From high street stores pivoting to eCommerce models and entrepreneurs starting online businesses, the acceleration of online shopping over the past year has been unmissable.
Data from ONS noted that internet sales in the first half of 2020 accounted for 34.4% of all retail sales – a trend that has seen an upward trajectory over recent years.
You can get anything online now: your weekly shop, a new designer handbag, the latest version of FIFA or a pair of prescription sunglasses. Anything. It is convenient, accessible, available 24/7 and doesn’t require you to leave the house – purchases can often be made in just a few clicks.
It doesn’t look like the growth of eCommerce sales are slowing any time soon. It is estimated that the world will see 2.14 billion global digital buyers in 2021. This is around 27.2% of the global population!
The rising popularity of online shopping will likely result in a rising number of competitors in the online space. To make sure your eCommerce business stands out from the crowd, it is imperative to invest in digital marketing, particularly paid search.
Investing in PPC advertising can help you reach potential customers faster and more easily. PPC advertising, or paid search, drives traffic to your eCommerce site by displaying adverts across the internet.
PPC for eCommerce is incredibly valuable and it’s something that we pride ourselves on here at Common Ground.
Our team of Paid Search specialists revamped Annie Sloan’s PPC strategy. With a tailored approach, we were able to target users from various regions and drive engaged traffic that would be more likely to result in conversions and sales. The result? They saw an increase of 400% in on-site purchases.
6 PPC Strategies to Boost your eCommerce Performance
To boost the online visibility of your business, and drive both traffic and sales to your eCommerce store, you need to make sure you are using performance-based PPC strategies.
There are many paid advertising methods you can implement as part of your overarching PPC strategy: search ads, display ads, paid social and remarketing to name a few. As a result, it can be hard knowing where to begin when faced with so much choice.
To boost the online performance of your eCommerce business through PPC, we recommend focusing on the following six strategies:
- Choosing the right ad platform
- Not overlooking the power of Google Shopping
- Targeting keywords with high purchase-intent
- Optimising your bidding strategy
- Driving traffic to your shop with Local PPC
- Increasing customer lifetime value with retargeting ads
1. Choosing the right ad platform
There are different PPC advertising platforms you can use to show off your business. Choosing the right ad platform for your online store comes down to understanding where your customers are, and what their behaviours are too.
Spend time learning about your target demographics and their online activities – if your customers use Facebook a lot, then it makes sense to use Facebook ads to attract their attention. Similarly, if your products are available on Amazon, then it’s worth giving Amazon Advertising a try.
On top of this, Google Ads is a vital platform to use when it comes to PPC for eCommerce – it targets customers who are ready to buy, and who are searching for a specific thing that they intend to purchase there and then.
Analyse your existing customers and your ideal audience then use this data to choose the PPC platforms that best suit their needs and that would encourage them to visit (or revisit) your online store.
2. Don’t overlook the power of Google Shopping
Google Shopping is one of the most powerful ways to connect with potential new customers whilst they are Googling shopping-related searches.
It is likely that you are already familiar with, and perhaps even using, Google Shopping. However, we feel that it’s important to reiterate the power of Google Shopping for eCommerce businesses.
Google Shopping ads can be a vital component in your eCommerce PPC strategy. Because of this, it is important that you create Shopping campaigns that are strategically designed to increase your search visibility over competitors and, in turn, increase on-site purchases for your business.
There are several ways you can set your Shopping ads up for success. First, you should optimise your product feed by ensuring images are high-quality, product titles correspond with your items and are keyword-rich, and by checking that Google Merchant Centre is pulling in the correct price, stock and product information.
It is important to also optimise your campaign structure by dividing your products into different groups, based on your objectives or requirements.
From Smart Shopping campaigns to query-level bidding, there are many possible strategies that you can implement in order to optimise your Google Shopping campaigns.
By implementing a well thought-out Shopping ad campaign structure, you will have more control of your ads and will be better able to increase impressions, clicks and conversions while keeping your ad costs low.
3. Target keywords with high purchase-intent
Keyword research is an important part of developing a performance-based PPC strategy.
Your main priority as an eCommerce business owner is to capture online sales. Targeting high purchase-intent keywords in your Google Search campaign is a great way to ensure the people who see your ads are the people that are most likely to buy your products.
When setting up your PPC campaigns, consider prioritising campaigns with high purchase-intent keywords to target customers who are ready to make a purchase. High purchase-intent keywords could be keywords that contain transactional terms like “best” and “buy” or they could be detailed product descriptions that indicate the customer knows exactly what they are looking for. Doing this will help drive a higher ROI from your advertising efforts.
That being said, it can be worth targeting low purchase-intent keywords too. Doing so can increase online visibility and awareness with people at the beginning of their customer journey.
You could use low purchase-intent keywords to deliver ads that provide searchers with informational content that helps them with their purchase decision, encouraging them to come back at a later date when they are ready to buy.
4. Optimise your bidding strategy
PPC can be a cost-effective way of advertising your products if you manage your budget and bids carefully.
It is important to optimise your pay-per-click bidding strategy. There are different bidding strategies for Google Ads including:
- Manual CPC
- Enhanced CPC
- Target CPA (cost per action)
- Target ROAS (return on ad spend)
- Maximise conversions
- Maximise conversion value
There are pros and cons to each of the above strategies, so it is important to test these to determine which strategy works best for your business goals.
Once you have chosen a bidding strategy, make sure you continually analyse and improve your ad structure and strategy to make sure they are delivering the best possible result for your store. Keep an eye on the advertising spend in relation to conversions and make adjustments where necessary to reduce budget wastage.
You can determine the performance of your PPC campaigns by calculating the return on advertising spend (ROAS). Estimate your ROAS by calculating how much the campaign will cost vs how much revenue it will bring in. Compare the ROAS for your current campaigns to the ROAS needed to ensure your ads are returning a profit for your business.
ROAS = Revenue from PPC / Cost of PPC
Profitable ROAS = Average Order Value / Maximum Cost-per-Acquisition
You will also want to play around with budget strategies until you find one that works for you and your business.
A popular strategy for paid advertising campaigns is the 70/20/10 PPC budget strategy. This is where you dedicate 70% of your ad spend to evergreen campaigns, 20% to high-success short-term campaigns, and the remaining 10% to new campaigns that are still in their infancy.
5. Drive traffic to your shop with Local PPC
While we are focusing on eCommerce here, it is important to know that PPC advertising can increase footfall to your bricks-and-mortar too.
Local Inventory Ads allow you to promote the stock that you have in store at that moment, to people who are nearby while searching for that product. These will be indicated with a small banner such as “In store” or “Collect today” to lets people know they can find stock in a nearby store.
You can also use local-intent keywords as part of localised search ads such as ‘nearby’ or ‘in Oxford’ to help drive physical traffic to your shop.
If you run a mobile phone store, for example, and someone was looking for ‘iPhone chargers near me’ because they’d gone on holiday without packing theirs, you could create a localised Search campaign that geographically targets your chosen location and targets local-intent keywords.
Similarly, you can use the Store Traffic objective on Facebook ads to deliver localised Facebook ads to people near to your store location, helping further encourage foot traffic to your store.
6. Increase customer lifetime value with retargeting ads
Customer lifetime value (customer LTV) is how much a customer will spend with your business over the course of a lifetime. The longer you can keep customers engaged, the more long-term sales you will make.
Retargeting and remarketing ads are great ways to help increase your customer LTV. These types of adverts focus on keeping your customers coming back time and time again.
Retargeting ads are a powerful eCommerce marketing strategy that can increase customer lifetime value by increasing brand trust and awareness and re-engaging existing customers.
You can use remarketing as part of your Google Ads strategy to reconnect with people who previously interacted with your online store. You can do this through standard remarketing, dynamic remarketing, remarketing lists for search ads, video remarketing, or customer list remarketing.
These types of ads let you position your ads in front of your retargeting audiences as they are browsing Google or its partner websites on the Display Network.
Retargeting ads also work well as part of a paid social strategy. By retargeting customers while they are using Facebook, you can ensure your business stays at the top of their mind, encouraging them to come back and shop with you again.
PPC for eCommerce: Final thoughts on boosting your online sales
As this blog post explains, paid advertising can be a powerful way to promote your online store, show up in search results and get clicks that lead to sales.
If you take anything from reading this article, let it be this: you need to focus on purchase-intent when it comes to bidding on keywords, and ensure that your return on any ad spend will be profitable.
Focus on keeping your customers coming back for more, too – this will ensure that you become the go-to retailer within your niche when people are shopping online.
At Common Ground, we can help you implement eCommerce PPC strategies that increase conversions while driving down your ad cost and keeping it low.
Our specialist Paid Search team at Common Ground can help with all of this, and anything else related to pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimisation.
Paid advertising is such an important factor in your overall marketing strategy, and by investing in your PPC strategy you will be able to create low-cost campaigns that result in high conversions and, ultimately, more success for your eCommerce store.