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In this post learn:

What is the Long Tail?

How the Long Tail applies to Keyword Advertising,

Results in higher conversions for retailers, and

How Shoptoit helps retailers leverage the Long Tail with product based ads


What is the Long Tail

The term Long Tail was popularized by author Chris Anderson in his ground-breaking book, of the same name.

In his book he outlines how most businesses focus on the head (or most popular) terms or phrases when bidding for paid advertising – and how this often leads to missed opportunities to profit, due to the lack of focus on the long tail (less popular) search terms.

He goes on to site examples of niche players, such as Netflix, that have profited by capitalizing on their less popular products – and focusing on the long tail, where there is actually more volume and less competition.

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How the Long Tail Applies to Keyword Advertising

Keyword advertising (bidding for ad space on search engines, based on search terms related to a product or service) has become common practice for retail advertisers over the past few years.

Keyword advertising is now bigger than newspapers and magazines combined, generating more than $40 billion US per year for Google alone. The reason for this success may lie in the fact that keyword ads work better at delivering new customers and driving sales than any other proven ad method.

When we consider how the Long Tail affects a Keyword advertising strategy, the impact is quite compelling. By far the largest opportunity for search traffic lies in the 70% of search queries representing the Long Tail.

So what are these search queries?

Long tail search queries are primarily made up of more descriptive keyword phrases that contain more than 3 words. In the example below the terms shoes and men’s shoes represent the head of the search distribution. The head terms have much more competition and therefor are more expensive to bid for. The more descriptive phrases like red Nike men’s running shoes and phrases with the model number or even the MPN number represent a much larger grouping of search terms and have very little competition delivering massive free exposure (ad impressions) to the advertiser.

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Long Tail Keywords and Conversion

Maybe the most compelling reason to consider long tail keywords is the impact on conversions. In the case of Keyword Advertising, there are two types of conversion; CTRs (click-throughs) to the advertiser’s website conversions and the all important conversion to sale.

chartThe sweet spot for both impressions and CTRs is found in keywords phrases that range between 11 and 20 characters. Clearly long tail keywords outperform the head in terms of CTRs.

In another study by Conductor Research called The Long Tail of Search, the results they observed on the conversion to sale of long tail keyword campaigns was an astounding 2.5 times greater conversion to sale.

Why Do Long Tail Keywords result in Higher Conversions?

The primary reason that the long tail consistently delivers higher conversions overall is actually based on the behaviour of the searcher. As a rule longer, more specific search queries generally mean the searcher is farther along in the buying cycle, and will therefore convert at a greater rate than shorter head terms a person searches for when they are still in research mode.

Shoptoit Product Ads

Helping SMB retailers reach new customers, drive traffic and grow sales
with long-tail product-based ads.

The Shoptoit Products Ads Program is specifically designed for SMB Retailers who want to reach new customers and increase sales – both online and in-store.

Catering to the specific needs of small and mid-size businesses, the Shoptoit Program offers:

  • No setup fees
  • No management fees
  • No contracts
  • No monthly minimums
  • Very little time commitment on behalf of the retailer

Shoptoit handles the creation and management of all campaigns, retailers simply add products to their account and we handle the rest.

Campaigns are typically live and delivering results within 2 days.

Leveraging the Long Tail – How We Do it

The Shoptoit platform takes each individual product a retailer provides to us and creates long tail search campaigns to send to Google AdWords . Each product produces an average of 72 keyword combinations, very specific to the product – earning more qualified click-thrus, and higher conversion rates for retailers.

Get Started

If you are a retailer looking to increase your traffic this holiday season, long-tail keyword ads are a quick, easy way to do so. Request a Shoptoit account to get started.

Already have a Shoptoit account? Simply login and visit your Product Settings page to enable long-tail keyword ads.