11 Profitable Product Level Advertising Strategies

The Product Level Advertising Landscape

In order to drive incremental sales growth, retailers & brands must first understand the current product-level advertising landscape, what channels, innovations & trends will drive growth, and understand how to measure success based on your individual goals.

Last week, CPC Strategy’s Retail Search Manager, Lewis Brannon & Hooklogic’s Vice President of Retail Strategy, Steve Elson, hosted a product-level advertising course on actionable steps (driven by data) that drive sales growth for retailers and brand manufacturers.

 

product-level advertising

 

There were a lot of questions we didn’t get a chance to answer – so here they are now with answers from Brannon.

Q. Can you provide any tips specific to Google product feed keyword selections – (Example: how to modify the feed, how often to modify the feed, etc)?

A. If you are the original manufacturer, of course you can set the tone here, and the key is to simply provide as much relevant and key information in regards to the product and its functionality. If you are a retailer, keep your product information in-line or very close to what the OEM provides.

In terms of modifying the feed moving forward and how often to do so, both brands and retailers should actively perform Popular Query Research (PQR) which can be done using a number of keyword tools but is most effectively done using Google’s suggest functionality, to see what the most popular searches are pertaining to a given product.

Also keep in mind that only 15-20 characters show by default on Google Shopping titles, so creating titles that are relevant and succinct is important to improve CTR.

We advocate frequent and consistent data feed adjustments to test the impact on CTR and conversion rate of different assortments and placements of feed information (similar to ad copy testing for traditional search campaigns).

Q. Can you talk more in-depth on product reviews for Google Shopping? Is that only integrated with our main website or our other retailer sites as well?

A. Product ratings show on Product Listing Ads with a 5-star rating system and a count of total reviews. These star ratings represent aggregated rating and review data for the product, compiled from multiple sources, including merchants, third party aggregators, editorial sites and users.

A product must have at least 3 reviews in order for product ratings to be eligible to show on Google.com.

A merchant must also have 50 reviews total across all products in order to participate in the program.

Q. Do Comparison Shopping engines like ECN, Shopzilla or Nextag still play a role?

A. They can still play a key role in your portfolio, but it’s safe to say that we have observed their effectiveness waning in the last several years as Amazon becomes more ubiquitous and Google continues to improve their own product aggregation and price comparison technology through their standard search engine service.

To counter that, many of the large aggregator sites have consolidated themselves through acquisitions and are attempting to maintain the volume of traffic to keep their platforms relevant.

There is still quality traffic to be bought, and many eyeballs to reach, but in terms of management, it’s really not going to be effective for you unless you have the bidding / account management technology to grow volume at scale. 

Q. Earlier you talked about influencing which products show up in Google Shopping. Can you give examples of how you can do this?

A. This deals with how you build your campaigns, and in particular, how you configure the settings and negative keywords to funnel certain searches into individual campaigns and ad groups.

There are multiple ways to go about this, but one common strategy is to segment your campaigns by subsets of products, and use negative keywords in your campaigns to “sculpt” or “funnel” desired searches into the campaigns with your desired subset of items.

There are more advanced strategies as well to further isolate searches and pair them with products, but the execution is a bit more detailed and requires expert account management and technology layers such as javascript.

Q. How should one budget for retail advertising?

A. That’s quite a broad question. It depends on various factors and I’m not sure I can accurately answer it for you without having more information on your particular e-commerce site, product(s) and industry vertical.

In general terms, I can tell you that you should allocate your budget proportionally to the channels and campaign types that tend to drive the best quality traffic and highest converting traffic.

We tend to see that from Google Shopping and Amazon.

Q. I am selling on Amazon for my brand. What other Marketplaces should I be on?

A. Some of the other major marketplaces are walmart.com, target.com, sears.com, rakuten.com, and several others. Of course you must first obtain supplier status from these major retailers in order to send a feed to their site.

Q. What is the best tool to show clients the effects and ROI of the shopping funnel?

A. Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports & path reports are the best way to analyze and report on different campaign and channel mixes in relation to the customer journey / purchase funnel.

Q. You don’t think shoppers go directly from pre-shopping on Google to pre-purchase on Google?

A. Yes, some certainly do. Many shoppers utilize Google for their entire shopping journey, while others utilize only Amazon, others only walmart.com, etc. It surely varies and depends on many factors.

Q. You mentioned that the pre-shopping query can be expensive. If you are a small company with a limited budget is it best to look at advertising at different points of shopper journey?

A. That is a wise strategy. If your budget is limited, it’s almost always best to focus on mid-funnel and late-funnels searches.

However, even with limited budgets, there are ways to test upper funnel query buying in a limited, controlled fashion with the aim of gathering results to predict the viability of such campaigns.

Q. What would you say is more powerful to pulling customers to my website and Amazon listings, Facebook or Google ads?

A. I think it depends on the vertical for sure, but if I had to generalize here I would say that Google is a more powerful tool for new customer acquisition while Facebook is the more powerful tool for customized retargeting and long-term audience building models. I advocate usage of a combination of the two.

Q. Is there a way to retarget shoppers who abandoned their cart on my ecommerce site?

A. There are many platforms available for retargeting visitors to your e-commerce site across the web, on facebook, YouTube, and on apps and other digital inventory. Specifically retargeting cart abandoners can be done through virtually all the major retargeting platforms (Google AdWords, Facebook, AdRoll, Criteo).

I believe this question was asked in reference to retargeting your site visitors specifically on major retail sites and marketplaces (like Amazon, Walmart, Target, BestBuy, etc.).

I do not believe that is precisely possible, however tools like Amazon Marketing Services (specifically sponsored products and Product Display Ads) can be configured in a way that accomplishes the same type of behavioral targeting.

I also believe that HookLogic’s platform has tools that allow you to perform similar behavioral targeting on other major retail sites.

For more information on Product Level Advertising, email tara@cpcstrategy.com

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.