E-commerce Insights: Winning at Paid Search ’07
For many catalogers, paid search will be the single most important channel for new customer acquisition this year. Here are what I believe to be the 12 best ways to do it.
1. Focus on Google. The reality is, Google controls more than two-thirds of the search market and is growing rapidly. Yahoo! continues to lose market share each quarter. MSN is a far distant third. Ask.com is even further back.
Allocate your attention proportional to your ad spend. Don’t completely ignore Yahoo! or MSN, but invest the most love and attention in your Google campaigns. You’ll be rewarded with the largest return for your time.
2. Grow your term list. As a rule of thumb, test three to 10 times as many distinct keywords as there are pages on your site. For example, if you carry, say, 5,000 SKUs, test between 15,000 and 50,000 terms. Assign tracking codes to gauge sales and costs at the keyword level.
3. Make your landing pages relevant. Don’t send paid search visitors to the homepage. Instead, deep link them to the most relevant selling page on your site. If you have more than one candidate for a relevant landing page, assign tracking codes and test all options.
4. Split out branded from nonbranded terms. Many catalogers find that a large portion of their pay-per-click traffic and sales come from searches on their brand. Advertising on your brand makes sense; the cost is low and the sales are high. Do it, but realize that traffic on your brand name isn’t incremental. These are searchers who are looking for you due to your reputation and other marketing efforts.
Don’t allow your agency or your in-house team to use your brand portfolio to hide a poorly performing nonbrand portfolio. Separate the portfolios in all your reports. Charge your search team to grow nonbrand portfolio sales aggressively and profitability.