Greg Shepard

Here’s A Shopping Cart Strategy That Will Improve A Merchant’s Search Marketing

Search. It’s an integral part of everything and anything online and, of course, it’s key to a successful affiliate channel program. Run ads. Get clicks. People buy. Alas, if only it were that simple.

Over time, search has “grown up” and become far more intricate, intelligent and effective. In an article entitled, Should Merchants Allow Affiliates to Bid On Their Keywords, the notion of affiliate-managed PPC efforts on behalf of the merchant is explored. There are many benefits including leveraging the affiliates PPC expertise, the aggregation of free advertising, conversion insights and the resulting saving that the merchant can reallocate to other marketing efforts.

Let’s examine another effective search strategy merchants can implement. A lot of attention is, and should be, focused on the shopping cart and the strategies that can be applied to reduce abandonment and increase ROAS. How about an analysis of the keywords that drove traffic to the shopping cart and which ones resulted in a sale?

Working with partner providers, merchants can implement a conversion code that sits on the shopping cart confirmation page that will capture which keyword and at what cost led to a sale and send that specific data back to the partner who can then analyze conversion rates and further optimize campaigns for the merchant. This conversion code captures a “yes” or a “no” on the sale and can be used to better configure future keyword bidding yielding a cost-neutral approach for increased ROI.

Implementing a solution like this reduces risk to the merchant and is a huge time saver as it offloads that particular element of shopping cart management to a strategic partner. Companies that offer this service can help merchants fine-tune shopping cart strategies and increase the effectiveness of a PPC budget by only paying for traffic that results in a sale.

This shopping cart conversion tactic shifts the risk to the strategic partner who assumes the financial risk of the campaign and allows the merchant to pay only for converted sales after they occur – instead of paying internal campaign costs regardless of conversion. This approach enables the maximization of traffic and conversion over typical maximization of ad spend. And allowing the use of trademarked or branded terms can fund more expensive long tail and higher volume keywords that drive more traffic and sales.

It’s important, however, that a merchant work with an expert to structure these deals properly so that they integrate effectively with other affiliate channel efforts, don’t overlap with other channels, are properly attributed to individual sales and that the money spent yields the best return on ad spend you can get.

Greg Shepard

About Greg Shepard

Greg Shepard, the Chief Strategy Officer of Pepperjam, is a seasoned veteran in building and running sustainable growth businesses. Inspired by the unique perspective he garnered as both a merchant and affiliate in past ventures, Greg established AffiliateTraction and it has since expanded into the largest multi-national affiliate marketing agency with offices in Silicon Valley, Toronto, London and Sydney. In January of 2016, AffiliateTraction was acquired by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions. In April of 2016, eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions became Pepperjam, resurrecting a familiar name in the performance marketing space.

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