Michael: Hello folks and welcome to eCommerce’s Q&A. This is the show where store owners, directors of ecommerce, and ecommerce managers can stay up to date on the latest tools and tech in ecommerce. Our guest today is Josh Martin, pay-per-click manager at SocialSEO which is a wonderful agency down in Colorado Springs. Anybody that’s doing this type of work in Colorado, we consider wonderful, but these guys are really amazing. We’ve done a lot of great work with them. We used to do SEO back from the day. Then we realized that it was a discipline where it wasn’t really possible for us to stay on top of that and all the other things that we do, so we basically have opted to partner with really excellent providers like SocialSEO.
Josh is a Google Premier partner, which means he is certified in all of Google AdWords and Analyics modules, which believe me is not an easy feat to get certified in. As mentioned he is SocialSEO’s resident product, well I should say like AdWords and product advertising and things like that specialist. So today what we’re going to focus on is talking about product listing ads, retargeting, and some other really interesting related topics. Josh, thank you for joining us.
Josh: Yeah, thanks for having me Michael. And thanks for that glowing welcome. I really appreciate that.
Michael: Absolutely. So let’s go ahead and dig right in. Retargeting, by retargeting, in case you haven’t heard the term, the way retargeting works is somebody comes to your website and then we know that they were there so that when they’re off the website later on we’re able to deliver relevant ads to that exact person. That allows you to optimize your ad spent. A lot of people will not do general search ads, but they’ll do retargeting, because they know that if somebody has already visited their website, putting an ad in front of them again to bring them back may have a really good result. That’s the basic idea of retargeting.
Then what we’re wanting to talk about today is taking that and putting that on steroids with product specific ads. So Josh how does this work, how do you have to, what does it take to be able to do not basic retargeting with AdWords, I think most people in our audience know how to do that, but product listing ads, what are the steps to get that set up?
Josh: Sure. You’re going to need a few prerequisites here, three. You’re going to need to register for a Merchant Center account. This is going to be the handshake between your AdWords account and your actual inventory. You’re going to need an inventory with live products hosted. Then lastly you’re going to need that AdWords account. Those three things are what you’re going to use to communicate what’s currently in your products, or pardon me, in your inventory and that will be pushed out to Google. Now that can be done automatically with platforms like Magento. If you’re using the Wiziwigs of the world, the what you see is what you get like Weebly or WIX you’re going to have to manually upload your products, but those are basically the three prerequisites you’re going to need to get started.
Michael: So basically you’re going to, if I can summarize that just for my own sake, you have to start with accurate inventory that is then going to be published to Google Merchant Center, is that right?
Michael: Right. Then what do you do after that?
Josh: Yeah. So once it’s published your products are now live in Google Shopping, which is great, you’re now going to be put with every other site that sells similar products to you, and you’re going to be in Google search with a picture of your product, price, and even a promotion. That’s the only way to participate in Google Shopping. But from there if you’re looking to retarget or remarket users, you’re going to need to set up a remarketing campaign. This will be done by inserting a little script onto your website that’s going to begin to kind of track the users behaviors on your website, whether they did or did not engage with your website, what they did or didn’t do. And then from there-
Michael: This is kind of tied in with your existing AdWords pixel, you have to change it a little bit I believe?
Josh: Yes, exactly right. Your traditional pixel tracks conversions, so phone calls, form fills, or products sold, whereas this pixel is strictly there to track behaviors of the user.
Michael: Right, so we’ll include some links in the show notes about exactly where you need to go to learn about the precise changes that you need to make to your website. The point is once you’ve correctly added the scripts to your website, Google is going to know about shoppers behavior and which products they’re looking at, which is the key last ingredient in being able to create these campaigns if I’m not mistaken. Let’s say that you have gone ahead and correctly applied the retargeting code onto your website. Let’s say that you have your product information being published to Google Shopping and successfully actually visible on Google shopping, and then you’ve gone into AdWords and you’ve created this campaign. What’s the next step?
Josh: Sure. So next we’ve got the what, it’s your products, and now we’ve got to decide on the where, so where are you going to show these advertisements. There really is a plethora of options. You can have manual placements on relevant sites, let’s say you’re selling cooking ware. It would be great to have a placement on a cooking ware specific forum. Then you have Gmail itself, which can be an advertising platform and we have seen, not being bashful here, I’ve seen conversion rates on the Gmail side of things because what this does is it actually drops a relevant product into the users inbox and that user can purchase directly from Gmail.
You really want to look at the types of products you’re selling and the types of consumers that purchase them, because you can also begin to target based off of income, your traditional demographics, anything you can target within Facebook or social media you can target. You can also add a layer of what that user’s behavior is in Google. So what’s their search habits within the last seven to 90 days? Are they currently in market for your product or not? It’s a very, very powerful medium.
Michael: Josh, this is something I want to dig into much more towards the end of the call around how we can do Facebook style demographic targeting within AdWords. Just to continue this thread along the lines of the product listing ads, where in your campaign settings do you find the ability to let’s say choose Gmail as the target or to use a particular forum, or is it going to be more of a general thing where you have to extend a little bit of trust towards Google that they will find the best locations to distribute the ads?
Josh: Yeah, no, it’s relatively manual actually. You’re going to need to develop a individual campaign for each target type. So you’ll need a Gmail campaign to target Gmail. You’ll need a search product listing campaign to target the search portion. And then you’re going to need a remarketing campaign to target users who have visited your site, but did not convert.
Michael: Got it, and that sounds like something that a company like yours would be optimally suited to assist with at least on getting things rolling?
Josh: Oh most definitely.
Michael: Let’s talk about this now. We’ve got our products being published to Google Merchant. We’ve got that being sucked into Google AdWords. Google makes all this really easy to connect all these accounts. And then you’ve got several campaigns going on. So we have a Gmail campaign, retargeting campaign, and maybe one or two other ones. The biggest thing that we’ve run into with AdWords, and I have a lot of clients that are always talking to me about this is our AdWords spend is not getting us sufficient ROI and sometimes it’s not even getting any ROI. Can you share any tips for how to optimize the ROI of your ad spent?
Josh: Sure. Yeah, and it’s a very common sentiment, and a lot of people have been burnt by AdWords and paid advertising in general, and a lot of times it’s a good intent but the effort is a little misguided.
Michael: What do you mean by misguided?
Josh: Typically, people are directed to and encouraged to sign up for search campaigns via a lightweight AdWords version called AdWords Express. Most businesses find themselves by virtue of AdWords Express starting with the search campaign. Now search can be very, very powerful in the right place. However, search can also be relatively expensive. So the advertis-
Michael: By search just to be clear I think just so I’m clear you mean like search advertising what we normally think of as Google paid shopping ads, the ones that appear at the top of the search results when you put it any old keyword, right?
Josh: Almost. Search would just be those text ads that we’re familiar with at the top and the bottom of Google that have the ad icon, whereas remarketing also known as display would be those product listing ads at the top. Think if it’s got an image or a video, that would be display. If it’s text on the top of a search engine, that would be a search campaign.
Michael: Got it.
Josh: And so from there the cost per click in search on average is about $5, depending on the keyword it can go as high as $100 cost per click.
Michael: Oh my gosh. I remember when it was like 15 cents a click.
Josh: Well it still is in the remarketing world. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize, is when you come in to display video, or images, or product listing your cost per click is in the neighborhood of 40 cents and oftentimes, yeah, we see that 15, 13 cents mark when we go into these more complicated campaigns. The reason being AdWords is a big auction. And if an auction is more crowded, the cost goes up. Search or text advertising is the most crowded option you’re going to find in AdWords. Whereas product listing advertisement is a little more nuanced and very specific to ecommerce so you’re going to get a reward of a little bit better cost per click.
Michael: Would you say that the reason it’s less crowded is because it’s a little bit harder to set this up than just setting up a text ad that only takes like two minutes to set up?
Josh: Most definitely. And it’s also the reason they, it’s not the first thing Google’s going to point out to you.
Michael: I think if you’re listening to this show you definitely care about your ecommerce store, and what I want to share with you is that this is a valuable opportunity for you to differentiate from your competition by doing something that most of them aren’t going to do, which is go through the effort and it can be a little bit tricky to wire all this up, I can speak from personal experience, at least if you’re me. Now if you’re Josh working with SocialSEO, then that’s probably the easiest thing in the world for you.
I would just encourage you to don’t … It’s very easy in ecommerce to because we’re all so busy to only do the things that are easy to do, simply because you don’t have time to do the other things. Well this is an opportunity where it’s very, like very obvious that if you can’t easily do it yourself, don’t just not do it. That would be like … I can’t think of a good analogy, but this is an obvious win for you to get for your business. Just like if you weren’t doing Facebook advertising for example like of course you’ve got to pixel your website, you’ve got to get all of your custom audiences working and so on, but everybody’s doing it, right? Now this is a case where you should especially do it because not everybody is doing it.
Let’s continue the thought here. I really want to make this interesting for folks. So maybe could you share a couple of campaign stories, maybe some really effective ad campaigns that you have been able to put together and what the results that you got out of those were?
Josh: Sure, yeah. Without getting into specifics I’m just going to kind of speak about a client out of turn a little bit here. But one of the most effective ways to use almost any campaign type but certainly product listing advertising is to layer it with all of the demographics that I mentioned earlier, but also make sure you’re using all applicable areas of AdWords, so as I mentioned Gmail, remarketing, but also segmentation.
What’s huge here is a lot of people simply put their inventory into one feed, which would be one campaign, and really just let it kind of live in Google Shopping. But you don’t have the control you do in other types of campaigns. For example, keywords, they don’t exist in product listing advertising. You’re going to need to get crafty in order to show your advertisements to the correct individuals.
My example here is a client who sells high end natural skin care products but at a very, very affordable cost. That makes clearly this job a little bit easier on the end that it’s more affordable. The thing is most people don’t realize that most natural products are also hypoallergenic. What we were able to do is take the information that Google knows about its users and kind of their search habits and behavior and use that to target people who we had a very educated guess were in market or likely to need hypoallergenic products. So by being able to leverage the big data that Google provides we were able to open up a whole new market segmentation for this client, whereas before they were mostly akin to compete with Burt’s Bees, things on that level, where those consumers are more health conscious than a need based where we were able to use the-
Michael: Allergies as a need based, yeah, right. Interesting. Now did you determine that the hypoallergenic market was an available opportunity through seeing something in Google, or was this something that you found out through another type of research?
Josh: No, Google actually provided it. They have a great tool called Keyword Planner. Now we can’t use keywords in product listings, but we can sue that tool to understand how much market interest there are. So by running a few hypoallergenic related keywords through the Planner we were able to see that there’s a pretty decent market for them and we were also able to see that the competition and cost were relatively low, which showed us that not a lot of people were targeting it.
Michael: So let me see if I’m getting this. You used the keyword tool to determine the potential market receptivity for a new market, and then did, what did you do, product listing ads towards that market or did you do traditional text ads?
Josh: Yeah, product listings. And those were delivered via Gmail. So they came right into those users in boxes. It was a product that was relevant to them, something they needed, and it was likely a better cost than where they were getting their previous product.
Michael: Interesting, and you were targeting the hypoallergenic. So what was the ROI? What were some of the figures if you can share them since we don’t know who it is?
Josh: Sure, yeah. On the first month they invested about $1,000 into this campaign and we were able to return to them two fold, so we returned $3,000. The campaign was really, really gangbusters. It converted 18%, and that’s about average for what we’ve seen in Gmail. Because let’s consider this, if you are a Gmail user you might be familiar with the three tabs at the top of your Gmail: Inbox, Social, and Promotions. Well Promotions is where all of your newsletters are going to live, and where all of your promotion based emails should be funneled into. So when somebody actually clicks on the Promotion tab they’re a very applicable user because they’re practically raising their hand at that moment saying, “I’d like to see some promotions and be advertised to at this moment.”
Michael: You know it’s interesting to me is like we started to touch on at the beginning, that’s really an impressive story. I appreciate that. Is that we’ve all, a lot of us have turned in some ways to Facebook to address the need to have highly targeted advertising because there’s so many little demographic themes and interest groups you can segment towards. And what we’re showing with you here is definitely keep doing that, but don’t abandon AdWords just because of your bad ROI, like dig into some of these extra mechanisms that you can use to get product listing ads in front of people at a better price point, to use the keyword planning tool in conjunction with the product listing ads, to utilize Gmail based advertising and you can use … I mean I’ve even seen this in Google Analytics recently. The demographic capabilities that Google is rolling into its tools are better and better. Don’t think of Google based advertising as like what it used to be. It’s much more powerful now in terms of targeting and so on.
Josh, as we kind of move towards the conclusion here, I’m wondering if you can share maybe some ways for our guests to connect with you if they have some follow up questions. There’s been several really interesting ideas that people will probably want to interact with you on.
Josh: Yeah, sure thing. I’m pretty active on our Twitter feed. So anybody’s welcome to reach out to @socialseo and I’m more than available for any questions. Feel free. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Go ahead and shoot me any questions you have and a member of my team will be back to you within 24 hours.
Michael: Oh boy. Awesome. Maybe what we can do is let’s have in the show notes we’re going to have some direct links to three different things, number one, how to get your Gmail based ads going, number two, how to set up your product listing ads in general, and then three, maybe some information around demographic targeting that I wasn’t aware before this call that we had such a powerful tool set, so I’m really excited to dig into this more personally and a lot of our listeners will be as well.
Josh, one of the things we’re doing more broadly is we’re trying to help everybody who’s listening to this show and generally everyone we’re interacting with in the ecommerce world, just understanding what the needs are, and we mentioned in other episodes needs around ROI, needs around clarity, needs around time. There’s so many needs and there’s so many things that are vying for our attention in this industry. We really want to understand, speaking to you as our listeners we want to understand what your needs are.
What we’d love to have you do is go to sellry.com/survey. That’s S-E-L-L-R-Y.com, it’s our website, /survey. We’ve put together a little survey that you can fill out to just give us some insight into what your biggest paint points are right now. Don’t worry. We’re not going to try and sell you on something, at least not until we come up with a really good solution for your problems. But we want to kind of get a feel for what the biggest issues are that everybody is dealing with these days.
Once again that URL is sellry.com/survey and, yeah, go and interact. Let’s kind of share, share some goods here between ourselves, and then that will help us also inform the further content of the show. Josh, we really appreciate your time today and I’m excited to learn more so thanks for making yourself available. As everyone knows, show notes at ecommerceqa.com. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or however you listen to us. Thanks everybody. Keep selling.