Q4 revenue increased by 71% in 2013. How much will your online store sell this Q4?
Tune in to listen to Google and Amazon experts, Jeff Coleman, David Weichel and Pat Petriello to learn insider practices proven to increase revenue for your online store this Q4.
Learn How To:
- How to increase revenue on Amazon for Q4 2014
- AdWords tips for more conversions during this holiday season
- Ways to increase revenue & exposure on Google Shopping this Q4
- Insider revenue tips from experienced Google and Amazon experts
View The Webinar On Demand:
View The Webinar Slides:
Amplify Q4 Sales for Amazon & AdWords
Mary: Hey everybody. Thanks again, for tuning in today to CPC Strategie’s Webinar: Amplify Q4 Sale for Amazon, Google, and Adwords. My name’s Mary. I’ll be driving the webinar today. As I had just mentioned earlier, if you have any questions throughout the webinar or following, feel free to reach out to me. You can also reach out using the hashtag CPC Webinar and throughout the webinar feel free to use the chat box to the right, which is part of Go-To Webinar.
Also just keep in mind following the webinar we will have brief Q&A session, during which you can ask questions of Pat, Jeff, or David, who are our three expert presenters today. So let’s just get started here. A little bit about CPC before we really dive in. So CPC Strategy is a retail search intense agency and what does that mean exactly? That means that we match your products to relevant searches online. So if you sell golf clubs, you want to find the person who is looking for your type of golf clubs and actually looking to purchase that golf club, so we meet and marry that information with online results. So that’s what we’re about.
We have some amazing resources on our blog, in our dot.com covering Amazon, Adwords, and Google shopping, all of the three channels we’ll be talking about today. So I highly encourage you to stop by there later today just to get some of our guidebooks or previous webinar and if you have any questions what we do or how we’re experts on any of these channels, again, feel free to reach out and I’d be happy to answer any questions or talk to you about that.
So a little bit about today’s webinar, like I said, we’re going to talk about Amazon, Google Shopping, and Adwords and how you can be successful on these channels for Q4 and moving out of Q4 and moving into Q4. So pre-, during, post-, let’s make sure you’re converting highly on all of those channels. As I’ve mentioned before, we will be recording this webinar. So if you have to tune out early or you would like to share it with another coworker, you will get that recording, either at the end of this week or earlier next week. If you don’t receive that, feel free to reach out to me again.
Again, we’ll have the Q&A session following, so if you have any questions specific to each channel, we have the experts available to answer those questions. Feel free to ask those questions during, again using that chat box, or reaching out on social using the hashtag CPC Webinar. So our famous and awesome speakers are Pat Petriello, who is our Amazon expert. Jeff Coleman, who I’m sure you are familiar with from before has done multiple webinars and is our expert witness on all things on Google Shopping. David Weichel, is our PPC Director and knows everything that you can know about Adwords and PPC.
So today we’re going to be talking about how you can convert more, get more impressions, get more sales on Amazon, Google Shopping, and Adwords. Our initial session is going to be on Amazon and so with that I’m going to pass it off to our Amazon specialist, Pat, and he’ll tell you a little bit about who he is and segue into how you can convert higher on Amazon and how that’s going to affect you during Q4.
Pat: Mary, thanks for the introduction and thank you everybody for tuning in today. As Mary took the stage we’re going to be talking about how you can help grow your sales on Amazon in Q4. A little background on myself before we get started, I’m a former member of Amazon Seller Services team up in Seattle. My main responsibility and priority there was helping sellers launch and grow their businesses on the marketplace utilizing such programs as FBA, getting more impressions on the marketplace, also using sponsored products, product ads, and things of that nature.
Prior to my time there, I was a professional seller myself in the wireless accessories category managing over a quarter million SKU’s across multiple marketplaces. So I am intimately familiar with some of the issues that many of you are facing as sellers in the marketplace in Q4. With that, let’s jump right into it. To set the plate for what I’m going to be talking about here, we’re going to think about this in terms of enhancing your discoverability and your buy ability on Amazon. Now I know those words just sound fancy so we’ll start with what do they mean.
Discoverability is the ability for your products to be found within the massive sea of products that are on Amazon.com. Getting noticed, getting your products to be found, specifically on the Amazon SERP is a key to success. So think of discoverability almost like Amazon SEO. We’ll dive into buy ability a little bit later, but we’ll start here. So what drives the results on an Amazon SERP? We know how important the SERP is. Most shoppers on Amazon start with a search. They go into the top search bar and they search the product that they’re looking for. So what drives what shows up beyond that? There are two factors that drive that.
It’s relevance and it’s performance. Relevance is exactly what you might think. If you search for a pair of men’s sandals, it doesn’t make sense for a flashlight to show up. So relevance is how relevant is your product to the search that the user made? The second portion is performance. Performance is measured by sessions and by orders. Think about this from Amazon’s point of view. Their incentive is to provide the bestselling search results when their buyer makes a search. In that sense they’re seller agnostic. They just want to present the opportunities to the buyer that are most likely to convert.
Within search too, there’s an APS that’s called the all-products search and then there’s department search. So once you make a general search, on the left tab there’s an area to refine, so that you can go deeper into departments. Within those departments there are category-specific data attributes, such as let’s say for shoes. There might be shoe style or the material or the shoe width. Those are category specific and obviously those refinements won’t exist in the electronics category. So those will come into play when we talk a little bit about your content optimization.
So we talked about relevance, relevance being one of the keys that drives SERP ranking and something that, as a seller, you have to the ability to control. It’s one of your levers, one of your inputs. So what is the content that you need to be focused on there? The content to focus on there are the product titles, your descriptions, your product features. Those are the five bullet points that you see on a product detail page. Your search keyword, those you set behind the scenes within Seller Central or using a CSC uploader or using your solution provider. They’re not actually on the detail page, but those are very useful.
The brand and manufacturer in some cases and also the MPN, that’s the manufacturer part number. That manufacturer part number really comes into play more for electronics and auto accessories and tools and things of that nature, where buyers will actually search by the MPN. So when we’re diving into content, we’ll start with a quick disclaimer about how the detail page ownership functions. I’m sure many of you are sellers who have ASIN where you’re competing against many other sellers. If there are ten sellers and ten titles are submitted, there’s still only one detail page. So obviously there’s only one title that gets submitted.
So Amazon algorithmically selects the content that’s submitted against a given ASIN from all of the sellers selling against that ASIN. What’s important to understand there is that there is no guarantee that the content which you submit will surface on the detail page, if you’re fighting for those content contributions against other sellers. So I mentioned title, title being one of the most important, if not the most important piece of content that you can influence. That Titles Index for Search by Amazon is weighted very heavily and it’s underutilized by many merchants on the marketplace, which also makes this an area of optimization.
Titles are interesting. You have a 250 or 500 character limit depending on the upload type. So if you’re using the 1 x 1, you only have a 250 character limit. If you are using the upload or if you’re using API’s or using a solution provider you have a 500 character upload. Rule of thumb if you will walk with this from anything about titles is your buyer should be confident making a purchase off the title alone. They should be able to understand and have a full confidence in what they’re buying just based off the title.
Brand, manufacturer part number, description, what the product is, material, color, size, quantity those all should be and can be included in the title, and when I mention quantity, I’m not referring to inventory quantity, but if you’re selling a two-pack of socks or a six-pack of soda, for example. Amazon doesn’t advertise this as well, but an important keyword should be included in your title as well. That’s going to allow you to get in front of the most amount of buyers and increase the sessions to your product and that’s really what discoverability is all about.
Now for the search terms and you can see the search terms on your screen here and this is what it looks like when you’re editing details within Sellers Central. For the search terms you have five fields of 50 characters each. So last time I checked my math that was 250 total characters that you can leverage for your search terms. A couple key things to notice about search terms and these are easy mistakes to make and things that you can avoid.
People creating terms that are in your other content fields don’t help you. So taking the terms that are already in your titles or in your product features or in your description, and adding them to search terms, that’s just wasting that character space. It doesn’t give you any incremental value.
Punctuation is ignored, so again, you don’t want to waste too much of your character space with that. Relevancy matters, that seems pretty intuitive, but obviously you want to put in search terms that are relevant to your product as opposed to just search terms you think are going to generate as much unqualified traffic as you can. A really good key here and I’ve seen it in my own personal experience, a lot of success with this, is consider synonyms for your products.
So a couple of favorite examples I like to use are pants, and you can consider slacks or trousers, or for sunscreen you can use suntan lotion as well, or sunscreen as one word or sun screen. You note that Amazon search algorithm already takes into account misspelling, so don’t use up your character allocation for any misspellings. Those will already be taken care of.
Same thing with pluralization as well, you don’t have to worry about adding an s to your terms. Amazon will already take that into account. Also, get creative here. Think of broad search phrases that might not necessarily be a title or be a description of the product, but are things that people are still searching for.
Especially during Q4 where you have those online shoppers who might not be regular online shoppers, so you’ll see here mom’s gift or centerpieces cheap. Again, one of my favorite examples I’ve used is search for hipster’s clothes and you’ll get fun beanie hats and t-shirts. That’s not maybe the way you would describe the title of your products, but it’s good to get in front of search. So keep that in mind when you’re considering search terms.
All right, success, you have mastered discoverability. People have found your detail page. They’re now on your product detail page.
You have now won half the battle. The next part of the battle for success is buy ability. What does buy ability mean. Buy ability’s a combination of two different things. Buy ability is the ability for you to increase your share of Buy Box ownership. Buy ability is also in instances where it makes sense to increase the conversion rate on the detail page overall. So think of 1,000 sessions that produce 100 orders.
By making sure of those 100 orders, you own the largest percentage of those 100 orders that you can and the second part of buy ability is increasing those 100 orders to 120-150 orders and so on. So it’s the battle to get a bigger piece of the pie and then also to grow the pie. You may have noticed when I spoke buy ability and when I spoke about Buy Box, I used the term an incrementally growing share of Buy Box.
You read a lot about win the Buy Box and winning the Buy Box and it sounds very binary. You either have 0.0% of the Buy Box or 100% of the Buy Box and that’s not necessarily true. You want to own a share of the Buy Box and an increasingly larger portion of the share. So what are some of the key levers that drive Buy Box ownership.
Again, actionable items that are better levers for you to impact your business. The most important two are landed price and fulfillment method. Landed price is your product price, plus shipping. So if you bake those together and offer free shipping, however you allocate those, they’re considered together for Amazon from a Buy Box consideration standpoint, and then fulfillment method.
So if you are in FBA, if you’re using FBA and that’s Fulfillment by Amazon program, you have a much higher likelihood of winning the Buy Box against the competitor who does not. Beyond that there are a host of other factors that are influencing Buy Box ownership. Your seller rating, your shipping latency, shipping latency is the amount it takes you to ship once an order is placed.
So for example, if you can ship an item out in one to two days that’s an advantage relative to a competing seller who ships that item out in four to five days. Again, this is not Amazon making things complicated for the sake of making things complicated. It’s Amazon’s incentivization is to offer the best buying experience for their customers. So they want to put the best combination of prices and fulfillment, and a highly reputable seller in front of their buyers, it creates a good experience.
Customer service factors as well, order defect rate, feedback score, A to Z claims, refund rate, approval or cancellation rate, those are things that also come into play and impact your ability to win Buy Box. And that’s something that makes the Amazon channel different than your traditional ecommerce channel. Those customer service elements actually impact your ability to sell more products by owning an increasingly larger share of the Buy Box.
A good way to think about this is the same way you think about other parts of your business, in that you don’t have unlimited resources. So you can’t win on every single one of these metrics that I mentioned. It’s important to pick your spot and you can leverage your core competencies. So let’s say you’ve got really great fulfillment for your non-FBA items and you can ship items out really quickly. Well, that’s a competitive advantage for you against your competitors.
Or let’s say you have really excellent customer service, so you can leverage those two win shares of the Buy Box. It’s important just to think about what does it cost you to improve your Buy Box share and what is the benefit of you increasing that share? So if with just adding an extra hour of doing customer service or by making more efficient one of your processes, you can help improve your standing in one of these metrics that’s going to increase your chance of winning a share of the Buy Box, then it’s a good decision for you to make.
If the cost for you to ship something three days faster is pretty astronomical and you think it’ll only increase your Buy Box share by a few percentage points, then obviously that doesn’t make sense. One other thought here on optimizing Buy Box is, think about this for optimizing your Buy Box share for profitability. So anytime we see a number and it’s not 100%, your natural inclination is to want to get that number to 100% and in many cases that’s true.
But will you really find a sweet spot for Buy Box ownership in the intersection between your Buy Box ownership percentage and your profitability? So to make an extreme example, you can set your price to all your products for a penny and you can almost guarantee yourself that you’re going to have 100% Buy Box on everything.
But you’re going to lose a heck of a lot of money doing it. So it’s obviously not the optimal intersection of your Buy Box percentage and your profitability. That’s also relative on a by-product basis, so there might be products that are very competitive and 25% of the Buy Box is your optimal intersection. There’s no right or wrong in that. It’s just another way of thinking about it.
Final thought on buy ability is the improving the conversion where your competition is scarce. So think if you’re a brand or manufacture owner or you own the content on a product detail page… I’m sorry. You own the Buy Box. You have a firm hold on the Buy Box you could increase your conversion rate, right? That earlier example, we can get those 100 orders to be 125 orders through your content enhancement.
This is where your bullet points come in. This is where your descriptions come in. Really creative, rich, product description I know it sounds like work and you can’t necessarily see the direct path between that work and the outcome. But if you can communicate the value beyond the features of the product and convey the experience and the benefits of owing and handling your product, it’s really a benefit for you and that will differentiate your products out there.
It gives people higher confidence, in that they’re actually getting what they want. Also think about clear and concise bullet points to communicate the most compelling features of your product. You’re trying to make a sale using these five bullet points for example. Sort of the golden rule and this applies to all ecommerce as well, is just think like a consumer.
Put the information in front of the consumer that they’re going to want to see, to be able to feel confident making their purchase decisions. Moving right along, thinking about Amazon Q4 as a marathon and not as a sprint. That sounds really catchy, but what does it mean? Well, it means that you can approach this in phases and be prepared in certain areas. So be prepared for increased demands, the increased risk of having stock out, so you don’t want to oversell.
Make sure your inventory is synced through your other channels and being a bit more vigilant in this time of year in the Buy Box hunt. Q4 brings a lot of opportunity and with it, it brings a lot more sellers and that’s a lot more competition against those ASIN’s that are important to you. So when you’re used to having a secure hold on a Buy Box, maybe selling against two or three other retailers for a product, it might get a little bit more competitive this time of year.
So make sure you stay vigilant, especially for those products that are really important and really are driving your business. Also know that increased sales opportunity means increased demand for customer service. You’re not going to want to be caught at the end of December trying to ramp up and figure out how to answer all those questions, so plan accordingly.
Final thought on that is that Q4 doesn’t happen in a vacuum. What that means is that your performance in Q4 is going to set you up one way or another for how you open the gates in 2015. If you have a lot of stock out, if you have a lot of cancellations and refunds, and negative feedback and poor seller reviews, you’re going to be licking your wounds a little bit and have to recover from that, as you come out of the gates in 2015.
In contrast, if you do really well, you get great reviews, you sell a whole bunch. People have a really great experience. You really set yourself up for an excellent start to the New Year. So think about the impact that this Q4 has on the whole and not just in a vacuum. Part of this to make it easier is to approach Q4 in three phases. We are in August right now so we’re in the preparation phase. That’s why we’re having this conversation.
So you can think about the things that are going to be important to you to be ahead of that. You can also, and I have November check in here, but this check-in will be dependent on your business is look at what SKU’s and what ASIN’s are selling really well. Look at the areas where you’re having problems. Look at the areas where you need to step your game up just slightly. It’s not set it and forget it. You have an opportunity to revisit those strategies.
Also remember last minute shoppers. Unfortunately I think I am one of those. You have an opportunity to leverage those sales for last minute shoppers. So when you’re late in December, there are still sales to be fought for and pretty significant revenues to be had. So the final piece before we pass it along to Jeff and talking about Google is, how you can leverage FBA to extend the holiday season.
Fulfillment By Amazon
FBA again, is Fulfillment by Amazon program where you can use their fulfillment network to fulfill your products, and think about the difference between what your own fulfillment network might be able to achieve versus what you can with FBA. Perhaps you can only guarantee delivery until the 25th on orders taken from 12/17 or 12/18.
With FBA you can extend your selling season until 12/22 with the guaranteed two-day delivery to Prime members and on orders over $35. So really you can extend your holiday selling season by as many as five, six, seven days that are probably going to be five or six of the seven high revenue producing days of your Amazon year.
Also thinking FBA, it helps you scale your customer service. Amazon handles customer service on all your FBA and scale your fulfillment operations. If you think of it from the big picture, Amazon has invested billions of dollars in world class technology and industry leading standards to really provide an unparalleled fulfillment network and you have the opportunity to leverage that for your business. So that’s something to keep in mind for Q4.
With that, I would like to introduce you to Jeff Coleman. He is our Director of Retail Search and he will cover being prepared on Google for this holiday season.
Jeff: Thank you, Pat. Thank you very much for the introduction and for taking us through Amazon. As Pat said my name is Jeff Coleman. I’m the Director of Retail Search here at CPC Strategy. Just a quick background on myself, I’ve been with the company for around five and a half, almost six years now and I run our Google Shopping and comparison shopping training programs and that includes the ongoing training that all of our team members receive to make sure that we’re continuing to stay experts in an ever-changing environment.
If you’re wondering who that is on the right hand side, that’s the next member of our CPC Strategy team. She’s going to be starting at about 18 to 20 years. That’s my six-month-old daughter Annabelle, so I just wanted to share with you guys. But let’s get back to making you guys some money this Q4. So just a quick disclaimer before I get started. I’m not going to jump into any feed enhancements. I didn’t include that section in my part of the presentation.
The reason being, that Pat has already taken us through a lot of great suggestions for feed enhancements and for data enhancements in general. All of those points that he brought up and referenced to Amazon are very useful when it comes to Google Shopping. So if you can take that same mentality for your data enhancement to your Google Shopping feed, you’re going to be in a good position from a feed mentality.
For your data enhancements to your Google Shopping feed, you’re going to be in a good position from a feed standpoint to manage Google Shopping and to run a profitable campaign. So what am I going to focus on? I’m going to focus on how you can start to restructure your campaign in order to capitalize on a lot of the sales and a lot of the increase in demand that’s going to come out of this quarter.
We’re going to touch on some steps that you can do to plan for that, and also some ways that you can react to sales trends as they develop, and react to customer buying patterns as they change. So the first thing that I want to get into is how you might be able to restructure your campaign in order to start to focus on some of the products that are likely to do well in Q4. A lot of the time for our clients, we’ll start to go through this restructuring process mid-Q3.
What works for the rest of the year might not necessarily be what works for Q4. A lot of the time there are certain subsets of items that we want to focus a lot more heavily on during the holiday shopping season that we might not necessarily get as aggressive on during the rest of the, just because the demands might not warrant that level of aggression. So one way that we can do that is by using our custom labels to segment out different groups of products.
This is something that does have to be done through the feeds, so you can’t just login to your Google Shopping campaign and say “I want to segment my product this or that way.” You’ve got to set custom labels through the feed using one of the five custom label columns. But you have full control over what labels you put into those columns and Google doesn’t restrict you. It’s pretty much whatever you want, however you want to group your products together.
In the example that I have here on this screenshot, we’ve segmented out some of the top sellers or some of the bestselling items. This is a pretty common way that we can use the custom label column and it’s pretty straightforward too. These are essentially just the items that sell the best on your site and so it makes sense to segment these out. You can actually bucket these together to see how the entire group of products is performing as a whole, so you can track how are your top selling products doing each month of the year. As we get into the quarter, on a weekly basis or even daily basis as well.
But these custom labels can be used for a number of different things. For example, let’s say you’re running a discount across a series of categories or a series of brands, or maybe just series of styles of products and you want to see how impactful is that discount going to be and what impact is that going to have on volume. What impact is that going to have on your ROI on your Google Shopping campaign? You can use a custom label to segment out those products.
So if you know that sale was running for a two-week period, add in a custom label, segment out those products, and you can create a separate product group for them, and bid up on them a little bit more aggressively to try and promote those products within the search results and start to drive more volume to them. Another way that you can think about this custom label is by looking at segmenting products that maybe you are able to get a special deal on.
Maybe you bought in bulk from your manufacturer on a specific brand or on a specific product line. Or maybe you’re just a great negotiator and you’re able to score a sweet deal on a particular line of products. You know that those products are likely sell well.
Maybe they haven’t been perennial bestsellers in the past, but these are products that because of your newly competitive pricing are likely to sell well and are likely to see top conversion moving forward and we want to see how the market’s going to react to that. So consider using a custom label and segment out those types of products as well.
One other thing to note here is that priority products get priority ranking, meaning that as you increase the bid, obviously the more likely you are to show up higher within the Google search results, but also to show up higher than other similar products within your feed. So one other thing to consider using this custom label for is to try and highlight style leaders or product leaders within a group.
For example, let’s say you sell t-shirts and you have one particular t-shirt that comes in ten different colors and each color has five different sizes. That’s a lot of different products that Google has the option to display for any search that might be relevant to a t-shirt. So how do you make sure that the bestselling variation is always showing up?
Well, you can use a custom label, attach that to your bestselling variations, and bid up on it and you can do that across styles, so you can easily group all of those styles together. So let’s say you know that the large, green t-shirts in that group tends to be the style leader, you can slap a custom label on that one, and on all the style leaders across all of your inventory, group them all together, bid up on them.
Those leaders will now get priority rankings ahead of all the other similar variations in the feed, because they now have the priority bid. The other thing just to keep in mind is that the elevated bid obviously brings with it elevated risk. You’re paying on a cost-per-click basis, so as you increase your CPC rates, obviously you’re paying more per click. But you’re also more likely to show up for some of the shorter tailed, maybe less relevant, more general searches.
So if you’re bidding really low potentially the only search that green t-shirt is showing up for would be men’s large, green t-shirt which is somewhat long-tailed and fairly specific. As you increase the bids you’re going to be little more likely to show up for the more general searches, like just t-shirts. That might be a little bit less relevant and aren’t going to convert as well. So on top of the increased CPC rate, you’re likely to potentially see a reduction in the quality of traffic as well, which can further lead to increase in costs.
So definitely make sure you’re staying on top of the products that you’re increasing the bids on so that you can keep things in check and not let that cost get out of hand. So how do we decide what types of products to put into these lists? I have a couple of slides on this and how we can start to put together a strategy on what products we want to emphasize.
I’m going to break these out into proactive steps, steps that we can ahead of time, and some reactive steps, things that we can do react to trends that we’re seeing as the quarter goes on. Like Pat mentioned, we’re not going to set our Google strategy in August and let it run and come back in January and see how it did. That wouldn’t make any sense. So we’re going to take some proactive steps now and we’re going to put together a strategy.
But we want to make sure we have a process in place to regularly check on that and make adjustments as needed. So one thing we can do to identify some groups of products that we might want to start to emphasize is look at the products that fall under these four buckets.
Competitively Priced Items
Competitively priced items, you can probably think of some of your most competitive items off the top of your head right now that you know right off the bat, you’re going to be one of the low-price leaders. You’re going to be one of the lowest prices across the internet and that’s going to be a product that you’re really likely to sell well, obviously because you have the lowest price.
So these are products that we’re going to want to segment out and put into their own bucket and bid up on them. You can obviously do that on an ID level by navigating into each brand in each category and then into each ID and bidding up on it. But like I said, consider using a custom label for that purpose as well. It can be a little bit easier to manage that way and a little bit easier to see which of those various products you’ve broken out.
Also any discounted items or sale or coupon items, as you’re putting together your promotional calendar for Q4, I would anticipate that a lot of you are already starting to plan ahead for what items are going to go on sale and when they’re going to go on sale. So you already know when those sales are going to happen. Make sure you’ve coordinated your Google Shopping strategies to go along with that promotional calendar.
Or even if you haven’t started putting that together, make sure when you are putting together that calendar you’re also allocating time to update the feed and update your strategy to go along with that. And when those sales kick in, make sure that you’re breaking those products out, whether it be through a custom label or another method and you’re bidding up on them. Obviously during the promotional period is when you want those sale items to be promoted.
So make sure like I said, that your promotional calendar lines up with your Google Shopping strategy and vice versa. Also perennial bestsellers are great to breakout. Just like you’re competitively priced items, I’m betting a lot of you can name your top five to ten bestsellers just off the top of your head right now. Make sure that you’re breaking those out and bidding up on them.
We see a lot of retailers that leave those products just within their brand bucket or within their category buckets. A particular brand might be selling really well for you, but in reality there are just a few products within that brand that are the brand leaders. Those are the ones that we really want to promote. Increasing your bid across an entire group of products just for the sake of increasing the bid on the one or two brand leaders doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
So make sure you’re segmenting those out as well and getting more aggressive with your bids on those bestsellers. One last thing for our proactive steps is make sure that you’re paying attention to top movers on other channels as well. The audience that’s going to be shopping on Google Shopping or searching on Google Shopping is going to be very similar to the audience that’s searching on other products related channels, like Amazon, like some of the comparison shopping engines.
So products that are moving really well on those channels are likely to be really attractive to the Google Shopping audience as well. If they’re not, maybe it’s a sign that they’re just not getting as much visibility as they should be getting. So make sure you’re using data from those other channels to influence your Google Shopping strategy and vice versa.
Product Level Reporting
A great way to monitor that is by using the product level reporting that’s available in your Google Shopping campaign. You don’t have to rely on the existing breakout that you have. Go to your Product Level Report to get ideas on how to adjust that breakout. If you go to the Dimensions tab within a Google Shopping campaign, you’re going to have the ability to break that out.
And if you change the view from day which is the default, to a shopping attribute or item ID or brand category you can see all of those different performance metrics by that item attribute. And you can actually schedule those reports to send to you, so you can set it up once and then completely forget how to get there. Because like I said, you can schedule those reports. So one suggestion I would have for you is to go into that Dimensions tab, set up this product ID report, schedule it to export to you at the very least once a week.
So you can start to see what product ID’s are moving and which ones aren’t and we can use this for a few reasons. One, to identify new top sellers, like I said, it’s great to put together a list of what we think is going to do well. But for every retailer there are going to be products that as you go along, turn out to convert really well, that maybe you didn’t anticipate.
Maybe you ended up being the low priced leader and you didn’t even realize you were going to be in that position or maybe some of your competitors started running out of stock and now you’re getting all the sales for that item. So we want to be able to identify which products are selling really well. Also, make sure you’re looking at those one, two click items that are getting a sale. Those are products that are low volume, but are converting on the click that they’re getting that maybe just need the chance to get a little more exposure.
Also you can use this to identify some of the top sellers you though were going to do well and are lagging. Maybe going into it you thought that you were going to be the lowest priced on a particular item, but when you get this report you see that in the past week or two weeks, you haven’t sold a single one. Maybe that’s an indication that you’re not as competitive as you thought or maybe some of your competitors have started throwing discounts or sales.
So this can be a way for you to stay on top of the competitive landscape and see how your competitors are reacting what it is that you’re doing as well. A couple of other things that I want to touch on are some of the Google competitive metrics that they’re offering and I’ll just quickly go over what these are. But some of the new ones, as you switch over to the new campaign if you haven’t already, that you’re going to get access to are the bid simulator, the impression share, and the benchmark max CPC rate.
The bid simulator is great to try and predict what bid you’re going to need to be at to increase your visibility on an item. That appears as a little square box right next to where you would set the product bid. If you click on that box, the simulator will pop up and Google will estimate for you, at different bid levels, what level of impressions you can expect. How much can you expect to spend and you can use that in conjunction with your current performance to see, “If I were to spend X amount more, what would that get me?”
One thing to keep in mind is that Google can’t take account how your competitors are going to react to this. As you increase your bids, their rankings are going to drop a little bit, and so they might increase their bids as a result. You don’t necessarily want to get into a bidding war on every product, but keep in mind that this is going to be something you’re going to need to come back to on a regular basis. Another thing that you can start to look at are the impression share and the benchmark max CPC rate.
Impression share is basically just the percentage of times that you’re showing up for relevant searches. And the benchmark max CPC will tell you on average what are your competitors bidding for similar products and so this can give you a good baseline on where to set your bids, if you even have the room to get more visibility. If your impression share is already really high at 85-90% that might not be a group of products that you want to spend a whole lot of time on because you’re already dominating search results.
Whereas if you see that a particular brand has a pretty good ROI, but the impression share is down at 10-15% you have the option or you have the ability to get a lot more visibility there, and really push for more traffic, and push your bids up. The last thing I just want to touch on here which can improve your results independent of your bidding strategy is just improving your customer perception or the customer perception of your business.
So doing things like running promotions, running sales, utilizing that Google special offer link that can appear on your PLA’s can enhance the customers’ perception that you’re there to offer a deal and you’re there offering the best price across the internet. Also seller ratings and product reviews, we see a lot retailers are hesitant to start to collect seller ratings. I think a lot of retailers when they leave it up to chance, the customers that leave the reviews are the ones that are angry and the ones that are motivated.
But what we find is that when we’re proactive about asking your customers what they think of your store, they appreciate just the fact that someone asked for their feedback. We tend to see pretty positive responses when we proactively go out there and get it and we also tend to see that customers that are collecting those reviews, as long as they’re getting decent ratings, will start to accumulate more traffic and will start to have more compelling offers than some of their competitors.
As we’re going into Q4, customers want to buy from a retailer that they’re going to be able to trust to deliver the products on time, as promised, for the deal that they were promised for. And if you’re collecting good reviews and if you’re collecting customer feedback, that can be a way to differentiate yourself among your competitors. So I definitely encourage you to do that. So that’s going to wrap it up for my Google Shopping section. I’m going to go ahead and turn it over to David Weichel, our Director of Paid Search and he’ll take you through all our Adwords strategies for Q4.
David: Awesome, thank you, Jeff. I appreciate that a lot of good information coming from both Pat and from Jeff, and so we are on the home stretch here. So I’ll try to close it out with some Adwords tips, specifically regarding text ads, and so just a brief intro. My name is David Weichel. I’m the Director of Paid Search here at CPC Strategy. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the team here for the last four years and it’s definitely been an amazing experience.
So I definitely want to share a few tips and tricks with you guys to get out in front of some of the Q4 peak shopping season. So with that, let’s jump right into it. All right, so getting in front of the Q4 landscape changes, one of the very first things that we can do to put us in a good position here is to actually differentiate between perennial and seasonal bestsellers. So the perennial bestsellers which Jeff alluded to earlier are some of the ones that do well for you year-round.
So we have our golden geese in terms of keywords. These are the ones that we don’t want to see the average position slipping for. We don’t want to lose any ad impressions there pretty much with the weather because they convert well for us year round. We’re going to treat those a little bit differently than some of the large seasonal products, and so some of our seasonal bestsellers, specifically looking at the date ranges of Q3 versus Q4, and even more narrowed is November 20th to December 20th where we’re encapsulating Black Friday, cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday shopping season.
What we’ll want to do is actually evaluate for those time periods the change in sales velocity for those products, independent of a channel or source. The reason why we want to do a site-wide analysis is we don’t want to necessarily introduce any blind spots by just looking at “What are we seeing an uptick in sales for Adwords?” We might not know what we’re actually missing out on and so if we can evaluate site-wide performance, that might give us insight into “What areas or what gaps in terms of ad visibility are there and let’s address it.”
So once we have that list of products with the biggest positive changes in sales velocity we can go ahead and prioritize those, as some of our seasonal bestsellers. We’ll want to ask ourselves “What does our ad coverage look like for those particular products, for that list that we’ve compiled? Do we have full coverage on text ads? How about product listings ads at Google Shopping? Are we actually using both of them in conjunction with one another to really take advantage of that valuable real estate, doubling down with both Google Shopping and a text ad.”
That’s just going to increase the likelihood that we win that qualified click. And a couple of metrics that we can actually look at to evaluate and assess our ad coverage are some of these impression share metrics which are a wonderful addition to the Adwords UI. So specifically lost impression share with regard to budget, are we limiting ourselves to only ad impressions?
Lost Impression Share
Are we in the day or are we missing out on valuable impressions in the late afternoon? Let’s go ahead and reevaluate whether or not we should adjust our ad scheduling a bit or maybe shift around our budget to make sure we can actually get full visibility. The next one is lost impression share due to rank and that is specifically going to tell us a lot about our max CPC’s, when we’re getting boxed out of the ad auction due to too low of a bid, or maybe it’s an irrelevant ad, an ad that doesn’t have a high enough quality score.
So that can push us in the right direction and be very telling to say “What are the next steps that we need to take?” That segues right into this last bullet point here which is do we have strong quality scores for these associated keywords for this list of high profile, seasonal products and what can we do to raise our quality score before we actually hit that peak season to put us in a better position to compete for that qualified traffic and much more competitive Adwords auction.
So that said, a couple of caveats here. We’re going to want to make sure that we create some sort of minimum baseline or a threshold to avoid some items in our sales velocity report that go from one sale to five sales over the course of the last 90 days. Obviously those are going to be lower priority than the ones that go from 20 to 50 or 60. So obviously we’ll want to create some sort of minimum threshold there.
Also another thing to be aware of is cross-selling and add-ons throughout the holiday season. So obviously cross-sells and add-ons are very valuable, but sometimes they might not warrant the extra visibility in search, so just a couple of things to pay attention to there. So moving right along, you’ve heard me talk about a more competitive Adwords auction.
So in Q4 that’s definitely what we see. We see CPC’s raise and that is due to a flood of advertisers in the space. But one way that we can actually get in front of that is leveraging that auction insights report for competitive insights. So this is going to be supplementary to any third party tools that you might already be using, SEM Rush, Buy Through, iSpionage, the list goes on.
Those are all great tools and I urge you to continue to use them, but we can actually also leverage this that gives us in the UI to evaluate how things are actually changing in that competitive landscape. So we can evaluate the change in impression share and one of my favorites is actually top of the page rate.
Top Of The Page Rate
Now this metric, top of page rate, is actually a bit more telling than just plain on old average position. So if you look at the screen here, you’ll see that I have an position of 1.1. So typically if we were looking at a very top, top level that looks good. We’re going to be at the top of the page, average position one. But top of the page rate actually tells us a little bit more about what’s actually going on there. Only 77 or 78% of the time are we actually showing up above the organic results. The other 22% of the time, we’re showing up on the right hand side, obviously when you’re on the right hand rail, that’s going to impact our click through rates significantly.
We are going to win a lot fewer of those clicks, so we’ll want to make sure that we take a look at the top of the page rate and figure out “Are we losing ground here? What can we do to fix that, to change that?”
That might have implications on our actual max CPC’s, our bidding strategy and things like that. Now two metrics that actually in conjunction, can tell a lot about the competitive landscape are the position above rate and the overlap rate.
Now the overlap rate that’s going to tell us how often are we actually sharing ad space with some of our competitors, so you can see here, amazon.com, you can see we’re going to toe-to-toe with them 88% of the time. There’s an overlap rate at almost 90% with Amazon. But you can see that a couple of the position above rates, you can see that Amazon is only positioned above our ads less than 2% of the time.
So maybe we don’t have to necessarily increase our bids to win out on ad positions compared to Amazon. But maybe we should consider what some of our call to actions are or what our value propositions are. Because Amazon has a very compelling and strong value proposition, we’ll want to make sure that we’re able to compete with them because we are sharing so much ad space with that competitor.
Auction Insights Report
So those are some metrics within the Auction Insights Report that can actually be very, very telling and very valuable. So be sure to take a look at this. Be sure to take a look at how this changes from Q3 to Q4 so we can get out in front of those. All right, so holiday promotions. This is a no-brainer. We want to make sure that we’re highlighting the promotions throughout our site.
You guys are working hard internally to work with vendors to create discounted pricing, to create the marketing material that you guys are using and the messaging that you guys are using internally. We want to make sure that we’re full advantage of that whether it’s for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or just the general holiday shopping season.
We want to push that out and make sure that we are really doubling down with our visibility there. One way for us to do that is to actually leverage the enhanced site links that Adwords gives us now. This is a site link that not only has a headline, but it also has a description line one and two that we can actually call out on the page. For anyone who’s familiar with site links, it helps us own a lot more real estate in those top of page positions.
It pushes our competitors further down and helps us win a lot more of those qualified clicks. It also gives us great additional visibility to highlight those promotions, right? If you are offering free, same-day shipping, that’s awesome. You won’t have to work that into your original text ad, but you can actually put that into a site link, call it out directly there, and make sure that we’re getting more eyeballs on this.
Site Links Priority
Now when we are doing this and we’re adding some of these promotions to these site links, we want to revisit our site links priority as well. We’ll want to make sure that we’re telling Google, these are highest priority ones’ if you’re only going to show two site links, rather than four, try to show these two above the other one. So we’ll want to take a look at that list, rearrange our priorities according to what our Q4 or holiday strategy is.
The last benefit here is this is going to actually increase our expected click through rate, owing a lot more of the real estate, and a recent update to Google’s Ad Rank formula. It now encapsulates ad formats, such as Site Link, and so just by adding these site links we’re actually increasing our ad rank. And that’s going to put us in a much better position to compete for the quality traffic in a much more competitive Adwords Auction. So it just wins all around here.
The very last thing on this slide is try to leverage ad parameters for sale pricing. Ad parameters might be a little bit nuanced, and it might be a little bit more advanced for some of us. But what we can actually do is assign a parameter such as price on a keyword level, then we can actually dynamically rotate that price into our ad copy, rather than having to pause an old ad that has an old price point.
Write a new ad, launch that one, and wait for that new ad to get approved, go through the approval process. We might lose out on some real quality and valuable visibility and so to avoid that we can actually use Ad parameters to dynamically rotate those prices as they change into our ad copy, no impressions lost and everything’s squared away there. All right, and just to round this out, this is a bit more straightforward and if you’re doing any Paid Search management now this is a no-brainer for us.
But we’ll want to take a look at our negative keywords, right? Over the course of nine months, ten months, there are a lot of search terms and modifiers that pop in there and we’ve identified them as either not relevant or low ROI and hurting our click through rate or whatever the reason is for adding those negatives over the course of nine, ten months, we can to make sure that we’re not going to be holding ourselves back by having any of these negative keyword conflicts.
So I suggest that you go back and do a comprehensive search term analysis for Q4 for last year, 2013, and actually for a value per term or per modifier. That should help us identify any valuable or a potential conflict that might have arisen over the last nine months and we’ll be able to address them or list those negatives if they are interfering. So with that, that is the last tip from and I’ll go ahead and pass it back over to Mary to finish us up.
Mary: Just to wrap this up, don’t forget to check out our resources on tinuiti.com/blog. Feel free to reach out with any questions on Twitter or Facebook or any social outlets and we appreciate your time, everybody, for tuning in. I want to say thank you to our presenters. We appreciate your insight and taking the time to share with us today.