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How to market your ecommerce business with Google Ads

Ask any established ecommerce entrepreneur how they launched their brand and attracted the right target audience to their platform, and they will all say the same thing – as an online business, social media and Google Ads are invaluable. 

The challenge is that while clicking the on-button for Google Ads is relatively simple, understanding which button to click and if it’s worth clicking is an entirely different story.

Pieter Geyser, Head of Digital PR and Marketing at Irvine Partners outlines how an ecommerce business can successfully leverage Google Ads.

1. Start with a solid strategy

A solid strategy doesn’t need to be a fifty-page document that gets developed over years. The best strategies fit on to one page and contain all the relevant information about how you’re going to scale your business. 

Do this:
  • Focus on who your audience is and do some audience segmentation
  • Determine your brand positioning: Understand what your audience is looking for and put down in writing how you want them to perceive your brand 
  • Define your objectives based on what you want to accomplish, not based on what you’ve achieved in the past
  • Aim for a specific Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) instead of generic Return on Investment (ROI). Unpack exactly how many conversions you want to achieve and calculate how many people you need to reach to achieve that number. 
2. Choose your technical integrations

Once you’ve got your strategy in place, it’s time to start looking at more technical integrations. There are a few tools that you’re going to want to make use of in order to be successful in marketing your ecommerce business. 

Do this: 
  • Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and Google Merchant Centre are a great place to get started. 
Google Tag Manager and Analytics
  • Installing Google Tag Manager and Analytics is as simple as placing a piece of script onto your website in the location they instruct you to do so – this is either on top of the header, or in the header and the body of your site
  • It’s worth noting that if you are running your ecommerce site on platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify there are great plugins available that will integrate these platforms with your site. 
Merchant Centre 
  • Merchant Centre is simple, but it does require a little more brow sweat and trial and error than Analytics or Tag Manager
  • In order to make the best use of Google Merchant Centre, you need to export your entire product listing into an xml feed (you can do it as a CSV file and upload manually into Merchant Centre, however this is not recommended as you’ll need to spend time updating it regularly if your stock qualities change often or you upload or create new products and offerings regularly)
  • Once the feed is created, you’ll need to load it into your Merchant Centre account and have it import all your products. 
Don’t forget your Google Product Taxonomy 
  • While this will plug all of your products into the platform, Google has a product taxonomy for products, so while you may have categorised your products for your site, it’s worthwhile looking into the Google Product Taxonomy (which you can download as an excel doc) and updating your product categories to reflect those of Google. 
3. Track how users engage with your site

All the budget in the world won’t help you market your ecommerce business if you aren’t tracking how users engage with your site and where they come from. 

Do this: 
  • Set up goals and conversions in Analytics. This takes a bit of time but it will save you time and money in the long run
  • Having this data also allows you to optimise your conversion funnels, evaluate channel ROAS, optimise your website for performance and lets you build audience segments
  • Once these goals and conversions are set up, you’re going to want to import them into your Google Ads account 
  • You can do this quite simply by linking your Google Analytics and Google Tag manager accounts and then clicking import in the conversions tab.
4. Leverage Search, Display and Shopping

To successfully market your ecommerce business with Google Ads you’ll need to know three things: Search, Display and Shopping.

Do this:

Search
  • Before writing up a hundred lines of copy and throwing a bunch of ads onto the platform to send people to your home page, do a little research 
  • Google Ads has a great keyword planner that will allow you to see forecasts as well as discover new keywords that will be relevant to your business
  • Figure out which keywords are best suited to your objectives and budget and start with those.
Display
  • Display is a fantastic tool, not just for brand awareness, but for remarketing and product marketing
  • What do I mean? Your Google Shopping feed can be integrated into Google Display ads, which means that you can use the display network to display various products or product categories to specified audiences, regardless of whether they are searching for your product or not. 
Shopping 
  • Shopping ads are great. They essentially take your entire store and place individual product listings in the Google Shopping Network
  • These ads typically convert higher than display or search ads as the user generally clicks on products they are already interested in. 
5. Successfully market your ecommerce business using Google

There are hundreds of tools available that will assist you on your ecommerce journey to success, but before you break the bank, try playing around with free tools, see what works for your business and take it from there. 

Do this:
  • You don’t need to blow your budget on your first Google Ads campaign
  • Try a little of everything to start with for about three to six months
  • Evaluate as you go and optimise accordingly
  • Try A/B testing various ad formats, copy combinations, images, product categories, keywords, and so on. 
The only way to truly market your business successfully is to start.
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