Paid Search

SQR: A Difference Maker In Making Money Vs Losing It

When we start out planning and executing search and shopping campaigns, we refer to best business practices to guide us through.   One of the best business practices that is talked about is the use of SQR (Search Query Reports) to increase performance especially for shopping campaigns.  In this article, I am going to tell you why the SQR is super important to Shopping campaigns and how it affects your ROAS performance.

 

Recently, I was working on a retail client and I noticed that the ad spend was increasing while the ROAS was decreasing for their shopping campaign. While trying to figure out what was happening, I started out checking the first thing that came to mind, the SQR.  Normally, I would only do SQR checks once a week at a minimum, I decided to do them daily in order to get the wasted spend under control. While analyzing the SQR, I noticed the report wasn’t as up to date as I would have liked it to be where I overlooked keywords that should be negative keywords.    

 

I decided to take 3 approaches to analyzing the SQR.  

 

Approach 1 – Eliminating Irrelevant Keywords

 

This approach is the lowest hanging fruit.  Basically, it is scanning your Search Term report and removing any keywords that are irrelevant and costing you too much money.  This is the most important tactic when reviewing your SQR as you do not want to be showing up and having users clicking on your product that is not irrelevant to what they are searching for.  This is just wasted spend and will increase your bounce rate. As well you want your product to appear as close to what the person is looking for as they will most likely convert from the result of it.  

 

 

Approach 2 – Excluding Products Based Off SQR

 

To follow suit while you are removing irrelevant keywords, you want to pay attention if there are common keyword topics that are driving your ad costs up.  For instance, I have a client that sells a wool coat for dolls. I noticed there was a significant amount of irrelevant search terms and clicks focused towards wool coat for children.  

 

As I was checking the SQR daily now, I noticed that no matter how many times I included these terms in the negative keyword list, either new variations would appear or the spend as already been wasted with the keyword.  Since I separated my campaigns between branded and non-branded, I decided to start turning off specific products that displayed these characteristics for non-branded campaigns. However, I quickly realized that this was just a band-aid solution for non-branded as the search terms would shift to the branded campaign.  I ended up during off these products for branded campaigns as well.

 

Immediately, my daily spend decreased for these campaigns, and after a week, I noticed my ROAS increasing as well.   What I learned from this tactic was that you don’t have to promote all your SKU’s in Shopping and it was ok to turn off products that are spending a significant amount but not yielding any conversions.  Using this technique, you can generate effectiveness with your spend and focus your spend on those products that are driving conversions for your campaign.

 

 

Approach 3 – Excluding Non-Converting Search Terms

 

This last approach is another low hanging fruit.  When you look at SQR’s for the past 30 days, you should analyze which search terms are costing you the most money and not converting.   When looking at this, you will need to determine if that search term is better off being a negative keyword or if you should keep it as it drives traffic to your site and hope it generates conversions.  Being able to determine which terms to exclude or keep, will help in maximizing your ROAS by diverting your spend to other better performing search terms.

 

This all comes down to what your KPI is, being conversions or ROAS based will help you decide if the term is worth keeping or not.  Generally if you are unsure, you can look at a longer window period such as 60 days or 90 days to help you make your decision easier.  

 

Example here:  These highlighted terms generated traffic but had a low conversion rate.  Therefore, I moved them into the negative keyword list to save on wasted spend.  

 

 

Results

 

Since implementing all 3 approaches to the SQR, I have seen my client’s ROAS increased by close to 2X within 3 weeks.   Thus generating a more effective ad spend for my client’s budget. The lessons I learned from this experience, shows how much SQRs’ affect the overall performance of search and shopping campaigns.  It is something that we can easily forget to pay close attention to and get away from you like a runaway train. Even though, checking SQRs’ daily seems excessive; it is sometimes necessary for some clients to ensure that effective ad spend is happening.      

 

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