When it comes to promoting an ecommerce website, what options are available? What is the best way to spread awareness of a store and let people know what products are sold there? For this purpose, Google Ads might just be the right choice. In particular, Google’s Shopping Ads may help promote your online store and boost sales numbers.
We don’t need to remind you about Google’s popularity, so imagine what would be possible if you could leverage that and make use of its extensive ad network to advertise your products.
One major part of Google’s ad platform that is often overlooked and under-utilized is the Shopping Ad. As the name suggests, shopping ads are adverts specialized for ecommerce stores that appear across Google’s network. This includes the search pages, image pages and across the display network. In some countries, there is even a dedicated shopping tab.
The benefits of this should be obvious: shoppers that have searched for the products are immediately presented with the product details, image and pricing:
If you set up your Google shopping ads, then these shoppers will immediately be presented with your products without the need to visit your website directly.
But let’s back up a bit and take a look at what exactly Google Ads have to offer and what it could do for your online store.
Understanding The Jargon
Before we get started, there is some jargon you will need to get your head around.
- The amount you are willing to pay for a certain action
- Pay-Per-Click, which is the model on which Google Ads is built
- Cost-Per-Engagement, which is the amount you are willing to pay per engagement
- Return-on-Ad-Spend, which is the amount of revenue you want to earn for each dollar spent on ads.
A Quick Introduction To Google Ads
Google Ads is a powerful tool that can ultimately lead to significant growth, increased awareness and more conversions for a brand or website. It utilizes Google’s massive user base to advertise products, services and, in this case, ecommerce stores. There are many different formats for the ads on Google, which each have their own strengths. Here is a quick rundown of the main types:
First and foremost are the search ads. These are the adverts you get when making a search on Google and appear at the top of the search results. These can be made to appear when users search for specific terms on Google.
Next, there are display ads. These are the banners and image-based adverts you see on websites that are a part of Google’s display network. Their strength comes from the ability to increase awareness of the brand or product being advertised. Arguably, they are also more eye-catching too.
Video ads are another type of advert that utilize audio-visual means to market a product. These are most often seen on YouTube, and are great at getting a lot of information across and can be much more creative.
App campaigns make use of ads and appear of Google and app stores like Google Play with the purpose of getting people to download an app. As you can imagine, this is the top choice for anyone looking to promote their mobile application.
Last but not least, we have shopping ads. As we mentioned before, these ads are tailored for ecommerce websites to promote their products on Google. It provides information such as the product name, image and price in the search results. This gets it in front of the users sites before they even visit the store.
How Do Google Ads Work?
The basis of Google Ads is the Pay-Per-Click or ‘PPC’ model. Essentially, you only pay when users click on the ad and go to your site. There are some other goals that can be set, so it doesn’t necessarily have to involve a click.
It could be viewable impressions, where you pay a certain amount for every thousand views the ad itself receives when 50% or more of it is shown on screen for 1 second or longer for Display ads, or plays continuously for 2 seconds or longer for video ads. You can also set it up for conversions, where you only pay when users take a certain action on your site, like visit a certain page or make a purchase.
Google shopping ads can be set up with a couple of different payment models. These can be the aforementioned click-based model when you pay for each click the ads gets, or it could be Cost-Per-Engagement, known as ‘CPE’.
With CPE, an engagement is counted when a user actively engages with your ad in some way.
How To Run Shopping Ads For Your Store
We have covered what Google Ads is and how they work, so now let’s look at what it takes for you to run your very own ad campaign.
All shopping ads on Google generally follow the same pattern. First, you will need to have a Google Ads account, to which you must connect a Google Merchant account. The Merchant account is the platform where you can input the details of your products and all the necessary data.
This is where the shopping ads will draw the content. Things like the photos, title, price, store name, and more. It is also this data that dictates when the ads appear. Google compares this data with the user’s search to provide the best match.
There is some information you will need to input during the set up. This includes things like the country of sale and inventory amount, as well as the locations and devices you want your ads to appear on.
There are three different formats of shopping ads available to choose from:
1. Product Shopping Ads
These are ads that show a single product based on the info from the Merchant account. This format is best for highlighting specific products and can include information about special offers and product ratings.
2. Showcase Shopping Ads
These ads showcase several similar/related products together in one group. You can provide a selection of different options for a more general or broad category or product group, allowing the user to find the perfect one.
3. Local Catalog Ads
The local catalog ads offer highly localized information, such as in store product availability, local pricing information and more.
Ultimately, it is a case of choosing which format works best for what you want to achieve. Do you want to provide a selection of different products related to a general search term, or do you have a specific product that you want to promote? These are the questions you will need to ask yourself.
We have previously worked with livekaarten.nl to help them get their ad campaign up and running. They were able to successfully increase traffic and sale to their ecommerce site. They are a prime example of an online store that has leveraged Google Ads to great success.
While it may seem daunting at first, once you get past the set-up process, it is actually quite smooth sailing. Everything is quite intuitive and easy to follow. It seems Google has a good idea on how its platform works and the best methods for success when it comes to shopping ads.
Smart Shopping Campaigns
If you don’t feel up to learning all the ins and outs of setting up a shopping campaign on Google, there is the option to do a smart shopping campaign. These act exactly like regular shopping campaigns but instead of you putting in all the leg work, Google’s Machine Learning does most of the heavy lifting.
A lot of the processes are automated and AI controlled. Automated bidding, optimal ad placements and more are all controlled by the system. These not only find the best leads but also often offer the best value for your campaign.
As great as they are, smart campaigns do have their weaknesses. When getting started, there is an initial learning phase where the ads run sub-optimally. This period may be short, but it does end up costing a bit more.
Also, you do end up losing quite a bit of control over the campaign. One of the strengths of Google Ads is it high level of customizability and control, something you will miss out on with a smart campaign.
Of course, you will still need to monitor how things are going and check the reports regularly too. There will also be some optimizations you may want to make yourself where possible.
Bidding on Shopping Ads
There is a whole range of different bidding strategies that you can use. One that we want to highlight here is the Target Return on Ad Spend or ‘ROAS’. This option works autonomously to optimize for conversion value while targeting the return on ad spend that you set. This gives you some control over how much revenue you earn for each dollar you spend on the ads.
The Potential For Your Store
Just to make it clear, if used properly, shopping ads are proven to boost sales – and significantly so. Their design and use is very intuitive when you think about it. It helps shoppers to quickly find the product they are looking for, rather than them scouring the search pages and different stores to find what they are looking for. Bringing together users and whatever they are searching for is what Google is about after all.
On the other hand, it helps you and your store to get seen by a lot more eyes. And these aren’t just any eyes – these are qualified eyes. In fact, one thing that can be said about shopping ads is that they are an intent powerhouse. So what does that mean? Due to the way that shopping ads are served or shown to the user, you can deduce two different things:
The first is that they are actively searching for that type of product. The fact that they came across your ad is a sign that they searched for something highly relevant to the product, revealing that they are interested in it.
Second, is that they are looking to buy. It is one thing for the user to see the ads, but it is another thing for them to click on it. Something about it must have caught their eye. Perhaps the image was attractive or the price seemed right. Whatever it was, it shows that they had intent to visit your storefront for that product and are therefore a qualified lead.
Something To Keep In Mind
As great as shopping ads are for an ecommerce website, there are a few things to note. The ads are just one part of the chain that is the path to a purchase. Like any chain, it is only as strong as its weakest link. Once the ads bring in the perspective buyers, it is up to you to get them to make the purchase.
Making sure your site looks, feels and works flawlessly will greatly improve the user experience and will significantly increase their chances of converting to a paying customer.
Try It Out For Yourself
All in all, there is a lot of potential in shopping ads. They offer such a clear value proposition for stores and helps them stand out from the crowd. With a little time and effort on your end, you could get your campaign off the ground and benefit from the increased prominence in the search engine. It may just see your sales skyrocket. Just make sure that you take the proper precautions.
If you are looking to launch your own shopping campaign for your ecommerce store, get in touch with us for help getting started.