This is a guest post by Jana Fung, Marketing Manager at MixRank.

PPC strategy for e-tailers can be overwhelming; especially when there are millions of keywords you’re managing within hundreds of thousands of campaigns. And, although revamping campaigns and creative strategy sounds like an attractive way to drive clicks and boost conversions, this is a highly time-consuming task, and will prevent you from implementing the most obvious and simple PPC optimization strategies. Today, I’ll walk you through 5 easy-to-implement PPC strategies that will deliver the most notable results.

1. Underperforming keywords and placements: As more and more advertisers bid on your top performing keywords and placements, the price per click continues to rise, but your sales may not be continuously increasing from those clicks. Pausing poorly performing keywords and placements is the fastest way to stop the damage and free up some ad spend for expansion into better performing targets.

To ensure you’re not overpaying for a conversion, start out with a benchmark of how much you’re willing to pay per conversion. Those keywords and placements that are driving a massive amount of clicks, but exceeding your cost per acquisition target are not worth keeping around, as they’re causing more harm than good.

2. Pricing in Ad Copy: Adding the pricing for your products within the ad copy helps drive more relevant clicks and weeds out those that are unwilling to pay for your product. Here’s an example of how a leading online retailer adds pricing in the ad copy to encourage clicks from ready-to-purchase visitors, and eliminate costs from those who are seeking a different price point.

pricing-copy

3. Negative Keywords and Placements: By running a search query report, you can see all the keywords your ad has incurred clicks from. Alternatively, if you’re running display campaigns, run a placement performance report to see which placements are receiving the most clicks. While you are likely to find plenty of clicks that were extremely valuable, focus your attention the troublesome keywords and placements that completely unrelated to your product offering and costing you valuable ad spend.

Digging through these reports to find those unrelated keywords and placements and adding them as negative keywords or placements is an optimization tactic that tapers off your reach from highly irrelevant impressions, clicks, and traffic. With negative keywords and placements, you ultimately expand available budget so you can start bidding on other higher converting keywords like our next strategy.

4. Model number keywords: Optimize your budget by bidding on the highest converting keywords. As you know, search engines are often used for research. So while broad keywords have a lot more search volume, they are not always great converting keywords, as those users who performed these searches aren’t ready to buy.

Now imagine if you came across only those who knew exactly what type product they’re looking for, down to the brand and model number, and were ready to purchase. A quick and easy strategy for expanding your campaigns to reach these types of customers is to start bidding on the model number of the products you’re selling. When someone searches for the model number of a product, this indicates they’ve already finished the research stage of their purchasing process, and are likely to be at the buying stage. To increase your Quality Score, include the model number in your ad copy just like Target.com did in this ad.

model-number-campaign

5. Competitor Keywords and Placements: Tap into your competitor’s paid traffic by bidding on the same keywords and placements. To gain access to your top competitors’ campaign secrets, take a look at free competitive intelligence tools that provide you lists of your competitors’ top performing keywords and placements. These big data solutions allow you to choose whether you want to see a competitors’ keywords, placements, or even ad creative or landing page designs for a competitor. Here’s an example of keywords and placements that can be seen in MixRank, the leading competitive intelligence tool for display campaigns:

competitor-report

This type of analysis doesn’t require a lot of time brainstorming for new keyword groups or researching new placements to target. You can simply conduct a VLOOKUP in Microsoft Excel to identify all the publishers and keywords you’re not currently targeting that your competitors are seeing profitable returns from. Start adding these into the ad groups you see fit. These are definitely worth expanding campaigns upon if you’re looking to dominate the market.

These 5 strategies are sure to drive more relevant impressions and clicks, providing immediate results to any campaigns that are on the decline. Whether you’re just getting started or an established online retailer, exercise these PPC optimization tips regularly to ensure your budget isn’t wasted on unrelated traffic. If you’ve used these strategies and seen significant improvements and financial lift, tell us your experience in the comments section below.

About the Author
Jana Fung, guest author of this post, is the Marketing Manager of MixRank. She has managed successful demand generation programs for over 6 years. She is optimistic about the growth of online advertising and has a passion for helping online marketers with their campaigns. If you’re a MixRank fan or just want to say hi, she’s interested in connecting with you! Follow her on Twitter @jana_fung.