When it comes to digital marketing for eCommerce businesses, there are a whole lot of channels to choose from:
Social media can boost brand awareness and make connections.
Email marketing can keep your community active.
…And PPC (specifically Google Ads) can enable steady growth and sales.
Why PPC for eCommerce?
PPC (pay per click) advertising is a favorite among eCommerce marketers—and for good reason.
PPC Advertising = Ads that appear on search engine result pages, videos, apps, websites, and social media.
These ads appear everywhere, so they get a whole lot of views (like a billboard on the side of the highway). But the business owner doesn’t pay for views, they only pay when a user clicks.
The best part? PPC advertising is about finding customers who are ready to buy through search history, audience type, and a whole lot of data.
Why Google Ads for eCommerce, Specifically?
Google Ads is the most effective form of PPC (pay per click) advertising on the planet.
Think about it:
The term “Google” has become so synonymous with “answer.”
We’re been trained to turn to Google with every question we have. And Google is so much more than a search engine, it is also YouTube, email, apps (like Google Calendar), Google Maps, and Android.
…And, Google collects information about us all, and can therefore predict intent—which means Google can put somebody who’s willing to buy your product in front of your ad (sometimes before the user even knows they want to buy).
In fact, 67% of all high commercial intent keyphrases go to a paid ad.
When someone wants to buy, two out of three(!) of those Google searches result in clicking on an ad.
That tells us that when people are in the learning phase of the buying process, they go for organic search results.
But when they are ready to buy—customers click the ads.
Is Google Ads Right for Your Business?
One more thing before we go any further:
While Google Ads is the most effective marketing platform on the planet, it isn’t right for everyone.
So, it’s imperative to determine Google Ads is right for your eCommerce business before you can hit the ground running.
It takes time to build, launch, and optimize campaigns—and ultimately, see results.
That means you need to have realistic expectations. Here are seven quick questions to consider first:
- Are you ready to commit? It typically takes about 90 days to determine if there’s potential for a predictable, scalable growth schedule.
- Can you afford the cost to get the ball rolling? You’ll want to spend at least $1,000-$1,500 per month at the bare minimum; but I recommend starting at a $2000 minimum.
- What are your business goals? Ask yourself:
- Do I know my close rates?
- Do I know how many leads I need to make a sale?
- Do I know how many leads each month I need to make a profit?
By establishing your specific goals, you can determine if you can successfully run a Google Ads campaign in the long-term.
- How is the quality and speed of your website? Your website should be:
- Mobile responsive
- Easy to use
- Can you handle an influx of traffic?
- Are you going to answer your phone when customers call?
- Will people call you directly, or will you have a sales team that’s trained and ready to take calls?
- Are you fully stocked and ready to ship?
- Can you accurately forecast how much product you need?
- What is your audience size and location? If you’re local and rural—with only a handful of people nearby—your audience size might be too small. In this case, Google Ads probably doesn’t make sense for your business.
- Are you ready to be competitive? Make sure your ad spend is competitive enough to get enough clicks; Otherwise, Google Ads won’t work in your favor.
How Google Ads Works Inside The Google Network
In order to be successful with Google Ads (or any marketing platform), it’s important to understand how the entire network functions.
Now, we tend to think of Google as the search engine, right?
But the Google ecosystem is massive and includes:
- Apps (think Google Calendar)
- Google Maps
- The Google Display Network
And for every piece of “real estate” owned by Google (email, search engines, YouTube, apps) there is a way to advertise (i.e. a campaign type).
The Different Types of Campaigns
Let’s briefly cover the different types of Google Ads campaigns:
Google Search Campaigns
This is the campaign we generally refer to when we talk about Google Ads.
Again, you’ll recognize these ads as the first results that pop up on the top of a Google search results page:
Google Shopping Campaigns
This campaign type exists inside Google’s shopping ecosystem but can also be expanded to Smart Shopping and other types of responsive display ads.
Google Display Campaigns
Websites that allow advertisements to take up space on their pages. The ads are usually an image (see: “display”).
Video ads that pop up before, after, or in the middle of a YouTube video.
These video ads can also appear at the top of a YouTube search:
But! Video campaigns are not just for YouTube. These types of ads can appear through Google display network (see above) and other areas of Google’s ecosystem.
Promote your app across Google’s networks, including Google Search, Display, YouTube, and Google Play (the app, game, ebook, and general entertainment store for Android devices).
Google Smart Shopping Campaigns
Algorithmically controlled automated ads on Google and across the web.
Google Discovery Campaigns
These ads are pushed across the entire Google ecosystem.
Believe it or not, there’s more.
But for the sake of this guide, our sanity, and your business, we’re going to put most of our focus on Google Smart Shopping.
Standard Shopping vs. Smart Shopping: What’s the Difference?
You might be wondering what the difference is between Standard Shopping campaigns and Smart Shopping campaigns inside Google Ads.
Here’s a quick overview of how Standard Shopping campaigns work:
- You (the business owner) send your product feed (the listing of all the products on your website) to Google using a Merchant Center account.
- You set your budget.
- Google uses your feed to create “placement shopping ads” that appear on relevant search results pages.
These ads include a photo of the product and its correlating information—a step above standard text ads.
These ads ensure the user sees all the important “must-know” details about your product before clicking—therefore, each click is (in theory) made by a more qualified lead.
However, Smart Shopping campaigns take standard Shopping campaigns a giant step further.
With Smart Shopping, you still:
- Send your product feed to Google via a Merchant Center Account.
- Create a campaign and set your budget.
- …And Google still pulls your product information to create placement ads that appear when a shopper searches for a relevant product.
But, that’s just where it begins.
Why Google Smart Shopping Is The Most Powerful eCommerce Advertising Tool on the Planet
Unlike Standard Shopping, Smart Shopping uses algorithmic targeting to show ads to very specific users.
How specific? We’re talking about users who have shown high intent and interest in a product based on their past search activity.
Smart Shopping uses all five channels to advertise: Search, display, youtube, gsp, and shopping.
And with such powerful algorithm targeting, that means you no longer have to do the heavy lifting of pushing prospects strategically from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
Instead, Smart Shopping goes through their massive user database and matches your ad with the best user who’s ready to buy from you right now.
How? Dynamic Prospecting.
Dynamic Prospecting uses information about your current users and your products to find new prospective customers.
On the other hand, Dynamic Remarketing shows ads to those who previously visited your website or engaged in your ads.
Feeling Psyched on Google Ads?
Hey, me too.
Next time I pop in, I’ll go over the prerequisites every eCommerce business needs before building and launching a campaign.
But if you’re feeling eager, you can check out this Google Ads Mastery Workshop that has you covered.
Or, you can check out my entire guide to Google Ads for eCommerce here.
Happy campaign building!
Kasim Aslam is the founder and CEO of Solutions 8, one of the world’s top ranked Google Ads agencies.
Recipient of the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s 2017 TIM Award for Person of the Year, Kasim was also named one of the Top 50 Digital Marketing Thought Leaders in the United States by The University of Missouri in 2020.
Kasim was hand-selected as the Traffic Coach for DigitalMarketer.com’s ELITE coaching program by their executive team. He is also the co-host of the long-running podcast, Perpetual Traffic.
His book, The 7 Critical Principles of Effective Digital Marketing, was featured as one of the Top 100 Digital Marketing Books of All Time by Book Authority.
Kasim helped launch the National Association of Child Helplines (NAACH) and worked with the United States Army, Intel, as well as a Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit, a 54,000 member PPO, the largest privately owned bank in the United States, and an Academy Award-contending documentary.
He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and two sons.