Analytics for Retail PPC

By — 08.02.11

One of the keys to success with search engine marketing is being able to react to data quickly. This requires that you have access to the right data in the first place. While Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter provide sufficient data for most online advertisers to optimize their campaigns, their capabilities fall short for retailers.

Retailers care most about the performance of product categories, sub-categories, individual products, and promotions. But the hierarchy that Google and Microsoft impose—account, campaign, keyword, and ad group—doesn’t map to retailers’ reporting needs.

Revenue - Brand vs. Non-brand

Retailers will often map a campaign to a product category, and ad groups to sub-categories or individual products. But this doesn’t scale for a large retailer with tens of thousands of products because there are limits on ad groups in a campaign, and on keywords in an ad group or account. The result is that retailers end up structuring accounts in ways that don’t support their reporting needs.

We mentioned one example of this in a case study on our client, Jewelry Television (JTV). Before partnering with Adlucent, JTV understood, for instance, how their campaigns for gemstones (e.g., sapphires) were performing, and how campaigns for settings (e.g., rings) were performing—but they couldn’t answer how “sapphire rings” were doing.

Consider Target (not an Adlucent client), which carries about 100 products branded under the name of the designer Michael Graves. The categories and sub-categories for these products range from kitchen accessories to closet organizers and cleaning supplies. Target should be able to look at brand performance as well as category performance, and the intersection of the two. Using conventional account hierarchies, it would be difficult for Target to quickly answer a question as, How does a campaign for the Michael Graves coffeemaker perform relative to another specific coffeemaker, or all coffeemakers? Or, How do campaigns for Michael Graves-branded products perform versus products from all others brands?

We’ve seen retailers struggle to obtain answers to questions like these the hard way, using multiple SQL databases and pivot tables. This analysis can take days or even weeks, which brings me back to my earlier point: the data needs to be readily accessible and actionable so that you can adjust PPC campaigns immediately.

Adlucent’s Deep Search™ software platform structures accounts in a way that supports the unique reporting needs of retailers. Deep Search can answer in seconds what it takes most retailers days to answer—and Deep Search can optimize campaigns based on those answers in near real-time. Our approach to structuring accounts in a retail-friendly way also provides an important set of strategic business benefits, which I’ll discuss in a future blog post.

Image courtesy of Google.


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