Retail PPC: 3 Key Considerations When Choosing a Supplier for Automating Product PPC Adverts

  |  March 26, 2014   |  Comments

In order to select the right pay-per-click (PPC) automation partner, there are some critical success factors to consider before making your choice. Here's a look at how to pick the right one.

If you have a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign and an extensive list of products, chances are you have considered automating your PPC campaign.

Automations that use your existing product data to generate adverts, keywords, etc. are a very cost-effective way of driving sales but they are tricky things to get right and are rarely done properly.

Despite being a computer-automated approach, automations need extensive human input in order to make them work. To ensure you select the right partner, there are some critical success factors to consider...

1. Your Business is Unique
There are two main types of automations, those that are "out of the box" solutions, and those that are bespoke.

It's controversial but we believe there will never be an effective "plug and play" solution to automating PPC campaigns from a product database. There are just too many variables, and too many differences between each business model to be able to do it properly with a generic solution.

You need human intervention to understand the nuances of your own data and design solutions accordingly.

2. Broader Category Searches Shouldn't Be Ignored
Be aware of the subtle difference between product-feed-based solutions and true automations. It's relatively easy to throw up a single ad group per product and keep prices up to date or pause ads when the item goes out of stock - "out of the box" solutions do just that. This approach works well in circumstances where users generally search for terms that only identify a single product, but most PPC campaigns are not that straightforward.

What if a significant proportion of your search volume comes from terms that don't identify a single product? Imagine you sell hats; you need to show a different ad to someone searching for a "Size 6 red Armani fedora" than you would someone searching "red hats." It would be ineffective to show users searching broader terms ad text or pages that relate to just one specific item.

A good automation deals with the higher and the lower level categories - plus everything in between. You need to be able to attract users using search terms from any of these levels and, crucially, to be able to treat them differently.

If an agency takes a one-size-fits-all approach or only knows how to target everything at product level without considering these higher-level categories, then they probably aren't right for you.

3. Bid Management and Automations Go Together
There is little point in going for a really granular approach over a large product range if there isn't a robust and effective means of managing bids within that structure. Your traffic will be split down to lots of very specific keywords in lots of tightly focused ad groups and you want to know that your agency can manage bids effectively at this level across a vast number of keywords.

By taking a very granular approach offered by some off-the-shelf automation tools you may be covering lots of bases, but you could still be missing out on a significant proportion of search volume that comes from broader searches. A truly successful automation will ensure you cover all eventualities, serving the most appropriate adverts that match the searchers intent, ensuring you significantly increase your return on investment (ROI) from PPC.

If you are investing in retail PPC and are interested in automating PPC product adverts, you may like to read the full guide to selecting a PPC agency to help you.

To hear more about the above and going global online, please come and check out Search Laboratory's presentation at ClickZ Live New York on Tuesday, April 1, at 11:40 a.m.

* Sponsored content in collaboration with Search Laboratory.

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