8 Clever Ways to More Efficiently Manage Large Inventory E-Commerce Accounts

For some businesses, usually B2B and/or SAAS, only selling one or two products makes managing their Google Ads account significantly easier.

There will be many fewer ad variants, optimisations are much simpler, and automated bid strategies are usually more successful.

In a more traditional e-commerce business, it can be much harder to manage ads, structure, and optimisations when stock levels vary.

Below are some top tips from how to structure your account, how to manage your ads in a less time-consuming way, and which scripts could work really well for you.

1. Automate pausing ads for products that go out of stock

This inventory-based ad management script created by Google could be a game-changer if you deal with a lot of stock issues. It’s also a good fix for promoting discounts in ads.

There’s a full explanation provided by Google in the link above, but essentially this script can:

  • Enable or disable product-specific ad groups (and so keywords and ads)
  • Create discount ads in specific ad groups
  • Dynamically update discount ads (i.e. with discount percentages and coupon information)

In order to use the script, you do need to do some background work.

Each product needs a unique code that corresponds to an ad group that contains ads for that product (not an issue if you are using SKAG – more on that later), and it has been labelled with the product code.

Your inventory stock information also needs to be maintained in a remote or Google Cloud SQL database.

It’s not a very straightforward implementation, but could seriously cut down on your hours spent changing ads and pausing campaigns manually in the long run. It is also much less susceptible to human error.

2. Use a landing page scanning script to highlight any errors quickly

If the above script doesn’t work for you because you can’t get the infrastructure in place to support it, or if you need a quick fix now, use this simple landing page scanner.

As well as checking for 404 errors, it can be customised to pick up when any text you specify shows on the page that might affect your budgeting for different keywords or campaigns: “out of stock”, “low stock”, or “available in 6-8 weeks”.

Plus, you’ll get an email when there is an error, so there’s no extra spreadsheet for you to check.

This script doesn’t make any adjustments to campaigns or bids for you, unlike the script in number 1 above, but it is very quick to set up and let’s you keep control of your bidding.

3. Create a structure that will make reporting meaningful for you

The key to structuring a successful and manageable Google Ads account is to strike a balance between creating enough granularity that you have control over where your money is going, but not creating an unwieldy mess.

Create campaigns centred around different products that you care about reporting on separately – for example, if the performance of different brands of trainer doesn’t matter to you, then don’t make separate campaigns for them.

If you do need to see the distinction between trainers and dress shoes, do make different campaigns for those.  

I’ve written more extensively about this in an article about building and monitoring large scale accounts here.

Also, for e-commerce, you may have different ranges of products which have separate budgets that you need to reflect in your PPC activity. These need separate campaigns as that’s the level at which you set budgets.

Another recommendation is to create new campaigns for non-evergreen collections, rather than adding new keywords to existing campaigns.

That will help remove anomalous results from your evergreen campaigns when you’re comparing period-on-period, as well as making reporting on the new collections much simpler.

4. Know your margins, cross-selling conversion rate, and customer lifetime value

Bear in mind the margins you make on each product versus how much it is going to cost for you to appear on them, when you are deciding which campaigns to create.

For example, if you make 10% profit on a product that retails for £10, but your average CPC is sitting around £0.80, you’ll need an extremely high conversion rate to make a profit. In that case, it may not be smart to run non-brand paid search campaigns for those products

However, if you know that your lower average order value products are great at getting people onto the site to then purchase other products, then it would be a sensible choice. That’s equally true if the lifetime value of a client is likely to outweigh the cost of that first purchase.

5. Use a SKAG structure

SKAG, in case you don’t know, stands for Single Keyword Ad Group.

As ad groups contain keywords and ads that they trigger, if you have just one keyword per ad group, you can make ads that are super specific to each keyword.

That means you should see higher CTRs, and have really relevant landing pages, all contributing to a better quality score and ultimately lower CPCs.

With e-commerce accounts selling a lot of different stock, you likely have products in a number of different styles and sizes. If that’s the case, it makes sense to take advantage of being able to capture specific searches, and show the most specific ads.

You also do not want to risk losing potential customers on your site because they are being sent to a landing page that isn’t as specific as it can be.

Using single keyword ad groups will help you achieve both of these things. It should also be relatively easy to manage if you’ve set up your campaigns in a sensible way.

6. Use ad customisers to create dynamic and easy to manage ad copy

So now you can have specific ads for every product – but how do you go about making those in a way that’s not extremely painful?

Particularly if you want to showcase prices or stock levels within an ad, it’s really not feasible to do that manually for a large inventory of products.

This is where ad customisers are brilliant.

If you set up your ads using ad customisers pulling from a feed that you upload to the business data section of your Google Ads account, you can manage this much more easily.

Whether that’s a certain brand has a sale or stock changes for different models, you can reflect this in the feed which will then pull through to all affected ad groups.

There’s a good article on how to set them up here.

7. Landing page testing

If you are selling a large range of products, you probably have a lot of different pages on your site, including search and filtering functions.

So how do you determine which one actually is the most relevant? It can also be complicated if you’ve got a homepage and category pages that tell more of your brand story than product pages do.

One page may have a better relevance according to Google’s algorithms, but another may actually create a more emotion-driven response and produce a better conversion rate.

The answer is simple: test your landing pages rather than stabbing in the dark.

If you are using a single keyword ad group structure as above, then you can find the most relevant page down to the individual keyword (if enough data) with iterative testing.

8. Don’t forget about ad extensions

Just because someone searches for a particular product, that doesn’t mean that that’s what they’re going to end up buying.

For that reason, you want to make sure you’re showcasing as much of your product selection as possible, without compromising on having really relevant ads.

Ad extensions are key for being able to do this, and add extra value by taking up more room on the results page.

For example, if you’ve got a promotion on your trainers, you want that to appear on your ads across all active and casual wear.

What’s more, you can manage these through Business Data on the interface also, making changing them across a range of ad groups and campaigns much simpler.

Got any more top tips for managing Google Ads campaigns when you are advertising a range of products? Comment below or get in touch!

Amy Hawkins
About Amy Hawkins

Amy joined Clicteq in March 2019 as a Paid Search Account Manager. She has a wealth of experience in managing enterprise retail and lead generation paid search accounts including BMW, Hive, Secret Escapes and iRobot.

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