5 eCommerce PPC Mistakes Marketers Must Avoid

74% of marketers say pay per click advertising is a huge driver of income for their business. If you aren’t among this majority, you may need to take another look at your approach to eCommerce PPC.

Even small tweaks and improvements can transform a campaign’s performance. So it’s time to identify your mistakes and make some changes. But where should you start?

In this article, we run through five common mistakes to watch out for when managing pay per click campaigns.

What is PPC management?

Managing PPC ads is a continuous process which allows marketers to oversee and optimise their ad strategy and spending. It is particularly prominent in eCommerce marketing as the industry relies on online traffic to generate sales.

PPC management is about maximising the impact of eCommerce ads while also optimising expenditure. Because PPC advertising is data-driven, there is unlimited scope for testing, scaling and optimisation. So, if your campaigns are ineffective, there is always a way to improve them.

Why PPC management is essential for eCommerce brands

PPC management can help all kinds of businesses, but it is critically important for eCommerce brands. This is because PPC advertising offers the industry some unique opportunities and benefits. These include:

  • A broader selection of PPC channels: As well as publishing search ads on Google and Bing, eCommerce brands can also place product listing ads directly on retail media platforms like Amazon, Google Shopping and Walmart. These PPC platforms engage audiences as they shop, which means a click is more likely to lead to conversion. Effective management is essential for overseeing these extra PPC channels.
  • Precise targeting options: Pay per click campaigns can be used to target specific audiences. This means eCommerce brands can create campaigns for a specific product, persona, demographic or location. They can even retarget past visitors. These targeted messages are highly effective, but require extra resources and management.
  • Next level data: PPC campaigns offer significant insights to all marketers. But, because all transactions take place online, eCommerce marketers can track the entire user journey. This insightful data is hugely valuable and requires effective management to monitor and analyse it.

The Top 5 eCommerce PPC mistakes

PPC advertising can be a profitable way to market your products and reach new audiences. But certain slip-ups can limit your success across search, social and retail networks.

Whether you run your own campaigns or enlist the help of a third-party, watch out for these five mistakes to ensure your eCommerce PPC strategy is on the right track:

1 . Not setting goals

Monitoring and analysing results is a key part of managing PPC campaigns. However, they won’t provide a clear image of your progress unless you implement precise goals beforehand.

In fact, defining clear goals, KPIs and timelines, should be the first step in crafting any PPC strategy. This allows marketers to accurately assess the performance of their eCommerce ads and understand if it is moving in the right direction.

To choose progressive goals, just think about your brand’s overall business and marketing goals. You can then set out specific targets for each campaign. For example, if your business wants to build brand awareness, set targets for impressions and clicks.

Once you know the purpose of your campaign, it’s easier to plan a strategy, choose keywords and create impactful ad copy.

2. Not split testing ads

Because the results offer a clear indication of what works and what doesn’t, A/B testing is an essential part of managing eCommerce PPC.

You can split test any aspect of your ads, including copy, CTAs, graphics, keywords and landing pages. The likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook even have A/B testing features built-in.

You can run split tests on a regular basis to continually optimise your ads and increase ROI. It’s also a good idea to analyse the results of each test. This can help you understand your audience and run better campaigns on other channels too.

3. Not effectively budgeting

Knowing exactly how much to spend on your eCommerce PPC is a huge challenge. There is no one-size-fits-all figure. However, it’s a good idea to allocate funds based on the performance of individual campaigns.

To avoid budget mishaps, we suggest following these tips:

  • Test before you invest: When you first launch a campaign, implement tight budget limits. This will minimise losses while you test and optimise your eCommerce ads. Once you are confident that a campaign will pay off, you can then scale up the budget.
  • Adjust campaign budgets based on the metrics: Don’t be afraid to slash spending on campaigns that are underperforming. You can then redirect the funds to successful ads. However, be careful not to rely too heavily on a single channel or campaign.
  • Look for advertising partners: If your budget is tight, consider cooperative advertising. Many manufacturers and retailers pair up to share advertising costs. Recently, Google Ads even launched a feature to facilitate these agreements.
  • Use negative keywords: You can optimise ad spend by using negative keywords to prevent your ads showing up for irrelevant or ineffective keywords. Similarly, you can exclude specific audience segments that are unlikely to convert.
  • Set budget alerts: You can use Google’s programmatic scripts to automate lots of tasks, including bid management and budget alerts. Over on Amazon, you’ll also receive notifications and recommendations when your budget is running low.
  • Monitor financial metrics: Return on ad spend will help you see when you’re spending too much. You should also keep an eye on the average cost-per-click and the conversion rate of each campaign to ensure your product pricing covers costs.

4. Not using appropriate keywords

Keywords can make or break an eCommerce PPC campaign. If you use search terms that are too broad, you may get lots of clicks and no conversions. But if they are too specific, you mightn’t reach anyone at all.

To avoid this mistake, it’s a good idea to do some keyword research. This will help you figure out what phrases people type into Google, Bing or Amazon when searching for your products. Tools like SEMRush, Keyword Explorer and Google Keyword Planner will help.

As mentioned above, you should also choose some negative keywords to reduce the number of irrelevant search terms for which your ads appear. For example, if you sell luxury leather handbags, you wouldn’t want your eCommerce ads to show up in searches for ‘cheap handbags’ or ‘low-cost leather handbags’. By excluding these keywords, you’ll reach more relevant shoppers.

5. Not optimising ad copy

Marketers aim to present a consistent message and tone throughout all the content they create. But when it comes to eCommerce PPC, ad copy is often overlooked because of the limited space available.

As well as including your chosen keywords, it’s essential to ask:

  • Is my ad copy accurate and relevant to the product advertised?
  • Does my ad copy match the landing page it links to?
  • Does my ad copy include a clear CTA?

If you run PPC ads through Google, consider using free ad extensions to expand the copy in your ads. You can add price tags, locations, store links, app links, reviews, promotions and other features. This extra copy makes your ads more eye-catching, informative and engaging – all of which should attract more clicks.

Final thoughts

Generally, pay per click ads offer a decent return. According to Google, its PPC ads generate $8 of profit for every dollar spent, while research suggests that Amazon’s product listing ads generate $3 for every dollar spent.

However, in a recent survey, 9% of marketers said Amazon’s product listing ads didn’t help with growth. This means investing in eCommerce PPC isn’t enough. Serious marketers need to carefully manage and optimise their campaigns as well.

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