PPC Automation Methods for Retail Search Advertising

As retail text ads shift into a new era, retailers with large product catalogs or significant investments in PPC channels know it can be difficult to stay ahead of their channel management. With so many products and concurrent campaigns, it becomes less realistic to dedicate the product-level attention that each SKU deserves.

Helping retailers with their advertising strategy and staying ahead of the competition, PPC automation is used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Reporting – Metrics, custom metrics and KPIs
  • Alerts – Low-performing campaigns, ad groups, keywords
  • Recurring Tasks – Ad creation, ad copy: pricing, sales, inventory
  • Advanced Optimizations – Pause low-performing creative, optimize for custom metrics

Types of PPC automation include automated rules, AdWords API, AdWords scripts, AdWords-only platforms and enterprise cross-channel bid platforms. Ways retailers can leverage bid automation strategies include:

AdWords’ Existing Automation Features

Automatic bidding is the simplest of the AdWords bidding strategies. There are a variety of automation tools available within AdWords (flexible bid strategies) that can enhance CPC, target search page location, target CPA, maximize clicks or target ROAS.

Custom Algorithms and Rules

While these may be considered “less-sophisticated data algorithms,” they will allow more room for customization and are available to external data sources, like weather data, stock info and more.

Bid Using Offline Conversion Data

Retailers can upload offline conversion data directly into AdWords and adjust bids based on offline data. This is useful for lead generation and retail shops with longer buying cycles.

Build Your Own Rules and Algorithms with AdWords Scripts

Retailers can store historical data in Google Drive using sheets, or host the data in a flat .csv or .txt on their server. This data can be used to inform actions on bids and schedule bid adjustments daily or weekly, depending on the volume of keywords and traffic.

Knowing when it makes sense to introduce automation into channel management is critical to scaling growth on avenues like text, shopping, display, and social advertising. At the bare minimum, retailers should be leveraging four basic PPC automation applications: pausing dead URLs, addressing out of stock product pages and improper 301/302 redirects, and basic reporting to guide your optimizations.

While automation is an innovative way to combine strategy and technology to leverage opportunity in the e-commerce ecosystem, it is important to note automation is driven by human strategy.

Although technology drives efficiency within a well-structured campaign strategy, it does not create a well-structured campaign strategy. In simple terms, you don’t want to rely on automation alone against your competitors and expect to win, but you should know how to leverage automated technology to enhance your bidding strategy.

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