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The Utah DMC Blog

Kirk Williams | DMC 2016

Master This  in Ecommerce PPC (Before Google Changes It All Again Next Year)

Kirk Williams is a very experienced PPC search engine marketer with some serious ecommerce chops. Much of Kirk’s presentation focused on Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, as Google Shopping is playing a more significant role and was incredibly useful for SLC|SEM attendee working in the ecommerce space in ecommerce. He specifically address campaign setup, the role of RLSAs in ecommerce, labels, and bidding tactics specific to PLAs.

Google Shopping On the Rise!

To help the audience understand the significance in Google Shopping in today’s ecommerce environment Kirk highlighted some of the recent changes Google has made to search that have shifted SEM’s focus towards PLAs. Here are a few:

  • Requires GTINs (Global Trade Item Number) for PLAs
  • Added Image Search Ads
  • Added “Buy” box on mobile shopping
  • Improvements made to Google Merchant Center
  • Added Showcase Shopping Ads

Kirk also discussed something that he believes is an issue with Google Shopping; the topic of bidding. In most of paid search you bid on keyword and the intent the searcher communicates behind their query. Conversely, you bid on products in Google Shopping and don’t have full control over your campaign. Kirk and his ecommerce tips to the rescue!


Campaign Setup

Kirk didn’t spend too much time discussing campaign setup, but he didn’t leave us hanging. He directed us to his guide at Search Engine Land that takes you step-by-step into into query-level bidding on Google Shopping. However, he did mention the basic structure of this strategy.

  • High-priority campaign left quite generic
  • Medium-priority campaign brand & SKUs filtered through
  • Low-priority campaign with SKUs filtered through.

Custom Labels

When Kirk brought up custom labels he only brought it up talk about how custom labels aren’t very useful, which is decidedly against what most PPC experts profess. Kirk mentioned a few reasons why he doesn’t use them. For example, Kirk doesn’t use custom labels on anything that doesn’t change your bidding practice and many searchers don’t buy the product you think they should (and so having Google bring attention to them becomes unwise). Lastly, labels create duplicate products in your campaigns, duplicates that you might not even be aware of.

Conversely, Kirk does use custom labels for sale and clearance items, a brand’s top products where they want visibility.

RLSA for Shopping

Shopping ads are great and remarketing ads are great. When you put them together they’re even better. However, Kirk recommends that you separate your Shopping and RSLA

First, random bid modifiers can be absolute monsters making it difficult to manage the count. Second, return customers are not the same as new customers and so a one-size-fits-all approach is a bad one. Third, budget control. Need we say more?

As far as setup Kirk likes to set up his remarketing lists inside of Google Analytics with broad behaviors. From there he copies the current shopping campaign, pastes and renames, and ads the RLSA lists to ad groups in bulk. Simple enough.


Lastly, Kirk talked about bidding strategies. He gave some very specific examples in his slides. Here’s what he talked about:

  • There are no automated rules in Google Shopping, but you can use filters to bid up or down.
  • Use custom columns with attribution columns to give yourself more information to make bidding decisions.
Kirk’s presentation was fantastic. He shared remarkably useful strategic and tactical information that will help your next ecommerce campaign flourish!
Topics: Event Recaps ppc ecommerce DMC2016