“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted;
the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Paid search marketing would have been John Wanamaker’s dream had he lived to see the 21st century. Being able to pay only when an interested shopper clicks on your online furniture ad is a gift to marketers. Being able to measure which ads work better than others is even better. So, how can you make the most of your paid search campaigns, especially if you’re experiencing lackluster performance?
At Blueport, we have an up-close view of what makes paid search campaigns fall short in furniture ecommerce and turning your campaigns around is often well within your control. Here are three ways we often see furniture retailers miss out on revenue with paid search, and what you can do to fix your campaigns.
1. Not Finding the Right Balance with Keyword “Match Types”
A paid search campaign can’t run without keywords, and it can’t be optimized without match types. Just like a race car needs fuel, a paid search campaign need keywords. When someone searches for your furniture products using search terms, keywords tell a search engine what search terms will reveal your ad.
Match types are the gas pedal – with a range of match types, you can control how often your ad gets seen when a relevant search term is entered. Exact match is just a light tap on the pedal – your ad will appear only when your exact keyword is searched. Broad match is putting the pedal to the floor; your ad will appear constantly but often on searches that attract a lot of interest, but not necessarily among the most qualified furniture shoppers based on your ad (“Double Decker Couch”, anyone?).
Often, we find underperforming campaigns are too reliant on broad match terms and are wasting budget on irrelevant searches. Other underperforming campaigns are heavy on exact match, reaching just the right shopper but with not enough visibility to make a difference to the business.
Ideally, you want a paid search campaign that drives like an F-1 race car; precise through the turns and fast on the straightaways. You need a mix of match types that will keep your ad on the search terms that work while always accelerating forward with new search terms to help your furniture business grow.
2. Measuring Success of Campaigns Based Only on Online Sales
As furniture retailers, you know how important stores are because most furniture shoppers want to touch and feel the furniture (and often buy) in a store. The online furniture searcher is often the same person as the in-store furniture shopper (71% of home furnishings shoppers say the use search engines for research), so why only look at online sales when measuring paid search success? Look for success where furniture shoppers are, which is also on their smartphones and in stores.
It’s undeniable that smartphones are a huge part of how furniture shoppers research their purchases. 35% of revenue for retailers on the Blueport platform came from smartphones during Presidents’ Day Weekend 2016, even though conversion rates continue to be about a third of what we see on desktop. This lower conversion rate often holds retailers back from spending more aggressively to target searches on smartphones.
Retailers can justify spending marketing budget on smartphone-targeted ads by measuring shopping intent. Shopping intent is activity on your site that indicates a site visitor is an active shopper, such as visiting a product page, adding an item to a shopping cart, or visiting a store location page. At Blueport, we call these micro-conversions and we measure them to uncover the hidden value in paid search campaigns.
3. Using The Wrong Bid Strategy
Once your match types are right and your micro-conversions are set, your bid strategy needs to be aligned as well. Bids are how much you are willing to pay for a click and not all clicks are the same. At Blueport, we often see bid strategies that are out of alignment — with higher bids for less targeted keywords and vice-versa, causing retailers to pay more per click than they have to. As a rule, be willing to pay more for clicks on exact-match furniture keywords as they’ll show your ads to the most engaged shoppers. Place lower bids on clicks for phrase and broad match keywords, since they are less targeted and, presumably, less likely to reach a qualified shopper. Once your bid strategy is more finely tuned, your campaigns become more efficient and you have more money to spend on new clicks.
 Google/Ipsos Specialty Retail Mobile Study Findings; Nov/Dec 2015