Shopping today often starts with a search. Google, Bing, Yahoo. Just input what you want and the search engine gives you a great list—ads from vendors and an organic search result of pages that the search engine thinks is a match to your request.

For the retailer, this means that shoppers are online with their phones, tablets and laptops telling you what they are looking for! They want your products. All you have to do is create a great paid-search PPC advertising campaign to engage them and turn them into customers. Easy, right?

Search is very big. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches each day.  Remarkably, 16-20% of these have never been asked before! (see Jon Mitchell interview of Google Fellow Ben Gomes). That makes the search engine marketing (SEM) PPC campaign management problem more difficult – create a campaign with keywords that match how your shoppers are describing your products in an environment where your only engagement with them is your ad.

And to add to the problem, your competitors are also placing ads to get that shopper’s attention.

To get your ad in a top position, you need a great ad with top quality score and a competitive bid. And to get the shoppers you want who are ready to buy your products, you need to bid on the right keywords so that your ad is there for the shoppers who are asking for your products.

What are the right keywords? First, what are the words that shoppers use to describe a product that you sell? “Dress shoes for women” is good, but shoppers know that a broad search returns broad array of products. Sometimes that is what the shopper wants — to be able to browse a large set of relevant items. But sometimes, a shopper knows what she wants in more detail. “Red dress leather heels for a summer wedding”. Although Google will match various short keywords to a shopper’s longer search query, a short keyword will lose some of what the shopper was telling you. And, if you do not understand that shopper intent and respond with the best matching items, then your destination landing page just cannot be as relevant.

Consider this scenario: a shopper is searching for “red dress leather heels for a summer wedding”. The closer your destination landing page is to exactly what the shopper has told you she wants, the higher the conversion rate. In addition, Google rewards you with a higher quality score, so your cost-per-click (CPC) is reduced and your ad position is higher. All good! How do you do it? Long-tail keywords and relevant destination landing pages.

Long-Tail Keywords and Relevant Destination Landing Pages

What does this mean? Usually, it means having thousands of keywords that express the ways that shoppers may search for your products. Matt Bailey described in Search Engine Guide how he analyzed the ad campaign of one of his clients. He found that half of the search clicks were for his top 10 keyword terms, but that only accounted for 18.6% of the sales. In contrast, over 80% of the sales were from ad clicks on the other 50% of the keywords. That’s over 4 times the conversion rate of those top 10 keywords. OK, how do we use that to create a campaign?

First, let’s look a little deeper. Thi Thumasathit in Search Engine Watch summed it up quite well: “Almost every search engine marketer (SEM) knows the adage, ‘Use head keywords to generate volume and long tail keywords to generate profit’.” He went on to quantify the saying with a great analysis of 1.5 million keywords over 6 months across multiple clients, campaigns and verticals. First, he noted that short keywords, 6 to 10 characters, had 14% of the clicks, but a much lower than average conversion rate, resulting in only 9% of the conversions. Slightly longer keywords, 11 to 15 characters, had about a third of the clicks and conversions, that is, lots of clicks and the average conversion rate of the campaign.

Where Is the Best Conversion Rate?

But, it is not clicks, but conversions that bring the revenue. For that all important Conversion Rate, the data showed that even longer keywords were better. The best conversion rates were achieved with keywords longer than 26 characters, with the best being 36 to 40 characters.

 

Keyword
Length

%
of Impressions

%
of Clicks

CTR

%
of Conversions

Conversion
Rate

Conversions/
1000 Impressions

0
to 5

4%

1%

0.6%

1%

0.5%

0.03

6
to 10

23%

14%

1.1%

9%

0.8%

0.09

11
to 15

33%

32%

1.7%

35%

1.5%

0.25

16
to 20

24%

30%

2.2%

27%

1.2%

0.27

21
to 25

11%

16%

2.5%

18%

1.6%

0.39

26
to 30

3%

5%

2.9%

8%

2.1%

0.60

31
to 35

1%

1%

3.1%

2%

2.3%

0.71

36
to 40

0.2%

0.2%

2.2%

0.4%

2.7%

0.62

>
40

0.2%

0.1%

0.6%

0.1%

2.0%

0.12

 

[Table from Search Engine Watch, 2012]

What conclusions should the search engine marketer make for PPC campaigns? 

  • First, longer keywords have better CTR and better Conversion Rates. Why? Because these longer keywords capture more of the shopper’s intent of the search query—more description of what the shopper is looking for—and allows you to deliver that to them. Analyze shopper queries and determine what keywords capture the information your shoppers are giving you in their search queries. When people shop for shoes, are they specifying brands? Colors? Materials? Price range? On sale? Trendy? Highly rated? Create keywords that capture that information.
  • Next, you have to use that information to present the shopper with the most relevant items you have. The destination landing page must have those items. If the landing page has exactly what the shopper asked for, the shopper is pages closer to the “Add to Cart”. If the destination does not have the most relevant items, the bounce rate goes up.
  • Finally, since many shopper search queries are relatively short, we cannot ignore having shorter keywords that match those queries, but look closely at conversion rate and profitability — analyze the results closely and decide whether they are worthwhile to bid on. These keywords may have large volume, but are the most competitive and costly.

Want to know more? Just email me. Or you can click here to request information on Vioby’s products for optimizing your advertising campaigns.

tell-me-more