Search Marketing for Retailers: Media Levers

Nobody wants to be marketed to. In fact, society is developing workarounds to avoid unwanted marketing interruptions almost as quickly as markets are finding new ways to interrupt consumers. However, unlike television commercials, street teams of guerilla marketers or even radio advertising discretely delivered by your favorite on-air personalities, search marketing is designed to reach consumers who actually want to be reached.

The challenge for retailers is to deliver the right message to the right consumers at the right time. In order to meet these objectives, retailers must start thinking like the consumer.

IgnitionOne works with many high profile retail clients whose primary KPI is to increase ROI. While our algorithmic optimization team can quickly deliver a lift in performance using our Proprietary Portfolio Optimization strategy, there are many levers you can pull on the media side to amplify this effect.

1. Audit Your Account & Ensure Quality Keyword Coverage

Bigger is almost never better. While building out long-tail & obscure keyword coverage may provide incremental value, it is important to pause or remove keywords with a negative ROI over the long term. If your keyword set alone cannot spend your budget, consider expanding your account with new tactics, such as mobile or remarketing for search, which will increase your spend and potentially your profit margin too.

2. Restructure Your Account To Match The Granularity Of Your Website

For retail clients, your search structure must match the granularity of your website. This will allow you to deliver very targeted ads and landing pages at the ad group level. When the site structure changes or the client is running a product-specific promotion, both landing pages and promo ads can easily be updated.

3. Dominate the page

I cannot express how valuable real estate is on the search engine results page. You should strive to maximize your brand’s presence using some or all of the following tactics:

  • Start a Google + page.
  • Run sitelinks (enhanced sitelinks are even better).
  • Manage your Google Places account.
  • Enable location or call extensions when applicable (particularly on mobile channels).
  • If you manage two complimentary brands, consider bidding the primary brand into first position and the secondary brand into second position. You will only pay once for the click but will garner free impression share for the secondary brand.
  • Consider running Paid Listing Ads (make sure they are semantically optimized; consumers do not want to read through product SKUs).
  • Try Remarketing for Search on non-brand terms only. These ads will target users who have already visited your site, which means they have a high propensity to convert.

4. Go Mobile

Consider the searches you conduct on your mobile device and your desired results. Most often, you are looking for quick answers with the intent of taking immediate action.

  • Differentiate your ad copy. With the rollout of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, you can set mobile-preferred ad copy and landing pages. Use this to your advantage and deliver text ads specifically targeted to mobile users with location and/or call extensions enabled. If you do not have a mobile optimized site, consider opting into the “Phone Only” option.
  • Keep in mind that mobile ads only make sense in top positions. Mobile users rarely scroll to the second page, so be sure to review device-specific analytics to ensure mobile is profitable for you.

Now that you have fully optimized your search account, start Googling! You heard me right. Though it may sting a little to pay for your own click, online marketers need to experience their ads from the consumers’ point of view, and the best way to do that is to get out from behind your database and follow your own carefully crafted path to conversion.

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