with Shopping. You receive great and detailed insights that will help you to improve your performance.

A step-by-step transition guideline

  1. Think about how you want to set up your Shopping campaign. By brands? Or by product types? Do you need labels for special product targets? Make sure that you do not waste time on reworking the feed over and over because you didn’t plan your process!
  2. Check your current PLA campaign(s). Do you already know what product targets work well? Use them to have a first outline of which targets you can already set up in own ad groups and which ones you keep in one overall ad group at first. Start simple!
  3. Rework your feed – use Custom Labels instead of AdWords Labels! While reworking this part of your feed you can also use the time to make sure it is still up to date to Google’s feed requirements.
  4. Get started! Setting up Shopping campaigns in the user interface feels kind of odd at the beginning but do not worry: You will eventually get used to it. Don’t forget to exclude certain product targets as well. Take your time at the beginning to figure out the best workflow for the setup.
  5. Pause your PLA targets as soon as you are ready to start with Shopping. If you have not started yet, you will not have enough time for a smooth transition anymore, but try to use the last couple of days. In order to avoid conversion and turnover drops, pause your PLA ad groups and campaigns step by step, activating the correspondent Shopping ones at the same time.
  6. As soon as you have transferred your traffic from PLA to Shopping, you are done. You can finally start checking the performance of your new campaign(s) and use the new reports and insights offered by Google.

Google also offers an upgrade tool for PLAs, which creates a Shopping campaign from your regular PLA campaign, with a campaign structure and bids based on your regular PLA campaign and historical performance data.

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Optimize paid search campaigns to meet business goals

Many of you measure the success of paid search campaigns based on the number of conversions or sales alone. Don’t take it personally but I think this is the wrong approach! PPC optimisation should focus more on business goals. And an enhanced conversion tracking system is the key to it.

Let’s have a look at a simplified conversion chain:

Simplified Conversion Chain

From the search query and the click on an ad through to the order: a PPC campaign can be analysed and optimised at many places of a conversion chain. The conversion itself though should be tracked in detail because it plays an essential role to check the effectiveness of promotional activities properly. It is also crucial for the optimisation of the account by a bid management system. For example, if one has a keyword with a higher than average conversion rate, this keyword may be priced higher as it promises some success. But a closer examination of the conversions shows that the keyword has a particularly low margin. Bidding higher because of the high CR will get you more traffic, but this traffic won’t be very profitable.

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Meet us at dmexco!

Meet us at dmexco

With camato, our unique semantic PPC technology, we are working hard to make a world of automated PPC campaign creation accessible to you. Three out of the ten largest fashion e-retailers in Europe as well as more e-commerce big players use camato to create high-quality AdWords campaigns for millions of keywords with just the click of a button – and with perfectly matching ad copy which target your customers and lead them to where they need to go. In addition to saving up to 75% of your time, your revenue also rises by an average of 150%.

This year we will introduce the latest camato features at dmexco, Germany’s largest exposition for digital marketing, in Hall 7/booth D055 – E054.

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How to organize your PPC team more effectively – plan your work!

How to plan your work

Welcome back to our series on “how to organize your PPC team more effectively”. You already know that you need to trust your team and that focussed tasks can help you to structure your daily work:

  1. Trust your team
  2. Focus on one task per day
  3. How to plan your work
  4. Structure your meetings

In this blog posting I would like to talk about long-term planning because it is something I have neglected for far too long and maybe you have as well? Spending some time on drawing up a good strategy can help you to become much more efficient and successful in the long-term. And who wouldn’t like to work less to gain more?

Now let’s put some meat onto the bones. I will give you a quick overview at first, before I’m going to drill down into it.

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Case Study: “Buy” vs. “Discount” vs. None in Retail PPC Campaigns

goggle-adwords-buy-vs-discount
It is a well-know best practice to use words like “buy” or “discount” in paid search ad copies. But do search words like “buy“ or “discount” really improve the key performance indicators of your retail AdWords campaigns? That’s what I want to find out.

Theory

Let’s have a look at the theory first. If a search query contains “buy”, “online shop” or something similar, you know that the user really wants to buy something – it is nobody who wants to gather some information about fashion or price. He or she really wants to shop. So what you would expect is a higher conversion rate compared to keywords without the buy-indicator.

If someone searches for “discount”, “cheap” or “sale” you also know that he or she wants to shop. But you know more than this, you know that he/she is a price-conscious buyer. So the conversion rate will depend on how many inexpensive or reduced articles show up on your landing page. On the other hand, it is likely that the average basket value and therefore key metrics like earning per click (EPC) or return on investment (ROI) are lower.

Case study

Now let’s have a look at the data. I analysed a big US fashion retailer, looking only at the generic keywords, i. e. all keywords that do not contain a brand name or designer. My findings are: Continue reading “Case Study: “Buy” vs. “Discount” vs. None in Retail PPC Campaigns” »