Best Ecommerce Google Ads Strategies – Sarah Stemen PPC Expert Interview

Written by onlineacademy

October 18, 2023

sarah stemen interview expert ppc ecommerce

Wow, this was a very advanced interview, Sarah Stemen, MBA is a PPC genius!

Here are some of the topics we got into:

Black Friday Cyber Monday expert setups and optimization to not waste of your budget

How to adjust AFTER Black Friday Cyber Monday – the cooldown

ecommerce for large budgets (and small)

There is NEVER one absolute way to do PPC and anyone that says so is NOT an expert

LinkedIn is for posting “professional” rants. Personal rants go on Facebook

Branded, non branded, sort of branded hybrids campaigns/ad groups/keywords

Performance max with branded or not

Top, Middle, and Bottom of funnel for ecommerce and lead gen

Auto dealerships branded names are hard to separate properly into branded and non-branded lol

How to optimize branded campaigns (add “phone number”) as a negative to your branded campaign – that’s a wasted click

How to not waste money on current customers clicking on your ads because they can’t find where to login to their account

Use RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) to BLOCK repeat visitors from branded – (expert hack)
-That can also block competitors from clicking on your ads everyday, without needing fancy click fraud software

Adjusting PPC performance and optimizing as a percentage based on overall budget. With small accounts, you have to make decisions much faster

Symptom based searching vs high intent searches, how and where to separate it effectively for ecommerce or lead gen
-it originally came from Brad Geddes Advanced Google Adwords book (that’s where I learned it originally) and still applies today

Using DSA (dynamic search ads/campaigns) campaigns vs broad match or both to get lower CPAs (it is very advanced, it is not an autopilot tactic even with auto bidding)

Learn more from Sarah Stemen:

Paid Search Association

Subscribe to Online Advertising Academy Youtube Channel
Timestamped summary
Managing e-commerce profitably amidst Google’s changes requires a holistic approach that includes a mix of new features and old tactics, prioritizing brand campaigns, segmenting brand intent and products in Google Ads campaigns, and making frequent adjustments during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • 🛍️
    00:00 Sarah advises on managing e-commerce profitably amidst Google’s changes, suggesting a mix of new features and old tactics, prioritizing brand campaigns, and segmenting brand intent and products in Google Ads campaigns for a holistic approach. Collapse
    • Sarah, with over 15 years of PPC experience, advises on managing e-commerce profitably amidst Google’s frequent changes, suggesting a mix of new features and old tactics to ensure profitability for small and large accounts.
    • Start with building out search campaigns for the key product, prioritize brand campaigns for e-commerce, and then scale with non-brand and performance Max campaigns, while also incorporating discovery and YouTube campaigns for a holistic approach.
    • The roll out attempts to fix attribution by splitting up touch points and ga4 does a better job at looking at all those touch points and sending that back into Google ads.
    • Splitting up brand for e-commerce involves having a campaign for pure brand keywords, and then organizing other keywords by product category or type.
    • Segmenting brand intent and products in Google Ads campaigns is important for e-commerce, with the potential need for separate campaigns or accounts based on business goals.
    • Clients with generic brand names or town names in their business name require a lot of optimization for their branded campaigns due to close variance and cross contamination, and the speaker prefers to have a conversation with clients rather than strictly following absolute rules.
  • 📈
    11:50 Use advanced Google Ads settings to control keywords, implement strict negatives on Branded campaign, balance campaign goals with customer satisfaction, and use remarketing tactics to manage non-brand campaigns and prevent unqualified traffic. Collapse
    • Google Ads settings have changed, and now it’s more advanced to control what keywords your ads show for, including bidding on your brand and showing for competitors.
    • The strategy is to use strict negatives on the Branded campaign to avoid wasting ad spend on current customers searching for phone numbers or login information.
    • Using search as navigation can impact customer satisfaction and bounce rates, and it’s important to balance campaign goals with keeping current customers happy.
    • Exclude repeat customers, competitors clicking on your ads, and excessive clicking through advanced tactics like remarketing list for search ads.
    • Use remarketing tactics to manage non-brand campaigns and prevent unqualified traffic from scaling too quickly, by using exact match negatives for generic search terms.
    • Longer and more specific keyword searches typically have a higher chance of converting, while shorter, one-word searches often have low intent or are strange, and symptom-based searches like “emergency plumber” or “basement flooded” are effective.
  • 📈
    19:16 Focus on targeting specific symptom searches with a larger budget, tailor ad copy to resonate with user’s needs, be conversion-focused and helpful, use dynamic ad group campaigns, and closely monitor and manage the campaign to avoid overspending for optimal results. Collapse
    • People search in different ways, and it originally came from Brad Gettis, who has been in the industry for 20 years and wrote a book called The Google AdWords guide.
    • Different terms are used for attorneys and services, but it all falls under specific categories, and people may search for specific legal information without explicitly searching for an attorney.
    • Focus on targeting specific symptom searches with a larger budget and tailor ad copy to resonate with the user’s needs.
    • Focus on being conversion-focused and helpful, adjust based on audience behavior, use dynamic ad group campaigns to catch low hanging fruit and generate keywords from website content.
    • Use a combination of keywords and automation to find low-cost clicks, but closely monitor and manage the campaign to avoid overspending and ensure good SEO for optimal results.
  • 🚀
    23:59 Ecommerce Google Ads strategy involves automation, DSA, and Performance Max campaigns, with a focus on product feed, retargeting, and consulting with experts for troubleshooting and navigation. Collapse
    • Automation works well for getting hundreds of clicks with lower CPA and higher ROAS, and DSA is good for constantly changing inventory, but it’s advanced and requires close monitoring and training.
    • Google Ads strategy for ecommerce can vary in methods and still yield similar results, but experts often consult with each other to troubleshoot and navigate the different approaches.
    • Experts in the ecommerce industry do not deal in absolutes, and the best person to hire is someone who has seen it all and can scale up campaigns using performance Max campaigns.
    • Performance Max focuses on non-brand and brand components, with a heavy emphasis on product feed and retargeting, while also targeting non-brand in a more conservative way and utilizing YouTube and Discovery campaigns for medium and large businesses.
    • Google reps at the actual Google company are helpful and smart, but there are also contracted call center reps who may try to get you to spend more money.
    • The speaker discusses the strategy of using search and data feed components for ecommerce Google Ads, and also incorporates Discovery and YouTube campaigns to fill in the gaps and increase awareness and conversion.
  • 📈
    31:40 E-commerce Google Ads strategy involves using display and YouTube ads for branding and exposure, but brand campaigns are becoming harder due to Performance Max, and experience managing accounts of all sizes is valuable. Collapse
    • E-commerce Google Ads strategy involves using display and YouTube ads as a first touch point for branding and exposure, targeting specific audiences interested in aftermarket car parts and customization.
    • Starting with brand campaigns is important to gauge the effectiveness of upper funnel tactics, but it has become harder due to Performance Max taking some of the brand traffic, resulting in lower volume despite high return on ad spend for branded campaigns.
    • Google is focusing on demand generation and larger companies with bigger budgets tend to use programmatic advertising instead of handpicking placements for Google display.
    • Experience managing accounts of all sizes is valuable, as it helps in contextualizing and having conversations with clients, and small accounts can be just as challenging as big ones.
    • Automation doesn’t work well with small budgets, and it’s important to only test the best ideas with limited budget.
    • The speaker discusses the importance of making quick decisions in training for lower level people in Google Ads strategy.
  • 📈
    40:17 Adjust ad strategy based on budget size, monitor click conversions during Black Friday Cyber Monday, use automation alongside manual strategies, switch to manual CPC for control, be cautious when adjusting target CPA, and stick with what works. Collapse
    • Adjust your ad strategy and make decisions quickly based on budget size, as smaller budgets require faster updates and adjustments to avoid wasting money on irrelevant search terms.
    • An expert discusses the importance of monitoring click conversions and adjusting ad campaigns during Black Friday Cyber Monday.
    • Automation in Google Ads has improved significantly over the years, and while the speaker used to be against it, they now see its value and use it alongside manual strategies.
    • Switch to manual CPC for more control, don’t touch what’s working, and give new campaigns some wiggle room with 200% or 100% ROAS.
    • Adjusting the target CPA for Google Ads can sometimes result in worse performance, so it’s best to leave it alone if it’s already performing well.
    • Don’t change settings or ads just for the sake of it, stick with what works even if it’s been the same for months.
  • 🛍️
    46:21 It’s crucial to make frequent adjustments to Google Ads strategy during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, monitor campaigns, and separate remarketing groups for different promotions to avoid overspending and ensure specific messaging. Collapse
    • Making frequent adjustments to Google Ads strategy during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is crucial due to the high traffic and intent, but it’s also important to question the impact of those changes on the overall traffic.
    • It is recommended to monitor Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns and not to neglect them, as there is a risk of something breaking if not checked.
    • During Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, it’s important to monitor and adjust Google Ads settings to avoid overspending and ensure accurate performance tracking.
    • Exclude data and expect conversion rates to go up, be careful with budget spending and automated algorithms when going into and coming down off of a sale.
    • Separate remarketing groups for different promotions to avoid generic remarketing and ensure specific messaging for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
    • The speaker discusses the complexity of running promotions during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays, and emphasizes the importance of long-term planning and expertise in managing large accounts.
  • 📱
    54:41 Reach out to Sarah Stemen through Twitter, LinkedIn, or her website, and subscribe for more PPC ads training videos.

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