The Definitive Guide To Scaling Your Business With eCommerce Google Search Ads

ecommerce google ads guide
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Let’s face it: As an eCommerce store owner, you are always going to be haunted by the idea of losing your customers to your competitors, thanks to the cut-throat competition in the global online retail landscape that is only expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

When competition for audiences’ attention is this fierce, you wouldn’t want to miss out on any opportunity to capture and retain it, especially not right at the beginning of their buying journey. Interestingly, 89% of your customers’ buying journeys begin on a search engine and Google makes up 92.42% of the search engine market share worldwide. Therefore, by not leveraging Google ads to promote your eCommerce store and inventory effectively, you are only losing out on a major chunk of traffic ( you could be driving to your store) that is actively searching for the products or services you offer.

In this guide, we discuss how you can fruitfully leverage Google search ads to their maximum potential to capture the attention of your audience right at the start of their purchase journey and drive them to your online store.

What Are Google Ads?

A paid marketing channel that helps you drive quality traffic to your online store, Google ads are displayed at the top of the Google search results page whenever a particular query is entered in the search bar. Since these are paid for, they appear before organic results for the same search query and do not depend on search engine optimization (SEO) to rank. You could either opt for the pay per click (PPC) model wherein you pay for every click received on your ad or for the cost per impression (CPM) model wherein you are charged a pre decided amount for every thousand impressions received on your ad. Either way, whichever search query or keyword you decide to run your Google ad for, it’s going to be displayed at the top of the SERP as soon as someone searches for it. Once they click on it, they will be directed to the relevant product, category, or landing page that you have linked the ad to.

Here’s an example of a typical Google ad:

Terms To Know To Understand This Guide Better

A paid marketing channel that helps you drive quality traffic to your online store, Google ads are displayed at the top of the Google search results page whenever a particular query is entered in the search bar. Since these are paid for, they appear before organic results for the same search query and do not depend on search engine optimization (SEO) to rank. You could either opt for the pay per click (PPC) model wherein you pay for every click received on your ad or for the cost per impression (CPM) model wherein you are charged a pre decided amount for every thousand impressions received on your ad. Either way, whichever search query or keyword you decide to run your Google ad for, it’s going to be displayed at the top of the SERP as soon as someone searches for it. Once they click on it, they will be directed to the relevant product, category, or landing page that you have linked the ad to.

Here’s an example of a typical Google ad:

Keywords

Keywords are words, phrases, or a combination of words that users search for, based on which Google decides which ads are the most relevant for their query and displays them. Before running ads, you need to select keywords relevant to your eCommerce business and customers for which you want your ad to be displayed. Now, this is an extremely crucial decision as it determines when and to whom your ad will be displayed. Naturally, if you choose keywords with high intent, you are more likely to convert users searching for them. Keywords could be short tail or long tail. Some examples of the same are: “Denim Jeans”, “Blue Scarf”, “Best running shoes in India”.

Impressions

Impressions are nothing but a figure that indicates the number of times a particular Google ad has been displayed. It is relevant if you choose to pay per impression for your ads as you will be charged depending upon this figure.

Bidding

As we mentioned above, your Google ads’ ranking isn’t based on SEO. However, it is determined by another carefully designed system called ‘Bidding’. Here, as the campaign owner, you basically declare the maximum amount you are willing to shell out to get your ad displayed or clicked on. As is obvious, bidding strategies could either be based on the impressions your ad receives or the clicks. We shall discuss more about proven bidding strategies in the upcoming sections of this guide.

Campaign

A Google ads campaign is what gives structure to your ad strategy by defining all the key criteria for running a particular ad. You can run several ad campaigns for various purposes such as a seasonal sale, a category of products or even one single product. These need to be set up before running any ad. It includes the target audience, target keywords, target geography, and any other setting you wish to make.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click through rate is nothing but the percentage of clicks you receive on your ad compared to the number of views. A crucial metric, CTR determines the effectiveness of your ad campaign by telling you how many people who viewed the ad actually ended up clicking on it and visiting the landing page.

Call To Action (CTA)

A call to action is simply a phrase that invites users to take a particular action. It could be a short one such as “Buy Now” or something longer that also details the benefit such as “Shop now for a 20% off”.

Quality Score

A quality score is a score given by Google to your ad that is determined based on the relevancy of your headlines, copy, CTA, and URL with regards to the given keyword and your potential target audience’s search intent. It is one of the two factors that determines your Google ad’s ranking.

Ad Rank

Similar to an SEO rank, Google Ad Rank indicates the position of your ad on Google search results. It is a function of the quality score as well as the bidding amount.

Cost Per Click (CPC) or Pay Per Click (PPC)

A bidding type for Google ads, in CPC, you basically select the maximum amount you are willing to pay for every user who clicks on your ad.

Cost Per (Thousand) Impressions (CPM)

Another common bidding model for Google ads, in CPM, you declare the maximum amount you are willing to pay for every thousand views your ad receives.

Factors That Influence Google Ads

There are multiple parameters that determine when and to whom your ad is displayed and how it performs. Among them, there are a few that largely decide the fate of your ad. Let’s take a quick look at them:

Keywords

Your first order of business should be to select the relevant keywords for which you need to display your ad. Each campaign can target a select group of keywords which you must zero in on after extensive research. Creating a solid keyword plan is important as Google will match users’ search queries with the keyword you select and then decide when to display a particular ad. Therefore, you must comprehensively understand your customers’ search intent, preferences, requirements, and pain points to be able to target the right keywords for your ad campaigns. Be sure to use your analytics dashboard and perform secondary research to figure out which keywords are most searched for by your target audience, both on your online store as well as on Google.

Geography

Next, you need to select the location where you want your ad to be shown. Since you own an eCommerce store, it makes sense to target geographies where you operate in and ship to. You can also shortlist this by slicing and dicing your analytics data to understand which locations you receive the maximum amount of traffic from so you can run specific campaigns there.

Match Type


Whether you want your keyword to be matched exactly with users’ search query or to be related to it in some sense, is entirely up to you. There are multiple types of matches available for you to select from. For instance, if you select
Exact Match, Google only displays your ad when your keyword exactly matches your search query. For example, if your keyword is “Blue Scarf”, someone searching for “Cute Blue Scarf” is not going to see your ad. 

Other match types include, Phrase Match wherein the ad is displayed only if the keyword phrase is included in the search query. In this case, it doesn’t matter if there are other words in the search query as long as the phrase is included. For example, if your keyword is “Blue Scarf”, someone with the search query – “Cute Blue Scarf” will be eligible to see your ad. 

The third setting is Broad Match wherein your ad shall be displayed by Google even if any one word from your keyword phrase is included in the search query. For example, if your keyword is “Blue Scarf”, your ad will pop up for the search query – “Scarf”.

Headline

To improve your ads’ click through rate, it is needless to say that you must optimize their copy. Since the headline is more prominent compared to the CTA and description, it is all the more essential that you spend enough time to get it right. For starters, your headline must be concise and persuasive, and must set you apart from your competitors. But most importantly, remember to make it relevant for your target audience. For instance, if your keyword is “Pillows For Neck Pain”, a headline along the lines of “Say Goodbye To Neck Pain” is likely to catch searchers’ attention.

Description

Your ad description must support your headline, while being succinct and persuasive in itself. You want to tease the user, but not give away too much information as you’ve got limited space to fit your words in as well as limited attention spans of your target audience. If you are targeting a long tail keyword, you might want to answer your potential customers’ queries and lure them into checking out your product. Relevance is key here. If you do not stick to the point and convey your message in as few words as possible, people are going to scroll down and not pay attention to your ad.

Types Of Google Ads For eCommerce Businesses

Here are the 5 types of ad campaigns Google allows you to create and when you should create which one:

Search Ad Campaigns

Search ads appear almost identically similar to organic search results with one variation – the word ‘Ad’ is mentioned on the top left of the ad very clearly. Therefore, one obvious benefit they have is that people tend to click on them assuming they are organic results or by missing the ‘Ad’ symbol. You could run these ads for a particular product, a category of them, or even for your online store in general.

Here’s what search ads look like:

Display Ad Campaigns


Display ads allow you to promote your eCommerce store on blogs, publishing websites, news sites, YouTube, search engine, and pretty much anywhere on the internet. Display ads ensure your ad reaches millions browsing through the internet, thus increasing your chances of getting noticed and driving traffic to your store.

Here’s an example of the same:

Shopping Ad Campaigns


These are ads designed specifically to promote a product that showcases its detailed information along with an attractive picture of the same. These are displayed by Google when someone searches for a specific product and linked directly to the product page from where users can make their purchase.

Here’s an example of Google shopping ads that were displayed upon searching for ‘Fleece Jacket’:

Video Ad Campaigns


Did you know that more than 1 billion hours of content is consumed on YouTube on any given day? Given the incomprehensible reach of this platform, it wouldn’t be wise to miss out on an opportunity to leverage this platform to drive relevant traffic to your store.

Also known as YouTube ads, video ads are displayed before, during, or after YouTube videos. These can be in the form of banners or short videos and are placed carefully based on the keywords you select so as to maximize chances of grabbing the viewer’s attention.

Here’s what a classic YouTube ad looks like:

App Ad Campaigns


App ads are used simply to promote your ad over Google Play Store, YouTube, Google SERP, and other channels owned by Google.

Here’s what an app ad looks like on Google Play Store:

Your Shopify store’s analytics is an untapped opportunity to grow your sales. Make your data work for you. Give RevTap a spin!

Creating Google Ads

Setting up Google ads is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is follow the steps mentioned on the Google Ads page which takes you through every action point so you don’t miss out and can set up your ad in a matter of minutes. 

The steps include setting up your goal, zeroing in on the geography you want your ad to target, filling in all the information including the headline and description, setting up your budget cap, and voila! Your ad is ready to be pushed live. 

While these steps are self-explanatory, let’s look at some of the other things you need to strike off your checklist to ensure your ad is up and running: 

Link To Your Analytics Tool To Track Your Ads’ Performance

Once your ad is live, you also need to ensure you have linked it to your analytics platform so you can correctly track and measure its performance over a consolidated dashboard. Your analytics tool will fetch you all information regarding the impact of your ad campaign on your store’s traffic, conversions, and ultimately, sales.

Set Up UTM Parameters

UTM parameters get embedded in URLs and help with tracking all activities associated with it. These are essential to gauge the performance of each ad campaign and compare it with others so you can accordingly optimize your strategy. You can add UTM parameters by visiting Google’s Campaign URL Builder while setting up your campaign.

Following are the fields you will have to fill up:

Configure Conversion Tracking


Conversions indicate the number of people who visit your landing page via your ad and then end up taking the desired action such as making a purchase. Since improving conversions is usually the ultimate goal, setting up conversion tracking is important to gauge the performance of your ad campaigns.

Integrate With Your Other Marketing And CRM Platforms 


While this step is not mandatory, you might want to go ahead and integrate your ad campaigns with your marketing and CRM platforms in order to maintain a centralized dashboard of traffic flow as well as customer data. This will help you analyze not just your ad’s performance, but also your customers’ journeys on your online store so you know which ad campaigns are working well for your business.

Automatic Cost Per Click (CPC)

Here, you don’t get to set the CPC at the keyword level, instead Google has the control to adjust your bids daily as long as it gets you the maximum clicks within your daily given budget. Therefore, you don’t get to alter bids basis the performance of specific keywords or seasonal trends, instead have to rely on Google to fetch you the maximum clicks from all your keywords and within your budget.

Enhanced Cost Per Click (CPC)


This strategy is sort of the best of both worlds – manual and automatic cost per click. Here, you are required to bid per click for every keyword or ad group, but Google also has the right to adjust your bidding based on the probability of improving conversions.

Maximize Conversions


As per this strategy too, you are required to set a daily budget that you are willing to spend per keyword. Post which, it is entirely up to Google to bid on your behalf and spend it in a manner that yields the maximum number of conversions.

 

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) Bidding


As per the CPA bidding, you are required to set a certain cost you are willing to pay to acquire a customer, based on which Google does the bidding for you to meet your primary goal of conversions. Even if some conversions cost more than the others, Google averages out the costs in a manner to stick to the target CPA. Your target CPA must be based on the value of the product you are driving conversions for so that customer acquisition doesn’t cost you more than what the product is worth. This strategy can get a little tricky, especially if you are new to Google Ads or are not sure about customer acquisition costs for your category.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) Bidding


Only applicable for display network ad campaigns, CPM involves bidding for every thousand impressions your ad receives.

Effective Bidding Strategies To Maximize ROI From Google Ads

After setting up your ad, the only thing left to do is bid. Now, there are plenty of bidding strategies marketers swear by to improve your ad campaign ROI. However, selecting the one most suited for your unique needs is entirely up to you. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used bidding strategies:

Manual Cost Per Click (CPC)

This strategy is usually opted for by those new to Google Ads as it gives you maximum control over your ad groups or keywords and how you wish to bid on each of them. While it definitely translates to spending more time setting up costs and monitoring the performance of each keyword or ad group, you get to manually place a bid (per click) for each of your keywords depending on which one is more profitable for your eCommerce store.

Best Practices To Improve Your Google Search Ads Conversion Rate

Focus On The Quality Score Of Your Ads

This one might seem like a no brainer but it is surprising how often quality score tends to get ignored while creating Google ads. If your ad has a poor quality score, it simply translates into a low Ad Rank, which means fewer people are going to be seeing it, leading to lower conversion probability. Therefore, the lowest hanging fruit you can target to improve your ROAS is to improve the quality score of your ad simply by ensuring you choose the relevant keywords, your landing page is optimally designed and relevant to your ad and keyword, it offers a frictionless user experience, and your ad copy is optimized as per users’ search intent.

Continually Test And Optimize Your Ad Landing Page

Given how important the user experience of your landing page is, you wouldn’t want to rely on assumptions or guesswork for its design, CTA placement, copy, headline, and more. Instead, it would be wise to consistently test critical elements of your landing page so you can strategically improve its performance in terms of conversions. Make sure to analyze what search query a particular landing page is created for so you can accordingly optimize it as per how visitors would wish to be interacted with. For instance, if you are running an ad campaign for your upcoming holiday sale, you could redesign your landing page to add the relevant colors, imagery, and overall theme so you can resonate with the holiday festivities and invite shoppers to make a purchase.

Try Not To Use Broad Keyword Terms

It goes without saying that your chances of converting a user are directly proportional to how relevant the ad is to their search query. Now, if you use too broad keyword terms that do not exactly match people’s search phrases, but only are only somewhat similar to it, you end up reducing your chances of converting them.

Therefore, it makes sense to not only use precise keywords that are most relevant to your online store’s sales, but also continually keep optimizing them basis the trends you see in your analytics data to improve your ad click through rate.

Experiment With Different Match Types

While it’s advisable to avoid broad match types for improved click through rate, the one advantage they do give you is that you get to reach a far wider audience than you would depending on exact matches. To that end, you might want to figure out which strategy fits the bill for your business and gets the maximum conversions. It could be exact match, broad match, phrase match, or even modified broad match. Testing with each of these and comparing their results will tell you which one you must use for which set of keywords so you meet your ultimate goal.

Capitalize Your Headlines

This may seem trivial, but it is surprisingly critical as your ad is only as good as the attention it manages to grab. Capitalizing your headline ensures your ads do not go unnoticed, instead are able to grab and retain attention and direct users to the CTA.

Leverage Google Ads As An Effective Remarketing Tool

As much as Google Ads are effective in driving fresh traffic to your store, you can also leverage them to remarket to lost traffic and drive cart abandoners back to your store via appealing ads. Since remarketing ads have a way higher recall value and instantly capture the attention of users as they remember the products they abandoned or searched for, you can expect a much higher conversion rate. You can use display ads on various platforms and channels to remind people of the products they abandoned on your store with a persuasive CTA they cannot refuse.

Ensure Your Ad Conveys The Right Sentiment

Since copy plays a crucial role in determining whether or not someone is willing to click on your ad, it’s important to use your words wisely. Once you group and segment your keywords, it is essential that you target each of them with the correct sentiment via your ad copy. For instance, if the keyword you are targeting is “Best Running Shoes”, you would want to keep the sentiment positive such as – ‘Unique, durable, athletic design that pushes you to put your best foot forward’. On that other hand, if the keyword at hand is “Best Mattress For Health”, your ad description could be crafted so as to instill a sense of fear among the reader, for instance – ‘If you haven’t changed your mattress in the last 3 years, you could be damaging your sleep and health’.

Keep A Tab On The Performance Of Your Ad Campaigns

It’s important to understand how each of your ad campaigns is performing to analyze your ROAS and optimize your ad strategy for the future. Now, there are many ways to go about it. But, most of them involve multiple dashboards to look at, a variety of reports to analyze, different sources for the same data, and overall an extremely chaotic arrangement. This is largely because you might already have a tech stack consisting of a sales platform, a CRM platform, a marketing automation tool, an analytics dashboard, and now you even have to integrate it with Google Adwords. What if you could analyze the performance of your ads and study their impact on traffic, conversions, and revenue – all over a single, centralized platform?

RevTap’s marketing and analytics performance reports allow you to do exactly that. By integrating RevTap with your Shopify store, Google Ads, and other previously discussed tools and platforms, it consolidates all visitor and customer data over one dashboard that becomes your single source of truth. You can forget switching between apps and tools to find bits and pieces of information and then having to tie them all together to drill down insights. RevTap does the heavy lifting for you and makes all the reports easily accessible by you in a single click so you can analyze the performance of your ad campaigns right acquisition to conversion.

Following are some example of ads that stood out and were able to grab our attention in the first few seconds:

Dyson
Why it works - 
  • Creates FOMO (Fear of missing out) among searchers by mentioning that the sale ends on 30th November
  • Highlights the exact amount searchers can save on the Dyson air purifier
  • Highlights the ongoing seasonal sale
  • Very clear and crisp copy 
Nordstrom Rack
Why it works - 
  • Mentions not 1 but 2 offers/deals [Free shipping on order +$100 and Up to 70% off on women’s dresses]
  • Highlights that there are 6 locations nearby
Kate Spade
Why it works - 
  • Multiple (4) clickable site links mentioned at the bottom that allow searchers to directly reach the most relevant section on their store
  • Highlights free shipping offer 
  • Clear and concise copy
Gillette
Why it works - 
  • Reinforces the brand tagline, thereby improving brand recall value
  • Offers multiple clickable links at the bottom
Simple Human

Landing page -

Why it works - 
  • Contextual copy that highlights ongoing seasonal sales
  • Landing page aligns with ad copy
Eve’s Addiction
Why it works - 
  • Clear and precise copy
  • Highlights 3 offers/deals [30% off, Free customization, free shipping]
  • “As seen on NBC’s today show” – really stands out and grabs attention
Amazon
Why it works - 
  • Lists 4-5 offers/deals
  • Copy is precise and attention-grabbing
Lenovo
Why it works - 
  • Manages to fit a whole lot of information about laptop types and specifications in a few words
  • Highlights nearby locations

Why Should You Invest In Google Ads

To Drive Qualified Traffic To Your Online Store

Unlike any other marketing channel, Google Ads allow you to attract and drive visitors that are already searching for something that is relevant to your business. This indicates that they have a higher purchase intent than someone who randomly browses your eCommerce store just to explore your catalog. Therefore, the quality of traffic that you get to drive to your store is extremely high and it would be silly to not reach out to them when they might actually need something you specialize in.

Google owns a massive chunk of the global search engine market share


Google’s popularity needs no introduction. However, here are some stats around the extent of Google searches that only reinforce how game changing advertising on Google can be for your online store: 

  • In 2020, Google receives nearly 6 billion searches every day
  • Over one-third of all product searches start on Google
  • Google searches grow by approximately 10% each year.
Ads are extremely efficient in improving brand awareness and reach 


We’ve gone over the efficacy of search ads and how you can leverage them to drive more sales for your store in the above sections. Now, let’s look at some statistics that back up our claims: 

  • Search ads improve brand visibility by 80%.
  • Visitors who land on an online store via an ad are 50% more likely to convert than organic visitors.
  • Only 50% of searchers are actually aware of the difference between ads and organic search results
  • 75% people agree that paid ads make it easier for them to find what they came looking for

Let’s Set The Ball Rolling, Shall We?

With mobile and desktop Google search traffic growing each day at an exponential pace, investing in ads is a logical move that can help improve your brand visibility as well as awareness among your target audience. If leveraged wisely, ads can offer significant ROI, while allowing you to reach potential customers that would otherwise be extremely hard to.

If you are new to the world of Google ads or overwhelmed by the endless strategies, terms, and best practices, our experts at RevTap would be more than happy to offer a free consultation so you can not only understand how to get started, but also get your queries answered regarding how to leverage Google Ads for your unique needs.

Your Shopify store’s analytics is an untapped opportunity to grow your sales. Make your data work for you. Give RevTap a spin!
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Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha is the Head of Content and Partnerships at RevTap. You'll usually find her hunting for strategies and tools to enable eCommerce businesses to sell more. At other times, you'll find her testing them and writing about them with a cup of coffee.

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