Win­ning in retail is not for the faint of heart or the brand that can’t take cal­cu­lated risks. The options avail­able to adver­tise your brand are plen­ti­ful and diverse. How do you deter­mine which one is right for your busi­ness and the best place to invest time and money? The key to suc­cess is to under­stand the insights that are avail­able through each oppor­tu­nity so you can be ready to exer­cise the option that you think is best for you. Early on, you should always be in a posi­tion to eval­u­ate the per­for­mance of the adver­tis­ing oppor­tu­nity you chose so that adjust­ments can be made and max­i­mum return on invest­ment achieved.

What are some paid search adver­tis­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able for a retail set­ting? Prod­uct list­ing ads (PLAs) is one of the most well known. Both Google and Yahoo offer that option. The ten­dency is to run to Google but don’t ignore Yahoo. Know where your audi­ence is. PLAs are more than just a new ad for­mat. They are trans­form­ing search mar­ket­ing with their rare com­bi­na­tion of high vol­ume and prof­itable effi­ciency. With the right tools, you can cre­ate prod­uct tar­gets lever­ag­ing exist­ing data feeds, ana­lyze PLAs at the SKU level for increased vis­i­bil­ity, and auto­mate bid opti­miza­tion and fore­cast performance.

Shop­ping com­par­i­son engines and uti­liz­ing retail data feeds are another fun­da­men­tal way to uti­lize paid search for a retail orga­ni­za­tion. Another key table stake is mak­ing sure that you are opti­miz­ing for rev­enue, or return on ad spend (ROAS) ver­sus num­ber of units, as well as opti­miz­ing toward the more well-known front-end search engine met­rics like click-through rate (CTR), posi­tion, or qual­ity score. Action items such as cre­at­ing cam­paigns based on your prod­uct feeds and pro­mo­tional and sea­sonal cal­en­dars are key to stay­ing on top of your game. Be sure that the prod­ucts you’re adver­tis­ing are in stock and avail­able. If a prod­uct is low on stock, do you want to send traf­fic to a sec­ondary prod­uct and land­ing page or sim­ply cease bid­ding on those terms until the prod­uct comes back in stock?

The Adobe Sum­mit from 24–28 March in Salt Lake City will include a track titled “Win­ning in Retail, How Can You Do it All?” I will be on the panel to help you dis­cover the upside of bid­ding on more descrip­tive terms like “red fleece jacket” as opposed to broader terms like “out­er­wear,” which should appeal to those of you who are budget-minded con­ver­sion focused on mid-tier, and long-tail key­words can pro­vide a cost-effective ben­e­fit. My fel­low pan­elists and I will divulge our secrets in bid­ding and bud­get man­age­ment against hun­dreds of thou­sands of SKUs, tak­ing the expe­ri­ence beyond search to per­son­al­iza­tion and pro­vid­ing a tar­geted expe­ri­ence, as well as how to take full advan­tage of prod­uct feeds and how to pro­duce a win­ning retail paid search pro­gram. We will show you how to make the most of this infor­ma­tion and how you can make edu­cated deci­sions in improv­ing account per­for­mance with the data you have avail­able. This ses­sion is intended for any attendee in retail and e-commerce verticals.