With 34.6% of online shoppers starting their search on Google, your eCommerce website needs to be there to greet them. However, getting yourself to the top of Google requires SEO knowledge, hard work, and patience – leading many to skip the queue and invest in Google Ads, but is that wise?
This blog investigates the benefits and downfalls of Google Ads for eCommerce, including how fast shipping and unbranded packaging can increase their ROI.
What are Google Ads
We all know Google as the go-to search engine, churning millions of search results in milliseconds, but how much do you know about Google Ads? There are five different types of Google Ads, one of which is specifically important for your eCommerce listings.
These are the ads you’ll be most familiar with. Text-based ads that appear at the top of Google search results, following the bidding on certain keywords.
Similar to search ads, Shopping ads appear at the top of Google search results along with an image, title, price, store link, and star rating.
The three remaining ads are Display ads (shown on external websites), Video ads (shown on YouTube), and Universal App ads (for apps), but we’re going to focus on Google Shopping ads because they’re of most use to eCommerce sellers.
Advantages of investing in Google Ads
There are many advertising platforms, all competing for your money. Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Walmart, eBay – what are the benefits of investing in Google Ads over these?
1) Increased visibility
Appearing at the top of Google increases your listing’s visibility in a way that’s not achievable on other platforms. You’re reaching a wider audience, who aren’t necessarily committed to one particular sales channel or seller. This gives you an unrivaled opportunity to convert someone who otherwise would never have come across your listing.
Take popular retailer Ikea. Google Ads increased their visibility through 264% more impressions and 182% more clicks. This boosted their conversions and doubled their website sales.
2) High customer intent
Online shoppers searching Google for specific products have high-purchase intent, much more than someone scrolling through Instagram. This results in qualified leads who are more likely to convert. In fact, research shows that the time to sale is 24% quicker on Google than it is on Amazon – giving online customers less time to reconsider their purchase and abandon their shopping cart.
3) Informed buying decisions
Finally, Google Shopping Ads condense the most important details about your listing (photograph, price, key features, and rating) into a non-obtrusive ad. This gives online shoppers more information about your listing, prompting them to click through and convert.
Popular backpack manufacturer JanSport found that using Google Shopping ads to highlight their back-to-school backpack’s key features made their listings stand out – boosting conversion rates by 13%.
4) PPC format
Finally, Google Shopping ads are pay-per-click, meaning that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This is a cheaper way to advertise than traditional advertisements and, again, results in more qualified leads with higher purchasing intent.
Disadvantages of investing in Google Ads
Of course, there are also considerations to be had when looking at any form of paid advertisement. Specifically, eCommerce businesses should be mindful of:
1) Impact on profits
If your listings have low margins, conversion rates, or average order values, then spending what little profit you have on Google Ads isn’t the way to go. Instead, start by focusing your efforts on improving your conversion and average order rates (see below for tips). Then you can progress to Google Ads.
Big brands, with big budgets, use Google search and shopping ads, meaning that they can quickly outspend you and reduce your chances of being seen. If you’re selling fewer than 500 products, it is unlikely that Google Ads will help you unless you’re selling very unique items.
3) Site abandonment
Just because Google has tempted someone to click onto your listing doesn’t mean that they will convert. Slow websites, outdated information, slow delivery options, and costly shipping can all turn would-be customers away. If you’re not tempting online shoppers to buy once they’re on your listing, you’re wasting your Google Ad spend.
Improving the ROI of your Google Ads
But it’s not all bad news. If you’re intrigued by the benefits of Google Ads, but put off by the spend, there are ways to increase your ROI.
1) Ratings and reviews
Google Shopping ads display your star ratings, making customer reviews crucial for click-through success and profit. Improve your customer service by quickly responding to and solving issues, providing up-to-date order information including tracking details, and ensuring that your products are of the same high quality from when they leave your warehouse to when they reach your buyer.
2) Increasing conversions
The higher your conversion rate, the more profitable your Google Ad spend becomes. Increase customer conversions by appearing on fast shipping programs such as Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping, using high-quality images, and providing informative descriptions.
3) Increasing average order rate
The more your Google Ad customer spends, the more profit you make after paying for the click. Increase average cart spend by recommending additional and relevant products and offering perks such as free shipping. Then, increase your customer lifetime value to further increase your ROI, through loyalty programs, fast shipping programs, and regular engagement.
4) Reducing other costs
To increase your profits without increasing your ad spend, look at other areas in your business where cost savings can be made. Is in-house fulfillment the cheapest option, is branded packaging affecting your costs and delivery speeds, and are you selling on the most cost-effective marketplaces? Calculate your costs and take steps to reduce them.
Google Ads takeaways
Google Ads, specifically Shopping Ads, are brilliant at reaching new customers with a high-intent to purchase before your competitors do. They also come at a cost. Improve the return on your Google Ads investment by offering great reviews, fast shipping, and informative descriptions to increase customer spend and conversions, and improve your customer lifetime value.