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New Sponsored Search Section Google Product OneBox

I’m not sure if this is new or not (seems new to me) — Google is now displaying a Google Product Search OneBox on the top right of the Sponsored Search section. This is great for merchants as Google is really pushing Google Product Search in prime real estate.

This is not to be confused the AdWords PlusBox where Google displays products next to a merchant’s ad from their Google Base data feed.

Sponsored Search Google Product OneBox

Search Sponsored Google Product OneBox

We’ve all seen the standard OneBox in the regular search results:

Standard Google Product Search One Box

Standard Google Product Search One Box

Update: Matthew from the Rimm Kaufman Group points us to a post on Google Blogoscoped with more information regarding “Google Product Ads“. There are no screenshots there, but it seems to be referring to the image I have posted above.

Product Categorization On Comparison Shopping Engines

Data Feed Sample

Categorizing your products properly on each comparison shopping engine is one of the most important parts of your product listings. Sometimes having a product in the wrong category can get you many wasteful clicks and will cost you an arm and a leg at the same time. On the other hand, having your product in the correct categories will get you more relevant clicks with a higher chance of converting into a sale.

There are a couple of ways to ensure that your products are displayed in the correct categories.

Manually Tag Items

Most shopping cart systems allows for many product attributes. You can use this to create a hidden attributes for each product, and then set the value of each comparison shopping engine category name or ID number. You want to do this inside of your shopping cart system so that the data is saved and exported with your newly generated feeds.

This solution is ideal for small product catalogs where entering the information manually is easily done.

Map Categories

If you have many products and entering the category information one by one is not an option, try mapping your categories for theirs. You will basically create a list of all your categories and the corresponding CSE category. Every time you generate your feed files, have it look up the category name based on your mapping.

If All Else Fails

Alternatively you can just submit your category names and let the CSE do the mapping. Just keep in mind that this may have poor results.

If you utilize your own category names in your feeds, you will want to bid 0.00 on any items that somehow wind up in completely irrelevant categories. This will save you from unnecessary spend.

Bottom Line

Do it once and do it right.

Track Your Site Search Behavior With Google Analytics

A common feature that a lot of users miss is Google Analytics’ ability to track your site search queries. It’s very simple to enable, here’s how.

  1. Under Settings –> General Settings there is a section called “Site Search”
  2. Check the radio button that says “Do Track Site Search”
  3. Enter Search Query URL Parameter
    (Example: Search Google for “apple” and it gives you the following URL: http://www.google.com/search?q=apple — “q” would be the Search Query Parameter)
Google-Analytics-Site-Search

Google Analytics Site Search Configuration Example

That’s it, your done. You can now go to View Reports –> Content –> Site Search to see reporting once the data starts to collect.

Datafeeds & Google Base: How To Make It Work

Everything You Need For A Great Night !?

Everything You Need For A Great Night !?

Unlike most other Comparison Shopping Engines, Google Base (Product Search) is free. Free for all merchants and free for consumers. Free as in beer.

With that being the case, it is very important to make sure your feed is uploading properly. It is very easy to format a small feed properly. When you have a large feed, it becomes much harder. Here are some tips & restrictions I found to be very helpful:

  • there’s a limit of 100,000 items per feed-file
  • there’s a limit of 15MB for a scheduled upload
  • there’s a limit of 20MB for a web-based upload
  • there’s a limit of 1GB for an ftp-based upload
  • there’s a limit of one upload per hour
  • there’s a limit of 10 registered data-feed-files

If you upload your feed via the web form in the Google Base portal, make sure your feed is smaller than 20MB. If you use the scheduled upload option, your file cannot be larger than 15MB. For really large feeds with tens or hundreds of thousands of SKUs, the best option is to generates multiple feed files and make sure they are smaller than 1GB and contain less than 100,000 items.

If you have more than a million SKUs, you will probably need to talk to Google to see if you can get around the 10 registered datafeeds restriction. Another option would be to use a Multiple Client account and break your feed into 10 feeds in each account.

Bonus Google Base Tip: “Google Base Feeds Can Now Include YouTube Video Demos for Product Search

Image Credit: – 404 Not Found –

Build A Human Relationship With Your Affiliate Marketers

Affiliate Relationships

As your affiliate program starts to pick up steam, you will need to constantly be in touch with the affiliates in your network.

Most of your affiliate program revenue will come from the top 20% of the affiliates in your program. It is imperative that these affiliates know who you are by name and have a working relationship with you. To accomplish this, it is a good idea to call them and introduce yourself. At the same time you can let them know that you are available if they have any questions and that you are willing to give extra incentives if they perform well.

After the initial introduction, it is a good idea to be in contact with the affiliate marketers so that you stay top of mind. You can send different emails ranging from “How are you and how can I help you help me?” to “I’ve got a special offer for you”.

Bottom Line

Out of sight is out of mind. You want to maintain a personal relationship with your affiliates to get maximum ROI from your affiliate program.

Raise Your Average Order Value With Up Sells & Cross Sells

Product Recommendations

A great opportunity for revenue growth and an easy way to extract the highest return on ad spend is by increasing the value of each order by a small percentage. This can be accomplished by promoting cross sells and up sells during checkout.

There are a couple of ways to do this, you can either manually set up cross sells in your ecommerce system or you can outsource personalized recommendations to a company like MyBuys or Certona.

In-House/Manual Recommendations

Most shopping cart/ecommerce systems will allow you to add related items to each product. Promoting cross sells manually can also be great if you have the product knowledge and know exactly what to recommend. Although this is a manual process, it is great for offering recommendations for smaller ecommerce sites that can’t afford to outsource recommendations.

Third-Party Recommendations

If you have a large ecommerce site with thousands of SKUs, it is very hard to manually recommend related products on a per product basis. By using a third party partner to generate recommendations from your aggregate customer purchase history, you can make this process much easier and more intelligent.

Most third party recommendation providers work off of a percentage based commission model. You would pay a commission on all items purchased specifically from their recommendation engine.

How To Ensure Your Credit Card Processing Rates Are Not Ruining Your Business

credit-card-processing

Every couple of years you will want to make sure that your credit card processing rates are properly aligned with your business goals (i.e. to make a profit).

You can accomplish this by asking your merchant services provider to analyze a few months of customer payments and make sure you are getting the best discounts on the card types that you process the most of. If you feel that you are not getting the best deal that you should be getting, contact a few other merchant service providers and see who gives you the best quote based on your historical data. If you have a great relationship with your current provider and you’d like to keep working with them, just show them the other quotes and be honest with them. Tell them you want to switch for the better rates but that you like working them and you’d like them to match the other quotes that you received. Chances are they will want to keep your business and match pricing from other merchant service providers.

Ultimate Guide: E-Commerce By The Numbers

Google AdWord Fuzzy Math

Here is a guide to ecommerce by the numbers that can make it or break it.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

The first metric to look at us your average cost per click. You will want to optimize your different advertising channels to try and get as low of a CPC as possible. If you can lower your average CPC, you can purchase more clicks for the same budget. You can accomplish this by lowering bids on very generic search terms and adding many long tail keywords to your campaigns and Ad Groups. In addition you should try to use ad few Broad Match terms as you can get away with.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Once you’ve lowered you average CPC, you should concentrate on getting the highest Click Through Rate possible. In order to boost your CTR, you can test different Ad Copies and see which ones perform better. You can also try Dynamic Keyword Insertion to help make your ad copy more compelling. Keep in mind that a higher CTR will help lower your average CPC because it will contribute to your overall Quality Score. If you have Broad Match terms, you will want to utilize the Search Query Performance report to fine tune keywords that will display your ad.

Conversion Rate (CR)

Note: If you don’t have Conversion Tracking set up, you won’t have a way to track this.

Once you have tracking set up properly you will be able to see how many visitors turn into customers. A good number to aim for is 2%, although it can vary a lot from industry to industry. Most analytics software does not track phone sales out of the box, so your conversion rate might be higher than what you see on your reports.

You can boost your conversion rate by optimizing your landing pages and checkout flow. The goal is to ensure a smooth passage from the landing page to the checkout confirmation. You can do this by highlighting your call to action (i.e. Add To Cart, Buy Now) and eliminating the possibility for the consumer to get lost by clicking on irrelevant links.

Average Order Value (AOV)

If you can raise your average order value by upselling each order with additional items an accessories, it can have a positive impact on your total sales volume. It’s simple, try to get more out of your existing customers before trying to get new ones.

Bottom Line:

Lower Cost-Per-Click + Higher Click-Through-Rate + Higher Conversion-Rate + Higher Average-Order-Value = Much More Revenue.

Display Search Term In Ad Creative With Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Google AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion

When building your ad creatives, aside for using multiple ad copies, it is a good idea to include the search term that the consumer is using in your ad copy. This can be done quite easily with Dynamic Keyword Insertion.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

With Dynamic Keyword Insertion you can use a placeholder text instead of an actual title or description which Google will then strip out and replace with the consumer’s search term. You can use it in a few different ways as well, here’s how:

{KeyWord:Default}

This keyword placeholder which Google calls Dynamic Keyword Insertion, is broken into two parts. The first option, ‘KeyWord’, defines how you display the search query casing, capital first letter of each word, capital first letter of sentence or lower case.

{KeyWord:Default} – First Letter Upper Case Of Each Word

{Keyword:Default} – Only first letter of sentence upper case

{keyword:Default} – full text will be lower case

The second half, after the colon, is the default text that will be used when the consumers search query does not fit in the space requirements.

The Dynamic Keyword Insertion tool can be used in all fields of an ad copy: Title, Description 1 & 2, Display URL and Destination URL. Samples as follows:

Query microsoft zune 8gb ipod nano green leather skin
Ad Copy Buy {KeyWord:Zune}
8GB Micrsoft Zune. Buy Now.
Free Shipping On All Orders.

www.ExampleSite.com
Buy {keyword:ipod accessories}
8GB iPod Nano Accessories.
Free Shipping On All Orders.

www.ExampleSite.com
Output Buy Microsoft Zune
8GB Micrsoft Zune. Buy Now.
Free Shipping On All Orders.

www.ExampleSite.com
Buy ipod accessories
8GB iPod Nano Accessories.
Free Shipping On All Orders.

www.ExampleSite.com
Notes Capitalized First Letter Of Each Word Space Restriction: Default Search Term