Ecommerce marketing: How to attract more customers to your online shop with Google AdWords

Ecommerce marketing: How to attract more customers to your online shop with Google AdWords

Running a Google AdWords campaign is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your online shop. The AdWords platform is user-friendly and caters for all budgets; it’s an essential piece of the ecommerce marketing puzzle. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of setting up an AdWords campaign so you can test this powerful advertising tool out for yourself.

An introduction to Google Adwords

Google AdWords is Google’s advertising service. AdWords provides businesses with the opportunity to pay to have an ad featured at the top of a search results page.

For example, if you take a look at the below screenshot, you’ll see that four businesses have placed ads relating to the keyword “computer chair”. This is clear from the small yellow ‘Ad’ symbol to the left of the URLs.

Google Adwords Screenshot for computer chair

So how did these businesses secure ad spaces for this keyword? And how did Office Furniture Warehouse get the very top spot?

The Google AdWords auction system Google AdWords operates on an auction system. This means you have to outbid your competitors to secure the top ad spot. However, you can’t win an auction on price alone. Even if you have the biggest budget, you may be outbid by someone with a higher ‘quality score’. We won’t bore you with the technical details, but in a nutshell your AdWords quality score is based on the perceived quality of your ad, as well as the quality of the landing page the ad’s URL is pointing to (i.e. your online shop’s homepage). It’s a good idea to read Google’s Quality Score Guide before starting a campaign.

Organic search results vs. paid search results As the above screenshot illustrates, paid search results are marked by a small yellow ‘Ad’ symbol, while organic search results are displayed normally. Securing the number one organic spot on Google is highly coveted and all comes down to SEO (a blog post for another day!). All you need to know for the purpose of learning about AdWords is that paying for ads won’t change your ranking in the organic search results. They are two completely separate systems. You can hold the top paid spot without having any organic rankings, and vice versa. 

Why pay for Google AdWords? With free ‘organic’ spots up for grabs you may be wondering: “why should I invest money in Google AdWords”? The truth is, those free spots can be extremely hard to secure. It could take months if not years to build up your SEO to rank on the first page. AdWords, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to throw your hat in the ring from day one. You could have an ad running within less than an hour of creating a campaign; it’s that fast. It’s also a good idea to invest in AdWords if your competitors are, otherwise they could be soaking up all of the paid traffic for one of your top keywords. While we don’t recommend getting into costly bidding wars, you’ve got to be in to win.

How to run a successful Google AdWords campaign

Now that you know more about the Google AdWords platform and why it’s important, let’s take a look at how you can run a successful campaign.

Set some goals As with every advertising strategy, the first question you need to ask yourself is: “what would I like this campaign to achieve?” This question is particularly important when it comes to AdWords because when you write your ad, you’ll have the opportunity to include a link it to a specific URL. If your goal is to increase sales, then you’ll most likely direct people straight to your online shop. However, if your goal is to grow your database, then you might direct people to your newsletter sign-up page instead. Your goals will determine the specifics of your ad.

Once you have established some overarching goals, break these down into small milestones. Decide how many clicks/purchases/sign-ups you’d like to generate, how much budget you are willing to spend and over what length of time. It can be all too easy to spend up a storm on AdWords, so planning carefully and exercising caution will help you get the most for your money.

Conduct keyword research Figure out which keywords or phrases you’d like to bid for, and check out how your competitors are ranking for these terms (both in paid and organic search results). You can see what ads are currently being displayed using Google’s helpful Google Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool (this is free and you don’t need to be signed into your AdWords account).

Depending on how much time you have to put into AdWords, it might pay to start small. Try to decide on 5-10 keywords and build your list from there. Another tip is to avoid highly competitive phrases. Unless you have a big budget, you may be outbid almost immediately. Often you can get better return on investment with less competitive keywords.

Write great ad copy A Google AdWords ad is made up of three key elements: a headline (25 characters max), a display URL (35 characters max) and a two-line description (35 characters per line). The end result should look a little something like this:

As you don’t have a lot of characters to work with, try to make your headlines clear and concise. Tell your customers exactly what they’ll get from clicking on the link, and highlight any major benefits about the product. For example, the above ad highlights features such as ‘free shipping’ and ‘custom options available’. Write at least 2-3 ads per product and rotate them to see if one is more successful than the others.

Test, test, test AdWords is the type of tool that will take you some time to perfect. The only way to figure out exactly which keywords provide the best return on investment is to test, test again and then test some more. Each campaign will provide you with plenty of data, so the more small campaigns you run, the better you’ll be able to understand which ones are worth your time and money. Trust the numbers!

Stick to a budget There’s no point in overspending on Google AdWords. This platform is only a lucrative marketing tool if you can keep the cost per click as low as possible and generate an excellent return on investment. As it uses an auction system, it can be tempting to bid beyond your means just to get ahead of your competitors – but this is hard to sustain and ultimately a losing game. With some practice, regular testing and continual adjustment, you’ll be able to find a sweet spot that works for your ecommerce business.

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