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Learn AdWords techniques for local and ecommerce campaigns

Published: April 17, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Andrew Lolk of White Shark Media.

local vs. ecommerce campaigns

Finding a successful AdWords strategy can be difficult if you’re a beginner in the PPC space. Many experts slightly differ in their strategies, so you might end up reading conflicting pieces of advice.

Even though almost every industry (lead gen, B2B) can have an individually outlined AdWords strategy, many AdWords campaigns are included in one of these two categories: local or ecommerce.

Both ecommerce and local businesses also have plenty of sub-categories, but to keep it simple, in this post we’ll be focusing on these two categories.

Three AdWords Strategies for Local Campaigns That Don’t Apply to Ecommerce

Local AdWords campaigns provide unique opportunities to improve your campaigns. When you’re advertising in a small local area, you can write ads that make a better connection with your local audience than if you’re trying to reach an entire state or nation. Here are three ways to capitalize that don’t have the same level of benefits for ecommerce accounts.

Mobile Ad Campaigns are Important to Success

Mobile Ads are becoming an ever-increasing component for any ecommerce or local search strategy. However, when it comes down to mobile devices’ biggest impact, it’s inarguably for local search.

The ability to target your ads to customers who are already in your close vicinity or in immediate need of your services brings a completely new outlook on how to do advertising.

Flat tire? Whip out your phone and find the local auto guy. On a camping trip and forgot your tent? An ad for a sporting goods store close by would be just the ticket.

Ecommerce businesses usually require a functional mobile website with shopping cart functions in order to become profitable. Users need to interact with the site, browse, and cross-reference prices, colors, and sizes.

Don’t get me wrong – Mobile devices are important for your ecommerce business, and if your shopping cart platform is mobile-friendly, then mobile ads can be a great form of new revenue stream.

It’s just so much easier with local campaigns. You can build a mobile website for $9 per month with DudaMobile, and you’re optimized for mobile devices.

Test out Click-to-Call 

When building mobile ads in a local AdWords strategy, remember the Click-to-Call feature.

The Click-to-Call feature only works on smartphones, but for mobile marketers in local communities, it’s one of the most effective tools.

You can decide between two features in your ads:

– Include both regular clicks and click-to-call clicks

– Only allow click-to-call

Yes, you can in fact tell Google that you don’t want to have anybody clicking your mobile ad without calling you. Customers who call are usually closer to a buying decision than if they’re merely browsing.

By incorporating the Click-To-Call feature in your AdWords strategy, you will in many cases increase your ROI and overall profits.

And why, you may ask, isn’t this as important for ecommerce campaigns? Just imagine you incorporated Click-to-Call to your ecommerce AdWords campaign, and half your clicks from mobile devices turned into calls. Your call center gets overwhelmed, customer ratings plummet, and otherwise profitable clicks are wasted.

It can certainly be used for ecommerce, but test it out on a small sample set first to know what you’re getting into, and prepare internally for the results.

Granular Geo-targeting

Using geo-targeting in local AdWords campaigns (on any device) is probably the most important part of your strategy. By only allowing your ads to appear in a geographical location applicable to your business or service, you’ll increase your returns significantly (and cut TONS of wasted spend) in comparison to what you might get if you chose a generic approach to geo-targeting.

Geo-targeting can be incorporated on many different levels:

– Zip code targeting

– Radius targeting

– Cities and counties

The key here is the fact that you can customize your targeted area to such a degree that you’ll rarely have your ads showing up for people who aren’t physically able to receive your service.

no geo targeting ad
This ad is being served over 300 miles from its headquarters. 

That ad shown above? It’s not using geo-targeting, and it’s wasting a ton of money.

With specific local ad targeting, you can also make a closer connection with your users when writing your ads:

– Include the relevant city or county in your ads

– Refer to local events (sports are usually a winner)

– Present local-specific promotions

The more users feel that your company has something in common with them, the more of a connection they’ll feel with your company. If you can spin on this connection, you’ll be able to multiply your sales many times over.

Three Ecommerce AdWords Strategies That Don’t Apply to Local Campaigns

Working with AdWords for ecommerce is not as much about getting the local connection with your audience, but making sure instead that the right people everywhere click your ads.

It’s about presenting your products as precisely as possible so people clicking your ads know exactly what they’re going for.

Use Product Listing Ads

You can’t get around Product Listing Ads if you’re a serious ecommerce business. Product Listing Ads are the products you can see in the right-hand side and immediately below the yellow box on top of the Google search results page.

Here’s an example:

product listing ads

The advantages of using Product Listing Ads are many:

– stand out on the SERPs with images

– Present your price, company name, and specific product right in the search results

– More qualified clicks due to better knowledge  on what to expect

– Double your reach by having regular AdWords and Product Listing Ads showing at the same time

One reason to get on board with PLAs is to defend your territory. If you have an ecommerce site that’s had success in AdWords the last couple of years, you might have experienced a lower return in the last year or so. Product Listing Ads take up so much screen space that if competitors in your industry are using them, then you have to use them as well – just to keep up!

In the screenshot below, green represents regular text ads while Product Listing Ads show in red. (Which do you notice first?)

plas on serps

Track Revenue, Profit, ROI, etc. with Analytics

Operating an ecommerce store brings a completely new set of tracking possibilities. In fact, the world of tracking has been cultivated by an entire industry of professionals who help ecommerce businesses track their users’ every move.

With a proper ecommerce shopping cart, you can easily install revenue tracking (a.k.a. ecommerce tracking) from Google Analytics. Knowing exactly how much revenue your AdWords campaigns are generating will help you find out whether your AdWords strategy is being successful or not.

As you probably know, the value per sale can vary widely from the average, which is especially the case with AdWords. A specific ad can generate more sales and/or higher profits than another.

We see this all the time with White Shark Media clients, and the information revenue tracking brings allows us to make strategic decisions related to bid management.

I recommend you to read the case study that my colleague Cinthia wrote about increasing budget limits in AdWords.

Dynamic Search Ads

The Dynamic Search Ads function simply crawls your entire website for keywords you’re not already using and shows dynamically created ads for each of these keywords.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Dynamic Search Ads, it’s definitely a feature that’s more applicable to ecommerce AdWords campaigns than to local campaigns.

Product Listing Ads can take over a lot of the work from Dynamic Search Ads, but if you have a big store with a lot of individual products that you simply can’t manage by yourself, then Dynamic Search Ads is a good thing to try out. (Note: I personally believe that an expert or a third-party tool could create better campaigns than Dynamic Search Ads.)

Look for AdWords Strategies to Suit Your Needs

There are just as many strategies to create successful AdWords campaigns as there are AdWords experts. Even though most experts will agree on most aspects, they may slightly differ in their approach or working methodology.

It’s important to find the AdWords strategy that suits your business needs and campaign goals. Don’t just listen to any one strategy or tip and think it’ll work wonders for your campaign. It might, in face, hurt your campaign. Make sure to run plenty of low-cost tests before investing a ton in any strategy.

Good luck!

andrew lolk– Andrew Lolk is CMO at WhiteSharkMedia.com, which specializes in paid search management for small and mid-sized businesses. Get more insights from Andrew on @AndrewLolk or through whitesharkmedia.com/blog.

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