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How to leverage ecommerce data for your PPC campaigns

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

If you’re an ecommerce brand with a reasonable sized customer base, then the chances are you’re sitting on an absolute gold mine of ecommerce data, which can be leveraged to significantly improve your PPC campaigns.

As a PPC & SEO agency specialising in building high ROI campaigns for retail brands, we’re often surprised when auditing PPC accounts at how little effort is put behind leveraging existing customer data.

Here are three simple ways that your brand can immediately start generating a greater return from your PPC campaigns using your existing customer and website data.

Expand your reach with look alike audiences

One of the quickest and easiest ways you can use your customer data is to use it for creating look-a-like audiences. A look-a-like audience is a group of users that share the same behaviours, demographics and traits as the users within a ‘seed’ audience.

Your seed audience might be a list of your customers, website visitors, or even people who just like your Facebook page. Most advertising platforms will allow you to upload a list of users and use it to build a lookalike audience.

Once you have your lookalike audience, you can then use it as the targeting for your campaigns.

However, before you go creating endless lookalike audiences, it’s worth looking at the data that goes into your seed audience.

Let’s say you’ve got a list of all your past customers to create a lookalike audience from. Is every customer within that list your ideal customer? Your seed list/audience should only be made up of your very best customers, not every single one.

You may want to look at cleaning up your data by removing:

  • Customers that only bought one product a long time ago
  • Customers that only bought a low cost product, or purchased from a range that isn’t a priority.
  • Customers that returned the product they purchased.

By removing the customers that aren’t a good fit, you’re making sure that when you do create your lookalike audience, it’s going to be built based on your ideal customers. It’s worth noting that for best results, you ideally want a minimum of 1000 users within your seed audience.

Hone your targeting by segmenting your campaigns

Another powerful opportunity to utilise your customer or website data is using it to segment your campaigns by customer type. We recommend segmenting ecommerce data into four customer types:

  • New visitors: these are users that have not visited the site before, and are not customers.
  • Returning visitors: these are users that have visited the site, but have not yet become customers.
  • Lapsed customers: these are customers that have not purchased recently.
  • VIPs: these are your best customers, they regularly visit your site and complete purchases

A lot of ecommerce retailers are focused on driving growth within the new and returning visitors segment, while relying on other channels, such as email, to generate sales from existing customers.

However, we often audit accounts where campaigns are set to target everyone that searches for a keyword or falls within a certain audience. This not only means that budget is being wasted on advertising to VIPs, who are likely going to purchase anyway, but also means that the same messaging is being used for all customer types.

Why should you segment your campaigns into customer type?

  • This allows you to easily allocate your budget between customer types based on your brand’s priorities and objectives, such as driving growth from new users
  • It means you can tailor your ad-creatives to the audience. For example, your messaging for new visitors might be more informative and product focused, whereas, for existing customers it can be more offer-led, as they’re already familiar with your product or service
  • Exclude your best customers from seeing your ads, freeing up your budget to drive growth from other audiences

Re-engage your past site visitors and customers

Arguably, one of the biggest opportunities to use customer and site visitor data within PPC campaigns is for remarketing.

Remarketing is the method of targeting someone that has engaged with your brand, whether that’s by visiting your website or purchasing a product. Your ads then encourage them to come back and either complete their first purchase, or purchase again.

Remarketing is incredibly simple to set up and can be run across most platforms and channels. Our recommendation is to segment your audience data as we’ve described already, as you can then tailor your activity based on the type of user you’re targeting.

We would also recommend testing various audience durations. For low cost, high volume products, you might want to test a short audience duration, such as the last 7 days, whereas for higher ticket items, you’re going to want to run with a much longer duration.

Conclusion

With data being such a buzzword nowadays, it can be a bit daunting when looking at how you can better use it to achieve your business and marketing objectives.

There are a lot of more advanced strategies that we haven’t discussed here, such as linking up your CRM with Google ads to track the life time value that your PPC campaigns generate. However, hopefully this article highlights some quick and simple methods in which you can put your valuable customer data to good use.

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