The great news is that the e-commerce sector continues to grow. In fact, findings from Forrester
Research point to an anticipated compound growth rate in e-commerce of 10 percent from 2010
to 2015, when it is expected to reach $278.9 billion.
As this market sector continues to grow, online marketers
are constantly looking for ways to seize more of the large
e-commerce pie while boosting ROI. One of the most
effective ways to do this is through search marketing. Yet if
everybody’s applying similar techniques, how can you stand
out among the crowd? This can be especially challenging in
the continuously evolving search marketing world.
There are three simple yet often overlooked areas that
search marketing professionals can address today to boost
their online presence. These areas are account structure,
device targeting and continuous testing. While these three
categories may seem obvious, they actually tend to represent
the most missed opportunities.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at these three categories:
Since your account structure
is the foundation for everything you manage — keywords,
ad copy, device targeting, budgeting and dayparting, for example,
it’s important to regularly revisit how it’s set up and
managed. The account structure that worked a few months
ago may need to be updated to make the most of the latest
new features and ad extensions.
For example, consider Google Sitelinks. As you may
know, Sitelinks are an ad extension that’s meant to help users
navigate your site. Since Sitelinks are set up and managed at the campaign level; it means all ad groups within a
campaign have to share the same Sitelinks. This is a prime
example where you may need to consider restructuring
your account in order to ensure that your Sitelinks are
relevant to the search query.
More specifically, an apparel company using Sitelinks
may want to separate the men’s and women’s categories into
separate campaigns to ensure that when someone searches
for products for women, they are not shown Sitelinks for
Along with ad extensions, your account structure can
also impact budget, delivery and Quality Score. Since daily
budgets are set at the campaign level, it’s a good idea to
place branded ad groups into separate campaigns from
non-branded ad groups so you have better control over
the budget spent on each category. For Quality Score, it’s
important to keep a very limited number of keywords in
each ad group to ensure relevancy to the ad copy.
While focusing on keyword build-outs and ad copy
updates is important, make sure to revisit your account
organization on a regular basis to maximize results.
As mobile searches continue to
expand, so do the targeting capabilities available for paid
search advertisers. Google recently reported in its retail blog
that the last back-to-school season saw a lift of 500 percent
in mobile searches for back-to-school items. With growth
like this, advertisers need to quickly take advantage of all
available targeting capabilities.
Both Google and adCenter allow you to target mobile
devices separately from desktop. In Google, device targeting
is set at the campaign level and allows advertisers to
drill down to specific operating systems and carriers.
Google has reported that advertisers who manage mobile
in separate campaigns experience an average increase in
clickthrough rate (CTR) of 11.5 percent compared to their
mobile and desktop combined campaigns.
Within adCenter, device targeting can be done at the
campaign or ad group level. The targeting options include
all devices — desktops, laptops, smartphones and other
mobile devices with full browsers. Keep in mind that your
ad group settings will trump your campaign settings.
By adding this level of targeting, it allows you to monitor
performance for mobile separately, manage bids to the
specific ROI of mobile, set separate daily budgets for mobile,
and adjust ad copy for the ads you know will be shown on mobile or tablet devices. Evaluating performance at
more granular levels means you will be better prepared to
drive higher ROI on future marketing efforts as well as more
accurately anticipate response levels.
Test, Test, Test
All too often it’s easy to get caught up
in the day-to-day management and lose sight of the need to
continuously test every aspect of your paid search campaign;
from keywords, ad copy and landing pages to bidding and
targeting. A good rule to follow is that whenever there is a
decision to be made, it presents an opportunity to test.
Like with any experiment, you need to follow these
1. Select a variable to test (example: headline ad copy).
2. Keep the rest of the ad constant.
3. Determine your key metric. Typically for ad copy, your
goal is to improve the CTR. However, you might want
to test which ad copy message leads to a better on-site
conversion rate or higher AOV. Remember, improving
CTR is very beneficial for your Quality Score.
4. Make sure you get enough traffic so your data is statistically
5. Monitor external factors. Your competition’s ad copy will
have an impact on the performance of your ad copy, so
it’s important to not simply live within your AdWords or
adCenter account. Use the Google Ad Preview Tool to
get an idea of a searcher’s experience.
There have been numerous occasions where expectations
don’t match results. However, testing provides the
answers to your assumptions of which ad copy will attract
more traffic and which landing pages will convert more
visitors before your campaign goes live.
The world of search marketing will always be changing.
However, if you have the right foundation in place, are
using all of your specific targeting options and testing at
critical turns, you’ll see that your search marketing efforts
deliver positive results.
About the Author
Kim Read is the senior director of Search Marketing Services at
LinkShare, a leading provider of online marketing solutions
specializing in the areas of search, lead generation and affiliate