February 15, 2022

3 Ecommerce PPC Mistakes To Avoid

At Adexpress, we see eCommerce owners making the same three errors all the time, wasting their ad budgets and losing vital sales. But, with the right prep, you can turn these common mistakes into your competitive advantage—optimizing your conversion rates and lowering your Cost Per Click (CPC).

1. Do your keyword homework

The biggest mistake eCommerce owners make is not doing enough keyword research before launching their campaign. There are two steps you can take to overcome this.

First, consider how your keywords get matched to people’s search terms. Google Ads uses four match types—broad, phrase, exact, and negative—determining whether your ads will be seen by a wide audience, or just a few highly-targeted searchers.

Broad match is the default matching type and casts the widest net, showing your ads to people searching for both your keyword, and words related to it. For example, if your keyword is ‘gaming chair’, your ad will also show up for people looking for ‘gaming bean bags’, and other related terms. But, because you reach such a wide audience, broad match also brings in a lot of irrelevant traffic—so it’s easy to waste your budget on people who aren’t interested in your offer.

Phrase match gives you more control over who sees your ad by specifying which words must be in a search query for your ad to show. If you specify ‘gaming chair’, your ad can show up for searches like ‘kids gaming chair’, or ‘reclining gaming chair’, but will be excluded from searches like ‘gaming seat’, or ‘gaming bean bag’, etc.

Exact match means your ad will show up for people who type in that exact keyword—or close variations of it, like ‘gaming chair’ and ‘chair for gaming’—but nothing else. While this limits your impressions, those you do get will be highly targeted—and more valuable—than impressions from a broad match.

Negative match is slightly different, letting you specify words you don’t want your ad to show for. This helps exclude people who aren’t interested in your offer, improving your return on investment—and lowering your CPC—by making your campaign more focused.

Once you’re clear on how keywords are matched, you can use that as a foundation for effective keyword research.

Start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about the search queries they would need to use to find your store. Then, using Google Ads Keyword Planner, start pulling together your list of keywords.

For easier management, it’s helpful to group them into four buckets:

  1. Brand terms, like your brand name or trademarked terms
  2. Generic terms related to your products
  3. Competitor terms that similar eCommerce sites use—including their brand name
  4. Related terms, which aren’t directly related to what you sell, but that anyone who wants your products or services may be searching for.

By understanding these variables, you’ll have a solid foundation to build your keyword research—helping deliver a far more targeted PPC campaign.

2. Create dedicated landing pages

As your PPC campaign starts sending traffic to your store, you need to convert those visitors into paying customers. And this is where we see the second most common mistake: not setting up dedicated landing pages for your PPC campaign.

Too often, eCommerce owners send their paid traffic to a generic webpage, like their homepage. But there’s a problem with that. The content won’t match the offer in the ad, and with no clear conversion path—and plenty of distracting links—visitors just explore and bounce.

By building specific landing pages for each ad, you give your visitors the exact information they’re looking for. You can customize the content to match your ads, with fewer distractions, leading to higher conversion rates—while lowering your CPC.

Achieving high conversion rates is all about persuasion, so your landing pages should communicate the right message, at the right time, to convince your visitors to take action.

To optimize the content for higher conversion, start by hooking people with a high-quality headline, and follow with clear and compelling body copy that matches the language in your ad. Include your product’s unique selling point and its key benefits, back those up with social proof and high-quality images, and finish with a strong call to action—being specific about the next steps your visitors should take.

To get the most out of your landing pages, continually optimize them with A/B testing. Run two or more versions simultaneously to see which performs better—testing the impact of different headlines, body copy, hero images, CTA’s, and color themes.

While it takes a bit of trial and error to fully optimize your landing pages, getting the foundational pieces in place will offer far higher conversion rates than a generic webpage.

3. Don’t just set it and forget it

The third biggest mistake we see is after launch when eCommerce owners just let their campaigns run without monitoring them. Aside from saving your ad dollars, there are a number of reasons to keep analyzing and updating your PPC campaigns.

First, your post-launch analytics will give you a clearer picture of your target audience. Before launch, you may think your ideal demographic is men aged 18-24 in Miami, Florida. But, a properly configured PPC campaign may tell you it’s actually 40-45-year-old women in Key West. So, you will need to adjust your ads, keywords, and landing pages accordingly.

Second, search trends change with the seasons. What's hot now probably won’t be in a few months. So you’ll need to adjust your strategy to stay visible and capture the most traffic possible—especially during peak selling times when ad spending is more aggressive.

And, as more competitors enter your space, any savvy pay-per-click campaigns from other stores could bump you down the rankings if your campaign isn’t properly managed.

To get the most from your ongoing optimization, start by comparing your analytics to your campaign’s Key Performance Indicators. By considering your Click Through Rate (CTR), visitor numbers, and conversion rates, you’ll get a clear idea of how well your keywords are performing—and whether you can expand your keyword lists, or if you need to add any words to the negative pile.

It’s also important to actively review your ad text—using the A/B testing results we mentioned earlier to guide you. Regularly testing ad variations—while pausing your underperforming ads—will ensure you’re putting the best messaging in front of searchers and maximizing your CTR.

Turn these common mistakes into your competitive advantage

With a little extra planning—and dedicated ongoing management—it’s easy to avoid the most common PPC mistakes that most eCommerce owners make.

By digging deeper into your keyword research, setting up optimized landing pages, and consistently tweaking your campaigns, you can build a huge advantage over your competitors—lowering your Cost Per Click and maximizing your ad revenue.

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