Gone are the days when you had to make an educated guess about your customers’ whereabouts and interests in order to advertise to them. Thanks to demographic and browsing data, you can target digital ads based on actual, identified needs of your target customers.
With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, ecommerce businesses have the ability to intelligently advertise to prospective customers, with an added bonus: Unlike other digital advertising models, PPC advertising means you only pay when someone clicks on the ad.
Ahead, learn all about the process of ecommerce PPC management, the advantages of this advertising model, and best practices for doing it effectively.
What is ecommerce pay-per-click (PPC) management?
Ecommerce PPC management is the process of setting up, managing, and optimizing your ecommerce business’s pay-per-click (PPC) campaign—an online advertising model in which you pay a fee for every click your ad gets. PPC ads can appear on websites, on apps, and on search engine result pages (SERPs) through search engine marketing.
Ecommerce PPC management involves at least three parties:
- The advertiser. You or your ecommerce business.
- The ad network. The service provider that connects you with websites selling ad space.
- The hosting website. Where your ad is displayed.
Depending on your budget, goals, and your familiarity with PPC marketing, you may choose to manage your own PPC campaign or partner with an ecommerce PPC specialist.
An ecommerce PPC management service can help you mediate between your business and ad networks, consult on advertising strategy, conduct keyword research, and report on PPC campaign results. Many digital marketing agencies offer ecommerce PPC management, which typically costs at least $400 per month, in addition to ad spending and set-up fees.
Advantages of ecommerce PPC management
There are many advantages to PPC ecommerce. Running a PPC campaign can increase revenue, provide insights into the effectiveness of your advertising strategy, and help maximize your marketing budget. Here’s how:
- Advanced targeting. PPC ecommerce ads are highly targetable, allowing you to advertise specific products or services to particular audience segments based on demographic information and search behaviors. For example, if you sell handmade hoop earrings, you could target customers who have searched for “hoop earrings” or recently visited other hoop earring product pages.
- Increased revenue. PPC campaigns can help your ecommerce business boost ad conversion and drive revenue by aiming ads at customers looking for your products or services. An effective PPC campaign doesn’t just increase traffic to a product page or landing page—it brings in the right kind of traffic.
- Measurable, data-driven results. Unlike old-school billboards or newspaper ads, web ads track valuable data. PPC reports allow you to assess ad performance, measure conversion rates, and adjust your strategy to optimize results.
- Display options. You can display PPC ads on SERPs, social media platforms, and content websites. Google Display ads alone are available on an estimated 35 million websites.
- Budget control. PPC ads allow you to set a maximum monthly budget. You only pay for ads clicked—that is, you only pay when it works, meaning no wasting budget on ads that don’t catch attention.
How to start and manage an ecommerce PPC campaign
Ecommerce PPC management is a multi-step process, and effective PPC campaigns require an upfront investment in research and development. Here’s how it’s done.
1. Choose your keywords
This first step is to choose the keywords that will trigger your ad. You can also identify negative keywords, which are keywords for which you don’t want your ad to be displayed. We’ll get into choosing the right keywords for your campaign below.
2. Develop your ad
The type of ad you select determines your graphic and copy needs. For example, some ads on Google consist of a headline and one to two lines of copy displayed on search engine result pages, also known as SERPs, while display banner ads often include images.
3. Place your bids
After you choose your keywords and ad type, you place a bid with your ad network. Your bid represents the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. Profitable keywords with high search volume are competitive and, therefore, more expensive than low-volume keywords. If you place too low of a bid on a high-volume keyword, someone else could outbid you, and the ad network won’t display your ad.
4. Get clicks
Once you set an ad budget and place bids, your ad network displays your ads online. When customers click your ad, they’re taken to a landing page that you specify on your site (more on landing pages below).
5. Pay the ad network
The ad network then bills you for clicks. Different networks have different ways of charging for ad clicks. Google Ads, for example, automatically charges advertisers’ accounts on the first of the month for the previous month’s clicked ads.
Key elements of successful ecommerce PPC management
The three critical elements of a successful ecommerce PPC strategy are choosing the right keywords, creating a clear, attractive landing page, and designing a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
Choosing the right keywords
Keyword research is a critical part of a PPC campaign strategy. Ad networks use keywords to determine when to display your ads. Research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help by showing a keyword’s monthly search volume, competitiveness, and the bid range for top-of-page display.
In general, it’s a good idea to choose both specific and broad keywords: precise words used in your industry as well as longer phrases that match exact search queries. For example, if you provide catering services in Ann Arbor and have a vegan wedding cake on your menu, you might choose “Ann Arbor catering,” “Ann Arbor wedding catering,” and “Ann Arbor vegan wedding cake.” This approach allows you to reach many potential customers and identify people looking for your unique services.
You can also select negative keywords, i.e., keywords for which you don’t want your ad to be displayed. Suppose you own an auto-detailing service in Cleveland. In this case, you might exclude “Cleveland car repair” or “Cleveland auto accident shop” to avoid paying for clicks from customers looking for an auto body shop.
Remember, PPC reports allow you to assess ad performance. You can use this data to tailor your keywords over time and select the keywords with the highest conversion potential.
Creating an effective PPC landing page
With a click, PPC campaign ads take customers to your ecommerce website. Potential customers who are confused or lost may leave your site quickly, which is why it’s essential to offer them a landing page that creates a clear and straightforward shopping experience.
Strong landing pages are visually appealing, relevant to the ad content and keywords you’re targeting, and contain a clear call-to-action (CTA). An ad for vegan wedding cakes might lead your customers to a landing page designed to showcase your vegan cakes, while an ad for a barbacoa taco bar will lead to a different page on your site.
An attractive, conversion-optimized landing page also makes it easy for your customers to purchase your goods or services by including a CTA, such as an option to contact you or to add an item to a shopping cart. You can also set up the URL to have an Urchin Tracking Module, which will track how visitors are coming to a specific page.
Designing a seamless shopping experience
A seamless, successful PPC shopping experience starts with a customer’s ad click and ends with a purchase. A customer who’s confused or lost will probably leave your site. To make more ecommerce sales, ensure that your landing page directs your customers to a user-friendly online store. Best practices include:
- Providing clear product descriptions
- Including high-quality photos
- Choosing a payment processing partner that accepts multiple forms of online payment
Ecommerce PPC management FAQ
What is PPC in ecommerce?
PPC advertising is a digital ad model in which a business pays for an ad only when a customer clicks on it.
What are the elements of PPC?
A PPC ad campaign involves an advertiser (the ecommerce business that purchases and pays for the ads), an ad network (a service provider that connects businesses with websites that sell ad space), and the website that hosts the ads. PPC ads can appear in search engine results pages (SERPs), also known as paid search, on social media platforms, or websites.
What is the main objective of PPC?
The main objective of PPC ads is to drive traffic to the ad purchaser’s website or linked landing page. From there, the goals vary depending on the business. For ecommerce businesses, the ultimate goal of a PPC ad is the sale of a good or service.
What is a PPC report?
A PPC report is a report from your ad network, ecommerce PPC specialist, or third-party PPC reporting tool that measures your ad performance. A PPC report often includes the following metrics: Total impressions Total clicks Click-through rate (CTR) Ad spend Cost per click Conversions Conversion rate Cost per conversion
Is Google Ads the same as Google Adsense?
Google Adsense and Google Ads perform separate ad network functions: Google Adsense purchases ad space from website publishers. Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) sells this space to businesses. Google Ads also offers Google Search ads, Google Shopping ads, video ads, and banner ads on Google-affiliated properties.