Given Google’s unflinching statusas the world’s leading search engine, it drives an immense volume of traffic toecommerce websites. In fact, at least 43% of all ecommerce traffic originatesfrom Google’s organic search. Google offers many ways for ecommerce stores toget discovered through search results and display ads.

The search engine’s ad businessruns on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where advertisers pay only when someoneclicks their ad. Companies can target ads to keywords (e.g., “ceramic cookware”or “handmade wall art”), demographics, locations, or user interests. Granulartargeting options ensure ads display to users most likely to be interested inyour product.

Importance of Google Ads forEcommerce

Google Ads (formerly GoogleAdwords) is the world’s largest PPC platform, cornering 39% of the digitaladvertising market. This was no accident. Google sites—including YouTube,Gmail, Maps, and Hangouts—ranked as the most popular multi-platform web property.

Google Ads provide unmatchedopportunities for exposure, growing a business’s online presence and boostingsales. Advertisers can set a daily budget and bid amount for ads and viewdetailed performance analytics.

Search engine advertising is apowerful medium because it lets sellers reach buyers with purchase intent. Asurvey by Search Engine Land found that 56% of consumers consider searchresults (on Google and other search engines) when making purchase decisions.Meanwhile, 63% discover new products via search engine results.

Types of Google Ads

Google offers a variety of adformats, from ads that appear in search engine results to remarketing ads meantfor abandoned cart recovery.

Search Ads

Search Ads appear on searchengine results pages (SERPs). Here’s how it works: advertisers select keywordsand phrases related to their business. When users enter relevant keywords intothe Google search bar, the ads display alongside organic search results.

Advertisers must bid on keywordsfor optimal ad placement. When a user performs a search, Google’s algorithmsurfaces ads with the highest bid and quality score. The winning ad appearsprominently at the top of the page—occasionally at the bottom—and is marked as“ad” to distinguish it from organic search results. Advertisers only pay when auser clicks their ad.

Display Ads

Google Display Ads appear onwebsites, mobile apps, and other online platforms across the Google DisplayNetwork (GDN). This includes participating ecommerce sites, blogs, publishers,and other websites, in addition to Google-owned properties such as YouTube andGmail.

Unlike search ads, display adsinclude images, videos, graphics, and text. They are designed to grab users'attention while they browse websites and apps, rather than when they perform aspecific search.

Display Ads are commonly used forretargeting—appealing to recent website visitors who abandoned their carts orbounced without purchasing. These ads remind users of the items they previouslyshowed interest in and prompt them to take action.

Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads, also knownas Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), let retailers showcase specific productswithin search results. These ads include a product image, title, price, and theretailer’s name in search results. This helps users quickly assess theproduct’s relevance and attractiveness relative to other listings.

To run Google Shopping campaigns,businesses must create a product feed—a product catalog specifically for adlistings. Google uses this feed to match user queries with related items.Google also offers Local Inventory Ads (LIA) for brick-and-mortar stores todisplay real-time product availability and store information to nearby shoppersto drive foot traffic.

Video Ads

Visual storytelling is a powerfulway to capture attention. Google’s PPC platform offers a variety of video adformats for advertisers to target potential customers on YouTube.

  • Skippable in-stream ads: Ads play before,     during, or after other videos on YouTube. Viewers can skip the ad after a     few seconds. Advertisers pay only when viewers watch a certain portion of     the ad.
  • In-feed video ads: These ads appear as     thumbnail images alongside YouTube search results or on the YouTube     homepage. Advertisers are charged when viewers click to watch.
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads: Short,     non-skippable ads limited to 15 seconds that play before a YouTube video.
  • Outstream ads: Video ads that appear on     partner websites and apps within the Google Display Network. Designed for     mobile devices, these ads autoplay when they come into view.

Local Services Ads

Google Local Services Ads (LSAs)connect local businesses with potential customers in their geographic area.LSAs are primarily geared toward service-based businesses—plumbers,electricians, HVAC technicians, locksmiths, house cleaners, and more.

These ads display at the top ofGoogle search results when users search for services such as “plumber near me”or “electrician in [city].” Advertisers pay per lead for LSAs. You’re onlycharged when a potential customer contacts you through the ad to request yourservices. Google awards the Google Guarantee Badge to show the business haspassed the screening and verification process for LSAs.

Building a Successful AdCampaign

PPC ad campaigns require carefulplanning, budgeting, monitoring, and optimizing on a daily basis.

Campaign Objectives

All successful ecommercecampaigns start with measurable, achievable goals and KPIs against which tomeasure them. Here’s how to set goals for your PPC campaigns:

  1. Identify business goals: Common goals for ad     campaigns include increasing sales, generating leads, boosting website     traffic, or promoting specific products.
  2. Define marketing objectives: Set objectives to     achieve your business goal. For example, if your business goal is to boost     sales, your objective might be achieving a $50,000 revenue target through     Google Ads in the next four months.
  3. Consider the sales funnel: Decide if you’re     looking to capture new leads at the top of the funnel, nurture prospects     in the middle, or convert potential customers at the bottom.
  4. Choose KPIs: Set KPIs to track progress toward     your objectives. Common KPIs for Google Ads campaigns include     click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, cost per conversion, return on     ad spend (ROAS), and impression share.
  5. Set targets: For example, if your objective is     to increase website traffic, you might set a target of 10% more clicks     compared to the previous period. Establish a timeframe for each target.

Budget Planning and Bidding

Proper budget allocation ensuresyour bids are competitive, while bidding strategy determines how you allocatethat budget to individual keywords, ad groups, and campaigns. Align your budgetwith campaign objectives.

For example, if your goal isincreasing sales by 15% in the next two months, consider how much revenue thatwould generate. Use a keyword research tool to find the CPC for keywordsspecific to your business (the average CPC on Google ads is $1-2).

Next, decide on campaignduration. Consider seasonal factors or promotional periods that might affectyour budget. Set aside a portion of your budget to test what strategies workbest. This becomes essential once you start experimenting with different biddingstrategies.

Google Ads offers various biddingstrategies, including manual CPC (cost-per-click), and automated biddingstrategies such as Target CPA (cost-per-action) or Target ROAS.

Keyword and Negative KeywordResearch

Strategies for selectingkeywords:

  • Pinpoint the keywords and phrases potential customers     use to search for your products. Start with seed keywords—generalized,     overarching keywords you use to find more specific long-tail keywords.
  • Specify negative keywords—search terms you don’t want     to be associated with your online store. For example, “used tents” would     be a negative keyword if you only sell brand-new ones. Negative keywords     omit your business from search results, ensuring you only pay for     high-quality leads.
  • Use keyword match types (broad match, phrase match,     exact match, and broad match modifier) to specify how closely a user’s     search must match your chosen keywords. For example, a broad match     accommodates synonyms, variations, and related terms, making your ad more     likely to appear, while an exact match requires a word-for-word match.
  • Balance keywords with high search volume with less     competitive keywords to optimize your budget.
  • Include keyword variations, synonyms, and     misspellings to capture a broader audience. For example, if you sell     "running shoes," also consider "jogging shoes" and     "athletic footwear."

Tools for keyword research:

Keyword research tools provideinsights into search volume, competition, and potential ranking opportunities.Some suggested tools to try include Google Keyword Planner (a free tool withinyour Google Ads account), SEMrush Keyword Magic, and Ubersuggest.

Creating Ad Groups

Ad groups let you cluster relatedads to manage different campaign types more efficiently. This lets you makechanges “in bulk.”

For example, applying targetingoptions such as location, device, and schedule settings to a group of relatedads rather than a single one. What’s more, you can track the performance ofindividual keyword combinations to see which combinations perform best. Groupsalso make it easier to run A/B tests by comparing ad variations within aspecific ad group.

Writing Effective Ad Copy

Images and videos grab attention,but good copy compels clicks. Craft attention-grabbing headlines that sparkcuriosity, address a problem, or evoke urgency. For example, “Discover thebeauty of Hawaii today!” This headline includes a value proposition andcall-to-action. Use action-oriented language such as “buy,” “learn,” or “getstarted.”

Include keywords from your adgroup or campaign to raise its relevance and quality score, lowering ad costs.

Designing Ad Creatives

Solid visuals distinguish an adthat gets clicks from people scrolling past unseeingly. Use high-resolutionimagery and graphics aligned with your brand identity, including logo, colors,and fonts.

Including images of people,especially those expressing positive emotions or using your product, humanizesthe brand. When promoting a physical product, feature detailed images of theitem from different angles. Leverage color psychology to evoke emotions orassociations (e.g., orange=playfulness; green=nature).

Geographic and LanguageSettings

Location and language targetinglets you specify the geographic areas where you want your ad to be shown. Thiscan be as broad as an entire country or as specific as a radius around aparticular address. You can also target by region, city, or even a custom-drawnarea on a map.

Google’s Merchant Center providesadvanced location targeting options, including "People in or regularly inyour targeted locations," "People searching for your targetedlocations," and "People who show interest in your targeted locations."

Remember that broader targetingmay attract clicks that don’t convert.

Scheduling and Frequency

“Dayparting” is a PPC techniquefor scheduling ads to appear during times of the day when audiences are mostlikely to engage with your ads. Say you run a small brewery, and businessspikes during the weekend. Running ads during peak times (e.g., Saturday andSunday during business hours) improves ad efficacy. Consider time zonedifferences, work hours, and peak shopping times.

Frequency capping limits howoften a single user sees your ad in a given period. This helps prevent adfatigue, where users become annoyed or disengaged due to overexposure.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking meansmeasuring and analyzing what actions users take, if any, on your website afterclicking an ad.

Decide which actions to track.Common examples include form submissions, purchases, app downloads, andnewsletter sign-ups. You’ll need to add a Google Tag or code snippet on relatedproduct pages.

You can customize settings likethe conversion window (how long after clicking an ad a conversion is counted)and attribution models (how credit is assigned to multiple touchpoints).

Quality Score Optimization

Aim for the highest possiblequality score for each ad you run. Scores determine ad placement, ad rank, andCPC. Low scores can drag ROAS down. Here are some strategies for optimizingyour quality score:

  • Keyword choice: Ensure keywords are closely     related to your ads and landing pages. Use keyword match types (broad     match, phrase match, exact match) strategically to control the relevance     of search queries triggering your ads.
  • Landing pages: Match the user’s intent and     deliver on the ad’s promise. Ensure fast loading times, mobile     optimization, and clear CTAs. Use Google’s Core Web Vitals to evaluate     your page’s overall user experience.
  • Ad copy: Address the user’s query and     highlight the benefits of your product. Insert keywords where appropriate.
  • Ad assets: Use sitelink extensions, callout     extensions, and structured snippet extensions to provide additional     information (e.g., price, location, and contact information).
  • Smart Shopping Campaigns: Use AI to     automatically optimize your ads and bidding strategy.

Best Metrics to Track AdPerformance

While conversions are theultimate goal of PPC ads, it’s essential to track other metrics in tandem withit.

Calculate Return on Ad Spend(ROAS)

The most critical PPC metric,ROAS measures revenue generated as a proportion of ad spending. Marketers useit to determine the ROI of PPC. They often set a target ROAS value to guidecampaign optimization.

ROAS = Revenue generated from ads/ Cost of ads

Here’s how to interpret yourscore:

  • ROAS of 1 or less: For every dollar spent on     advertising, you generate less than $1 in revenue. The ad campaign is not     profitable.
  • ROAS between 1 and 2: You’re earning more than     you’re spending, but there’s room for improvement.
  • ROAS above 2: Campaigns are performing well     and you are earning significant ROI. Scale your campaign or allocate more     budget to them.

Analyze Click-Through Rates(CTR)

CTR measures what percentage ofusers click your ad as a proportion of the total number of people who see it. Ahigh CTR indicates your ad is engaging and aligns with the user’s searchintent. A high CTR boosts its quality score, ad position, and CPC.

CTR = Number of clicks / Numberof impressions x 100%

Average CTR varies by industry.However, data gathered by WordStream shows that average CTR across allindustries ranges from 6-7%. Certain industries (Attorneys and Legal Services)see a lower CTR (4%), while Arts & Entertainment averages 13%.

  • High CTR (above average): Your ad resonates     with your target audience, and users engage with your content.
  • Average CTR: Your ads are performing     adequately. Consider refining ad copy, using ad extensions, or changing     targeting options to boost CTR.
  • Low CTR (below average): Ads are not capturing     attention due to ad fatigue, irrelevant keywords, or unappealing visuals.

Understand Cost per Click(CPC)

CPC determines the overallcost-effectiveness of PPC advertising. It measures how much you pay when a userclicks your ad. CPC is a critical factor in determining the total budgetrequired for a successful campaign.

CPC = Cost of advertising /Number of clicks

CPC varies widely according tothe keywords you’re targeting and their search volume. Google Ads factors inthe ad’s quality score to calculate CPC (higher quality score = lower CPC).

Monitor Conversion Rates

Conversion rate measures thepercentage of users who take a desired action like buying something, fillingout a form, or signing up for a newsletter. It’s a key indicator of howeffectively your landing page persuades visitors to become customers or leads.

Conversion rate = Number ofconversions / Number of clicks x 100%

Again, average conversion ratesvary by industry. They also depend on your chosen conversion trigger.

For example, if you sellcustomizable industrial machinery and your conversion trigger is “purchases,”you’re likely to have extremely low conversion rates if you expect prospectiveleads to buy immediately.

Effective Ecommerce Google AdsStrategies

Each ad format requires slightlydifferent tactics depending on its format, character limits on ad copy, andwhere the ad is displayed.

Branded and Non-BrandedShopping Ads

Branded Shopping Ads target leadssearching for your brand, while non-branded ads are served to those seekinggeneric or category-specific products (e.g., “brushed nickel floor lamp”).

Ensure your product data feed isaccurate and up-to-date. Include detailed product descriptions, high-qualityimages, and pricing. Use sitelink extensions to direct users to specificproduct categories, special offers, or other landing pages within your website.Display the item’s star rating in the ad—positive social proof can help boostclicks.

Google Smart Shopping Ads

Smart Shopping ads use AIautomation to optimize ad delivery based on your campaign goal, such asattracting leads or store visits. The Google Ads algorithm will find thebest-matching audience and bidding strategy. Ad extensions, targeting options,and keywords are added automatically.

Automated campaigns are best forbeginner PPC marketers or those strapped for time. Otherwise, beware of thedownsides. Marketers have no control over individual keywords or ad placementand can only use one landing page per campaign. There is no way to guardagainst click fraud, potentially forcing you to pay for unqualified leads.

Branded Search Ads

Using branded keywords in adstargets users searching for your brand name or variations of it. These adsappear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Even if your website ranks at thetop of organic search results for your brand name, competitor ads, organiclistings, and featured snippets can push your page rank down. Branded Googlesearch ads ensure your official website is prominently displayed at the top.

Ads Targeting CompetitorKeywords

“Competitor keyword targeting” isa strategy where you bid on keywords associated with your competitors’ brandnames or products. If you outbid them, your official website will display moreprominently in search results, potentially diverting customers away from yourrival.

Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) usemachine learning technology to auto-generate ad headlines and suggestadditional keywords by analyzing your website content.

Here are a few housekeeping tipsto bear in mind before you jump into DSA:

  • Double-check your website: Ensure your site is     well-organized with clear and descriptive content.
  • Create a dedicated DSA campaign: Separate DSA     from your other campaigns so you can compare its performance     independently.
  • Use page feeds: Provide Google with a list of     URLs or sections of your website to target or exclude in your DSA     campaign.
  • Monitor search terms report: Identify which     search queries trigger DSA ads. Add negative keywords for unwanted     queries. Consider creating ad groups for high-performing queries.

Non-Branded Generic Search Ads

Non-branded ads target generickeywords related to your product. For example, “custom-made leather boots” or“accountant near me.” These ads are essential for reaching shoppers in theearly stage of the journey who are searching for general information orcomparing options.

Run a thorough keyword search toidentify keywords potential customers might use, including synonyms, long-tailkeywords, and other variations.

Finally, consider likely queriesfrom people who don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. Go from highlyspecific (e.g., “pale pink velvet cocktail dress for wedding”) to broad (“partydresses”).

Google Retargeting Ads

To re-engage previous websitevisitors, show them ads as they browse other websites within the Google DisplayNetwork. Generic retargeting ads are the same for everyone, while dynamicremarketing ads are personalized to the products users view on your website.

For example, you might display anitem someone left in their cart, or showcase alternative items to thosepreviously viewed.

Use Remarketing Lists for SearchAds (RLSA) to target website visitors when they perform subsequent searches onGoogle. Set frequency caps to avoid repeatedly bombarding a user with the samead.

Advanced Google Ads Strategies

Get even more mileage from yourPPC ads using these tips and tricks.

Seasonal and Event-BasedAdvertising

Marketers need a distinctadvertising strategy to capitalize on peak shopping seasons or promote events.Here’s what to consider:

  • Keyword research: Mix seasonal or     event-specific keywords with your core keywords. Examples include     “Valentine’s Day gifts” or “Electronics Cyber Monday Deals.”
  • Seasonal ad copy: Highlight promotions related     to the occasion.
  • Landing pages: Design dedicated landing pages     aligned with your ad messaging. Use festive branding.
  • Allocate budget: Adjust your campaign budget     to account for increased competition during peak seasons or events.
  • RLSA: Create RLSA campaigns to bid more     aggressively on past website visitors who are searching for seasonal or     event-related terms.

YouTube Ads

YouTube ads are a gateway forbusinesses to reach a highly engaged audience on the world’s largestvideo-sharing platform, with more than 1 billion users.

Here’s how to get the mostmileage out of YouTube ads:

  • Invest in high-quality video production: Your     ad should look professional and engaging. Use good lighting, crisp audio,     and compelling visuals.
  • Implement video remarketing: Re-engage users     who have interacted with your videos or YouTube channel. Customize your     messaging based on their previous interactions.
  • **Consider using ‘In-feed Video Ads’ to reach users     actively searching for content related to your industry or products.

Combining PPC and OtherMarketing Channels

PPC is just one slice of thepie—albeit an important one—when it comes to an ecommerce brand’s digitalmarketing strategy. While marketers use a distinct approach for PPC, they mustkeep their branding and messaging consistent across organic and paid channels.A cohesive brand image builds trust and recognition.

Here are a few ways to integrateother marketing channels with PPC:

  • Incorporate PPC offerings into email campaigns:     Notify subscribers about exclusive deals or highlight top-performing     products featured in PPC ads.
  • Social media advertising: Use social media ads     in tandem with PPC to target a similar audience.
  • Use remarketing lists: Following up via email     or social media with users who clicked your PPC ads.
  • Repurpose content: Use search campaigns to     drive traffic to blog posts, whitepapers, or videos. Content can serve as     a valuable lead-generation tool.
  • Combine SEO and PPC: Target the same keywords     across ads and organic SEO content. Analyze PPC data for keyword     performance and apply those insights to your SEO strategy.

Common Google Ads Pitfalls

It takes time to refine your PPCstrategy and find one that best resonates with your audience. Don’t let thesechallenges undermine your efforts.

Poor Quality Score

A lower quality score dings adefficacy—lowering ad ranking and increasing CPC. Google may even disapprove adswith poor quality scores if they violate advertising policies or fail toprovide a good user experience.

Common causes include:

  • Irrelevant keywords: Using keywords not     closely related to your ad or landing page content.
  • Keyword stuffing: Overloading ad copy and     landing pages with keywords is considered spammy.
  • Poor landing page experience: Slow loading     times, unrelated content, or lack of mobile optimization creates a     suboptimal user experience.
  • Low CTR: Few clicks indicate a lack of     relevance to users.

Budget Wastage

Astute budgeting underpins everysuccessful PPC strategy. While it’s a common challenge, budget wastage can bemitigated through careful planning and optimization.

Here are the most common causesof budget misallocation:

  • Inadequate keyword research: Bidding on     irrelevant or overly competitive keywords.
  • Poor audience targeting: Ads may be displayed     to users who are unlikely to convert.
  • Inefficient bidding strategies: Failing to     adjust bids based on performance leads to overspending or     underperformance.
  • Neglecting negative keywords: By not excluding     irrelevant search queries, advertisers pay for clicks that don’t convert.
  • Ad scheduling issues: Running ads 24/7 without     considering when your target audience is most active leads to wasted     impressions during low-converting hours.
  • Lack of optimization: Neglecting to monitor     campaign adjustments and make necessary adjustments results in inefficient     spending.

Inconsistent ConversionTracking

Conversions are theend-all-be-all of PPC advertising. They indicate if your overall PPC effortsbear fruit, enabling you to calculate ROI.

Google provides tools such asGoogle Analytics and Google Tag Manager that integrate with Google Ads to setup and manage conversion tracking.

Ensure tracking codes (e.g.,Google tags) are correctly installed on your website. Double-check that theyare placed in the appropriate locations, such as thank-you pages orconfirmation pages.

Enable auto-tagging of your URLsto track what users did on your site after clicking your ad. This lets youcompare conversions via Google Ads against other marketing channels.

Ineffective Ad Copy

Despite all the behind-the-scenesmechanisms of PPC—bidding strategy, keywords, and targeting—ad copy remains themost important driver of ad performance. Unappealing ad copy garners fewerclicks and conversions, wasting advertising spend.

Here’s where ad copy often fallsshort:

  • Weak value proposition: Ad copy that doesn’t     align with the user’s search intent or convey the unique benefits of your     product can leave users disinterested or confused.
  • Lack of CTA: Users may be unsure what action     to take if your ad doesn’t include a clear and persuasive CTA.
  • Ignoring ad extensions: Ad extensions make ads     more interactive by including contact information and additional CTAs.     Failure to use them limits ad impact.
  • Inadequate testing: Without proper A/B     testing, you may not know what messaging resonates best with your     audience.

The Final Word

Given the prevalence of GoogleSearch in consumer purchase decisions and product discovery, Google Ads is atop platform for any ecommerce business considering PPC advertising. However,PPC management is a skill, and no two businesses will have the same strategy.

Even the most carefully plannedcampaigns require constant monitoring and A/B testing to find the rightaudience targeting options, scheduling, and bidding strategy for your business.Then there’s the matter of ad creatives—changing out copy and images to findthe winning formula.

PPC ads require periodicrefreshing; letting the same ads run for months on end leads to ad fatigue,causing potential leads to disregard them.

That said, running Google Adsexposes business owners to an unparalleled audience base while providing themwith total control over their advertising strategy. Businesses that get theirPPC strategy right have the opportunity to wrangle a significant ROI from theirad spend.