Confused about your inbound marketing strategy?


The ideal eCommerce marketing channel involves being found when your customers are searching for your product. This is the ‘inbound way’ – no interruption, just showcasing that you have what they’re looking for. Proven true over the years, pay per click (PPC) marketing holds a substantial advantage over other channels such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing. It can support company goals like generating revenue or profit, and keyword bidding can be fine-tuned to bring more qualified prospects to your site.

Advantages of PPC Over SEO

SEO is a start for generating web traffic, but it is not as commerce-friendly or as effective as a PPC campaign. It’s difficult to get editorial links to product pages and outrank retail giants such as Amazon, eBay, Overstock, and Walmart. In contrast, Google has a vested interest in the success of your PPC campaign, and has thus created a multitude of tools that exceed the current functionality of SEO. In fact you can’t even see what specific organic keywords send traffic to your site anymore, due to the ‘Not Provided’ update.

Googles’ AdWords platform allows you to determine high-traffic keywords, the level of competition, and how well those keywords convert. Optimistically, a PPC campaign can be used to hone your SEO strategy, trailblazing the way with what keywords you should target.

The Social Media Paradox

Social media marketing can be a powerful tool in its own rite, as it targets likely prospects based upon their browsing activity.  However, although social media marketing can target users potentially interested in your product, it can still be considered interruption advertising, as it is interspersed in users’ news feeds.

Ask yourself this:  When you’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed and an ad interferes, how likely are you to be interested in the product?  Even if it’s a product you may buy in the future, you’re likely to simply ignore this interruption and go on about your business.

In contrast, paid search marketing draws in prospects actively seeking out your products and ready to make a purchase, rather than future consumers who are really more interested in Facebook-stalking their exes than buying your product when they encounter your ad.

PPC: Pinpointing Your Target Audience

PPC confers many advantages over traditional “interruption” marketing such as pop-ups or mass marketing emails, as it targets interested prospects only. You can tailor your ads, landing pages, and nurturing campaigns based on various customer profiles. The more specific you understand your customers and their needs, the more precise you can be with a solution.

PPC Done Right

If you’re looking to give PPC a try, you’re on the right track.  However, PPC is only as effective as you make it. It’s all about the outcome. You could start tracking conversions by applying code to ‘thank-you’ or ‘check-out’ pages, but with so many different products, a ‘conversion’ does not have a set value for you. You need to take it a step further by tracking the revenue each keyword brings via value tracking with Google analytics.

Set aside a budget, identify your target keywords, and start testing. Find out why so many online retailers choose to invest in paid search. In the next article of this series, we’ll explain why targeting profit instead of revenue brings the greatest ROI.


Guest author Brad Hintze leads marketing at, PPC for eCommerce, and has extensive experience with demand generation for startups and online retailers.

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