November 2009

How To Display Google Base Products In AdWords Ads

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Google has been testing product ads for some time now. As of last week they have turned on this featured called Ad Extenstions. By turning this feature on you will attract more eyeballs to your ads and in effect raise your click-through rate. Google stated on their blog post which announced this new feature that some advertisers have seen a 10% increase in their CTR.

Here is how to turn on AdWords Ad Extensions, it must be done for every campaign separately:

Go to Campaign –> Settings; under Networks, devices, and extensions; click on edit under Ad Extensions and check the box that says: Connect to my Google Merchant Center account. This should automatically bring up your Google Base (Product Search) account, once it finds it, just click Save.

AdWords-Ad-Extensions

UPDATE: The process has changed slightly, instead of finding this under the Campaign Settings tab, you will need to go to the “Ad Extensions” tab and select “Product Extensions.”

How To Manage Your Price Comparison Data Feeds

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What’s The Problem?

Every eCommerce business wants to advertise on as many channels as possible. When it comes to comparison shopping, you will want to syndicate your products to the top shopping engines. The problem is that every comparison shopping engine has a different data feed format and category structure. This creates an extra headache for the business owner. You have no choice if you want your products on their site…

The Many Solutions

Depending on the size of your company and your skill set, you have many different options ranging from hacking scripts and full service management.

D.I.Y. Style

  • Download your products into Excel and copy and paste until you got it right. Any business that means business cannot do it this way. It is too time consuming and you won’t be able to update it often enough.
  • Hack together some scripts to automatically create the files for each CSE. You get bonus points for automatically uploading to each CSE via FTP.
  • Use a third party self service tool to syndicate your feeds self service style. MerchantAdvantage is a great desktop tool for this, it is priced at $695 per month with no limits on websites, products or CSEs.

Third Party Syndication

Use a third party system to automatically create and syndicate many feeds from one file that you upload. This is ideal for smaller eCommerce sites with approximately 5-10k products. Here are some companies that provide this service:

  • GoDataFeed — Plans available for $50/$75 per month, with a 5,000 SKU limit.
  • SingleFeed — Plans starting at $99 per month, with a 100,000 SKU limit.
  • VersaFeed — Plans starting at $195 per month, with a 10,000 SKU limit.

Full Service Syndication & Managment

I would suggest using a small but reputable agency to syndicate your feeds, they are generally prices better than the big guys but give you a lot of personal attention. Here are a couple of such companies:

Another option is to go with a full service management solution from one of the big guys. I’ve had pretty good success with ChannelAdvisor specifically.

Do you have any experience with any of the companies listed above? Do you know of another company that provides such a service? Please let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: alles-schlumpf

Twitter Tool: PHP Auto-Follow Script

UPDATE: This is no longer supported by Twitter.

Twitter LogoI found this script on webupd8.org that will help you jump-start your Twitter campaigns. You can run it on any PHP server as a standalone file. What it does is search for anyone who mentions a relevant term. Just copy and paste the code below and change the following:

  • enter_your_twitter_username_here // Example: eCommerceCircle
  • enter_your_twitter_password_here // Example: imnottellingyou
  • enter_the_search_term_to_follow_here // Example: iPod Touch

You can upload to your server and just load the page from time to time or set up a cron job to do it automatically. Keep in mind that Twitter has follower/following ratios in place and that at most you cannot follow more than 1.5 times the amount of people following you as well as a 1,000 follower a day limit.

<?php
// Twitter Auto-follow Script by Dave Stevens - http://davestevens.co.uk

$user = "enter_your_twitter_username_here";
$pass = "enter_your_twitter_password_here";

$term = "enter_the_search_term_to_follow_here";

$userApiUrl = "http://twitter.com/statuses/friends.json";

$ch = curl_init($userApiUrl);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERPWD, $user.":".$pass);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);

$apiresponse = curl_exec($ch);
curl_close($ch);
$followed = array();

if ($apiresponse) {
 $json = json_decode($apiresponse);
 if ($json != null) {
  foreach ($json as $u) {
   $followed[] = $u->name;
  }
 }
}

$userApiUrl = "http://search.twitter.com/search.json?q=" . $term . "&rpp=100";
$ch = curl_init($userApiUrl);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERPWD, $user.":".$pass);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
$apiresponse = curl_exec($ch);
curl_close($ch);

if ($apiresponse) {
 $results = json_decode($apiresponse);
 $count = 20;
 if ($results != null) {
  $resultsArr = $results->results;
  if (is_array($resultsArr)) {
   foreach ($resultsArr as $result) {
    $from_user = $result->from_user;
    if (!in_array($from_user,$followed)) {
     $ch = curl_init("http://twitter.com/friendships/create/" . $from_user . ".json");
     curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERPWD, $user.":".$pass);
     curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
     curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS,"follow=true");
     curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
     $apiresponse = curl_exec($ch);

     if ($apiresponse) {
      $response = json_decode($apiresponse);
      if ($response != null) {
       if (property_exists($response,"following")) {
        if ($response->following === true) {
         echo "Now following " . $response->screen_name . "\n";
        } else {
         echo "Couldn't follow " . $response->screen_name . "\n";
        }
       } else {
        echo "Follow limit exceeded, skipped " . $from_user . "\n";
       }
      }
     }
     curl_close($ch);
    } else {
     echo "Already following " . $from_user . "\n";
    }
   }
  }
 }
}
?>

Boost Your ROI & Get Your Money’s Worth From PriceGrabber

PriceGrabber.com LogoPriceGrabber is one of the top-tier Comparison Shopping Engines, they command 5 million unique monthly visitors (it jumps up to about 8 million during the holiday season). Out of all the different shopping engines, I have seen the best ROI from PriceGrabber. Here are some ideas on how to boost your performance on PriceGrabber.

PriceGrabber Traffic Chart: Compete

Product Categorization

The hardest part about syndicating products to all the Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE), is categorizing products properly according to each individual taxonomy. When you invest the extra time and categorize everything correctly, you will definitely see a boost in your click-through rate and conversions. If you have a large data feed you should consider mapping your categories to the corresponding category on PriceGrabber.

Merchant Logos

When a customer comes to a page comparing product prices from 10 sellers, the merchant logo option will help your listing stick out. Logos are not free though, PriceGrabber charges an additional $0.10 per click logo listings. However, like everything else in life: you get what you pay for. Logo listings have historically show higher conversion rates than products listed without them.

Merchant Reviews

It is imperative to maintain a positive rating on PriceGrabber as well as all CSEs. Not all customers shop by price only, sometimes a customer will pay a few dollars more to purchase from someone with a higher rating than you. The best idea is to push your customers to review their purchase.

PriceGrabber is one of the few CSEs that offer the ability to have your products listed with a Featured Seller status. You will need to talk to your PriceGrabber account representative to get pricing information and sign up for it. In the categories that I have tried Featured Seller product listings I have seen a boost in conversions, although I’m not sure what kind of performance it would have in a heavily saturated category such as digital cameras and iPods.

PriceGrabber-Featured-Seller

Does PriceGrabber work for you? Tell us in the comments.

Cheatsheet: How To Create AdWords Campaigns Easily

Here’s a quick tip that comes in handy when you are marketing a brand of products that has a similar name to other products or services on the web.

If you want to advertise Apple, Inc. products but are having a hard time coming up with a comprehensive list of keywords, this may work for you. Add the keyword Apple as a Broad Match term with an exact negative of [Apple]. At the same time add negative terms for anything that comes up on a Google search for the term Apple that you are not advertising. For example you may add these as Negative Keywords:

tablet
tv
new york city
bank
trailers
rumors
ipod
store locator
  • tablet
  • tv
  • new york city
  • bank
  • trailers
  • rumors
  • store

This accomplishes the same as building out a huge list of Phrase Match terms but with much less work. Google will look at the Broad Match terms you have listed and show ad for all of them after cross checking and excluding all your Negative keywords. Keep in mind that this may cost slightly more than running a long list of Phrase Match terms. Best thing to do is run your campaign this way for 2-4 weeks and then look at the keyword list that Google actually showed your ads for — now you can just check off the good ones and add to your campaign for a lower CPC.

Image Courtesy: zenera