PPC for eCommerce: Complete Guide to Huge ROI

Most of our eCommerce clients who needed our PPC services did a search for their products and couldn’t find them on the first page of the results at some point in time. Being on the second page on any search engine’s results means losing 90 percent of the potential profits. That’s especially important for an eCommerce website that relies on people finding their online store when they search for a particular product.
In a nutshell, you can get to the top the hard way or the expensive way. That’s the epic battle of PPC vs SEO and each business chooses its winner.
Even though no one can deny The Profitability of SEO in eCommerce, some people prefer the fast, guaranteed ROI of paid advertising. I’m saying guaranteed ROI because if you do PPC the right way, you don’t need an enormous budget. Optimized campaigns and ads, means lower costs and each sale, means bigger profits.

In this guide, we’ll share some of our knowledge to help you learn the basics of:

1. Google Shopping
2. Bing Shopping
3. Amazon advertising

Google Shopping

eCommerce websites are aggressively using Shopping Ads. So, it’s not unusual that whenever a person types some kind of product on Google, the first thing they see are Google Shopping Ads. Don’t believe this is true? Open a new tab and do a search for any kind of product. If you’re searching on a desktop, you can find them at the right side of the search results page.

Search Results on Google for the query Buy Jordan Sneakers, next to the search results are placed all shopping ads

Google Shopping Ads on mobile are in a carousel format and are placed above all results.
Currently, Google Shopping Ads are so popular among eCommerce websites that according to Search Engine Land, out of all non-branded product clicks, 75 percent are on Google Shopping Ads. Another report says that US eCommerce stores that use Google for sponsored ads get 85% of all their paid clicks from Google Shopping.
In other words, every eCommerce website that doesn’t use Shopping Ads loses lots of money.

How does Google Shopping Work?

For starters, Google Shopping enables people to browse, compare and buy across stores. Consumers do that effortlessly because of the regular updates of the product info that merchants do. eCommerce stores pay Google only when someone clicks on their Shopping Ads or make a purchase on their site (paying for conversion).

Consumers are given a lot of filters that helps them narrow down the choice to products that best suit them. They can filter them according to things like price, technical specifications, and size, just to name a few. One of the best features that Google Shopping provides is “Visually Similar”. Let’s say someone is looking at a product in Google Shopping, and when they go to product details they can see suggested items that are Visually Similar to the product that they’ve selected.

On the more technical part, Google Shopping is fueled by GoogleAds and Google Merchant Center.

What is Google Merchant Center?

Google Merchant Center is the place where you list all products that you want to advertise. You are probably wondering, “Why don’t I just add them in Google Ads, like with normal campaigns?” Well, Google prefers this format for product organization. Yes, it may be a bit more complicated, but in reality, it’s the same job - only on two platforms. Once you’re done with the list of your products, you jump to Google Ads and set your budget, bids, make optimizations of your ads and get the usual insight. 

Still, there is a difference between Search and Shopping ads. Normal text ads are made up of ad groups and ads that rely on handpicked keywords that you’ve selected. However, Google Shopping doesn’t work that way. With these ads, Google decides when your products should be displayed. The platform goes through your feed, website, and bids to determine what keywords should trigger your ads. This is where your SEO practices play an important part in your paid advertising.

Graphic presentation symbolizing the Google Merchant center

Successful Shopping Campaign

To have a successful Shopping campaign, make sure you pay attention to these three areas:

1. Feed Mastery - what we refer to here are Feed creation and optimization. Make sure you have exceptional product data (content), images of your products, and price.

2. Choosing the Right Bid - The main factors that should determine your bid in Shopping Ads are:

Product Price - Placing the same bid for all your products is never a good idea unless your product portfolio is small. Test different bids for a certain amount of time, and compare the results.

Profit Margin - It won’t be enough to focus only on the price of the products for determining your bids. You need to calculate your average gross margin, without going into deep calculations. Just take into consideration the market price of your product and the cost of goods sold.

eCommerce Conversion Rate - Don’t forget to check the data on the average conversion rate of your PPC campaigns.

3. Monitoring and Optimizing - As with every type of paid advertising, you get data about your performance that enables you to make constant optimizations of your ads.

An Introduction to Bing Shopping

You’ve probably guessed, Bing like everything else, copied Google’s Shopping Ads too. We won’t go into detail, because Bing Shopping works on the same principles as Google Shopping. While we are at it, check the years-long battle of the two rivals in our Bing VS Google blog. Back at Bing Shopping ads. They are triggered according to a search query. You can find them on the right side of the SERP on desktop (similar to what Google was doing ages ago), or if you’re on mobile, they are placed at the top of the results page.

There are some advantages to using Bing Ads rather than Google Ads. There is less competition in auctions, lower Cost Per Click, and relatively greater control over your ad groups and ads.

Graphically designed image representing a virtual transaction

How does Bing Shopping work?

Yes, they also have their own Bing Merchant Center. Just open your Bing Ads, go to Tools>Bing Merchant Center and then click on Create a Store. Here you can create and optimize your product data feed.

The sneaky Bing guys have made it extremely easy for eCommerce websites to start a Shopping Campaign on their platform. They just let advertisers import product data feed from Google Merchant Center into their own Bing Merchant Center. Yup, genius.

How to import product data feed from Google Merchant Center to Bing Merchant Center?

Go to your Bing Ads account > Tools > Bing Merchant Center > Import > Sign in to Google. Another feature that Bing has is that enables you to schedule a recurring import. This means that whenever you make some changes to your products info in Google, the same changes automatically transfer to Bing.

Another thing that is unknown to advertisers on Google is the priority levels you set in Bing Ads.

Priority Levels in Bing Ads

Essentially, you let Bing know the importance of each campaign you have. That way, when people search for some relevant query regarding your products, Bing looks at the priority levels of each campaign and organizes the results accordingly. Best practice of Priority Level is to put a high priority label on your best sellers or the seasonal products. Medium priority for those products that are year-round sellers. And with low priority can be all else.

Bids and Budgets in Bing Ads

When you import your campaigns from Google to Bing, you’ll notice that your bids and budgets for certain campaigns were raised. That’s because of the difference in the minimum thresholds requirements of your bids and budgets in Google and Bing Ads. You can select Bing not to do this, but the campaigns with lower budgets than Bing’s requirements will not be imported.

Important note: The same optimization techniques you use in Google Ads can also be implemented in Bing Ads!

Graphically designed image that represents the potential in Amazon Advertising

An Introduction to Amazon Advertising

Even though many people don’t think of Amazon as highly, it’s just like any other search engine. Most eCommerce vendors run ads on Amazon because it’s kind of a no-brainer.

An unexpected cost to advertisers comes from the adoption of their own channel on Amazon. However, Amazon has an excellent customer base of more than 300 million users with extensive customer data on each of them, including both me and you. That’s why Amazon is one of the best ways to sell eCommerce products.
And we’re not making this up. In recent years, Amazon successfully surpassed Google in product searches.

How Does Amazon Advertising Works?

If you know how to advertise on Google and Bing, Amazon will come as a piece of cake. Sellers who want to increase the visibility of their products on Amazon are placing bids on keywords that show high buying intent, and you pay by the click. Just like you expect PPC to work.

The main types of Amazon ads are just like Display and Shopping ads, only they are called:

1. Premium Ads - these are the ones that resemble the Display Ads. Banner-type ads that are used mainly to raise brand awareness - just like Google’s Display Ads.

2. Self-serve ads - pretty much what you expect of a Shopping Ad. They show up on SERP or product listing pages. They present the product price, title, image, etc. In this guide, we’ll stick to the Self-serve ads and its ad format types.
Amazon offers three different formats of self-serve ads:

Sponsored Product Ads
With sponsored product ads, your ads are displayed on the first page of the search results page, boosting the visibility of your products. They lead each user to the product details page.

Headline Search Ads
Headline Search Ads appear above the sponsored and organic product listings on the SERP, as a headline banner. The main difference between Product and Headline Search ads is that Headline Search ads are taking people to customized, branded landing pages.

Product Display Ads 
The above mentioned are keyword-targeted ads, however, Product Display ads are served when someone searches for related products or shows an interest in a product. They appear on the SERPs, on product details pages, and on customer review pages.

eCommerce PPC: Sell Your Products Fast

With the worldwide growth of eCommerce, the number of channels that can be used for selling products only increases. Each year more and more people turn to Google, Bing, and Amazon for buying products. That’s why it’s essential for every eCommerce business to develop a multi-channel PPC presence in order to maximize its profits.

If you enjoyed this read, feel free to check out our previous article that goes in-depth on the topic What is eCommerce Marketing. Also, don’t forget to Subscribe to Our Newsletter!