Ideas To Cover Your Entire Inventory In Paid Search

While it might be the simplest way to drive more impressions, any savvy search marketer (and particularly those in the retail sector) in should be aware that leveraging broad match type is far from the only possibility to scale your PPC program. There are plenty of other options out there –I’ll try to cover just a few of them in this post.

1. Leverage All Match Types

In a previous article, I analyzed AdWord’s new exact and phrase matching behavior and found that those new “plurals, misspellings and other close variants” were beneficial overall, with a 4% lift in clicks on average with comparable CPCs.

As a result, the only reason why you might want to opt out from the new matching behavior would be if you want to keep maximum control over a set of high-traffic keywords and only bid on the exact queries.

Also, the broad modifier feature is definitely less relevant since the new phrase match type covers most of the modified broad queries – the only difference being that phrase match type observes the order of the terms in the keyword string, while the broad modifier feature is more lenient in that regard.

Therefore, you might want to keep using the broad modifier feature only when you care about the order of the terms – otherwise, the new phrase match type will do the trick and is much easier to implement.

Last but not least – yes, you should still use regular broad match to keep exploring new queries and feed your exact keyword list. Just make sure your broad bids are reasonably low in order to mitigate intra-account cannibalization.

2.  Use Product Listing Ads

If you have a Google merchant center account and you’re not already using Product Listing Ads, you should definitely consider doing so.

The power of Product Listing Ads is that you don’t need additional keywords or text ads (as opposed to product extensions), and it helps promote your entire product line with high CTR thanks to richer product information (product image, price, and merchant name).

On the flipside, you need to make sure that your Google Merchant Center is well maintained and regularly updated.

Useful links about Product Listing Ads can be found at the bottom of this post.

3.  Use Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads do not require a Google Merchant Center to be implemented. Instead, Dynamic Search Ads automatically show your ad based on the content of your website, which makes the whole process of scaling up your paid search program a fairly easy win.

However, you have little control over the ad copies and you might want to use this type of campaign only to collect queries for your traditional campaigns.

4. Use Proprietary Inventory Management Solutions

If you need more relevance and control over the keywords you’re bidding on, the ad copy that  is triggered, as well as the keyword (or ad group) statuses based on product availability, then you might consider using a proprietary inventory management technology.

There are a couple of them out there; however, in the interest of full disclosure, I obviously am most familiar with my company’s solution, and I unabashedly admit I think it is pretty amazing.

Let’s run through an example of how any number of custom solutions might be useful for a large online retailer.

Say your inventory consists of 100,000 products with specific SKU numbers, product names, manufacturer names, product categories, prices, URLs, and inventory level in your backend feed – then proprietary inventory management solutions can help you automate the process of updating 100,000 ad groups (1 ad group per SKU) in real-time:

• Keywords: You can build your own combinations of keywords such as [product name], [product name] + [manufacturer], [product name] + [product category], and so on. Then you can decide whether you want to activate exact, phrase, modified broad, or broad match types. Also, you can assign bidding strategies based on the product category or whatever makes sense for your business.

• Ad Copy: You can write very specific ad copy based on the number of characters in the product names. For instance – if the [product name] is less than 25 characters, then use it in the headline, and so on. You can also inject the [price] using AdWords Ad parameters so the Quality Score does not get altered, and you can even rotate sale ad copies if your backend inventory has some information about it.

• Keyword/Ad Copy/Ad Group Statuses: all those statuses can be updated based on inventory levels, such as if [availability] = 0 then pause, or if [availability] < 5 then pause, otherwise keep it active.

When Managing Match Types Is Not Enough

Depending on how large your product inventory is, it might make sense to not only leverage all available match types – which is a very basic way to get started – but also to test all new types of extensions (Product Listing Ads, Dynamic Search Ads, etc..). If you do manage a larger product inventory, however, the ultimate solution might be to explore a third-party inventory management solution which will allow you to scale up your paid search program while maintaining a maximum level of relevance and control.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | How To | How To: PPC | Intermediate | Search & Retail


About The Author: is a Business Analyst in the Digital Marketing team at Adobe, providing advertisers and account management teams with data-driven and actionable insights on strategies to optimize their online marketing mix. One of his specialties is to develop tools and simulators for analysts to use, and executives to use for making business decisions.

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  • Igor Soshkin

    Or you can use Shopping Cart Elite as your inventory management which will automatically remove the products and add them based on inventory in the merchant center

  • Mike Boudet

    “Therefore, you might want to keep using the broad modifier feature only when you care about the order of the terms – otherwise, the new phrase match type will do the trick and is much easier to implement.”  Isn’t this backwards?

  • Richard Razo

    What’s a good third-party inventory management solution for a small design biz that does SEO only a little-moderate?


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