Lessons from Google Ads and paid search campaigns

At Selldash, we have been helping a bunch of e-commerce sellers run paid search campaigns for their products and stores. And the journey so far has been both interesting and frustrating. I will be putting up a longer blog post on this topic, but meanwhile here are some quick lessons learnt (in no particular order).

Paid search is bad for demand generation

Google Ads are great for demand capturing, but not so good for demand generation especially in an e-commerce context. If you are selling the “world’s most comfortable underwear” and you start a paid search campaign to bid on those specific keywords, that is a good strategy. But if you are trying to convince people searching for clothes or apparel to buy your underwear brand, that is a much harder sell. And most new e-commerce sellers run into this problem.

Brand recognition is the first problem to solve

As a follow up to the previous point, you are better off solving for “brand recognition” and getting your brand name out there before spending a lot of money on PPC. And for that, you need a long-term investment in content marketing, SEO, a strong presence on social media, building a loyal audience via email marketing, etc.

Constant optimization is the key to success

Running a successful paid search campaign is a deeply analytical job that requires constant optimization. Remember, you are not only competing with other brands or products, you are also wrestling with Google and their blackbox algorithms just due to the “gamified” nature of how paid search works these days. Unless you have enough money to always win the top spot, every other PPC strategy is requires data analysis and automation around it.

Small dollar campaigns are very hard to scale

All other things being equal, the more you spend the better your performance and efficiency. Small dollar campaigns are hard to optimize since you will likely run out of budget before you learn anything useful, and even harder to scale and get the results you desire. This problem is further compounded by the fact that agencies prioritize clients who have bigger budgets (naturally) and this is where Selldash provides a key advantage since we aggregate a bunch of sellers and bring in more volume, which means agencies are more willing to work with us than a solo seller.

The agency model for PPC campaigns is flawed

Speaking of agencies, let me make a bold and controversial statement. Most SEO agencies take a “hit or miss” approach to running paid search campaigns, and simply lack the analytical rigor and/or the automation tools required to make budget campaigns succeed. I have had frustrated customers who spent upwards of 20k on their campaigns with very disappointing results. If you wish to avoid that situation, just contact us here at Selldash to see how we can help you.