With the share of digital ad spend at 29.9% in 2015 and expected to increase to 39.3% in 2019* the digital advertising marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive for ecommerce retailers.
With this in mind, optimising paid search should be a priority for all retail marketers in 2016. Let’s take a look at some of the most important pay-per-click tips for online retail:
1) Segment Campaigns
Google Shopping and AdWords allow you to bid at product or keyword level, however, this is a feature that many advertisers fail to adopt. It is particularly important in online retail to segment your Google Shopping campaigns to the finest level possible, because your inventory may be seasonal and individual items have different bidding values.
Let’s take ‘women’s clothes’ for example. You could easily just create a single ad group containing all women’s clothes ads; however, this could easily lead to poor performance. It would be a much better decision to segment your products into groups such as ‘blouses’ ‘jumpers’, ‘trousers’ ‘shorts’ etc.
Doing so will allow you to have much better control over bids and bid according to seasonality for example. However this could be taken a step further: it is actually possible to bid for each individual product, so if you know that yellow shorts sell better than the green ones, you can adapt your bids accordingly.
2) Focus on environmental factors
When reviewing your campaign performance, it is tempting to focus on the reasons why you are not making sales, but perhaps you should also be looking at when your campaigns are performing their best?
By looking at the reasons for “good performance,” you may find that your sales can be influenced by environmental factors such as the time of the day, the user’s device or the weather, to which you can also adapt your bidding strategy.
3) Use geographic bid modifiers
For both AdWords and Google Shopping campaigns, consider implementing geographic bid modifiers. Do you only deliver to a certain region? Restrict who can see your ads. Are there some areas that convert better than others? Bid up!
The big China consumer stories of the past year have included a vaccine scandal, food contamination scares, surging overseas home buying, and continued rising consumption by urban families.
These stories, in reality, are mostly about Chinese women as an ascending consumer class. More specifically, they are about Chinese moms, who are quickly becoming the most important consumers on the planet.
My argument for this is five points:
- Point #1: Chinese mothers are the major driving force behind increasing Chinese household consumption.
There are an estimated 320M moms in China, making them roughly the same size as the entire US population. And they are the trifecta of Chinese consumer spending.
First, Chinese mothers have their own personal spending power and typically contribute 50% of the family income.
Second, they direct household spending. In a 2010 MasterCard report, 75% of Chinese women said they control the family spending. This can be the wife approving expenditures above a certain level. And in some cases, Chinese wives control the bank accounts and then give the husband cash to use. The standard joke is the husband buys the home but the wife runs and furnishes it.
Third, Chinese mothers often control the spending related to the retired parents. This is particularly true for the larger expenditures such as housing and medical costs.
So in many families, Chinese moms are effectively directing the spending across three generations.
Point #2: Chinese mothers are deeply focused on the health and safety of their one child.
Family spending control by mothers is not unusual globally. But in China it is amplified by the one-child policy, the prevalence of “little emperors” and the greater health and safety concerns of living in China. We see Chinese moms being far more concerned with the health and safety of their one child – from the water they drink, to their food, to their education, and to their general safety.
One interesting result of this is the different advertising for women seen in China today. In the West, we see often ads for women speaking to independence or fun. However, in China we see a focus on happy and healthy families. For example, in 2013, McDonalds China launched a “Moms’ Trust” campaign which not only highlighted healthy children but also focused on long-lasting relationships. This is a contrast to fast food commercials in the U.S. which typically express fun and good food. China’s fast food commercials tend to emphasize long-lasting relationships and strong family values.
On the Chinese McDonald’s website, you can even find sections such as “Mom’s standards, our standards” and “We care for how healthy our chicks grow”.
Point #3: Chinese mothers are rising as consumers in their own right.
Chinese mothers (and women generally) are important consumers in their own right. As mentioned, they typically contribute 50% the family income. And by most measures, they are more financially ambitious than women in virtually any other country. Go into any office building in Shanghai and you will see a sea of cubicles filled with white-collar Chinese women, most of whom also have a child at home. For example, the photo at the top of this article is of Ms. Xin (and her super-cute daughter) who works in the administration of Peking University (thanks for pics :).
However, the personal wealth of Chinese women is increasing due to advancing careers and the delaying of marriage and children. For example, the number of high school students in China going to college is expected to reach about 40% by 2020 (up from 10% in 2010). But going to college (and then getting a good job) usually means delaying marriage, family and other commitments. In the past ten years, the average age at which women have children in China has increased from 24 to 27. And it will soon be closer to 30, which is similar to most developed countries.
One consequence of this delaying of life events is greater wealth. By the time women do marry and have children in China, they have more money and higher incomes. So Chinese moms are going to have more money to spend even before they become the primary financial decision-makers of the household.