PPC challenges facing retailers


We know as well as anyone, Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) can be challenging at times, particularly for marketers who are completely new to it or those who have little experience in running a retail PPC account. So we’re taking a look at some of the common PPC challenges facing retailers in 2018.

Customer Acquisition

One of the primary reasons for retailers to embark on a PPC campaign is to acquire customers. But how exactly do you acquire them? The key to answering that question is knowing your audience, who they are and where they are. Do you know their age, gender, interests, or even which search engine they use?

For example, if you know your product is something which is commonly searched for, then paid search could be an ideal method. Alternatively, if you know that your target audience spends a lot of time on social media platforms, paid social media marketing should be considered.

Account Structure

Having a clean and clear account structure could prove to be the difference between having an average or even underperforming account and having an account which is easy to manage, analyse, report on, and most importantly, is profitable.

There isn’t a ‘perfect’ account structure, as everyone’s accounts are different and have different products and objectives, however there is best practice guidance to follow when setting up a new account.

Although this is a very basic representation of an AdWords account, it still gives a good idea of how your account will look. Each campaign will have its own ‘Ad Groups’ – you can have as many ‘Ad Groups’ per campaign as you like, and each one will have a set of keywords, with each keyword having an advert, or several, associated with it.

In the example of a technology retailer, their account structure may have televisions, home cinema and computing as campaigns. The ‘Ad Groups’ for the ‘televisions’ campaign may then be ‘Sony’, ‘Samsung’, ‘LG’, ‘Panasonic’ and ‘Hisense’.

Within each of these categories, relevant keywords such as ‘Sony Bravia XE90’, ‘Sony TV’s for sale’ or ‘Sony TV deals’ may be included, with an advert for that product associated with it.

Competitors and established retailers

Retail is a competitive industry, and so there are likely to be many other retailers selling a similar product or service to the one you are trying to sell. The more common your products, the more difficult it is likely to be to run a profitable campaign, with keywords likely to be have a more expensive cost per click.

In addition to this, well-known retailers such as Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World and SportsDirect all have considerable budgets when it comes to marketing, and part of this budget usually finds its way into their Paid Search accounts. They also have very strong, organic search presence, which makes competing with them a considerable challenge.

We’d advise not trying to be too clever when it comes to competing with the major players within your sector. Instead, focus on tailoring your ads by localising your keywords and ad copy.

Lots of traffic, not so many conversions

If your campaigns are seeing a high volume of traffic yet very few conversions, then you should reassess them. By looking at your account at keyword level, you will be able to analyse whether a particular keyword is driving a high proportion of the non-converting clicks.

If this is the case, you will need to analyse the keywords negatives, match type, locations and  ensure the campaign settings are correct. Check day parting schedules. You may find by making some small tweaks it may become one of your best performing keywords.

You may also find that traffic isn’t being converted because the landing page isn’t relevant to your advert. If this is true, then consider using an alternative landing page which is more relevant. For example, is an ad for ‘Sony Bravia XE90’ actually taking the user through to your websites ‘Sony’ category page, or worse still, the page of another model?

Mobile Shoppers

It seems like marketers have been talking about mobile for years now, but it’s still surprising how some retailers haven’t embraced the mobile age and ignore consumers who are searching for products on their portable devices.

Shoppers on mobile devices typically want to complete their purchase quickly as well, which means mobile PPC campaigns should be as consumer-friendly as possible, with landing pages being correct and sitelinks and ad extensions being made use of.

Ensuring an all-round seamless mobile experience will mean that your customers return the next time they’re on the lookout for products similar to yours. Also, consider your attribution model as well – not all consumers will convert on a mobile device, but they will then convert on a desktop at a later point.

Circus PPC is a team of PPC experts dedicated to improving PPC accounts who are passionate about performance, driving growth and reducing waste.

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