Q4 is here, and it’s time to ensure your paid search programs drive the success you need for a strong finish in 2021.
Two short years ago, typical steep discounts and strong promotions were big factors in driving Q4 e-commerce success. Then COVID hit and upended the world. Then 2021 hit with massive strains in supply chains and escalating shipping costs. These factors mean marketers cannot assume vast inventories or even alternative products to satisfy their customers.
Take, for example, the auto industry. Dealerships cannot get adequate inventories of new vehicles. They are pre-selling allotted vehicles before they even hit the lot, and they wish they had more cars to satisfy huge demand, including for used vehicles. It’s more crucial than ever to reduce ad waste and connect a buyer’s search with THE specific car they are searching for online. Similar challenges confront countless other industries in 2021.
To win during Q4, your PPC campaigns need to be far more responsive to real-time inventory and other stressors that are flummoxing many marketers. Here are three tips for executing on the new game plan that can help you win as supply chains wreak havoc on your competitors’ campaigns.
The three steps outlined below won’t solve every problem in Q4, but these steps can help you conquer some of the most pressing challenges marketers are facing in the coming few months:
Step 1: Connect your ads to real-time supply chain and inventory data
After all, you can only sell what you’ll ACTUALLY have on hand or on the way. By connecting real-time data right into a PPC workflow, marketers can pivot quickly and automatically when one line of product sells out, and a much-delayed shipment finally arrives.
Automated ad creation instantly reflects the new inventory and makes it possible to serve up ads for only the items you can actually deliver. And when automating ads from inventory, there’s no need to stop at simple text ads. Extend the automation to also create RSAs (Responsive Search Ads), RDAs (Responsive Display Ads with images), and DSAs (Dynamic Search Ads).
Next, use the automation to add hyper-relevant targeting criteria like keywords to serve ads against product-specific searches, including for users who are searching for attributes that align with your inventory data (in the instance of vehicles, think about make, model, color, year, mileage, etc. – or size, color, and other attributes relating to apparel or other products).
This alignment of inventory data and your PPC programs also allows for automated creation of ETAs and DSAs along with the most popular ad extensions. With RSAs becoming the default ad format, this is a great time to add RSA to your whole account and align your inventory data with ad creation.
Another nice outcome – when inventory is gone, ads for that product stop, which helps eliminate wasted spend (and frustration for customers). This simple first step gets you on the right track, and you should see benefits quickly.
Step 2: Optimize your feed to show better ads
While structured data like that found in spreadsheets is commonly used by PPC teams, automatically turning that data into ads may present some problems, especially when the data feed wasn’t built specifically with PPC ads in mind. The problem is that data may be formatted inconsistently, incorrectly, or certain required fields to run ads are simply missing. This is when the need arises to optimize the feed data, a process that must be automated with rules if the advertiser hopes to gain the full time-saving benefits of data-driven ads.
The data advertisers have access to usually originates from a shopping cart system and may not follow all the strict requirements for what Google needs for ads. For example, the product titles may be too long to fit in an RSA headline component or to fit the title element of a shopping ad. Or the product category data may not map cleanly to Google’s product categories. This is when you will need to optimize the feed before using it to advertise.
The Feed Optimization tool simplifies things like:
- Creating product titles that follow Google’s best practice guidelines. Many data sources are not inherently Google-friendly. Feed Optimization is designed around those guidelines.
- Standardizing attributes such as colors and sizes. For example, simply replacing all instances of “M” with “Medium” or replacing unusual color names such as “cardinal” with more common references such as “red” result in more impression volume because your keywords are better matched to how users search.
Think of the impact on automatic creation of relevant ads when the source data is aligned properly. Cleaner inputs = more powerful outputs.
Step 3: Use Google’s Drafts and Experiments to explore what works best.
With new data-driven ad strategies in place, it’s time to start testing what works best and prove to your stakeholders that the new strategy is paying off. Drafts and Experiments is a feature-rich tool from Google that offers a lot of horsepower for search marketers but isn’t the most intuitive, fluid add-on in the Google environment. For example, monitoring experiments in Google across more than one account or across multiple experiments can be cumbersome.
Free scripts or PPC tools like those from Optmyzr can help you see all experiments across accounts in more user-friendly ways, with results and recommendations served up on a single page. The streamlined views via Optmyzr make it much easier to monitor the experiments and take actions according to the results.
The best PPC practitioners are really good at experimenting. They test, learn, and iterate – and the faster they can do all of that, the more they leave competitors in the dust.
Masters of automation & optimization become masters of PPC
Paid search pros benefit when they are in the greatest control of the automations at their disposal. The steps noted above can really help position PPC pros to tackle the ever-evolving challenges that confront marketers in Q4 of 2021. The challenges are big, but so are the opportunities to drive exceptional results. Approach Q4 methodically and think automation and optimization at every turn:
- Connect real-time supply chain and inventory data with PPC ads
- Supercharge your data with feed optimization tools that sanitize and standardize the info your PPC management system needs for higher-performing ads
- Experiment, test, react and optimize faster if you want to grow faster
Remember – focus on using automations to remove those task-heavy activities of PPC from your plate. Those who master the automations and then use powerful tools that further free up time and energy for more strategic endeavors are the ones who will have the advantage in the daily battle for paid search dominance.
We’d love to talk to you 1:1 and give you a demo of how Optmyzr and Campaign Automator go beyond platform-level automations. Empowered PPC pros are the ones who will win! Talk to us about how to get that empowerment right on your desktop. We even offer free trials so you can get started without risk.