5 Things to Check in Your Ecommerce PPC Account Right Now

re you utilizing Google AdWords or Bing Ads to find hidden opportunities or potential cost sucks for your company? In the first post of an ongoing series, we're sharing a few things to look for when running an ecommerce PPC account to ensure you see a positive return on your investment.

One can feel overwhelmed logging into a robust Google AdWords or Bing Ads account. You’re met with a wall of numbers and charts associated with your campaigns – each clickable taking you levels deeper. Quite simply, what should you focus on? If you’re managing a PPC account associated with an ecommerce site, you’re probably laser-focused on revenue and transactions. But, are you looking closely to find the hidden opportunities and potential cost sucks? In this first blog post in a series of things to look for in running an ecommerce PPC account, we’ll tackle the low-hanging fruit for getting the most bang for your buck.

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

At the end of the day, this is what it’s all about. How many dollars in revenue did you generate for each advertising dollar spent? Every website will have a different threshold for its target but generally shooting for $5 in revenue for every $1 spent seems like a good starting point. Many marketers tend to focus on the all-important cost per acquisition (CPA) metric as the de-facto key-performing indicator (KPI) for PPC, but there can be pitfalls with that approach if you sell a diverse set of products. For example, one ecommerce site’s campaign I managed sold everything from $1 batteries to $1,000 generators. The target CPA for that battery is going to need to be a heck of a lot smaller than for that of the generator.

When dialing in ROAS it’s important to analyze at ad group and keyword levels. Pause or bid down poor performers that are not meeting your campaign’s objectives, and raise bids and increase keyword share for terms besting your targets.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

What would a blog post about PPC be without mention of the importance of CTR. Some might consider CTR the Holy Grail metric for PPC due to the fact it is so tied to the overall health, context, and relevance of the searcher’s intent in terms of its match to your offering. CTRs will vary by industry of course, but the thing to keep in mind here is to look for the keyword outliers in your account that are suffering from poor CTRs. You’ll want to address ads in the same manner. Your overall goal here is to lift CTRs across the board, essentially telling Google and Bing that you’re uber relevant and essentially a great candidate for them to register a click (in other words: more money in their coffers). It helps you in the end though because your quality score will go up and your CPC will decrease.

Transactions Generated from Non-Branded Keywords

As PPC managers, we love our branded campaigns. We tend to own the top spot and enjoy a CPA and cost-per-click (CPC) that puts the other campaigns to shame. It’s crucial though that we create KPIs that help us understand the true value of the account generating new business that isn’t associated to our brand name. In these cases, the customer is potentially looking at multiple sites to purchase from so it’s imperative that: your ad copy be super-relevant to the searched term, the ad copy provide a unique selling proposition, and your site deliver a best-in-class experience as well.

Auditing the Query Stream

For the majority of match types, you will show up for keywords that are extensions of the ones you’ve inserted into your account. This is especially true for your product listing ads where there are often no keywords inserted into the account. If you’re not checking the details tab or query stream for what you’re actually showing up for, you could be in for a big surprise. This can prove to be a positive and a negative. First, on the positive side, when you see new terms coming into the stream you want to then add those to the account so that you’ll show up more often and at a more palatable CPC. Second, on the negative side, you’ll often show up for terms that either you did not intend or they’ll just be flat terms that you’re philosophically ok with, butjust aren’t returning for you. Adding negatives is the key activity here as well as pausing the lame terms.

Time of Day / Day of Week / Location

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of dayparting, you’ll want to school up. Via the dimensions tab, you have the ability to see at a granular level what day and / or exact hour of the day your campaigns are most efficient. With dayparting, you can analyze the data to discern how you should increase, decrease, or even pause campaigns. Similarly, utilize the dimensions tab to get at location to apply similar edits.

We’ll pick up this post in a future blog covering such topics on how to steal your competitors’ most productive keywords, best practices on breaking up large accounts, and A-Z on optimal settings.