Ecommerce PPC Management: 7 Deadly Sins to Avoid

Ecommerce PPC Management: 7 Deadly Sins to Avoid

Table of Contents

You’ve likely heard about the seven deadly sins – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth – but hopefully you’re not too familiar with any of them! For people looking to lead an upstanding life, these vices should be avoided. Even the ones that sound like fun.

Similarly, there are a few “deadly sins” of ecommerce PPC management that you should make sure you’re never committing. For example, not using a prioritized campaign structure for shopping ads or neglecting to utilize negative keywords are just a couple offenses to avoid.

Keep reading to learn how to avoid seven mistakes that could land you in PPC purgatory.

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #1: Ignoring a Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) Account Structure

For your paid search campaigns, one seemingly simple mistake can cause a domino effect and knock down your whole ad campaign – ruining hours of hard work. When ad groups are set up using a theme rather than a single keyword, this can lead to a poor message match.

In contrast, using a Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) structure, allows you to keep your ads simple and effective. When you use a singular keyword, that means you can use different match types to target only single search terms as well. Another bonus is that your ad’s relevancy will improve – which means that your Cost Per Click (CPC) will go down as well.

While this recommendation is contrary to Google’s advice to use 15 to 20 keywords per ad group, small ad groups can work to your campaign’s advantage. If you use several keywords per ad group, it can be a challenge (to say the least) to ensure that your ad and landing page are both equally aligned to every single keyword. Looking at the example below, each ad group contains an exact, phrase, and modified broad keyword. As you can see, each ad group adds an increasingly specific keyword, which will help your ad targeting be more relevant and precise.

Ad Group Car Covers:

[Car Covers]

“Car Covers”

+Car +Covers

Ad Group Custom Car Covers:

[Custom Car Covers]

“Custom Car Covers”

+Custom +Car +Covers

Ad Group Corvette Car Covers:

[Corvette Car Covers]

“Corvette Car Covers”

+Corvette +Car +Covers

Ad Group Chevrolet Corvette Car Covers:

[Chevrolet Corvette Car Covers]

“Chevrolet Corvette Car Covers”

+Chevrolet +Corvette +Car +Covers

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #2: Using Standard Product Titles and Descriptions for Shopping Campaigns

Another all-too-common PPC mistake is neglecting to optimize your product’s titles and descriptions. While they technically contain the right keywords, they won’t convert prospects into customers. Ultimately your customers won’t be drawn in by generic descriptions. They may not even be aware of it, but they are looking for details.

Beyond including keywords for Google Shopping optimization, you should use elements beyond just product titles, including brand, style, model, color, and size to ensure that Google shows your ads for relevant searches. You should use the same level of detail with product descriptions, taking care to include information such as materials, shape, patterns, textures, and technical specifications.

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #3: Not Using a Prioritized Campaign Structure for Shopping Ads

For example, you have little control over whether or not your ads show up for certain queries, so there’s a possibility that your ads could be completely irrelevant to the searcher. It can be complicated but there is one strategy you must employ in order to avoid this PPC blunder.

Rather than the same bid potentially showing up for both a general or specific search query, you have the option to utilize priority setting. This strategy allows you to tell Google Shopping which ad campaign should be shown first for a query. There are also options to set negative keywords, shared budgets, and product bids.

An approach developed by Martin Roettgerding recommends focusing on negative keywords to filter queries into the correct campaign. His structure essentially shows that you can use three campaigns separated into products, brands, and… everything that isn’t products or brands. For each, you simply set the priority, negative keywords, and bids with the hope that your highest priority products will be shown for searches.

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #4: Not Using Enough Negative Keywords

And speaking of negative keywords!

It might seem counterintuitive to focus on keywords that you don’t want your product ads to show up for, rather than focus on the ones that you do. However, not using enough negative keywords – or not regularly updating them in your campaign – is another major PPC sin.

You may think that the more your ads are seen, the better… right? Not exactly. You’d be surprised how many search queries you wouldn’t want your ads to show up for. It’s for this reason that you can’t afford to ignore negative keywords.

It’s especially important to pay attention to them in the beginning of your campaign to avoid spending more on CPC for people who likely aren’t searching for your specific product. Finally, be sure to keep negative keywords updated throughout your campaign to ensure that you aren’t missing any.

Considering again the car cover example shared above, negative keywords you could apply for that campaign include:

  • seat
  • free
  • tire
  • steering
  • dashboard

Most of these are car-related items with covers that you don’t sell, so we wouldn’t want someone searching for one of these to wind up seeing your ad. And why are we excluding “free”? You’re not giving away your car covers – you’re selling them!

Another consideration is that negative keywords might need to be placed at the campaign, ad group, and ad levels. Negative keywords can also play a crucial role when ensuring that your SKAGs are not overlapping.

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #5: Using Google’s Automated Bidding Strategy

You wouldn’t trust a giant, remote corporation to properly allocate your company’s money in a strategic way, would you? Oh wait… that’s what you’re doing if you use Google’s automated bidding strategy! By leaving Google to its own devices, you’re setting up your ads for less than optimal results.

Since Google’s main goal is to make money from your ads, that means that their settings are primed for churning the greatest results for them – not you. To avoid spending money where you shouldn’t, evaluate your key ad settings – frequency, location targeting, enhanced CPC, etc. – to customize for the best results.

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #6: Failing to Focus on the Ad and Landing Page Message Match

Another sin many commit with their ecommerce PPC strategy is failing achieve alignment between their ad and landing page messages.

When determining your quality score, Google will consider the relevancy of your landing page content. You should optimize your page accordingly, including title, meta description, and meta keywords; this also means including keywords in the landing page copy, especially in headlines and subheadings.

This also brings us back to utilizing a single keyword ad group strategy. It’s much easier to optimize your landing page if you’re only focused on one keyword rather than several. However, this can also create another issue for you – you might need to manage multiple landing pages – and who has time for that?

This is where dynamic text replacement comes in and solves all – eh, at least many – of your ad problems. Using this technique, you can replace the keyword in a few places so that your landing page aligns with each ad being directed to that page.

Since copywriting is tricky as it is without keeping all of these requirements in mind, here are a few best practices for Google AdWords copy and landing page copy:

Read the linked blog above for a more detailed look at best practices for Google ad and landing page copy.

Ecommerce PPC Management Sin #7: Poorly Written Ad Copy and Not Utilizing All Possible Ad Extensions

Finally, last but certainly not least, this PPC sin could mean the difference between hearing a ton of clicks on your ads or hearing naught but chirping crickets as you review your unresponsive campaign results. Avoiding poorly written copy and using ad extensions are essential when it comes to grabbing someone’s attention and giving them a reason to click your ad.

As far as copy goes, you have even more options with Expanded Text Ads. ETAs offer more space, but there are still a few best practices to keep in mind as you develop your ad copy, including:

  • Use keywords and convincing copy in headlines
  • Utilize the description to differentiate your product
  • Make the most of the display URL
  • Consider how text will appear on mobile

Another compelling way to encourage people to click is to use ad extensions. These provide several options that further inform searchers about what you’re offering with clear and concise information. Ad extension options include:

  • Sitelinks
  • Location
  • Call
  • Review
  • Callout
  • Structured Snippet
  • Price
  • Seller Ratings

Even better, extensions can be used on the account, campaign, or ad group level.

Ready to Take Your Ecommerce PPC Strategy to the Next Level?  

Afraid that you may be a PPC sinner? Don’t worry, all hope is not lost! SevenAtoms has a ton of experience with developing high performing Google Paid Search and Google Shopping campaigns. We utilize:

  • Data quality optimization
  • Shopping campaign strategy and structure
  • Strategic bidding
  • Performance monitoring

Take your e-commerce PPC campaigns to the next level—contact SevenAtoms, a cutting-edge PPC management agency.

Author Bio

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Harness The Full Power Of Digital Marketing