eCommerce Ad Management

Your Guide to Finding the Right Tool

As the number of retailer platforms and eCommerce campaigns increase, using eCommerce ad management becomes critical.

Advertising management has become increasingly complex as the industry grows. Efficiently managing the different ad types, destinations, and metrics can help your brand better manage ad spend and increase Share of Voice.

With increasing demands for eCommerce PPC and paid search advertising comes an increase in the number of eCommerce ad management tools available to you. In fact, this review of the best Amazon advertising tools analyzed over 40 Amazon PPC tools. How can you determine which advertising management solution is right for your needs?

What is eCommerce Ad Management?

eCommerce advertising management combines holistic performance data with recommended actions to enable you to track and optimize eCommerce campaigns, retailers platforms, and KPIs.

The main types of eCommerce ads include:

Social

Boosted posts on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter targeted to specific user demographics or keywords.

Search

Paid search ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines based on specific search queries.

Display

Display ads appear on websites, apps, or social media through direct placement or retargeting. 

Marketplace

Advertising directly on Amazon, Walmart or other eCommerce marketplaces through paid search, display ads, and sponsored products.

While each of these ad types should be part of your eCommerce PPC strategy, marketplace advertising offers several unique advantages. As consumers are visiting these retailers, they have high buying intent which can help increase conversion rates for your ads. Your marketplace ads can also leverage first-party data from the marketplace to tailor your ads to consumers based on specific buying behaviors and make it easier to track ROAS.

Retailer Platforms Overview and Comparison

In addition to managing multiple ad types, you may have several destinations for your eCommerce campaigns, including:

Direct-to-Consumer

Selling products directly to consumers from your own web store.

Retailer Marketplaces

Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other retailers that list and sell your products.

Other Marketplaces

Additional eCommerce marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, Google Shopping, and Instacart which facilitate transactions between consumers and other retailers.

Even after choosing to focus your eCommerce campaigns on marketplaces, you will have an endless number of retailers to choose from. Each marketplace has specific ad types, performance metrics, and - most importantly - consumer shopping behaviors. Here are a few retailer platforms you may want to focus on: 

  • Amazon: The largest eCommerce retailer in the US, with the most sophisticated ad platform of any retailer.
  • Walmart: The largest retailer in the US with 11,500 stores and a growing eCommerce presence. Their ad platform covers both Walmart.com and physical stores.
  • Instacart: This grocery delivery service and marketplace is growing extremely quickly, accelerated during 2020, and is changing how millions of consumers shop for groceries, pet supplies, and home goods.
  • Criteo: An advertising company that provides online display advertisements on dozens of retailer websites who do not have their own ad platform. These include Target, Macy’s, and Home Depot.

Due to the varying ad types and the ways consumers interact with each of these marketplaces, your eCommerce PPC management needs to be tailored to each. For example, consumers are more likely to search for products when shopping on Walmart and Amazon. On Walmart, 90% of purchases begin with a search. For Amazon, 75-95% of consumers start their shopping journey by searching.

By contrast, consumers are more likely to browse for products when shopping on Instacart and Target. Only 45% of sales on Instacart and 40% of Target.com sales stem from the search functionality.

These varying advertising management demands highlight the need for a robust tool that can bring together various eCommerce campaigns into a single view.

Building Blocks of Automated Ad Management

Given the wide variety of channels, ad types, and retailers when it comes to eCommerce advertising, it’s no surprise that each automated ad management tool has unique capabilities. Some focus on giving marketers full control over a single campaign, while others are built to ingest data at scale to help manage the big picture. However, underpinning all of this functionality is a basis of automation and reporting, and a handful of key features serve as the building blocks for nearly every solution.

Programmatic Bid Management

The starting point for every ecommerce PPC management software is programmatic bid management, or simply, automatically buying ads in real-time based on which positions you’re targeting and how much you’re willing to pay. A good tool will take the automated bid management one step further and manage those variables against your ultimate goal, whether it be sales, efficiency, reach, or a combination, and give you the amount of control you need to customize individual bids when necessary. Because eCommerce advertising often involves hundreds of products across thousands of keywords and dozens of retailers, programmatic bid management saves marketers hours of time every week.

For example, Spectrum Brands had been doing a lot of work manually before using Pacvue as their eCommerce advertising management tool. They were able to scale up their campaigns by automating most of their bid management tasks and achieved 200% improvement in ROAS.

Campaign Reporting

Automating your eCommerce ad campaigns does little good if you don’t know how well they’re performing. There’s a reason why the first screen you see when you log in to almost any advertising software is a dashboard of common reports. Common performance metrics to track include daily spend, impressions, click-through rate, cost-per-click, total cost, conversion rate, and sales. The best tools, though, will go beyond telling you what happened in the past and tell you what to do it about it now to improve performance for the future. Great reporting includes alerts when something unexpected happens, such as impressions dropping below their monthly average, and campaign recommendations that you can apply.

Targeting Research

Programmatic bid management can help prioritize your ad targeting by raising and lowering bids until you hit your goal, but eCommerce is a constantly shifting landscape. To stay ahead of shifts in consumer demand, your competitors’ strategies, and even your own product line, you have to continuously update your targeting to find the best possible segments for your advertising. With all these variables, manual research just doesn’t cut it anymore. eCommerce ad management tools include features such as keyword research, Share of Voice tracking to measure your position in the market, and lookalike or similar audience suggestions to expand your reach.

For example, BetterBody Foods used a simple keyword research feature to uncover that keto-friendly terms and cooking oil terms had a lot of opportunity at an efficient price. They invested in these new keywords and improved ROAS on Instacart by 28%.  

Budget Management

Bid management without budget management is like a dog that eats all the food in its bowl, not knowing when it will be refilled again. Not only does good budget management functionality ensure you’re actually staying within your daily, monthly, or quarterly budget, but it also helps you pace your budget accordingly, either by spreading daily caps out evenly over a timeframe or by employing predictive modeling to spend when your campaign will likely have the most demand. Good budget management also optimizes intraday spend via daypart bid boosting; that is, multiplying bids at certain hours of the day when conversions are high. 

5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Tool

  1. What features do they offer? Compare your brand’s list of must haves against what the tool is offering, like the features outlined above.
  2. Do they offer the level of control that I need? Can I start with automation and adjust bids and targets manually if needed, or am I stuck with one-size-fits-all AI?
  3. How much support do they offer? Live chat, email, phone support, etc. And do I trust them to give me good advice?
  4. Do the performance benefits outweigh the cost of the tool?
  5. Would this truly help me hit my goals? 

What features do they offer?

We discussed the four building blocks of a good eCommerce ad management tool. Consider the level of sophistication you need in each of these areas, as well as the ad types, retail channels, and targeting strategies necessary for your business.

Do they offer the level of control that I need?

If you’re starting from scratch with eCommerce advertising, you may be looking for a tool that has full campaign automation and will make optimizations on your behalf. Keep in mind that not every campaign has the same goal. Will you be able to maximize impressions on one campaign, but focus on ROAS for another?

How much support do they offer?

With the pace that eCommerce is evolving, it’s likely that you will change your ad strategy on a regular basis. Make sure the team behind the tool will be able to help you through these shifts and, more importantly, provide expert guidance when you need it.

Do the performance benefits outweigh the cost of the tool?

This should, hopefully, be an easy question to answer when evaluating a new tool. Ask them about the typical improvement in sales and ROAS when a brand uses their solution, and make sure they have case studies to back up those claims.

Would this truly help me hit my goals?

Sometimes, it can be exciting to consider shiny new tools that we think will solve all our problems. In reality, though, a tool is only as effective as the strategy behind it. Clarify the primary goal you’re trying to achieve, and make sure the tool is built for that purpose. 

Why Choose Pacvue as Your eCommerce Ad Management Tool

In the review video mentioned above, Pacvue comes out as the leading eCommerce PPC management tool. Leading brands and agencies choose Pacvue for the combination of competitive Share of Voice and ad metrics, automated bid management, flexible reporting, and detailed retail data.

Working closely with existing customers, and retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, Pacvue maintains a close understanding of the evolving eCommerce landscape to be consistently first-to-market with new features and integrations.

With Pacvue, you can leverage:

Competitive Intelligence

Discover the best way to win your category with keyword research, Share of Voice data, and category intelligence.

Precise Automation

Pacvue maintains five levels of automation, include rules-based automation and AI optimization.

Campaign Optimization

Automatically optimize spend on keyword bids and eCommerce PPC campaigns with daypart bidding and budget pacing.

Flexible Reporting

Get a single view of your eCommerce campaigns with retail data integration, Excel integration, and customizable dashboards.

Most importantly, Pacvue is run by a team of eCommerce ad management experts with direct experience with Amazon and other retailers. Our Strategic Consulting provides a team to help you run an audit, provide recommendations, and get you set up and started.

Advertising Management for Major Retail Platforms

If you’re looking for eCommerce ad management across all your key retailers, you need a tool that can integrate with your most important marketplaces. Pacvue currently offers integrations with Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, and Criteo.
Learn how advertisers are already using these tools to improve their eCommerce campaigns:

Pacvue For Amazon

“Leveraging Pacvue’s technology, with the guidance of their experienced Strategic Consulting team, Instinct has been able to execute numerous, high impact, test & learns to inform our paid search and display media strategies. These learnings, combined with direct access to our data for performance measurement in a dynamic, customizable dashboard, has enabled us to grow sales and reach while driving efficiencies and share of voice gains.” - Cheryl Ryan, General Manager, eCommerce, Instinct

Pacvue for Walmart

“Pacvue is a powerful Walmart advertising tool that saved us a lot of time in reporting and optimizing our Walmart campaigns. Using Pacvue’s features definitely helped us reach, and even exceed our Walmart advertising goals”. - Max Shen, Director of e-Commerce, Hisense

Pacvue for Instacart

“We are thrilled that we are able to partner with Pacvue to unlock Instacart advertising as a new channel of growth for our brands. Instacart is quickly becoming a critical platform for us to reach our consumers as they make the shift to online grocery.” - Laura Hyland, Vice President, e-Commerce US, Henkel

Pacvue for Criteo

“Target online sales have grown significantly over the past year, and Target.com and the Target App are becoming critical channels for us to meet the shopping behavior of our consumers. We’re excited to partner with Pacvue and Criteo to lean into Target advertising as a new opportunity for growth.” - David Hutchinson, VP, Marketplace & Retailer Optimization, iProspect

Get Started Today.

Interested in learning more about the features and benefits of Pacvue for your eCommerce ad management?