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The Do’s And Don’ts Of PPC For Your eCommerce Business

Any marketing strategy is bound to be faced with a certain dilemma in 2021: what can be conducted in-house and what should be outsourced?

Ideally, the solution should be simple: whatever strategy brings the greatest return with the least expense. Unfortunately, launching paid campaigns can frequently mean relying on inadequate and outdated data, making any accurate estimate difficult. It can be even more difficult if you’re a new seller with an entirely new product line.

PPC may be one of the more successful and reliable paid advertising strategies in eCommerce, but sellers frequently assume it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. It isn’t. It’s just as subject to larger consumer trends as it is to the potential of your own sales niche. It’s been estimated that one third of consumers click on paid ads because they directly answer search queries. And while seasonal shifts, keyword ranking and changing attitudes undoubtedly influence your success in implementing it, PPC is a strategic process—not an end goal. Which means the constant refinement and testing of your paid campaigns.

Do: Conduct Preliminary Research Into Your Product Category

It’s common for many brands to assume new product launches will ultimately be a game changer in their niche. Sadly, that’s rarely the case. A recent Nielsen survey revealed that 42 percent of consumers are impacted by world events and economic factors in their purchases, forcing them to shy away from adopting new products. Your product may have the right price advantage. It may even be revolutionary. But does it directly answer current customer needs? What’s the long term impact it can make on the lives of your target audience? Are you recycling stale ideas or providing a product that’s fresh, vital and driven by consumer demand? Success relies as much on fulfilling customer needs as it does innovation. And without solid insight into both the success and failure rate of your product category, you’re merely second guessing your audience.

Don’t: Assume Product Interest Will Remain Constant

One key mistake even seasoned e-tailers make is expecting consistency from eCommerce. Customer habits are constantly changing; and while the pandemic may have resulted in a record spike in digital commerce sales, purchasing behaviors can be driven by any number of seemingly random factors—from social influence to personal need. Sellers can’t always rely on the volume of their competitors as a gauge of their product line’s potential. Instead, emphasize what sets you apart when considering your paid campaigns. Focus on your unique strengths as much as current keyword trends. There’s a balance between both which can be found only if you employ foresight and discernment.

Do: Emphasize Both the Particular and the General in Your Keyword Research

A broad keyword pool won’t necessarily drive results. It might affect your visibility, but it’s more likely to present a challenge for customers with specific queries—your long term target audience. Eliminating broad match keywords and focusing on long tail search terms may ultimately reduce your spending but also increase the likelihood of constant monitoring and revision as search frequency results change. A mix of both general and specific search terms using negative keywords as a guide can drive an effective PPC strategy so long as each term is relevant to your product category.

Don’t: Bid Outside Your Budget

It cannot be emphasized enough: PPC is not “pay to play.” And return on ad spending (RoAS) should always be your bottom line. You may have a much wider target audience than you expected, but that doesn’t necessarily mean paid campaigns will be capable of reaching all of them. Start slowly, and measure RoAS results against both daily, monthly and quarterly metrics. Not every brand is necessarily going to benefit from PPC despite the reported 50 percent lead it can have over organic searches. Make certain your product is ready before committing to any form of paid advertising, and make certain your budget for development and fulfillment exceeds your advertising costs.

Do: Deploy Automation and Third Party Services Only When Your Product is Ready

As we indicated, product readiness (including full descriptions, optimized imaging and testimonials) is critical prior to launching paid campaigns. Unfortunately, smaller brands frequently implement PPC before their product line is even launched. PPC reporting and monitoring is a time consuming process. And it’s time which can be better spent perfecting your product line. Third party consultants and automated software can save you a significant amount of legroom in advertising, but they’re only effective when your product is ready. There’s no use jumping the gun in product development. Top sellers maintain their status on the strength of their product. Paid advertising augments those strengths, but it’s hardly a substitute for development.

Don’t: Dismiss Other Paid Advertising Channels Solely on the Strength of PPC

PPC may be one of the most powerful and reliable tools to increase traffic and maximize conversions, but it’s not the only one. The programmatic display advertising industry has been predicted to reach $80 Billion this year in the US—and that’s likely a conservative estimate. As IoT innovations continue to emerge, paid advertising will follow suit, helping to cement eCommerce as an increasingly dominant force in retail trade.

But sellers need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any form of paid digital advertising. That means developing a plan and workflow for their campaigns if they hope to see results. PPC may be result-oriented by its nature, but those results are entirely dependent on consumer habits. And that’s one advantage eCommerce has in marketing campaigns: it’s entirely user driven. Sales can’t be bought any more than customer loyalty can be bought. PPC can both drive and measure traction, but it all comes down to one factor: consumer need over marketing schemes.


Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your eCommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.

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