Why should one pay for Google Ads to promote an online store when you can use Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook? This is a question many business owners will ask. But when you learn about Google Ads features (especially shopping ads), you will probably change your mind.
First of all, are Google Ads for eCommerce really worth your marketing budget? Yes, because
- You pay only for clicks (= quality traffic). Of course, you can choose to pay per 1000 impressions as well. But clicks are a sign that someone didn’t skip your offer and actually got interested in it.
- Your ad appears in front of users who are interested in a similar product and/or have a buying intent.
- Many eCommerce niches are extremely competitive. And if you don’t run ads, it will be too hard to beat competitors and reach high organic positions.
- You allocate as much daily budget as you can afford. (Benchmark CPC can help understand average costs)
- You don’t need to write multiple ad copies or record videos like you’d do in case of running social media ads. In the case of shopping ads, all you need for advertising are your product images and basic information about them (descriptions, SKUs, GTINs, etc).
Online stores can benefit from all three types of Google Ads:
- Shopping ads,
- Search ads,
- Display ads.
You have definitely seen Google search ads before:
Or even display ads:
You might not have seen shopping ads because of your location (but you are definitely going to see today). Now we are going
- to discuss all the difference between these 3 types of Google Ads for eCommerce,
- understand how they work,
- share best practices on when and how to use them effectively.
Table of Contents
Google Shopping ads for eCommerce: When images sell
Google Shopping is actually a comparison shopping engine that allows users to find physical products on Google and compare them even before visiting the vendor’s website.
The service is available in 40 countries now and allows advertisers (and now not only) to list their products.
When a user from an eligible country searches for a physical product, the advertised products appear on the top of the search results page.
image source: printful.com
The searcher can also choose the “Shopping” tab under the Google Toolbar to see more available options.
Google shows the product image, description, price, and ratings. Users are not limited to the results presented by Google and can add price, color, brand filters.
image source: printful.com
The process of discovering and evaluating products takes place on Google but the user needs to land on your website to make the purchase. And you will be charged only if someone is really interested in your products and visits your online store.
How are Shopping ads different and how do they work?
One of the biggest specifications of Shopping ads is that you don’t choose keywords as you’d do in case of Google text ads (search and display).
Google understands what products you offer simply by analyzing your product titles and descriptions and shows your product if it’s relevant to the search query. Another way advertisers have control over the keywords is by adding negative keywords.
For example, you want your ad to appear when someone searches for “yoga pants”. But you don’t want it to appear when someone types “yoga pants walmart”, “yoga pants target” or “yoga pants uk”.
To ensure it, you should add “walmart”, “target”, “uk” as negative keywords.
The bidding system is again unique. Since you are probably offering products of different price ranges, you can’t bid the same CPC (cost per click) for all products. That’s why Google shopping allows you to create product groups and bid accordingly.
Let’s say you are selling curtains and they come in different forms, materials, sizes, etc. You can classify them in multiple ad groups and set bids.
To promote your products through Google Shopping you need to set up your Google Merchant account and upload your products. One of the main PPC eCommerce best practices is to show the products on a white, neutral background and preferably on models.
After creating a profile connect your Google Ads and Merchant accounts.
The last step is creating Google Shopping Campaigns that will put your offers in front of your ideal buyers.
When are Shopping Ads effective?
As we mentioned above, Google shopping ads are eligible only in 40 countries right now across all continents. So before listing your products make sure people in your target location have access to that Shopping tab.
Second, you shouldn’t forget that Google Shopping is a comparison shopping engine and may show hundreds of similar products for the same query.
You have to be sure that your offers are competitive: your product images are of high-quality and your prices are attractive. It’s so easy to get lost in hundreds of products when your images don’t stand out.
For further reading: 8 Expert Tips to Advertise on Amazon Successfully
Google Search ads for eCommerce: Are they actually better?
Ok, maybe Shopping ads aren’t available in the country where you want to sell your products. You may prefer that your ads appear on the Google search results page as they have their advantages and strengths.
To create search ads, you need to launch them through your Google Ads account and your ads will look like this:
No images, no info about price or ratings. But you are still in front of people who were looking for a product you sell.
How are search ads different and how do they work?
Unlike Google Shopping ads, here you can set keywords. And here again, you can define negative keywords for your campaign.
Since keywords play a huge role in search ads, you should pay special attention to the quality of phrases you choose. The longer they are, the higher your user’s intent.
When someone is searching “car parts”, he might be looking for general information for learning purposes. But someone searching “shop online car parts”, “cheap car parts”, “buy car parts” probably wants to acquire them for himself or someone else.
When are search ads effective?
When getting started with search ads, you should have keywords and phrases in place. And relying simply on keywords that you discover via keyword research tools is not enough.
Having at least 6-12 months old Google Analytics data will help you identify keywords that bring you most sales and convert easily.
So it’s safe to say that you should launch Google search ads when your online store has data on how users find you and which keywords work for sales.
Once you find high-converting keywords for your online stores, you can offer high bids for them. You can also increase bids when you advertise seasonal products. For example, you’d like to offer a high bid for swimming equipment in summer.
It’s also important to know where to direct users after they click the ad. When users are searching for long-tail keywords or are looking for best-selling products, you can direct them to the product page itself to speed up the buying process.
For example, searches that include model number or other specifications will have an extremely good conversion rate.
But when people are looking for less specific keywords or are interested in low-converting products, you can direct them to category pages to give them a wider choice.
Search ads can be especially effective as part of your retargeting strategy. Users who come across your online store for the first time on Google might not convert easily because they just learned about you.
That’s why 100 visitors coming from paid ads will usually convert at a lower rate than 100 visitors coming from direct or organic traffic.
To make sure paid ads won’t consume your entire budget with no remarkable conversion rate, you can start with retargeting campaigns.
97-98% of your website visitors don’t leave their contact information and don’t buy anything from you. But if they showed interest in your products, viewed multiple pages, retargeting them via Google text ads can be a smart way to bring them back.
Google Display ads for eCommerce: Target based on keywords, topic, demographics, etc
Google display ads are banner ads that appear on third-party websites, apps and even on platforms like Youtube and Gmail.
You have definitely came across an ad while watching a video on Youtube. And you have also received similar promotions via Gmail.
This ad is from Newchic, an online clothing store who happens to sell also hand sanitizers during coronavirus. You see the brand name, title, and an icon disclosing this is an ad.
When you click the ad, you see a list of products with images, descriptions, and images.
This is how display ads appear on Gmail. Let’s explore more examples and Google display ads best practices in the following sections.
How are display ads different and how do they work?
Display ads are different because they appear not on Google search results page but on third-party websites, videos, apps. As opposed to search ads, display ads contain images and are can appear on different parts of the page.
For example, Healthline is a website that provides medical information and health advice. The article that you see below is on boosting the body’s natural defenses and you can see a health-related ad on the right side.
But ads don’t always go hand and hand with the article on the website.
The article below on The New York Times is discussing why Germany’s coronavirus death rate is low. But you can see a footwear ad. Neither The New York Times, nor coronavirus has anything to do with shoes. The ad is here because the business owner is targeting the users based on keywords they search for or based on the user location.
When are display ads effective?
Like search ads, display ads as well are effective as a retargeting tool. It’s highly effective to retarget people who have already visited your website, are familiar with your brand and have even added products to their cart.
Display ads are also effective when you target users based on certain keywords or topics. For example, if you target keywords “swim fins, swimsuit, swim bags”, etc, Google will show your ads to people who have searched for those phrases. And your ads can appear both on swimming-related and non-topic-related websites.
When you target people simply by location or demographics, you end up showing ads to users who don’t look for a product in your list. They start reading an article and your ad interrupts the reading process.
If you want to increase the success rate of your ads in similar situations, your ads need to be twice as better. Because first, you should eliminate the negative attitude towards your ad (since you interrupted their reading).
And second, you should arouse interest in your product among users who weren’t even thinking of buying something similar.
When launching your display ads, you should pay attention to what size your display ads for eCommerce will be. According to Google, 300*250 ads are perfect for desktop and are placed throughout or in the end of articles.
As for mobile devices, 320*50 ads seem to be the best performers. 468*60 ads take second place.
Note that top-performing sizes vary from region to region. You can check out Google’s Guide to Ad Size above and also remember that all campaigns are unique. Besides, ad size is only one of the factors that affect your campaign success alongside with messaging, image, relevancy, CTA, etc.
Getting started with your PPC strategy for eCommerce
Are you still wondering which type of Google ad will suit your needs best? Contact Andava’s team and our PPC specialists will help you launch a campaign based on your goals and budget.