8 Deadly Advanced Adwords Ecommerce Mistakes Every Advertiser Needs to Avoid

AdWords is one of the most effective methods of driving traffic to your e-commerce website. However, if poorly managed, it can result in a huge waste of money.

In this post, I’m going to show you 8 PPC management mistakes that marketers often make.

Not only that but I will  also show you, step by step, how to fix the mistakes so you can unlock the full potential of AdWords

1. You Run Ads To Out Of Stock Products

Running your ads to out of stock products is a sure-fire way to burn through your budget with no return.

If you’ve got a large inventory of several thousand products, then it’s hard to keep track of what is and what is not in stock.

However, there is now an effective way to manage your inventory and automatically pause ads when your products are out of stock.

Russell Savage recently wrote a script that allows you to do this automatically at scale, even if you have an inventory of tens of thousands of products.

When Base Fashion implemented a similar script, they saw an increase in their conversion rate of 12%.

You can implement this script by following these 6 steps.

STEP 1. Download this free Adwords script 

STEP 2. Go to your AdWords account and then go to “Bulk operations,” and then select “Scripts.”

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STEP 3. Click “+ Script” and paste the Adwords Script into your account.

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STEP 4. You will need to slightly modify the script. Find an out-of-stock product on your website and check your website’s source code.

Search for the word “stock,” and you should see that one of them will look something like this: “in_stock”:false. Make a note of this.

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STEP 5. The find a product that is in stock, and look at the source code and you should see something like this: “in_stock”:true.

STEP 6. Go to line 23 of the script and replace the OUT_OF_STOCK_TEXT variable with the way that it is written in the source code In this case, “in_stock”:false. Because this is different for every website, I would recommend using Russell Savage’s script on one product first as a test to be sure you have identified the variable correctly.

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2. You’re Not Writing Ad Copies For Every Product In Your Inventory

Building incredibly granular accounts that target right down to the individual product pages, is the key to success with AdWords.

But I still see advertisers who don’t write adverts for every product they stock.

By writing ads for each product, you can capitalize on people who are late on in the buying cycle and achieve high click-through rates and conversion rates. Here you can expect conversion rates as high as 5-10%

If you have a large account of thousands of products and you have new products going in and out of stock all the time, this can seem like a daunting task:

There is, however, a smarter solution.

Both Google DoubleClick and AdWords Robot have introduced something called inventory-aware campaigns that create ad groups, adverts, and keywords for all your products automatically,

They work using pre defined advert templates and then auto populating them with data from your product feed.

Here is how it works:

By implementing this strategy, a trendy apparel and accessories company was able to increase their conversion rate by 50% and their CTR by 26%.

The most staggering fact was that they were able to save 38 hours by automating this task.

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3. You’re Not Social Proofing Your Ads.

Trust symbols and reviews allow you to build trust and occupy more space at the top of Google.

Studies have shown that 61% of users read online reviews before making a purchase online.

There are two main ways to obtain this trust and positioning:

Seller rating extensions and review extensions.

Seller rating extensions are the 5 stars that appear alongside your adverts in Google search results. Here is an example of House of Fraser using them.

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A study by Google found that by implementing seller rating extensions, advertisers have seen rises in CTR of 17% and increases in conversions of up to 4.8% with 50 positive reviews.

The easiest way to implement this type of extension is to sign up to an independent review service that has been approved by Google, such as Reviews.co.uk that we use.

Simply acquire 150 customer reviews over a 12-month period on one of Google’s partnered review providers, and the stars will automatically appear alongside your ads.

Another way to social proof your ads is to use review extensions, this allows you to show a reputable 3rd party review alongside your ads, as healthybodywebcom are doing below.

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By implementing review extensions, advertisers have seen increases in click-through rates of between 26-44% depending on the industry, and increases in conversion rates of approximately 27%.

Review extensions can be implemented within the “Ad extensions” section of the AdWords interface.

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4. Not Using AdWords Countdowns to Create Urgency

When was the last time you were browsing Google and saw a countdown time like the one below?

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Not very often right?

This makes it a great opportunity for your ads to stand out and create urgency.

Search Engine Land recently published a case study on the effect of using countdown timers.

They saw the CTR increase from 2.87% to 4.02% for adverts with a countdown timer and a $3.66 decrease in cost per conversion.

It’s also interesting to see how conversions increased dramatically as the number of days to the end of the sale decreased.

If you look at the graph below, you will see that conversion rate increased from 8.24% to 10.80% at its peak just before the sale.

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Here is how to setup countdown times for Adwords:

STEP 1. Download this Adwords Script

STEP 2. Within you AdWords account go to “Bulk operations,” and then select “Scripts.”

STEP 3. Click “+ Script” and paste the script into your account

Step 4. Apply the script to the ad groups or campaigns that contain the adverts you want the countdown timer to run for. Full instructions on how to do this are contained within Googles Documentation

Step 5. Add parameters to your advert that will be replaced with the number of hours remaining. For example: Only {param1:a few} days {param2:and} hours left!

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5. Not Taking Into Account The Effects Of Attribution

Shoppers online will now make as many as 9 visits to your e-commerce store before they make a purchase.

However within Adwords your only see the keywords that is responsible for the last click not the other 8.

What this hides is that you have several profitable keywords within your account contributing to conversions, but they have no conversions attributed to them.

Because the keywords look unprofitable, advertisers routinely pause them, thinking that they are a waste of money. However, without these keywords, users would not have found the brand and consequently would not have made a purchase down the line.

For example, here is what is knows as a search funnel for a fictitious airline company. You can see that a searcher first found the website by searching “Hawaii vacations,” then saw an ad when they searched “flights to Hawaii,” and then finally visited the website again when they searched “flyaway Hawaii” to book their holiday.

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In Adwords however the company would see only one conversion for “flyaway Hawaii,” which would hide the fact that without having ads appear for “Hawaii vacations,” the searcher would never have found the website.

You can see the keywords that contributed to the conversion, by looking at click-assisted conversions column and the impressions-assisted conversions column.

These would show which keywords and adverts contributed to a conversion.

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Before you pause a keyword that is not performing well, make sure you view these columns to make sure the keywords is not contributing to conversions.

Otherwise, you are likely to significantly reduce your conversions if the keyword is fundamental to people discovering your brand in the first place.

Attribution modeling is critically important to bidding in AdWords, and it’s very important that you choose the right model.

Google provides 5 different models you can use to analyze your data. As this is quite an in-depth topic, I won’t discuss it here. However, to learn about it, I would suggest reading “embracing the reality of multi-touch attribution.”

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6. Not Using Single Keyword Ad Groups for Top-Performing Keywords

Single keyword ad groups are one of the most effective methods of improving the performance of your account. When Audi applied them to their account, they saw a 50% reduction in the cost per lead and a 106% increase in conversions.

The problem most ecommerce have is that they have several keywords per ad group that share one ad like the example below.

The problem with this?

It is impossible to write highly specific to all of the keywords in the left hand circle.

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So, what are single keyword ad groups and why do they work this well?

Simply put, they are ad groups with just one keyword and two ads.

The reason this works so well is the ads in the ad group will show only for that one keyword, which ensures that you can place the keyword within the advert.

In an ideal world, you would have every keyword in your account in its own single keyword ad group. But the problem with doing this is that it would take forever for a large ecommerce account

Instead, be smart, around 80% of your conversions within your Adwords account will come from around your top 20% of keywords. This roughly correlates to every search query with 2 or more conversions. So create single keyword ad groups for these query only.

For a full guide to creating single keywords ad groups you can click here.

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7. You’re Not Automating Google Shopping Search Query Mining

If you have 1000s of products then keeping on top of your search query report can be daunting…

However, there is now an effective way to automate it:

Daniel Gilbert recently wrote a script that effectively puts the keywords back into AdWords Shopping Campaigns.

Simply add the keywords that you want your Google Shopping campaigns to be shown for into a spreadsheet.

The script then reads the search query report and If the search query does not match your keywords in your spreadsheet, then it’s added as a negative keyword. Each ad group has its own set of keywords, which can be defined in a spreadsheet, giving you unlimited control.

To get this script to work, all you have to do is download it here, and then create a new spreadsheet in Google Docs.

Create the following three columns – campaign, ad group, and keywords in Google Sheets and populate it with your keywords.

Finally, change the URL in the script on line 15 to the URL of the Google Sheets spreadsheet you have just created, and schedule the script to run once per day. The script will run daily and will add any search queries from the previous day that don’t match your keyword list as negative keywords.

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8. Your Don’t Know What Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

One thing that surprises me when I’m managing e-commerce AdWords accounts is the number of advertisers who don’t know their customer lifetime value.

On average, 32% of customers will place a second order within the first year of purchasing with you, and 5.48% will purchase from you 6 times.

Furthermore, on average, the customer lifetime value is 46.2% higher than the initial purchase value. However this will vary widely from industry to industry.

To maximize your PPC returns, you need to do two things. First, you need to maximize your customer lifetime value by adding upsells, cross sells and selling effectively using email campaigns, to name a few.

Second, you need to calculate your CLV. Once you know your customer lifetime value, you can better assess how much to spend on your paid search marketing campaigns, and you can scale your budgets accordingly allowing you to spend more per click and appear above your competition.

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Conclusion

Any of these 8 AdWords mistakes can have a significant impact on your ROI.

Go to your Adwords account right now and do a mini audit to make sure that you’re not making these mistakes. If you are, take positive steps to fix them.

If you have any questions about this article please feel free to post a comment below and I will get back to you!

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

5 thoughts on “8 Deadly Advanced Adwords Ecommerce Mistakes Every Advertiser Needs to Avoid

  • Thanks for this info, very helpful. One question, on the first item regarding a script for inventory – is this for spreadsheet managed shopping feeds? I believe many xml feeds update the inventory, so this wouldn’t be necessary, right?

  • Good article – I like some of these scripts however.

    1. Many platforms can be set only to send ‘in stock’ items to Google in merchant centre. This obviates the need for this step, so check with them first as you may not need to bother with this.

    Thanks

    • These ads are on the Google search network using Google Double clicks tool that creates search text ads from your merchant feed or if you have created ads manually based on your product catalog. Even if only in stock products are sent you will still end up with ads running to products that are out of stock.

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