How To Improve Your PPC Campaign Targeting Part 2 - Ecommerce

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| 6th September 2019
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In the second of a two-part series, I’ll run you through four scenarios of PPC account setups, and how you could tailor your targeting settings to improve performance for your ecommerce PPC account. You can read part one here: How To Improve Your PPC Campaign Targeting Part 1 – Lead Generation.

To recap from my previous post, the key areas I will be covering are:

Ad Schedule:

Ad schedules allow Google Ads users to set the time of day and day of week in which they would like their PPC ads to display. This will be 24/7 by default but can be changed to suit the needs of a business in terms of budget and operating hours.

Device Targeting:

The three main device types that can be targeted in PPC accounts are desktop, mobile and tablet – Smart TV is a growing platform but not one worth discussing just yet! Depending on what your user is looking for, how they are looking for it and what the end goal is in terms of interacting with your business, you may choose to prioritise some channels over others.

Platform:

Google Ads is the main PPC platform for digital marketing, but Microsoft Advertising also provides a viable option to reach a whole new audience of search engine users. How do you know when to use one and not the other? Or both?
 

Before we begin though, let’s talk you through the basics of Ecommerce for PPC accounts.

 

What are the characteristics of an ecommerce PPC account?

This type of PPC account involves marketing online retailers who stock and sell products online. The role of the PPC account will be almost exclusively to generate sales through search engines, shopping platforms and display networks across Google and Microsoft Advertising. This will be done through targeting prospective customers with product-related keywords, products from Merchant Centre feeds and remarketing lists.

What types of conversion actions would you typically see in a PPC account for an ecommerce business?

Above all else it will be online sales, but could also include calls from ads or quote requests for any websites that offer a price on request functionality on some products.

What are the key success metrics for an ecommerce PPC account?

When looking at an ecommerce PPC account the key success metrics may vary, but will predominantly be Conversions (Sales), Total Conv Value (Revenue), Profit and ROI/ROAS/COA depending on which model you choose to report on.
 

Now that we understand the basics, let’s look at how we can tailor our targeting options in Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising to positively impact the performance of your PPC account.

“I run an ecommerce PPC account designed for B2B customers”

This type of PPC account involves marketing online retailers who stock and sell products to business customers online, allowing the website to fulfil the purchase process in its entirety. The types of products bought could include machinery parts, office supplies and other tangible products that a business customer needs to operate day to day.

Ad Schedule:

As your end customers are businesses it’s likely that, as with Lead-Gen websites, their office hours will dictate search times and orders. Consider their operating hours rather than your own, but if budgets are constrained then stick to weekday bidding to begin with and avoid overnight bids unless your customers operate in such a manner.

Device Targeting:

Ecommerce conversion rates are often very low on mobile devices. This could be for various reasons including the user experience of the checkout process on mobile devices, customer trust in buying on their phones and the actual person who is placing the order.

In a B2B context, as money is involved, products may be ordered by the purchasing departments. As such, desktop devices should be your primary concern in terms of platforms – potentially even your only platform. If budget is constrained avoid mobile devices entirely, until you feel comfortable that your PPC account is giving you a good return on ad spend.

Platform:

The growth of Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns in particular should make the network irresistible for all ecommerce website marketers, generating roughly 75% of retail search ad spend and 85% of clicks on Google Ads. For B2B marketers this should be the first port of call, ensuring that both Search and Shopping campaigns are correctly setup for maximum exposure on Google search results pages.

It’s worth considering Microsoft Advertising as an additional platform to supplement your Google Ads performance, though. As discussed in our previous article regarding B2B users for Lead-Gen businesses, users may be searching for your products or services at their place of work on computers set up by their business. By default, the search browser will likely be Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, both of which have Microsoft Advertising as their default search provider.

The ease of importing existing campaigns into Microsoft Advertising from Google Ads means this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up from a PPC marketer’s perspective.

“I run an ecommerce PPC account designed for B2C customers”

This type of PPC account involves marketing online retailers who stock and sell products to customers online, allowing the website to fulfil the purchase process in its entirety. This could involve anything from clothing to leisure items and technology – the possibilities are endless!

Let’s run through our three main areas mentioned above to see how we could tweak our account targeting to best fit this type of PPC account.

Ad Schedule:

Users will likely be searching for your products all times of day which makes running your ads 24/7 a viable strategy.

If your business finds that a lot of customers phone up to query a product or needing help during the purchase process, you may want to focus on your office opening hours to ensure that your customer service teams are on hand to complete a sale. Similarly, if budgets are limited, focus on reducing bids overnight using bid modifiers in the Ad Schedule tab to save money overnight.

Use Predefined Day of Week and Hour of Day reports in Google Ads, or Dimensions reports in Microsoft Advertising, to analyse performance further. This may help you find times throughout the day and week where you are more or less competitive and bid adjustments can be made to account for this.

If your products are aspirational or for leisure, it may be that people are searching often at evenings and weekends.

Platform:

Google Ads will be the main go-to platform for PPC advertising aimed at a B2C audience. The range of campaign types across Search, Display and Shopping networks gives PPC marketers a variety of tools to capture the attention of prospective customers and convert them to sales across all device types.

Using Dynamic Remarketing, currently not available on Microsoft Advertising, PPC marketers can really drive home tailored messaging to encourage users to complete a sale or return for repeat purchases. The ability to target new users with Search and Shopping ads, before remarketing to them across Display networks with the exact products they have viewed within a display ad, is an excellent toolset for advertisers.

Despite this, Microsoft Advertising is still a consideration – especially if your products appeal to older demographics. Data from AORI in 2019 found that nearly 40% of Bing’s search engine demographic is 35-54 years old, whilst an additional 34% are aged 55+. Cross-referencing this with your ideal customer base and you may be on to a winner.

The quick and easy import of existing Merchant Feeds and Shopping campaigns, as well as traditional Search campaigns, from Google makes this an experiment worth trying for any ecommerce advertiser. If you’re unsure where to start, a safe rule is to put aside around 20% of your Google Ads budget for Microsoft Advertising and run with your best performing campaigns to test the water.

Device Type:

The combination of consumer trust and the usability of checkouts processes on mobile, explained in our previous section, makes mobile a challenging device for ecommerce marketing. Data from US Retail in 2017 showed that mobile conversion rates were around a third of their desktop counterparts for ecommerce businesses, which is difficult to ignore when reviewing PPC budget allocation.

My advice to advertisers is to focus on desktop for ecommerce as a priority – the conversion rates speak for themselves and you will improve your chances of a decent ROI if budgets are constrained.

Mobile’s volumes are growing and there are benefits, but only do it when:

  • You have PPC advertising budget to spare
  • You have a stable ROI from your other device platforms
  • You are confident that your website and checkout process is mobile-friendly

Google’s development of their upcoming Google Shopping platform is worth keeping an eye on, though. This will integrate with Google accounts, when logged in, to allow a user to buy your product without ever leaving the realms of Google. This development will make it very easy for Android users in particular to seamlessly order products from Google Shopping campaigns, and mobile’s conversion rates for Shopping campaigns may improve as a result.

 

This is just a sample of the ways that PPC account performance can be improved using Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising tools. For more help and advice, contact us online today or speak to our PPC marketing specialists on 01536 316100.

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