PPC Tips for eCommerce Businesses
Anyone can plug in keyword counts and get ecommerce Google ads going, but what’s different about eCommerce PPC ads versus other types? Fundamentally you’re dealing with a different kind of consumer: one directly focusing on a shopping experience. That’s why Google built its Shopping section of search results. They don’t inform or sell, they just hold out the product and price to the customer, because they know that’s the information they want.
What is PPC?
PPC stands for Pay Per Click. Every time your ad on Google gets a click, you pay a certain amount, which lies within a range depending on the traffic amount at the time. You place your bid and if you win a keyword, your ad is displayed. But it’s not just Google that utilizes paid ads. Amazon, Facebook, and others use them as well.
Why pay for traffic? Because organic traffic takes time. To build backlinks and get momentum started, outlying a little cash via PPC ads is an effective strategy. If you’re converting well at your landing pages, you can easily build in the cost of the ads. Plus, for a lot of search terms, you’re never going to hit the top four spots anyway—you might as well buy them if you want or need traffic.
eCommerce PPC vs. Other PPC
eCommerce customers are different from other PPC customers. Other PPC customers may be going to any number of sites—services, informational sites—because they could be anywhere in the sales funnel. But eCommerce customers are more likely at the end of the funnel, ready to buy or at least hoping to find something to buy because they like shopping.
Because of this, your PPC campaigns should deliver a different experience. These visitors are primed to come to a storefront page with lists of filterable products. The more you can display a friction-free shopping experience and get them to their ideal product in less time, the greater your sales will be.
Advertising in ecommerce is not one-size-fits-all across platforms. Facebook ecommerce ads don’t look the same as Google or Amazon ads. They don’t have the same character counts, the same restrictions, or the same image placement (perhaps no image at all).
- Amazon: Consider manual over automated campaigns for more precise targeting and higher conversion rate.
- Facebook: Ecommerce Facebook advertising has an easy to use ad creator, and it mixes and matches alternative copy and images to A/B test its way to the highest performing mix.
- Instagram: Instagram has recently added a ton of features making shopping easier on the platform, so running PPC ads is key, particularly with an over 80% interest rate amongst IG users for online shopping.
- Bing: Bing has a lower click cost because it has less traffic than Google, making it a good option for low ad budgets.
eCommerce Paid Marketing Strategies
A PPC strategy for e-commerce focused on the uniqueness of e-commerce ad types, backed up with a repeatable test-and-prove strategy, is a sure way to get PPC results for your e-commerce business.
- Research Keywords: Find the best keywords your PPC budget can buy.
- Audit Keywords: Measure how current PPC campaigns perform against the competition.
- Launch New Campaigns: Use audit results to produce more effective campaigns.
- Learn & Tweak: Measure new results and adjust as needed.
Integrated shopping ads: Integrated shopping ads are incredibly convenient. The only issue is when they don’t show you items with much relevance.
Google Shopping: What are Google Shopping ads for ecommerce? They’re those product boxes that pop up in your search results. Instead of digging through another retailer’s website, consumers can see something they like and purchase it right from the above-fold results. These buyers are ready to enter their card info—that’s why they’re searching. Maybe they’ll abandon their carts and you’ll have to retarget and catch them down the road, but these searchers ultimately have a likely chance of converting.
Retargeting ads: Most of the time consumers are just browsing, adding items to carts, and not buying. The reasons why they aren’t ready to buy don’t really matter—they just aren’t, so nurture them with retargeted ecommerce advertising slowly over time, until they’re ready to buy and voila, you’re top of mind and get the sale. Retargeted ads are those that follow you across the web, pulling data from your past browsing history.
eCommerce PPC Best Practices
Below you’ll find common best practices for e-commerce PPC.
Know Your Audience: Every platform with paid ads attracts a different audience. Instagram is younger, Facebook is older; Amazon ads should obviously point to products sold there. Nobody is in a near-buy mindset on Facebook and Instagram. You have to capture their attention and introduce them to your product, which they might buy after some nurturing along their way down the sales funnel.
Advertise to your people: You know who your people are, or who you want to become your people, so target your ads according to demographics. As much as you can know about your buyers and refine accordingly, do so. Countless ecommerce Facebook ad strategies have been undermined by this. Don’t waste ad spend on people who were never going to be interested anyway.
Keyword Research: Find the keywords your target audience is searching for, not just the ones that will likely make sense. For example, if you sell boat shoes for men, a keyword like ‘cute boat shoes’ would not be relevant; it would draw female searchers and result in a poor conversion rate, theoretically.
Update your product feed: Integrated shopping ads are incredibly convenient. The only issue is when they don’t show you items with much relevance. This could be because you haven’t updated the data you feed to Google. Incorrect data could cause your product to appear improperly, risking a bad reputation online.
Always Keep Improving: Ads can perform well and drop off. Most ads die out. You have to monitor their lifecycles and inject new ads that keep up with current trends in search of a particular offer. Do your searchers respond better to e-commerce video ads? A key piece of information about your customer base could cost you a lot. Think of spending your budget hitting a 1% CTR on Google when you could have hit 3% on YouTube because that’s where your audience congregates most.
Take into account different image types: When you launch paid ads on a platform like Facebook, your ads are shown across the Meta network. They may appear as text, or a small Instagram ad, or a mobile ad which greatly reduces your amount of copy and image space. Facebook displays ads in Ad Manager as desktop ads, making it easy for users to think they’re just buying clicks through this ad form. But when your ad gets reduced to a mobile one-liner based on the desktop CTA, you may lose all effectiveness. That’s why it’s important to preview all ad types.
Optimize your site: Visitors are likely going to a shopping site they’ve never purchased from before, which likely means they’ll make an account and sign up for a first-item discount code, both of which require landing on an email list. Don’t make this friction any worse with a website full of poor UX.
Keep goals short-term: Most businesses don’t rely on PPC ads, they use them as gasoline to get the fire going. In the meantime, they simultaneously invest in content production across verticals. This content starts to pay off over time and generate its own loop of readers. As traffic is established in this way more and more, PPC ads can be tapered off. eCommerce PPC management costs reduce, ad spending drops, and savings can be reinvested.
Stretch a small budget: The best keywords cost tens of dollars per click. On a normal budget, you need to find low-competition yet high-volume search results, diamonds in the rough. This is particularly possible as new search terms emerge. More people search today using voice-to-text, meaning longer keywords are on the rise. If you can’t keep up with SEO trends, consider hiring someone who does.
Utilize negative keywords: You can think of the terms you want to be found for as positive keywords, and those you don’t want to be found for as negative keywords. You can block certain keywords from bringing people to your landing pages, so you don’t waste money on irrelevant leads; however, you have to set this up yourself.
Track advertising cost of sale: This means how much it costs you to produce a dollar in revenue from a PPC ad. Keep ad spend as low as possible, and if campaigns become too expensive, know when to cut them off and try a different ecommerce ppc strategy.
Managing eCommerce PPC to Success
PPC for ecommerce is your best elevator pitch for your shop’s products. Say the exact right thing to customers for their place in the sales funnel, and you will get traffic. Drive to a well-designed landing page, and you will convert, at least eventually after reviewing and tweaking aspects of your PPC ads.