How Conventional Wisdom RuinsMerchant Comparison ShoppingCampaigns                              By Andrew Davis           ...
CPC Strategy is a full-service comparison shopping engine (CSE) agency. Wespecialize in shopping feed and merchant account...
Chapter 1: Merchant Account Creation                          Conventional Wisdom                          All comparison ...
If you’re already listed on or have tried the top 10 shopping engines check outShopmania. They have a free listing program...
3. Ecommerce Analytics: CSE trackingpixels                              Conventional Wisdom:                              ...
4. Shopping Feed SubmissionConventional Wisdom:I’ll send a shopping feed when I can.CPC Strategy Insight:Sending fresh sho...
5. Product Suppression                                  Conventional wisdom:                                  If my entire...
6. CPC Bidding                                 Conventional Wisdom:                                 The higher I bid, the ...
Most importantly…A bidding strategy that works this month might not be as effective in subsequentmonths. Your competitors ...
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Conventional Wisdom and Comparison Shopping Engines

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Conventional Wisdom and Comparison Shopping Engines

  1. 1. How Conventional Wisdom RuinsMerchant Comparison ShoppingCampaigns By Andrew Davis blog.cpcstrategy.com www.cpcstrategy.com
  2. 2. CPC Strategy is a full-service comparison shopping engine (CSE) agency. Wespecialize in shopping feed and merchant account optimization for niche retailers andInternet Retailer 500 merchants.Our comparison shopping studies and articles have appeared on blogs and industrypublications such as Internet Retailer, Website Magazine, GetElastic, Amazon SellerSupport, and Auction Bytes.We also provide lots of relevant content on shopping feed and merchant accountoptimization on our blog. Be sure to check out our Top 10 CSE rankings that arereleased every quarter.Click here to take our free campaign assessment to see how your comparison shoppingcampaigns stack up against your competition. Let’s Get Started This book breaks down conventional wisdom about comparison shopping engines and teaches you unique ways to manage successful comparison shopping campaigns. Chapter 1: Merchant Account Creation Chapter 2: Shopping Feed Creation and Optimization Chapter 3: Ecommerce Analytics: CSE tracking pixels Chapter 4: Shopping Feed Submission Chapter 5: Product Suppression Chapter 6: CPC Bidding ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 1
  3. 3. Chapter 1: Merchant Account Creation Conventional Wisdom All comparison shopping engines are the same. They send the same volume and quality of traffic and are worth equal amounts of my time. CPC Strategy Insight Optimize the resources you dedicate to the shopping engines.Every quarter we rank the top 10 shopping engines by six metrics: traffic volume,average revenue, average cost-per-click (CPC), return on spend ratio, quality ofmerchant tools, and conversion rates.Click here to see where each CSE ranked last quarter.Below are links to create merchant accounts for the Top 10 shopping engines.1. Google Product Search (Free)2. Nextag (Paid)3. Amazon Product Ads (Paid) ($75 in free clicks if you sign up and go live before3/31/2011.)4. Shopzilla (Paid)5. Bing Shopping (Free) (Bing Shopping management is now done within Microsoft’sadCenter. More info on getting started here.)6. Shopping.com (Paid)7. Pricegrabber (Paid)8. TheFind (Free)9. Become (Paid)10. Pronto.com (Paid) ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 2
  4. 4. If you’re already listed on or have tried the top 10 shopping engines check outShopmania. They have a free listing program and a paid program with CPCs of around10 to 20 cents.2. Shopping Feed Creation andOptimization Conventional Wisdom: My competitors who show up higher than I do are doing something special to their shopping feeds. CPC Strategy Insight: Shopping feeds are the brains of your merchant accounts.You want to keep yours in tip top shape. Here’s three ways you can create and keephealthy shopping feeds. 1. Instead of idly browsing facebook or reading up on the latest sports rumor, check each data feed you’re sending the shopping engines at least once per week. 2. Use the shopping feed resource center below to mold your inventory data into each shopping engine’s specifications. 3. Visit our blog regularly to check on new ways to optimize your shopping feeds.Sample Shopping Feeds and Feed Specifications for Comparison Shopping EnginesTips for more advanced advertisers:Optimize your Bing Shopping MerchantCategory columnOptimize your Google Product Search product_type attributeOptimize your Shopping.com shopping feed ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 3
  5. 5. 3. Ecommerce Analytics: CSE trackingpixels Conventional Wisdom: I can track all sales through my webstore using Google Analytics or another third party system. CPC Strategy Insight: Each analytics platform has its own way of tracking sales.Google Analytics attributes sales to the last path a user came from. It will not trackmultiple sources that may have influenced a shopper’s decision.For example, he or she could have gone to Shopzilla and clicked through to yourwebsite, then came back direct or through a Google search the next day to completethe sale.To get a better big picture about which marketing campaigns drive more sales it’s bestto use multiple tracking sources.The great thing about the shopping engines is that most of them provide free trackingpixels. Instead of tracking the last click-through to a sale, the shopping engines followshoppers that click on their listings with cookies, so you’ll know whenever a shoppingengine had an impact on a sale.Other advantages from using a CSE tracking pixel:Shopping engine tracking pixels let you adjust bids on the fly. You can analyze sales,suppress products and increase bids at the same time in the merchant login.Using CSE tracking pixels also gives the account managers at the shopping enginesinsight that they can relay to you on how to increase your sales.Each paid CSE with the exception Amazon Product Ads provide merchants with a freetracking pixel to capture consumer data. These shopping engines highlight theirinstallation instructions and tracking code in your merchant account. ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 4
  6. 6. 4. Shopping Feed SubmissionConventional Wisdom:I’ll send a shopping feed when I can.CPC Strategy Insight:Sending fresh shopping feeds to the CSEs increases conversions because shopperssee data that most closely mirrors your website.Make sure you keep your product data and inventory information identical to theinformation in your shopping feeds.Do:  Submit site-wide or product specific coupons to the shopping engines (Shopping.com, Pricegrabber and Shopzilla let you for free).  Submit accurate product information and inventory.Don’t:  Submit products that are out of stock.  Submit products that have a different title, description or picture on your website.If you’re a medium to large company that goes through inventory often it’s best tosubmit a fresh feed to the shopping engines once a day.This can be done manually, using a FTP program such as FileZilla or CuteFTP. It canalso be set up through an internal or external submission platform. Some other optionsinclude creating your own custom system or hiring an agency to create and submit yourfeeds on your behalf.Talk with the support teams at each CSE.The shopping engines appreciate when you let them know about changes to your datafeed. Don’t worry about notifying them with you insert or remove products or changeattributes in existing columns, but make sure you do notify them when you submit yourvery first feed and when you update any column headers in your shopping feed. All ofthe shopping engines are sensitive to change. ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 5
  7. 7. 5. Product Suppression Conventional wisdom: If my entire inventory doesn’t hit my ROI goals in the first two weeks the shopping engine just don’t work. CPC Strategy Insight: Product Suppression Helps You Optimize Your ROI. Merchant A and Merchant B have an identical set of products, but Merchant A has a stronger conversion funnel because he removes the products in his shopping feed that get lots of clicks but no sales. Merchant A then allocates the funds he would have spent to increase the CPC bids of high converting products. Merchant A ends up with more revenue and a better ROI than Merchant B.Identify a return on investment target.What return on ad spend ratio do you need to keep in order to stay profitable on theshopping engine?Remember to account for the supplemental benefits of any marketing channel, such asrepeat customers and phone orders.Whatever your ratio needs to be, suppress products in your shopping feed that preventyou from reaching that goal. You may be shooting for a 5 to 1 return but you’re currentlyat a 3 to 1 return, so you need to be fairly aggressive and remove products from yourshopping feed with 30, 40, 50 or more clicks and no sales over a 30-day period.Product suppression shouldnt be permanent.Your website and product details are changing all the time, so its good to reintroduceproducts into your data feed at least once a year or after any major changes to yourproducts or website. ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 6
  8. 8. 6. CPC Bidding Conventional Wisdom: The higher I bid, the more sales the shopping engines will send me. CPC Strategy Insight: Bidding is like investing You’re essentially betting on the probability that your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) increase will favorably position a product or category to convert more often. Just like investing, there are professional bidders and novicebidders.You’re never guaranteed a certain return. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses andsell (decrease bids) while other times it’s best to keep buying (increase bids).Strategy:If a product or category is going above and beyond your ROI goals, increase bids by 5to 10 cents.Reasoning:You likely have a competitive advantage over other merchants selling the same productor similar products in a category that you can capitalize on for a period of time.Why 5 or 10 cents?5 or 10 cents is more or less a rule of thumb that we use to test three things: 1. How much traffic will increase over time with a relatively small bid increase. 2. How much conversions will increase over time with a relatively small bid increase 3. Where your product(s) will show up in search results.These three variables help you determine whether the new bid is sustainable, if youshould increase bids further, or lower them to their previous CPC. ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 7
  9. 9. Most importantly…A bidding strategy that works this month might not be as effective in subsequentmonths. Your competitors are changing their own bidding strategies and productofferings so you should be ready to adjust frequently.Final tips: 1. Bids aren’t instant. Each bid can take up to 48 hours to process on a shopping engine. 2. Don’t judge the effectiveness of a bid after a few days. Look at bids over the course of a week or more to analyze their impact. If your product gets extremely low traffic, it may be wise to use an even larger data set (a month or more) to measure the effectiveness of a bid. 3. When you increase bids you increase your rate of spend which may or may not be in line with your ROI.ConclusionThank you for downloading CPC Strategy’s white paper, How Conventional WisdomRuins Merchant Comparison Shopping Campaigns. We hope this guide makesmanaging and optimizing the shopping engines at least a little easier.Ever wonder how you stack up against your competition on the shopping engines?Click here to take our free campaign assessment and find out. ©2011 CPC Strategy LLC www.cpcstrategy.com 8

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