Guide to Google Ads for eCommerce
April 24, 2019
12 months ago
When it comes to Google Ads for eCommerce, many online entrepreneurs still haven’t pinned down exactly what campaign types they should be investing their budget in, to drive that juicy targeted traffic to their store.
Why? Because many eCommerce business owners and marketers just don’t have the time or expertise to determine what campaign types – outside of the traditional Search and Display – to test.
The truth is, to really reap the rewards of Google you may need to think outside of the box.
In this post, we take you through 5 ad/campaign types and features every eCommerce entrepreneur should be testing. Plus, we have also included some of our expert optimization hacks and campaign tips to help you get the most out of Google Ads with minimal effort.
Because we all know that the key to a successful Google ad campaign lies in your optimization and tweaking. Grab that coffee and get ready for more targeted eCommerce traffic!
Google Ad Campaign Types for eCommerce
1. Google Shopping
Google Shopping is a force to be reckoned with – and shows no sign of slowing down. Formerly known as Google Product Listing Ads (PLA), Google Shopping now accounts for 76.4% of retail search ad spend, generating over 80% of Google clicks.
Google Shopping is specifically designed to push eCommerce sales and offers huge potential – if used correctly, that is. Google Shopping helps online store marketers broaden their presence more easily.
How Google Shopping Campaigns Work
Google Shopping campaigns are created and managed in Google Ads, but are based on product feeds you have created in Google’s Merchant Center.
Therefore, as you can see, your product feed plays a big part in the success of your Shopping ads. We suggest putting effort into the following three main product feed elements: product titles, product categories and images.
Newbie Tip: If you’re totally new to Google Ads, visit our full guide to Google Shopping for a walk-through on how to set up your first campaign.
Google Shopping Product Feed and Campaign Optimization Tips for eCommerce
The biggest suggestion we can offer marketers using Shopping is to segment, segment, segment. Instead of having one Shopping campaign with all your products, you want to create smaller, more segmented campaigns, including unique products with
- You have limited characters for your product titles, so put the most important information first. You also want to make sure they conform to Google’s guidelines.
- Start with a good campaign structure from the get-go.
- Make sure your feed taxonomy matches Google’s Product Taxonomy (or GPC).
- Shopping has limited keyword options but does allow you to use negative keywords in your campaigns.
- Use the right campaign priorities and mix it up. Your aim should be to have multiple campaigns that use different product priorities, to balance your budgets and boost sales.
- Use the power of Shopping to upsell. Send customers to landing or product pages that include the key product they have clicked through to see, as well as a small, select group of related or best-selling products.
2. Dynamic Search Ads
Another must-use Google Ad campaign type for eCommerce is Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs). As we know, optimization is the trickiest part of running Google Ads. DSAs help alleviate that complication, making it easier to get the results you want. In one case study, Google reported Dynamic Search Ads raised CTRs by 26% for one brand while decreasing CPCs by 30%.
How Dynamic Search Campaigns Work
In a nutshell, the content (product pages or your entire website) and placement of these Search ads are decided based on what someone is actively searching for at the time, therefore automatically creating headlines that are more likely to convert.
DSAs allow advertisers to target based on their website structure (categories), product feeds (either the whole feed or a select portion of your feed based on things like ratings, best-sellers, etc.) and/or ad group landing pages. The latter means you can target those product or landing pages you are currently using in your normal Search ads, therefore increasing traffic to successful existing campaigns.
Here are some of the main benefits of creating and testing Dynamic Search Ads:
- Automatic updates of campaign content when changes are made to your website, saving you a lot of time and ensuring your ads are always up-to-date.
- DSAs offer advertisers a way to streamline their campaigns and widen keyword coverage to broaden reach without the hassle of keyword research.
- With DSAs, Google will direct searchers to the page that is most relevant to their search, thus attracting potential shoppers actively searching for what you’re selling.
- DSAs allow for more headline length flexibility than traditional Search ads, giving you more characters to entice potential shoppers.
- They allow you to increase targeted traffic beyond your keyword-targeted campaigns while also pointing to possible high-performing keywords you could integrate into your other Google ad types.
Dynamic Search Ad Optimization Tips for eCommerce
How do you get the most out of your Dynamic campaigns? Here are some of our top Dynamic Search tips.
- Because these ads are based on your web store content, you want to ensure your store is optimized. This includes updating metadata, checking for broken links and pages, ensuring easy navigation and taxonomy, and optimizing for mobile.
Newbie and Pro Tip: If you want to check how your Shopify store compares to your most successful competitors in this regard, then try the free Benchmark Hero Shopify app.
- Don’t forget those negative keywords. Like with any Google Ads campaign, negative keywords will ensure you are not sending irrelevant searchers to your site while saving on unnecessary spend.
- For more control over your DSAs, use Target Exclusions to select higher converting pages and deselect unnecessary pages like your ‘About’ page.
- Combining DSAs with your remarketing lists can be extremely powerful.
3. Google Responsive Ads
Responsive ads offer further automatic ad options for Google marketers. Taking various ad elements and ad placement into consideration, these types of ads help save you valuable time to improve performance and reach more potential shoppers – stretching your budget further.
Google offers two types of Responsive campaign types: Responsive Google Display Network and Responsive Search Ads.
Responsive Display Network Ads
Now the default for Display ads, these campaigns give Google the ability to dynamically create Display ads that fit the placement. Using headlines, your logo and images, Google will automatically adjust the size, appearance and format of each ad to ensure it fits available ad space well.
Ultimately, this default campaign type will help you save time, money and the hassle of creating the same ad in a variety of formats.
Responsive Search Ads
One of Google’s newest ad types, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) are automatically created from a selection of four descriptions and 15 headlines. It’s important to note that these are only available at an ad group level. The biggest advantage of this is that Google takes over the “testing” and then determines (through search terms, triggers and device indicators) which description/headline combination will yield the best CTRs – and therefore ROIs.
Here are some RSAs creation and optimization tips to get you started:
- Be as unique as possible with each element, while making sure all your headlines and your description can work together.
- Although Google sets the minimum headline threshold at three, you want to aim for 8-10 headlines to be able to capitalize on the benefits of this campaign.
- Use campaign headline/description pinning strategically – enough to give you some control, but not so much that you don’t benefit from Google’s testing power. You can read more about this in our Responsive Search Ads Hacks post.
- Test and add only one RSA per ad group.
4. Google Remarketing Campaigns
Google Remarketing is one of the most essential Google campaign types for eCommerce store owners. Created using Display remarketing campaign types. Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), we highly recommend remarketing if you want steady, highly-targeted traffic. Let’s look at RLSAs.
How Remarketing Lists for Search Ads Work
RLSAs allow you to create a variety of ads targeting previous traffic based on their behavior, such as what they put in their cart before abandoning it or what products they viewed – thus enabling you to create highly relevant ads for potential shoppers with buying intent.
Newbie Tip: You will need a minimum of 1,000 cookies from your web store to create your first RLSA list.
As you can imagine, these are highly effective. In one case study, a Google retailer was able to increase their conversion rate by a whopping 161% with remarketing lists.
Remarketing lists offer unique targeting options for online sellers. With RLSAs you can choose whether you would like your listing to appear on SERP (search result pages), only in the case that someone in your lists searched Google.
RLSA Hacks and Tips
- Create a separate Google Ad campaign for your remarketing lists, with different ads that target different audiences. This is because reaching small segments of previous site visitors with unique messaging is more likely to convert. Alternatively, creating remarketing campaigns gives you a way to test new keywords on a qualified audience – one that has already shown some interest in your products.
- You can use remarketing or customer email lists for your RLSA campaigns.
- Increase conversion chances by creating smaller, segmented campaigns that target specific traffic with specific messaging tailored to them.
- Test different strategies and combinations to find your remarketing sweet spot. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Start with
a RLSA-onlycampaign, targeting smaller segments of potential shoppers who already know your brand.
- Combine demographic bidding for Search, keyword targeting and RLSAs for narrower audiences more likely to convert.
- Create smaller RLSA lists by drilling down on specific messaging. For example, you can create ads that highlight a discount amount based on the prices of the products they have looked at before.
- Test ads on smaller budgets before going all in, and remember to prevent ad fatigue by setting a frequency cap.
As you can see, the possibilities for remarketing ads are endless. The trick is to get creative and test a variety of tactics until you find the winning formula for your brand.
5. Google Video Campaigns
By now we all know just how powerful video content is, therefore it should be no surprise that Google video campaigns can be very effective. Google offers a variety of video placement options across display networks, Google and YouTube. Let’s break down the main types of Google video campaign types best suited for eCommerce businesses.
TrueView for Shopping
These ads connect your products to YouTube video content watches. This is a compelling option for online store marketers, offering interactive video ads that include up to six shopping cards per video, based on selections from your product data feeds.
Pro Tip: Add exclusions to TrueView Shopping campaigns to avoid ad fatigue and move potential shoppers up your sales funnel (remarketing and/or repeat shopper campaigns). This includes excluding your recent conversions, based on the amount spent or previous ad viewers.
Only available on mobile and tablet, Outstream Ads are one of Google’s video marketing tools. Placed on Google partner sites, with these videos you are only charged (by impressions) when a viewer watches the video for longer than two seconds.
TrueView In-Stream Ads
These are those videos that play before, during or at the end of other video content on YouTube and display network games, sites and/or apps, or appear as CTA overlays or companion banner ads over video content.
Pro tip: For those of you with a little more budget in the bank, you can grow your brand awareness and increase YouTube content reach by testing six-second Bumper Ads and TrueView for Discovery Ads.
No matter which of these Google Ads for eCommerce you chose, you want to test a variety of tactics to find the best (converting) fit for your brand. Why? Because Google Ads are a balancing act and no one campaign type, tactic or feature will work. Instead, you want to mix and match a variety of elements to find the marketing strategy that brings you the most traffic at the best price.
If you want to dramatically improve your results, here is our testing suggestion:
Start with traditional Responsive and Dynamic Search ads to kick-start your Google account. As your traffic increases, you will then want to add Remarketing and Shopping campaigns to your Google Ads portfolio. Once you have a steady flow of new and remarketed traffic generating regular sales, you can then branch out to Google video campaigns.
Alternatively, let us create, manage and run your campaigns for you, taking the hassle out of driving more highly-targeted eCommerce traffic to your store.
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