Long live the long tail

A common issue when running Sponsored Product Ad campaigns is which keywords to target or, more generally, should the advertiser focus on the generic relevant keywords (like the category name, for example) or target a range of more specific long tail keywords.

When targeting the obvious generic keywords, the advertiser will most likely get a lot of ad impressions and clicks, but will also pay more per click as these are the expansive keywords that all the advertisers are competing for.

On the other hand, when choosing the long tail cheaper keywords, the ads will only appear for shoppers that are more likely to purchase the products, and then the results would be better but the number of ad impressions and click will be lower.

Here are some recent charts that can visualize the discussion and offer some conclusions.

The data was aggregated from several ecommerce sites that offer Sponsored Product Ads using our platform.



This chart shows the average CPC as a function of the number of characters in the keyword.

The cost per click of the long tail keywords (more than 30 characters) is 4-7 times lower than the CPC of the keywords with less than 10 characters.




Also as expected, the CTR of the long tail keywords is X3 higher than the CTR of the short head keywords.


So from these 2 charts it looks like, from performance perspective, it makes perfect sense to target only long tail keywords.

The only problem is that when targeting these keywords, the advertisers will hardly be able to spend their ad budget and will get very little impressions, as unfortunately shoppers tend not to use them as seen in the last chart.


Share of impressions:

This chart shows the share of ad impressions as a function of the number of characters in the keyword.

As you can see, the long tail keywords (more than 30 characters) generate less than 1% of the ad impressions as they have small volume and shoppers are not using them very often.



If the advertisers are interested in awareness and visibility, besides performance and sales, they should target the short head most searched keywords to get the expected volume and effect.

If they are mainly interested in performance and sales, then targeting the long tail keywords will definitely get them great results, but it will also be very limited and hardly impact their bottom line.

However, this is not a binary decision – Between the long long tail (more than 30 characters) and the short head (less than 8) there is a wide range of keywords that can get a fair amount of impressions and good results.

The advertisers can also target a small number of short head popular keywords that perform well and a list of medium-long tail keywords and with this combination reach good performance and a wider visibility.



About Mabaya

Mabaya offers a white-label self-service Sponsored Products Ads platform for online retailers and marketplaces that enables sellers and brands to bid in order to ensure their products are listed in premium locations in the online store.

The platform is integrated in more than 50 ecommerce sites around the globes, serving more than 50,000 advertisers and sellers.