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Are you maximising paid search?

Whilst key events, such as Black Friday, the January Sales and Bank Holidays, provide a massive opportunity for retailers, they also bring with them increased competition as the sector ramps up paid search activity consecutively. The key to success over competitors lies in smart forward planning and specifically, maximising these five areas:

1) Prioritise best sellers and high lifetime value

Just as in store best selling items are positioned at the front, in line with the customer’s viewpoint, the same theory should apply to paid online channels. Ensure that your best sellers and products with high lifetime value are prioritised and make them a bigger focus in your budget. Build your campaigns around these on AdWords, Bing, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

2) Maximising visibility  

It’s important to maximise your appearance on search engines to optimise customer views and consequently, sales. This can be done by:

Budgeting wisely  

  • Ensure that your budgets are sufficient. For short campaigns, making sure that the business has invested enough money in PPC will garner great results.

Bid adjustment

  • Make use of device bid adjustments to maximise sales and keep control of how efficiently your ads are working. A click at 2pm in the afternoon from a mobile device in London may be worth more to you than one at any other time or place, for instance. You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t use this technique and subsequently lose valuable mobile impression share.

Give your customers what they want

  • Create ad groups with a really great quality score, meaning the synergy between keywords, ad copy and landing pages is tightly matched to your customers’ intent and product preference. In practice, this usually means creating lots of niche ad groups with small numbers of closely related keywords. Not only will this result in more sales, it will also reduce your cost of PPC as Google rewards good quality scores with lower bid costs.

3) Bid control via grouping shopping campaigns  

When working in AdWords or Bing Shopping campaigns, ensure that you have a selection of distinct campaigns. That means you could have a separate “best sellers” group campaign with all your best-selling products split out into individual product groups, for example. By separating out into groups, you get greater control over bidding (increasing bids on specific products) and by using priority settings, you can push a controlled number of products over your more standard range. 

4) Re-marketing smartly

According to Digital Donut, in 2017, global retail cart abandonment stood at a sizeable 72.8%. Remarketing is a great way to get back some of those lost sales at a low Cost Per Acquisition. Ensure, however, that you are being smart with your remarketing tools. Serve ads based on your customers’ interest across several platforms. Using a range of social media channels is a good option here – for a customer who was going to buy a pair of jeans but got distracted and left them in their basket ensure they’re popping up on their Instagram feed, acting as a fresh reminder.  

Free Shipping is one of the best methods of encouraging shoppers to complete their purchase, with 93% of consumers reporting they would be motivated to buy more products if the retailer offered free shipping (Shopify 2017).

5) How shoppable is your website?

Finally, an obvious sounding question but one that some retailers fail to fully answer: how easy is it to shop on your website? Are your landing pages designed to convert? Have you checked that the mobile platform looks good and is accessible? This is all the more important as mobile-first indexing is rolling out. According to SmartInsights, more than 80% of consumers search online shops using their mobile as their primary access point and, if it’s not easy to navigate, they won’t end up as your customers.


Lol Lowe, is the head of PPC at  Infinity Nation, which helps manage the ecommerce operations for many major brands.

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