Practical Ecommerce PPC & Paid Media for Everyone

Business Marketing, Ecommerce, Mobile Strategy, Paid Media Advertising

Whether you’re just launching a new brand with an Ecommerce site, or trying to grow your online sales due to the lack of traffic to your brick and mortar store (thanks COVID-19), PPC for Ecommerce is the quickest way to start bringing in more users. 

With a variety of platforms and ad types available you can create a mix of engaging ad content targeted at your ideal audience. You can advertise to them when they’re looking at Search and Shopping ads, and you can start to create awareness and demand with display and social media campaigns. 

Let’s talk about options!


Google Search ads

You know, those things that show at the top of your Google search results when you look for something online. You can (almost always) pay to be at the top of the page, your ads and landing pages can’t be terrible or Google will never put you first. But the general idea is that you can quickly jump to the top of the SERP’s with paid ads. 

The trick (if I can massively oversimplify here) is to target the right audience and bid on the right keywords. Or else you’ll be paying your life away on ad clicks that never lead to purchases. 

Google shopping ads for Ecommerce

You know those image ads that appear at the top of your search results when you look for a specific product? Those are google shopping ads. 

And with COVID-19 keeping people home, some Google Shopping ads are now available to use for free. So even less to lose here, especially if you’re new to the game. 

Facebook and Instagram Ads

This is where you’re going to get some of the most specific audience and demographic targeting options. Facebook and Instagram are great places to build interest in your brand and products with new users who’ve never heard of you before. 

The image-focused nature of them means your creative needs to be professional and eye-catching or else you’re not going to get much traction. Users will get ad fatigue and scroll past them without even thinking about your offer.  

Lifetime Value: Your Golden Ticket

More important than constantly pulling in new customers, is turning them into repeat buyers. A first purchase from a new company is usually a small, toe in the water purchase. But once someone knows the product quality is solid they’ll be more willing to make larger purchases. 

This repurchasing from the same users create a lifetime value (LTV) for them, instead of being worth $15 for their one-time purchase, they’re worth $600 a year. This is the metric you need to keep your eye on at all times. It might cost you $50 to acquire that new customer who makes a first time $15 purchase, but if you can turn them into a $600 a year customer, you’ve really increased your ROI. 

Find your LTV customers

You need to figure out who (demographically) and where (geographically) your biggest LTV customers are and then build your strategy toward creating even higher LTV customers. 

For example, if you’re a clothing retailer that sells loungewear targeted to busy 30’s professionals- gather LTV data. Let’s say the highest LTV customers live on the West Coast and in NYC. They made their first purchase buying a t-shirt and a pair of joggers, and over the last two years they’ve purchased 6 pairs of joggers, one every 3-5 months. 

Analyze and act on your LTV data

The above behaviors give you a ton of info. You need to attract them back in with rad t-shirt and jogger combos. Consider doing a promo here – buy a T-shirt and jogger and you get 20% off your entire order.  Then create lookalikes of these purchasers. 

The next step is to retarget customers who’ve purchased joggers and/or tshirts with a 90-day retargeting audience. Make this creative the newest colors, or with messaging about wearing them every day of the week, or the benefits of having multiple pairs. Do a promo here too- buy 2 pairs of joggers get a 3rd pair half off. 

Remember, you target the people who perform best, so for our example, you’ll want to target these campaigns to Cali, OR, WA and NYC. Create lookalikes here as well. Lookalikes create new audiences of users to advertise to who, wait for it, look a lot like those who have purchased before (similar in demographics, behaviors and locations). These are the kind of ads you see cropping up if your feed for products you’ve never heard of before but are right up your alley. The algorithm knows you, yes it’s a bit creepy, but also pretty damn cool. 

As new products come out you can upsell this audience with sweatshirts, bralettes, whatever you’ve got coming out, then in the creative, style them with the joggers. 

Advertise for all points of the sales funnel 

You want to be careful not to hit repeat and conversion tactics too hard. If you’re not filling the top of the funnel you’ll bleed your LTV customer base dry and overnight your ROI will go to complete trash. 

Each channel (paid social, shopping, paid search) should be giving you ROI data which is what you’ll want to build your media campaigns and budgets off of. But remember you’ll want to match this data to LTV rather than just single purchase revenue and AOV (average order value). This planning stage might be pure trial and error for a while, and will likely emerge strong audience patterns. Your new customer acquisition might be 85% through Google shopping ads, but then these customers might repeat through social ads for the next 4 years.

Determining ad spend for each phase

So you want to know how much of your budget should go towards awareness, converting first-time customers, remarketing, and increasing your LTV customers. Here’s how we’d  recommend you assign budget:

  1. Figure how much it costs to gain a new customer (cost per acquisition)
  2. And  your cost per conversion of repeat  customers
  3. Determine how quickly you want to scale and grow
  4. This will tell you how much to spend on awareness vs. conversion strategies 

Spoiler alert, it’s going to cost more to acquire a new, first time customer. Having 5-star product reviews  (from real customers, not bots) can go a long way in cutting down the number of touchpoints it can take for a new customer to convert, so don’t sleep on your review requests.

Get Ecommerce Pros to do this instead

If reading this far made your head hurt and your palms a little sweaty, fear not! You don’t actually have to do all this yourself. You can hire experts to do it, we’ll even include management fees into determining your ROI so you can be sure you’re moving the needle in the right direction.

About the Author

Alysha Schultz

Being the VP of Marketing and Culture at Intuitive is really about making sure we walk our talk. Whether that's fostering a balanced and supportive work culture, progressing JEDI initiatives, or ensuring we provide the highest level of service for all of our partners. Alysha is passionate about understanding and cultivating brand identities, and helping businesses share their story with the public through marketing.

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