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The go-to eCommerce PPC strategy

Thursday, August 11th, 2022
Written by Steve Haynes

When you’re looking to attract customers to your eCommerce store it can be difficult to know what sort of PPC strategy is best to focus on. There are an awful lot of different types of campaign options available to you that it can be overwhelming to build a strategy from scratch, and dangerous to change existing strategies as it could potentially cost you sales.

To help you build out your eCommerce PPC strategy we’ve pulled together a summary of all the PPC channels that you should be looking at using and ordered them by what we think the priority should be, giving you an easy start point to jump in to setting up an effective eCommerce PPC strategy for your online store.

Which Channels should you use for your eCommerce Strategy?

Priority 1a: Shopping

Google Shopping is something that every eCommerce store needs to be spending time and budget on. It’s an eCommerce specific service that allows searches to compare product offers across different retailers. 

As you can see in the image above Google Shopping not only has its own tab on the Google SERP’s, but the Ads are also shown on the general search results page. Note how striking the Shopping Ads are with their use of pictures and how they stand out much more than the standard search campaign ads below them. 

This increased noticeability of Shopping ads isn’t where the benefits stop though! Analysis has shown that when compared to standard search ads conversion rates are up to 84% higher, which means through using Google Shopping Ads you’ll be almost doubling your conversion rate, and massively increasing your ROI. 

How does Google Shopping Ads Work?

Similarly to the general search ad campaigns Google Shopping ads function on a Cost-Per-Click model where an Auction is held every time someone searches for a key term. The algorithm will then assess the bids placed for the term being searched and highlight the winning bids (it’s not just a case of the highest bid wins though. There are factors like quality score that affect when you show up in the Ads).

Once your ad is presented to a user, they have the option of clicking on it or not. If they don’t then you’re not charged a single thing. If they do, you’ll be charged whatever your bid was (this can vary each time someone searches, but you’ll never go above your maximum bid that you set). It really is as simple as that!

Priority 1b: Re-marketing

If you’ve ever visited a website and then found that you’re being followed around the internet by adverts for the site you’ve just been too then you’re familiar with Re-marketing. Once a user visits your site, a cookie is placed on their device, and as they go around the internet, they’ll see reminders of your site. This allows you to:

  1. Keep your company’s brand at the forefront of their mind
  2. Provide offers for them to return to the site so that they convert and make a purchase
  3. Push specific products or items that you’re focused on selling

With a re-marketing campaign in place you’ll be able to continue to advertise your site to users as they go about their business online, resulting in returns visitors to your eCommerce store. Like Google Shopping and Search Ads, Re-marketing works on a cost per click basis, so you’ll only pay when someone engages with the ad. 

You’ll notice that we’ve put re-marketing in as Priority 1b, and not Priority 2. The reason for this is that when running with other PPC campaigns like Search Ads or Shopping Ads you’ll be able to attract both new and returning visitors, allowing you to synergise the two campaigns to work together in a way that strengthens the outcomes of both. 

Re-marketing does require a set amount of traffic coming to your site before it can activate. It needs a list of at least a thousand people to activate. This can take some time to get to depending on what your current traffic levels are at so you may not be able to turn re-marketing on straight away. 

Priority 2: Search Ads

Often viewed as the least sexy and interesting option when it comes to PPC strategies due to it being the most basic form of campaign that can be set up, the truth is that an eCommerce PPC strategy that doesn’t have basic search ads is a PPC strategy that likely won’t be delivering the results you need.

Search Ad Campaigns are familiar to anyone who’s ever searches for a product on Google or Bing. They’re the listings at the top and bottom of the pages that are marked explicitly as being ads. Sometimes people will click on them. Sometimes they won’t. What’s well known and recorded though is that 65% of all clicks where the user intends to purchase something go to a Paid Ad at the top of the page. That means that without using Search Ads you’ll be missing out on Hundreds if not thousands of sales every month from people who are ready to make a purchase at the moment they’re searching for your products.

Not running search ads for your eCommerce website is costing you sales. It really is as simple as that, and because it works on a Cost / Click system, you don’t even have to pay anything unless someone clicks on the ad and visits your website. This makes Search Ads and essential and affordable way to generate sales for your eCommerce store. 

Priority 3: Video

It is a basic fact that Video’s get more engagement online from users when compared to other types of online content. This means any eCommerce PPC strategy that’s worth its salt will have a plan for Video advertising somewhere in its strategy.

The additional engagement that videos get online isn’t the only reason you should look at the video advertising though. The real reason you should be doing it is because the world’s second biggest search engine is YouTube.

With more people using YouTube to search for reviews, advice, lessons, or just funny videos that they want to watch, there are a lot of people using YouTube every single day. That means there’s a HUGE number of potential sales that could be coming your way if you’re able to showcase video advertising to them! Combine these raw numbers with the targeting capabilities of YouTube advertising where you can hit specific sorts of people (i.e., your target audience) based on the searches they make, the interests they have, their demographics (and much more), you can see the beginnings of a formula for success to increase your brand awareness and generate new sales for your eCommerce store. 

Priority 4: Display Ads

The last and final form of the campaigns that should be looked at are display campaigns. These are the banner ads that you’ll have seen all over the internet at the side and top of the web pages that you visit. Using the same sort of formats as re-marketing campaigns, display ads are a way to reach people all over the internet using engaging banner ads that catch the eye and allow you to increase your brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Display Ads though may not be as good as the other channels available to you. This is simply down to the fact that they are often blocked from appearing by individuals using Ad Blockers on their web browsers. Whilst they can still be worthwhile, the risk of your campaigns not fully functioning is something that needs to be considered when setting your PPC strategy

How do you get high quality images for your Google Shopping and Display Ads?

It’s a known fact that the quality of your images you use to advertise and sell your products can have a big impact on your conversion rate. If you’re struggling to source high quality, unique images of your products then you should look to invest in working with a professional commercial photographer who will help you establish an album of imagery that you can use time and time again.

Working with an Agency

Even when stripped back to an order of priority that will function for most eCommerce stores, there’s an awful lot of work that needs to be done to get your PPC strategy up and running in a way that delivers consistently from your business. Therefore eCommerce stores of all sizes work with agencies to deliver the results and sales they need. 

There are several things that you need to take into consideration when you’re looking to partner up with a PPC agency to deliver on your eCommerce PPC strategy. First and foremost is that you need to be working with a Google Premier Partner. These agencies are the Creme-de-la-Creme of PPC agencies as they’ve been through a vigorous screening process by Google themselves that assures you of a high level of quality that can’t be found elsewhere.

You should also be looking to work with an agency with a strong record of delivery. Ask them for references, check to see if they’ve won awards. All of these are good signs that the agency is high quality. 

If you’re already working with an agency and you’re not sure about whether or not they’re good enough to deliver meaningful results then make sure you fill in our Agency Quality Checklist

If you’d like some assistance with setting your eCommerce PPC strategy and in managing your PPC campaigns then either get in touch with us or sign up for a free eCommerce review where we’ll deep dive into your PPC campaigns, SEO optimisation and all your other digital marketing channels to show you how to improve the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing.