Altrec.com ups its game with ad-tracking program

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With the current economic crunch, outdoor gear and apparel merchant Altrec.com is hoping to give its paid search efforts a boost in the fourth quarter by implement­ing new tracking capabilities from Mercent that will automatically pull ads for items that are out of stock or heavily promote items with higher profit margins.

“Tracking is always a challenge in any search engine marketing program,” said Derek Kershner, search marketing ana­lyst at Altrec.com. Matching margins and overall revenue with sales and spend can be very difficult, he continued.

With the recently launched Mercent Retail Paid Inclusion for Yahoo Search Submit Pro, Altrec.com expects to have more control of its search program, includ­ing full visibility of what's taking place and the ability to make changes when it wishes. Previously, an outside agency managed Altrec.com's paid search program, leaving the merchant with little control.

One “big plus” of the new program is its ability to connect directly with Altrec.com's warehouse and e-commerce catalog, Kershner said. This ensures that ads for out-of-stock items aren't being run, which can be a problem in paid search.

The Mercent program can also be set up with a new set of metrics — in addi­tion to return on ad spend and cost per acquisition — that optimizes ads based on gross profit dollars generated per product. “Certain products give us more money than others — who wouldn't use that infor­mation if they could?” Kershner said.

Based on these adjustments, Kershner is predicting “a solid uplift in performance” from search in Q4.

“There is a disconnect between online advertising and the core business operations of retail merchants,” said Eric Best, CEO at Mercent, adding that warehouse and e-commerce data hasn't been traditionally tied into online advertising platforms.

By bringing this information into the equation with Mercent Retail Paid Inclu­sion, Mercent “can guarantee that each transaction driven through Yahoo will be profitable,” he said, because retailers can automatically allocate their ad budget to ads that are converting at higher price points, inventory levels and margins.

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