PPC Crash Course for E-Commerce Part 2

So last week, we went over an introduction and the basics of what you want to look for when doing advertising for your e-commerce business. This week, we’ll be going over structuring and budgeting your PPC campaigns. So, let’s dive in!

Ad Group Structuring

Good account structure helps you make changes to your ads quickly, and allows you more granularity when targeting. So, when just starting off with PPC, the best ad structure strategy to use is to copy your site structure, by product. Taking our example from last week, let’s say you’re selling knitting needles. So you have a campaign for steel knitting needles, bamboo knitting needles, ceramic knitting needles, so on and so forth. By structuring it like this, it’ll help you create keyword lists that directly relate to the corresponding ad along with the ads leading to that specific product. This works really well because it aligns ad groups and landing pages for those ads like so:

Google AdWord campaign structure

Courtesy of Google AdWord Answers

 

If you’re feeling frisky, and want to take a look at a more advanced ad structure or feel that the by product structure isn’t for your business, you should check out this article by Sam Owen at Search Engine Land. He talks about structuring ads based on user intent, rather than by product. Definitely worth a read.

Budgeting

Now, this is where things get tricky. Budgeting is always a moving target. You may have a set budget for these ads to begin with, but deciding how you’re going to divide it amongst your campaigns is where things start getting a little murky. There are three things that you need to look for when you first start planning your budgeting for ads. First, which campaigns have products with high search volume? Second, what is their average cost-per-click (which can be found in the AdWords tool we went over in part 1)? Lastly, which product will make you the most money?

What you end up with is a secret sauce mix of giving a higher budget for ads that have a high search volume, where it will make you the most money, and those that have a higher CPC that in turn requires more budget money. However, you don’t want to give too much of your budget to a campaign that’s going to have a high cost-per-click that doesn’t make you as high of a revenue as other products, this will cost your ROI and be a waste of your limited budget.

A good way to get around this when you’re starting out is to just give all of your campaigns equal budgets for the base amount you (or the client) are willing to spend each day, and tweak from there. If you start seeing a campaign performing at a good ROI, start giving it a higher budget. Conversely, if you see another campaign is not hitting its necessary ROI, you can redistribute the money in that campaign accordingly.

This is what makes PPC great for e-commerce. If one of your products is one of your top money-makers than feeding its ad group a higher budget will help you produce even higher sales as long as you have the inventory for it. If you’re a mom and pop shop, that is hand-making everything, you may want to limit yourself to a number of sales per day. But, if you drop ship or are a distributing from a large warehouse, keep feeding those budgets as long as you continue to get a good ROI from them.

Well, that’s it for this week. Next week we’ll go over the last details of using PPC for e-commerce. See you then!

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PPC Crash Course for e-commerce Part 1

So you’re selling a product and you’ve come up with a fantastic e-commerce site. But, you seemed to have reached the ceiling when it comes to growth in your different marketing channels. You’ve seen the ads on Google’s search results and have seen the ads when researching different products, and it made you curious. Congratulations! You’ve just discovered PPC, which is going to be our focus topic for this week. So follow along, we’ll get you started down the road of making sure you know what platforms there are to choose from, what analytics you should pay attention to, and how to get started becoming a PPC monster!

Basics of PPC

Before we dive in, let’s take a few minutes and go over, exactly, what PPC is. PPC (pay-per-click) marketing is a form of online advertising in which businesses accrue costs when users click their ads (i.e. Google Ads on the top and right-hand side of search results). These businesses bid on different keywords and audience types, which a search engine matches to different search queries and pre-defined lists.

Knitting PPC example`

 

 

 

 

 

PPC can be used for all sorts of campaign goals, including increasing sales, generating leads, and promoting brand awareness. PPC ads are all about relevance and gives businesses the ability to show a targeted ad at the exact moment someone is searching for a product that they sell. For example, let’s say someone is looking for knitting needles, and you happen to sell stainless steel, high quality knitting needles. The prospective customer searches for knitting needles, and low and behold, your product shows up in an ad on the search engine displaying your knitting needles for sale.

Advertising Platforms

Alright so now that we went over what PPC is, we need to discuss where you can advertise your products outside of Google’s AdWords. Because, if you’re just using Google you’re going to have a bad time. There are a lot, and I mean, a lot of options out there for advertising. Here’s a couple of the top ones that are great for e-commerce:

Nextag.com

Nextag claims to be the #1 comparison site in traffic, revenue, and GMV (gross merchandise value). They offer free tools such as a ROI tracking system, promotional platform for voucher codes, buyer reviews, and a trusted sellers program. Additionally, they offer no listing fees or set-up costs, and you only pay, when they “refer you to a qualified lead.”

Amazon.com

Yes, you can serve product ads on Amazon! You can upload your products manually, or send them a list via FTP. They’ll populate the ads with the information you send them. You can set and track your budget and ad space provides click through to your e-commerce store. The only fee you pay is a CPC (cost-per-click) fee. They also provide different formats, such as detail page, search & browse, buy box, and tower ads, (to find out more of these different ad formats click here). Also, when you sign up, you get $75 in free clicks to start, talk about a nice incentive.

Tracking

One of the most important things when it comes to setting up your PPC campaign is making sure that you’re implementing the proper tracking codes so that you can track goals and optimize your accounts to get the most ROI. The best place to set up your tracking and goals is with Google Analytics, since it will allow you to track your AdWords account along with the other advertising platforms you choose to use.

Google has a great guide in how to set this up and how you can implement the code on your site. Word of warning though this part is where it gets extremely technical, so if you’re programming illiterate, either find a how-to guide or hire a freelancer to set this up for you. Trust me, you want to get this right the first time.

While setting up tracking might be a hassle for you, time-wise or financially, I advise that you don’t even bother with a PPC campaign for your e-commerce site if you don’t have the proper tracking. Otherwise, you won’t know where the leads are coming from, and you won’t know what is working and what isn’t.

Keyword Research

Next, you’re going to want to start researching keywords for your campaigns. My advice is that you start with your own site, specifically, your products. Going through all your products is the easiest way to find the keywords you want to target, because it’s simply finding the keywords that people would use to find your products through the search results. Make sure you keep all these keywords grouped by product, it will help later when you’re going back to research specific products in that product category.

To make the process quicker, I recommend using the Google Keyword Tool. Let’s take the knitting needles example I used earlier, when I type it into the keyword tool, this is what I get:

Knitting needles keyword planner PPC example

Keyword listings on Google Keyword Planner

 

 

 

 

Google Keyword Planner PPC example

Ad Group Listings on Google Keyword Planner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is where the tool gets really robust, this goes into iterations and close relations to the keywords you chose, and the ad groups break down individual keywords associated with that ad group. Additionally, you can have it expand the list by having the program find more keywords like the ad group you clicked on.

Each one of these categories can be expanded to show a whole new slew of keywords. I recommend using this tool to get the bulk of keywords you’re looking for with minimal effort. Additionally, once you’re done researching you can export the list to an excel spreadsheet or you can curate the list right in the tool!

Well, that’s it for this week, next week we’ll go into detail about structuring your ads and setting up budgets for your ads. See you next week for part 2!

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Announcing Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper Tool

Just when we marketers and online businesses alike think that Google just hates us and has forgotten all about our hard-working existence, they go and release something like they did yesterday – the Structured Data Markup Helper Tool.

You’ve probably seen search results that look a little something like this:

Complete with a yummy-looking image of some ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies and a 5-star recipe rating, along with the first several ingredients needed to make these little delights. Or you might have seen something like this:

How convenient – a list of events happening in the city of Philadelphia this weekend, all from the same website, appearing naturally in my Google search results.

These kind of search results are considered rich snippets, meaning these websites are returning query results that contain additional information rather than just the title and meta description of the page that ranks for the query. The results with all of this additional information tend to stand out from the rest of the “normal” organic search results, meaning they can help a website increase click through rates and keyword rankings in the long run.

So, how do you get all of this additional information that appears on your website to actually start appearing in organic search results? Well, thanks to Google’s new tool, it’s actually pretty easy. These kind of search results are accomplished using Schema.org structured data markup – which is basically just a fancy term for feeding the search engines (namely Google) additional information about any given page that you want them to see.

For example, if you are working with a product page, you have the ability to tell Google additional information about the product using structured data markup, and the new Google tool helps automate all of that markup for you, so even if you’re not familiar with HTML5 or Schema.org, you can still begin sending this additional information to Google.

Say you want to tell the search engines how many of the particular product you have in stock, or what the brand name is, or what the price is or even what customers are saying about your product. It’s all possible, and now, it’s all pretty simple to automate.

So here’s how Google’s new Structured Data Markup Helper Tool actually works:

This is where you start. Choose what type of page you’re working on marking up, and enter the page’s URL. For example purposes, I’m going to use a wonderful seafood restaurant I visited recently with my family while visiting Houston, Texas, the Goode Company.

Once I’ve entered the URL for the webpage I’m looking to markup (in this case, I’ll be using the page on this company’s site that focuses specifically on their seafood branches), I can start assigning “tags” by highlighting information that’s actually found on the page itself. In this example below, I’m telling the Google tool what I want the name of the page to be in my structured data markup:

On the right side, I can see the tags that I’ve assigned to the page so far just by highlighting the information that I want to enter. Here’s what the right sidebar should look like once I’ve entered all of the information that applies. If there is any information missing at the end, you can either enter it manually, or skip over it, but know that skipped information will result in a less thorough rich snippet in the search results. In this case, I’ll be skipping over the “Review” information, as there are no customer reviews listed on the page itself:

You can see the information that I’ve highlighted on the page, and if you notice, the right sidebar is, for the most part, filled. When you’ve finished entering your page’s information, click the red “Create HTML” button. You’ll then see something like this:

The tool shows you an example of the HTML for the page in its entirety with the addition of the automatically generated structured data markup. If you scroll down through all of the HTML, you’ll see that the additional markup that’s been added is highlighted in yellow. You’ll find this markup in two sections – the first is before the closing </head> tag. All you have to do is replace the HTML that’s already there on your page with the HTML that this tool generates for you:

If you continue to scroll down, you’ll see more highlighted HTML that is embedded within the page content itself:

Again, you can copy and paste all of this HTML into the page content to fully markup the page that you are working with. Remember that anything in the content field that you mark up will be visible to viewers, while the markup that goes in the <head> of the page is just that – markup, not content.

Then just make sure your page is included in your website’s sitemap that is sent to Google, and keep an eye on your search results. With the video rich snippets that we’ve seen here at Mountain Media, we have found that results can take anywhere between 1 and about 6 weeks to begin to show in organic search results.

So with the help of the new Google tool and some patience, you, too, can have rich snippet results for your website that can help increase your click through rates and keyword rankings, resulting in more overall search engine traffic to your website!

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