For retailers who invest in Paid Search Advertising (PSA), the accuracy of their ads is essential to success. As of the beginning of 2018, researchers found that, while cost-per-clicks went up, click-through rates decreased. This means that, while businesses are paying larger and larger sums for the ads that direct shoppers to their e-commerce websites, customer engagement with those ads, and with their site is plummeting. To top that off, the 2018 Ecommerce Paid Search Report (Second Edition), published by ROI Revolution suggests that 53% of mobile shoppers will bounce from a page if the PSA they’ve clicked does not redirect them within 3 seconds.
Paid Search Advertising is increasingly competitive, and increasingly high stakes.
While many organizations that rely on these ads are focusing on copy and other strategies to effect change, there is one problem few of them have recognized. This problem can have a negative effect on conversion rates, and on the ROI for Paid Search Advertising.
What’s the Problem?
Consider, for a moment, a simple scenario. You are looking for blue men’s sneakers from New Balance, so you go to your web browser and perform a search. At the top of the results you see PSA from New Balance promising you exactly what you need, and so you click the advertisement. However, when you arrive at the page, you find that you’re not given what you were looking for. Perhaps you’re shown every sneaker in the New Balance inventory. Perhaps you’re show every men’s shoe, no matter the color. Perhaps, if you searched a specific line of shoes, then promised that sneaker by the ad, you’re directed to a page that informs you that those shoes are totally sold out, or simply out of development.
In all likelihood, you’ll decide to exit the page and go elsewhere to save time. Unfortunate for New Balance they have paid significant cost for a search advertisement that’s going to do little more than drive customers away from their stock.
Why Does This Happen?
Many e-commerce retailers use Search Management Platforms (SMP) like Google Search Ads 360 or Kenshoo and cannot effectively direct online shoppers to the most relevant page they’re looking for. This is because the SMP doesn’t recognize the semantics in the query searched by the shopper (keywords entered on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo) and accurately match to the brand e-commerce product catalog.
The result is shoppers frequently finding themselves on a page that is largely irrelevant to what they were looking for, or a page that simply has far too many items to scroll through. Because the paid search advertising failed to fulfill that customer’s intent, the customer moves to another vendor site for the purchase.
It Happens More Often Than You Think!
The ForesightOne team was curious as to how many online retailers struggled with this problem, and so we executed some tests. We searched different items for Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, New Balance, Venum, Children’s Place, and the WWE store, in an attempt to see how well different paid search advertisements delivered on their promise.
The results pointed to a larger problem that, it seems, even the largest retailers have yet to confront.
When we searched “Hollister Grey Sweatpants Girls,” the paid search ad directed us to a page full of boys sweatpants.
When we searched “Children’s Place Girls”, the search ad simply directed us to the homepage.
Over and over again, we found that shoppers would have to spend extra time navigating an e-commerce website to find the product that a paid search ad promised was just a click away.
If ROI Revolution’s findings, about how quickly shoppers are willing to exit a non-relevant page are true, then lots of money is being misspent!
Even though our use cases indicated a problem whose severity and frequency has gone largely unacknowledged, it doesn’t mean that the problem isn’t solvable. Innovators like Vioby, a ForesightOne client has been the technology innovator to address this issue.
Vioby has crafted a component that uses AI and semantic search understanding to optimize your paid search advertising. By matching keywords on your site, helping your search management account for customer intent, and understanding the language of a shopper’s search, Vioby’s AI Component helps ensure that those shoppers who click your ad are consistently directed to the most relevant page for their query.
Paid search advertising is an incredibly valuable tool in the arsenal of any retailer looking to leverage e-commerce sales. As the market grows more competitive, and more and more shoppers turn to the internet for their shopping, it’s also a costly one.
Why sink major revenue into paid search advertising that will ultimately repel shoppers when you can address issues such as the one we’ve discussed? Why not make certain that your paid search advertising is the best it can be, and ensure that your investment is recouped?
Beyond these hidden challenges, your paid search advertising continues to have a bright future.
Disclaimer: All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this article are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.