Shopify is the most popular E-commerce platform in the world, providing you with all the features you need to build, manage, and market your online store from a centralized location. That said, no matter how powerful Shopify is, it’s important to note that success is not a guarantee. After all, building your own Shopify store is the first step towards E-commerce success, and you now need to invest time and other resources into marketing and advertising.
For one, it’s imperative to start advertising your store and products on Google to reach a global audience. Search engine advertising is essential to E-commerce success as it will expand your brand’s reach and visibility, boost your website traffic and conversions, and will allow you to maximize your marketing ROI overall.
Today, we’re taking a look at how you can use Google ads to build a successful Shopify store in 2022 and beyond.
Weave Advertising into Your Marketing Plan
Because we want to deal in the more advanced aspects of advertising and E-commerce, we’re not going to talk about the basics like setting up your budget or naming your campaigns. Instead, we are going to talk about strategy, the broader picture, and specific tactics.
To start, let’s talk about your overall digital marketing plan and how your Google Ad campaigns fit into the strategy. It’s important to define the purpose, the goals, and the co-dependence between your ads and other marketing tactics.
To do this and invest in the right tactics without losing money (because marketing is expensive), make sure to:
- Have clear goals for each platform and marketing tactic
- Derive data from all marketing efforts to fuel your ad optimization
- Align your advertisements with your social media, content, and email marketing
- Align your tone of voice, branding, and values on all marketing channels
- Use the data from your Google Ads account to source information about your audience
Separating advertising from your marketing efforts is a good way to hinder performance on all fronts, so do this first to maximize all your efforts across customer touchpoints.
Start with Shopping Ads
Did you know that you can automatically feed your products into your Google Merchant Center account? One of the best ways to start advertising your Shopify store is to simply set up a Google Merchant Center account, and then you can start using Shopify’s Google channel to sync products and create ad campaigns.
You can do this directly from your Shopify interface, but to get a refund for invalid ad clicks, you’ll need to head straight to your Google Ads account, so note that there are limitations to this integration.
While Google is one of the best ad platforms for Ecommerce with plenty of features, you need to remember to do two things:
- Optimize the product feed
- Synchronize your deals and discounts
Make sure to optimize your product descriptions with the right keywords to allow Google’s machine learning system to automate ad generation on its platform. This will save you a ton of time and effort, allowing you to push ads on Google quickly.
The Importance of Optimized Landing Pages
You will lose money on Google Ads if all you focus on is ad optimization. For an ad campaign to generate the desired results (conversions), you have to complement it with optimized, beautiful landing pages that will inspire people to buy.
After all, without landing page optimization to guide the customer towards a positive outcome, your ads are bound to produce a negative ROI. Always remember that your ads are nothing more than another way for people to reach your product pages, landing pages, or applications, all of which require good UX design based on user-centric principles for your ads to convert.
With that in mind, if you want to use Google Ads effectively (not lose money on them), make sure that your landing pages are optimized for specific goals. While everyone else is focused on designing the perfect Google Ad, you should focus on designing a landing page that will convert.
Create Beautiful and Actionable Ad Designs
Landing page optimization is crucial, yes, but so is the optimization of the actual advertisements. Keep in mind that making an advertisement goes beyond keyword optimization and copy, and delves deep into the visual elements that will draw people in, engage them, and inspire them to take action.
To that end, you can use beautiful ad designs to power all your advertising strategies, including on different platforms like Facebook, but also with well-designed and branded banners like with Amazon sponsored products. This will help create a well-rounded advertising approach for numerous platforms that will complement your Google Ads campaign.
Boost Success with Dynamic Search Ads
Dynamic search ads and Responsive search ads should be two of the primary tools in every Shopify store owner’s arsenal, as they allow you to maximize your store’s reach and visibility. Google will crawl your store and your product pages to create dynamic headlines and landing pages based on the content and how it’s optimized.
Dynamic search ads are a lifesaver for a Shopify store owner because it’s nearly impossible to manually optimize your pages and ad copy for every possible search term. So, Google will do it for you through its machine learning system, creating dynamic ads that will help you reach your ideal customers.
Over to you
The Shopify platform gives you everything you need to build a beautiful, optimized online store. That said, simply having a Shopify store doesn’t guarantee visibility or conversions, which is why you need to start investing in the right marketing tactics.
In the E-commerce world, ads play a major role in long-term growth and success. Start implementing these tips into your advertising strategy to put your store in front of the right people at the right time, and increase your conversions in 2022.
The Art and Science of PPC Account Structures
With the rise of machine learning and the relentless march toward large-scale automation, digital marketers are now finding themselves in the middle of a perfect storm where they have less control over their campaigns, higher costs, and lousy results.
To state the obvious, Google’s goals are not your goals.
Over the last few years, Google introduced and pushed PPC automation while also removing many of the controls marketers typically used to prevent wasted spend.
Here’s just a small list of what they’ve done:
- They killed off match types – As a result, keywords are no longer granular enough and Google’s understanding of “close” variants and “similar” intent fluctuates between terrible and horrific.
- They Added Audiences – Google has made significant efforts over the past few years to replace keywords as the primary PPC control lever; audiences (+ the derivatives thereof) have been the most successful of these so far.
- They introduced and pushed “smart” features – Google’s “optimization score” and “smart shopping campaigns” were the first major efforts; now, we have Performance MAX, the end of ETAs, and much more on the horizon.
- They introduced auto-applied campaign changes – because who doesn’t want a Roomba running their account?
- They removed the majority of search term data – of course, the claim was that this was for “privacy”…but does anyone believe that?
As a result, CPCs and CACs are spiking across the board and we’re left with the perfect recipe to waste a LOT of money.
The pace of change has left many PPCers wondering how to adapt to this brave new world, with a few approaches becoming more and more pervasive:
- Lean Into The Automation – give the machines what they want – control and volume! Consolidate everything into a couple of campaigns, turn on Broad Match, and away we go.
- Old School – focus on keeping granular control with a rigid, EM-based structure and negatives everywhere.
- Shanty Town – some weird fusion of the two – where there are some EM campaigns, some full broad, maybe some audiences or DSAs sprinkled in…, and a heaping helping of confusion.
Unfortunately, the automation approach will have you wasting money, the old school approach will have you going crazy trying to maintain control in the face of RSAs, bidding strategy, and match type changes, and the Shanty Town delivers the worst of both worlds.
The only thing that HAS stayed the same is the desire to find the right account structure that balances scale with control, spending with results, and predictability with discovery. Too much to ask for? No!
Six Things to Keep in Mind When Setting Up PPC Campaigns
Automation is here to stay. The increasing role of automation will have an impact on PPC account structures, and this isn’t good or bad – it just is. Our job as marketers is to set the machines up for success and defend against their flaws.
The structure is about people. Campaign structure is the “how” you connect your organization’s marketing to the people you want to target. Keep your audience in mind when you structure your PPC campaign and put yourself in the mind of the audience.
Better Data = Higher Probability of Good Outcomes. Don’t focus only on conversion data. Make sure that each platform you use (not just Google, Microsoft, and Facebook) has the business and financial data it needs to maximize your chances of a good outcome. In short, efficiently leverage your data and help the machines be smarter!
Exclusions are more important than inclusions. Be liberal in your campaign exclusions to ensure machines focus on what you want (and don’t make bad inferences that blow your budget).
Be Machine Learning-friendly. Resist the urge to hyper-segment everything. Build a structure that is ML-friendly while still being sufficiently refined. You might end up with fewer ad groups, but that’s ok!
Be brilliant at the basics. Do the little things extremely well – align your ads to the intent of the user, deliver a relevant message and have a delightful on-page experience.
Want to learn more? I’ll be speaking at HeroConf London on July 18 at 10:15 am on the Main Stage. During my session, “The Art and Science of PPC Structures,” I’ll dive deep into the essential account and targeting structures and how they can be used to prevent automation from running wild.
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