Kirk will be speaking on Paid Search at Engage 2020 which will be taking place March 12th and 13th at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I do PPC for a living and run ZATO (my small agency), but have zero background in marketing or business. I actually did my undergrad, and grad work in Biblical Studies and hold a Masters in Theology (where my agency name came from, it’s a variation of the Koine Greek word ????? “to search after or seek”). I still use my degree on a weekly basis in my church, but definitely wish I had taken a business class of some sorts so I didn’t have to learn everything from the school of hard knocks.

2) Let us suppose you were building an eCommerce account from scratch. What criteria would you use in determining your choice of bidding strategy(ies) for the shopping campaigns?
This is an interesting question because my answer has changed a bit over the years. The key to automation is that it relies solely on data that is both good enough, and enough. In other words, if you have accurate data, and enough of it, you can run things with automation pretty quickly. Old habits die hard, and I find I prefer still to begin accounts with manual bidding, get an idea of what is working and what isn’t, where avg CPCs are, what competition is doing, and all of the other helpful stuff one can learn when playing a more direct role in the beginning. Then with enough time and data, we’ll transition campaigns to automated bidding. We segment our Bottom of Funnel and of Funnel targeting as much as possible, so we can match our bidding strategies and goals to these different audience types. If we are running Top of Funnel plays, we may experiment with Max Clicks, or enhanced CPC. If we are running Bottom of Funnel campaigns, we like to use TROAS for automated bidding.

3) Many shopping feeds we have to work with are massively huge and are populated by vendor-supplied product descriptions. Is there any hope of optimizing these at scale in a manner that could positively impact shopping campaign performance?

Typically the PPCer is limited in the scope of what you can change content side, but there are a few tricks you can employ here. First, and easiest (for us), is to work with either your in-house dev team or employ a 3rd party Feed Management Solution to assist with bulk feed optimizations. We are big fans of Feedonomics, primarily because they do this kind of thing (detailed bulk optimizations) as part of their services. That being said, another trick is to employ Feed Rules within Google Merchant Center. For instance, let’s say you want to add the optimized Product Title into your description for every product, you can easily create a Feed Rule within GMC appending the title to every description at scale and you’re done.

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