If you’ve built a fully functional Ecommerce website and set it live for the first time, you might be a little under whelmed by the lack of traffic and orders. Most Ecommerce websites have a slow start. New Ecommerce ventures often lack the customer databases that many older companies rely on to send emails. You either have to wait for the organic traffic to take hold (which usually requires a few months to a few years) or, you can start paying for optimized traffic through Google AdWords.
Of course, your margins will be smaller than your organic traffic and growth. However, this paid traffic is an important step if you don’t have the luxury of time. With that said, here’s what we recommend for your beginning AdWords account.
Many Ecommerce website owners jump into AdWords guessing their way through the platform. We strongly advise against this approach since it is easy to lose thousands of dollars on unqualified traffic. A good starting point is to understand different types of Google paid networks. The three primary Google networks for Ecommerce websites are Search, Shopping, and Display.
The search network is strictly keyword based. Your ads will show up when someone types a keyword (or phrase) into Google that matches a keyword/phrase that you are bidding on. For Ecommerce websites, we recommend the following advice for your campaigns.
When bidding on keywords, a critical strategy is being specific. This applies in a couple of ways.
1. Keywords – typically one-word keywords are very bad for your first campaign. They can attract a variety of unwanted visitors. For example, if you sell only hair-dye-safe shampoo and you bid on the keyword “hair care,” you’ll get all types of visitors who have no intentions on buying shampoo that is for people who have dyed their hair
2. Ad Groups – You should limit the amount of relevance variability between keywords within an ad group. For instance, if you sell car accessories, you would not want to put “car mats” in the same ad group as “steering wheel covers” even though they are both car accessories. They are still different enough and have several keyword variations that are more closely related. This will ultimately increase your quality score and decrease your cost per click.
Dynamic Search Ads
Where possible, your ads and landing pages should be dynamic. When your account has hundreds of keywords, the task of creating ad copy can be daunting. Dynamic ads allow Google to automatically tailor the headline of the ad to match the user’s search, thus increasing perceived relevance and improving user experience. This can save significant time and money.
Ad groups are one form of segmentation. The parent form is Campaigns. There are certain things that can only be controlled on the campaign level such as bid adjustments and daily budgets. It’s important to ensure that you have structured your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords in a way that leads to account success. Two of our most popular recommendations include:
1. Website navigation – look at your website. If you’ve put proper time into developing your Ecommerce website, developing campaigns for AdWords can be a cinch. Simply follow the structure of your navigation and use the same hierarchy for your AdWords account. This isn’t always the best solution, however if you are stuck and can’t decide where to start, this is usually a great place to begin. For instance, if I own a website selling furniture, I may want to have a campaign for Chairs, a campaign for Tables, and a campaign for Entertainment centers. You can then make ad groups more targeted. For example, the “Chairs” campaign could have “Kitchen Chairs,” “Office Chairs,” or “Patio Chairs” as ad groups.
2. Price-based campaigns – You may want to consider segmenting your AdWords account if you have a large spectrum of pricing for your products. For instance, a website that sells guitars may also sell guitar strings. The price difference and average cost per click between the two can be enormous. You may want to segment out campaigns for keywords that have high bids from keywords that have low bids. That way, larger budgets can be set aside for keywords with higher costs per click.
Google Shopping Campaigns
Once called “Product Listing Ads,” Google Shopping campaigns allow AdWords users to list their products directly to Google’s shopping search engine. It functions similar to Amazon or Ebay where any number of websites can offer pricing on the exact same product or similar products.
In order to breath life into a Google Shopping Campaign, we recommend the following steps. Keep in mind, some of these steps are required in order to have a campaign that utilizes the Google Shopping network.
Details, Details, Details
One of the biggest problems that we see with Ecommerce websites is the lack of details. There are many products that don’t tell you their weight, dimensions, uses, and compatibilities. Sometimes, even basic information is missing such as product images and pricing. The first step goes back to the website and the products listed on it. Have you provided a thorough description of that product? What questions might your customers have that makes them averse to purchasing? What information could you provide that your competitors fail to? Getting this information ready will enhance the potency of your shopping feed.
Reliable Feed Upload Method
Google offers three basic ways of uploading your feed to your Google Merchant Center account: manual upload, Google Doc, and FTP. We regard manual upload as a worst-case scenario. Avoid this method when possible. While having a Google Doc is good, direct connections using FTP is preferred. We also recommend setting up a feed connection that updates regularly and ensures accurate data on your feed.
Proper Merchant Account Settings
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen an account that doesn’t have basic shipping and tax information setup. When your ads are listed on the Shopping results page, your listing could potentially be placed right next to your competitors. In this setting, your potential customers can quickly see tax and shipping information. If you beat your competitors on price but lack accurate tax and shipping information, your competitors may steal your business.
Utilize Custom Categories
Google allows you to add 6 custom categories to your Google feed (starting with Custom Category 0). You can use these extra fields/columns to properly segment your product groups within AdWords. For instance, while your feed has price as a field, you cannot segment your products by price using AdWords’ segment tool. That is because there would be too many different segmentations. Instead, you may want to consider creating pricing groups. For example, you may want to have a Category with segments like $1-$50, $51-$100, and so on.
If you have a variety of brands, this may be another great way to segment your products within AdWords.
The display network can be a powerful tool in generating awareness and creating long-lasting business. However, because this article has been focusing on new AdWords accounts, we are going to recommend holding off on the Display network unless you are going to leverage Retargeting.
The display network provides cheap traffic. However, it comes loaded with a lot of issues that should be mitigated with advanced setup.
With that said, remarketing / retargeting allows you to target people who have come to your website with display ads that appear on virtually every website. These ads can be effective in drawing in high-quality traffic.
We hope that we haven’t scared you off from using AdWords! While it can be complicated to use, it is a necessary source of traffic for eCommerce websites. Especially young, new eCommerce websites.