(Melanie was a little camera shy) Melanie is a content wizard and spent a short time working with our marketing team in developing awesome content.
Digital advertising is crucial for almost every e-commerce store.
Social media and SEO will only take you so far. And they take a long time to get you there in the first place.
Online advertising, on the other hand, is cost-effective, and one of the fastest ways to start driving traffic and increasing conversions. It can open the doors of your online store to millions of new customers in minutes.
Yep, online advertising is the way to go. But not just any campaign will do, however. You need a cost-effective, targeted campaign that generates a positive ROI. And if you’re an e-commerce store owner, it probably needs to include Google Shopping, too.
Why advertise online in the first place?
It’s all well and good us telling you why you should spend your hard on dollars on digital advertising campaigns, but is it worth it?
In a word, yes.
Digital advertising offers opportunities that SEO, content marketing, email working and practically any other form of advertising can’t match. Still don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at all of the benefits:
- Incredible reach. Online advertising lets you reach virtually anyone on the planet with an internet connection. Even if you’re just a small store in the Mid West, you can reach potential customers the other side of the country and, if you offer international shipping, the other side of the world.
- Hyper-targeted. You don’t just reach any old customers, either. Digital advertising allows you to target customers with laser-like focus. If you have a particular customer persona, there is a good chance your advertising platform of choice will let you only show adverts to people who match some or all of that persona’s criteria. Other platforms will let you show adverts only to people who are actively looking to buy your type of product. With online advertising, there are no broad adverts—unless you want them.
- Instant traffic. You can set up an online advertising campaign in 30 minutes and, once approved; it will start showing your ads instantly. Instead of waiting months to see results from SEO or weeks to get your advert published in the local trade magazine, you can start acquiring new customers instantly.
- Send users straight to your site. Unlike any other form of advertising, digital advertising provides a direct link to your store whenever users see an advert. If they like what they see, they get taken there immediately. No having to walk to your brick and mortar store or Google your company, they can start shopping straight away.
- Cost-effective. As well as being quick and convenient, online advertising is also the cheapest form of advertising around. Where else can you reach thousands of people for just a couple of dollars? Nowhere, that’s where.
- Unrivaled insight. Do you know how many people saw your latest newspaper ad? Or how many people visited your store after seeing your billboard? Heck no. But that kind of insight is readily available with online advertising. This allows you to optimize your campaigns to increase your ROI.
What does a successful online advertising campaign look like?
All successful online advertising campaigns have a few things in common. They are targeted, they can be measured, and they advertise on the most suitable and profitable platforms. Bear these key factors in mind when creating your online advertising campaign.
Make it measurable
Online advertising is all about being able to measure your success.
Before you start advertising, establish some base level KPIs and goals so that you know where you’ve come from and what you’re aiming for.
Here’s just a taste of what you should be looking to measure:
- The number of unique visitors. How many new people visit your website from the ads?
- Time spent on site. How long on average to users spend on your website?
- Bounce rate. How many users leave your website immediately without taking action? This could be the sign of a poor performing advert.
- Conversion rate. What percentage of people who click on your ad make a purchase? The higher, the better.
- CTR (click through rate). How many people click on your ads when they see them?
- Cart abandonment rate. How many people who have clicked on your ads place an item in their shopping cart then never check out.
- CPA (cost per acquisition). How much does it cost on average for you to buy a new customer through advertising? The lower, the better.
Once you’ve drawn up a list of KPIs and recorded your baseline stats using Google Analytics, it’s time to choose the right advertising platform.
Use the right platforms
There are so many online advertising platforms out there, how do you choose which ones to use? Luckily, we’ve written an in-depth blog post on this very topic which you can find here.
The quick answer is to use the platforms which your customers use. If your customers are on Facebook, use Facebook. If your customers are professionals, consider Linkedin. If your customers visit a set of websites regularly, either reach out to those websites for bespoke advertising deals or find out the ad exchange platforms that those websites use.
For Ecommerce store owners who want to target a broader market, Google and Facebook are your best options.
Google is a great option as everyone uses Google. You just need to make sure your campaign is targeted enough to avoid high CPC bids. Better yet, use Google Shopping instead.
Facebook is equally suitable and cheaper, too. Facebook ads can also be highly targeted so that if you do have a specific customer you want to aim for, it’s easy to optimize campaigns so that they only reach suitable targets.
Keep an eye on ROI
At the end of the day, E-commerce advertising needs to be profitable. Unless you are Coca-Cola, you can’t spend millions on brand awareness. You need your ads to generate customers who pay more for your items than your advertising budget. If your online advertising campaign isn’t delivering positive ROI, it’s time to optimize or stop.
Online advertising takes a while to get going, and you won’t see a profit immediately. That being said, if you still haven’t generated positive ROI in six months’ time, it’s probably time to try another platform or seek expert advice.
Google Shopping is Key for eCommerce
As the only online advertising platform dedicated to E-commerce, no online advertising campaign is complete without Google Shopping. Other platforms will let online stores advertise to targeted users, but Google Shopping is the only platform where advertisers can show specific product ads to users looking to buy that kind of item. Even Facebook doesn’t let you target that well.
What is Google Shopping?
If you’ve ever searched for a specific product on Google, like “running trainers”, you’ve probably seen a Google Shopping ad. They are the image-based adverts that display at the top or down the side of the search page, like the one below.
For an advertiser, it works in a similar way to Google AdWords, except that you don’t bid on keywords. Instead, you upload a product feed that contains all of the important information about your products and then Google decides what searches your ad should display for. You do retain some control over your ads through negative keywords, which let you list searches that you don’t want your products to show up in. Ads are priced on a CPC basis, whereby you pay every time someone clicks on your advert.
What’s great about Google Shopping?
We may be biased, but we think there is a lot to love about Google Shopping. In fact, we’d go as far to say that if you only wanted to use one platform for online advertising, Google Shopping should be it. Here’s what makes Google’s platform so great:
Shown to users with intent
Your online store is there to make sales, right? So you don’t want to be wasting money advertising to users who aren’t ready to purchase. With Google Shopping, you only advertise to users who are ready to buy. There’s very little money wasted by shoppers who are only researching products clicking on your ads. This can lead to higher conversion rates and greater ROI.
They stand out
There’s a reason you’ve noticed Google Shopping adverts before. It’s because they stand out so much compared to the rest of the text-based search results page. Everyone prefers images to words, and the opportunity to show how your products look without users having to click on your website is huge.
Better Click Through Rate
According to the folks over at We Are Blue Box, shoppers are almost twice as likely to click on a product ad than a traditional Google ad. This is in part because the adverts stand out so much, but also because users searching for these products are probably late in the buying stage and are now looking to purchase.
It’s easy to manage
Compared to traditional Google PPC ads, Google Shopping is a breeze to manage. There’s no keyword bidding or ad copy optimization to worry about. All you have to do is upload your product listing feed. And if you use us to manage that, it’s even easier!
Key digital advertising trends to keep an eye on
Online advertising is not a set-and-forget form of marketing. Once you create a campaign, you (or someone you hire) has to keep their finger on the pulse and optimize and update your campaigns as the industry changes.
To get you started, our friends at Digital Marketing Philippines have created this awesome infographic that details the top seven trends you need to look out for in 2017. Here are our three favorites:
- Exploding mobile ad revenue. In 2015, eMarketer reported that mobile advertising was just over half of all media spend. This is expected to jump to 74% by 2018. Both Google and Facebook are doubling down on mobile. At the end of last year, Facebook announced they had a billion mobile-only users (users who only looked at Facebook on a mobile device). 2016 saw an explosion in online ad revenue as a result. In the first six months, revenue reached an all-time high of $32.7 billion. This trend is expected to continue into 2017.
- Rise in mobile ad blockers. Despite the rise in mobile advertising revenue, more and more people are using ad blockers. 400 million users globally block ads served on mobile devices compared to just 200 million desktop users. Moving away from display advertising toward website-controlled advertising platforms like Facebook and Google may be the solution.
- The chat bot invasion. Messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger have become huge social tools that are ripe for online advertising. This is where chatbots come in. There are over 18,000 chat bots that have been developed to help brands offer streamlined, individualized service through chat.
For Ecommerce store owners, keeping up with the latest Google Shopping trends and updates is also crucial. Luckily, Sales & Orders makes it easy. Here are the latest updates you need to know:
- Getting feedback with Google Customer Review. In April, Google replaced the long-standing Google Trusted Stores Program with Google Trusted Reviews. Getting on top of this new customer feedback system will be key to your success in the coming months. See our blog post for everything you need to know about Google’s new review system for Google Shopping.
- Shipping Weight and attributes update: Starting June 26th, Google will be introducing maximum values for both shipping price and shipping weight attributes in Google Shopping. Read more here.
- Changes to Enhanced CPC bidding. Google is constantly updating the functionality of bidding in Google Shopping, and this is the latest move. Read more about Enhanced CPC on our blog post.
Get started with Google Shopping today
Digital advertising can seem overwhelming at first. There’s a lot of information to digest in this article alone. Make it easy for yourself by focusing on one thing. And if you’re an Ecommerce store, that one thing should be Google Shopping.
With Sales & Orders, you’ll be able to start a Google Shopping campaign in minutes. We guide you through the entire process and make it easy to manage your products and optimize your campaigns. If you like, we can even manage your data feeds for you.
Find out how you can kick start your digital advertising campaign with Sales & Orders by scheduling a personalized demo today.