Normally when you’re advertising functional products with low margins the audience tends to be fairly price sensitive. Sure, they want good customer service and reasonable shipping options, but ultimately they want to save money wherever possible on their product purchases. So I had client that fit this bill and I was running PPC ads for his company with a lot of success. All was right with the world. Then he decided to step up his email marketing game and offer regular promotions to his email subscribers. I heard this and instantly recognized the opportunity to integrate these promotions into his PPC ads. I was pumped to have this cross-marketing opportunity and he was really optimistic that these promotions would bring in a lot of new customers and lure former customers back. So once a week I excitedly integrated that week’s promotion into the ad and monitored the results. Then something odd happened.
The ads that we were running initially contained different versions of the same three value propositions:
- Low prices
- Fast shipping
- Free shipping
Promotion-specific PPC ads were created that included essential details like duration of the promotion, order value needed to qualify, savings details, and the promotional code needed to redeem the offer. Due to the character restrictions imposed by Google and Bing, the promotional ads were not able to contain any verbiage from the existing ads as well. (That is to say, the ads were either “promo-specific” or based around low prices in general and fast free shipping.) The keyword usage between the two types of ads was kept as similar as possible to allow for more effective testing. Time and time again, however, the promotional ads were the worst performers.
In order to identify why the promotional ads were falling short the data specific to each competing ad had to be examined. What was discovered was that ads that utilized text with shipping details were the best performers. The ads that touted “Fast Free Shipping” and “Same Day Shipping” had the greatest ad lift and performance data, while ads that simply mentioned “Free Shipping” did not perform as well as their speed-related counterparts.
The lesson? More than being price sensitive, this audience was time sensitive! Getting products quickly was the most important factor when it came to a purchase decision. There was no way the client or myself could have predicted that this would be the case, but through testing we were able to isolate this important information.
But the story doesn’t end there! Having this information my client can now use this verbiage to the max in emails, on the website, on social channels, and so on to boost business efforts!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!