5 ½ FAQs for More Effective Ecommerce Pay-Per-Click Spending

    by Sam Mallikarjunan

    Date

    July 13, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    puzzle piece question markb Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an excellent way for ecommerce companies to stimulate their competitiveness for traffic from specific keywords moving through search engines. Ecommerce companies can use PPC to reach extremely competitive markets while they build their more durable and enduring organic and social inbound marketing campaigns.

    To effectively leverage PPC for ecommerce, we've compiled list of frequently asked questions to help you generate better results from ecommerce PPC spending.

    1. Max Bid: How much should I spend per click?

    Like most PPC publishers, Google AdWords offers the opportunity to precisely manage the maximum amount that you want to pay per click. This simple feature is often ignored by many ecommerce marketers – especially those with large inventories and corresponding PPC campaigns to manage.

    If you have a PPC firm managing your campaigns, they usually send results using ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) because they’re often not plugged directly into your margins on individual products (also because ROAS is always higher than real ROI, and they’d rather be sending the larger number to justify their efforts). PPC management firms can only operate with the information they have, and factors that go into your overall COCA (Cost of Customer Acquisition) aren’t usually part of that.

    It’s important to factor in things like product cost, conversion rates, and order fulfillment costs before you can determine what you can reasonably set as your maximum bid. Given these factors, it simply may not be worth it to be so highly competitive on a given keyword.

    2. Necessity: Am I competing for keywords I don’t need to?

    If you’re already ranking very high organically for certain keywords, you may not need to continue being highly competitive in the PPC space. Highly placed organic results typically receive the highest amount of traffic of any position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – by far .

    If you’re already receiving a healthy volume of traffic and converting well for a given keyword, it may benefit you more to let your competitors fight a bloody and expensive PPC battle while you focus more on growing and converting your organic traffic .

    3. Landing Page Testing: Is my ecommerce landing page the problem?

    Before you blame all of your conversion woes on the details of your PPC campaign, don’t forget that there’s another highly visible and very important variable of your campaign that you need to test: the landing page that the campaign is driving traffic to.

    Also, make sure that the ad offer that sent visitors to the landing page is relevant to the landing page itself, or your conversion rate and overall PPC campaign health will suffer.

    4. SERP Placement: Is traffic from the top slot the most valuable?

    Many companies, especially in the ecommerce space, fight very hard to win that top ad slot in PPC. While that top slot will almost always receive a higher volume of traffic, the quality of the traffic may be lower when averaged out over the visits, and the value of that click may be less. Here’s why: the top slot generally gets a large number of “impulse clicks."

    This means that the clicker may not have really read, digested, and evaluated your ad, and you may get a slightly lower volume but higher quality of traffic (that is more motivated to buy and more likely to convert) by competing for lower slots in the ad results.

    5. Keyword Mapping: Are my PPC ads in line with my SEO?

    You can use targeted PPC campaigns to enhance the traffic on keyword-relevant pages. However, if the ad you’re using isn’t correctly structured to reflect the keywords of the landing page you’re linking it to, then you may be losing out on valuable opportunities to augment the traffic on those landing pages.

    5½. Keyword Opportunities: Can I rank higher for keywords using PPC?

    Along that same thread, if through your research you’ve identified additional keywords that would be beneficial to rank for, you can use PPC to help drive targeted, relevant traffic to product, review, or informational pages. While PPC doesn’t directly impact your search engine rankings , you can certainly use it to augment your traffic on pages where your organic results haven’t yet reached that critical mass.

    Photo Credit: Horia Varlan


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