Over the last half decade, consumers have increasingly turned to search as an integral step in their purchase cycle. The convenience of online shopping, ability to quickly compare prices, and the wide selection of products and brands have fostered a highly competitive, yet profitable landscape.

As retailers continue to invest more in paid search, consumers continue to expect a richer and more engaging shopping experience. In order to capitalize on this growing revenue opportunity, retail advertisers must be equipped to advertise their entire product inventory.

Clothes Shop Production Image via Shutterstock

Clothes Shop Production
Image via Shutterstock

Savvy online retailers that promote their complete product line, delivering relevant ads to their customers, not only differentiate their offerings but also maximize their revenue outcomes. To achieve the most successful results, the following challenges must be addressed:

  • Granular Keyword Lists: with each product in a retail catalog requiring a comprehensive keyword list, search marketers often resort to leveraging broad keywords that drive customers to general landing pages.
  • Stale Ad Creative: ad creative becomes generic as it fails to remain engaging and up-to-date with changes to products and pricing.
  • Shifts in Inventory: constant stock-outs and price fluctuations make quick keyword status updates and simple edits to creative unmanageable.
  • Large PLA Campaigns: some retailers, in an effort to simplify the approach to managing Product Listing Ads (PLA) campaigns, resort to building broad product targets and manually calculating bids to hit product level revenue goals. These tactics fail to deliver a relevant shopping experience and fall short of maximizing available revenue opportunities across product lines.

To address these challenges and effectively advertise their entire product catalog, successful retail advertisers must satisfy the following four requirements.

1. Dynamically Manage Campaigns To Maximize Visibility

Generating and managing campaigns that accurately represent product inventory requires real-time automation. By leveraging a structured product feed, retailers can align paid search campaigns with their products and advertise their entire inventory at scale.

Management platforms that dynamically generate these campaigns enable search marketers to utilize product-specific keyword landing pages and automatically insert real-time product details such as price and brand into corresponding ad creative. Furthermore, by linking keywords to inventory levels, retailers can automatically adjust keyword statuses based on product availability to eliminate unwanted clicks for stock-out products.

2. Simplify PLA Management & Optimization

In 2012, the transition of Google Product Search to the commercial model built on PLAs accelerated the need for scalable, transparent and automated PLA campaign management and optimization tools. Making additions and edits in bulk enables search marketers to efficiently create PLA objects without introducing errors.

Automating the management of URLs eliminates the need to manually append tracking parameters within Merchant Center. Solutions that deliver product target- and ad-level reporting also provide search marketers with complete visibility into PLA performance, enabling the implementation of revenue-maximizing bidding strategies.

3. Scale Creative Management

To make changes to product promotions and descriptions within ad creative, search marketers rely on speed and simplicity. Tools that enable search marketers to quickly isolate ads and update the creative to align with promotions, allow retailers to deliver a relevant shopping experience to their customers.

To increase customer engagement and acquire more revenue, top performing creative must also be continuously identified, optimized and deployed at scale.

4. Maximize Revenue With Goal-Based Bidding

Segmenting campaigns by business goals enables search marketers to optimize keywords based on congruent bidding criteria. Product level goals can then be set, along with budget constraints, to maximize revenue outcomes across the entire product inventory.

This requires a solution that allows retailers to establish multiple bidding goals that can vary by product line, brand, region or any other defined business segment.

Advertising Product Inventory At Scale

As revenue opportunities in online retail continue to grow, so will the need for retailers to effectively advertise their entire product inventory at scale. Search marketers must be able to maximize the visibility of their products, simplify the management of their campaigns, dynamically update ad creative and maximize revenue outcomes with automated bidding.

Satisfying the above requirements and addressing other retail strategies is the key to remaining competitive and profitable during the busy holiday season and beyond.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Matt Ackley is a former developer who was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of marketing back in 2005. Now there, as CMO of Marin Software, Matt enjoys creating unique solutions powered by the intersection of science in creativity found in today’s online marketing platforms.



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