How to Build a Winning eCommerce Ads Strategy

Let’s be honest: without traffic, all the effort you put into product development and onsite optimization is utterly pointless.

But you don’t need just any old traffic.

Your store needs highly targeted traffic, the kind that only comes with a well-thought-out and optimized eCommerce ads strategy.

Yes, SEO can drive traffic over time, but for real, continuous growth, getting your eCommerce advertising right is vital.

What Is eCommerce Advertising?

eCommerce advertising refers to all on and offline paid content designed to bring traffic to your online store. This includes anything from email marketing and PPC campaigns to social media content marketing, podcasts, affiliate marketing, and TV or radio media.

In this post, we take you and your marketing team through the importance of building a cross-channel eCommerce ad strategy and the steps you need to take your marketing strategy to the pro level.

We’ll also provide you with winning eCommerce ad examples and hacks from top experts and brands.

You can jump ahead here:

How to Upgrade eCommerce Ads Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps

  1. Lay the foundation for an omnichannel experience
  2. Choose your core marketing channels
  3. Select the right eCommerce ad campaigns for key journey touchpoints
  4. Use real-time automation to manage optimization and drive sales
  5. Go all-in on personalization

Let’s jump in!

Step #1: Laying the Foundation for an Omnichannel eCommerce Experience

To really compete in your niche, you need to look at your overall marketing strategy as a collection of eCommerce ads with each channel campaign optimized to specific objectives, and all channels working together to reach your overall goal: sales.

But it doesn’t stop with eCommerce advertising. Every aspect of your online store customer experience needs to be adapted for multiple channel journeys.

This means your entire cross-channel eCommerce strategy could need an overhaul.

Why? Because of the quick change in consumer behavior over the last couple of years. Here are three essential stats from key eCommerce consumer studies that back this up:

  • According to UC Today, nine out of every 10 consumers want omnichannel service, where they can move between various online channels seamlessly.
  • 44% of all companies have adopted a ‘digital-first approach’ when it comes to customer experience.
  • According to Google, up to 85% of consumers start their purchasing journey on one device but finish the final transaction on another.

A simple example of this in practice is the rise of BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) initiatives which dramatically increased during COVID lockdowns last year.

Many boutiques and retail brands like Dress Up joined the 43.7% of top retailers that already offered BOPIS before the pandemic hit.

eCommerce stores that offer offline pickup

Even if you don’t have offline brick-and-mortar locations, you should still be creating a multi-channel experience for your shoppers through a range of online channels.

This will ensure your entire customer journey is multi-dimensional and seamless at every touchpoint and allow shoppers to move between channels and devices easily.

To lay a good foundation for a multi-channel strategy, you should be diving deep into your store data to answer these key questions:

  • Which channels are bringing in the most traffic, and what percentage of that traffic converts?
  • How many steps do my shoppers take before they complete a sale?
  • Which channels bring the most inquiries and requests (customer service)?
  • Are the devices potential shoppers use to find your store the same as the devices they use to make a purchase?
  • Which social media platforms do your shoppers engage with most?

Let’s say you have a growing online clothing boutique. When you take a look at your store data, you find that Google and Facebook ads bring the most traffic, but that that traffic takes longer to convert (more steps to purchase).

You also find that while Twitter doesn’t bring any store traffic, it’s the top channel your customers use to engage with your customer service.

You could then use this data:

  1. To spot gaps in your eCommerce ads for those channels like Dynamic product ads or Google Shopping remarketing, which you can then fill with touchpoint-specific campaigns and improved personalization and targeting.
  2. Move ad-spend from Twitter to other more lucrative channels such as Google Shopping, and move Twitter out of marketing and into your customer support management systems.

Step #2: Choose Your Core eCommerce Ads Marketing Channels

We now know the importance of creating an omnichannel customer experience. Choosing the right eCommerce ad channels that work seamlessly together will play a vital role in the success of building the right conversion strategy.

Pro Tip: As your eCommerce ads strategy gets more involved, the number of core channels and campaign types will increase.

In order for you or your marketing team to not only manage but optimize your overall strategy and keep flow seamless, you will need to invest in PPC management tools.

If you are looking for a more hands-on alternative to WordStream, then check out Traffic Booster.

When it comes to eCommerce ads, there are seven core eCommerce digital marketing channels every online store should consider.

Top Sales-Boosting eCommerce Ads Channels

  1. Google ads
  2. Facebook (and Instagram) ads
  3. Microsoft ads
  4. Pinterest ads
  5. Snapchat ads
  6. TikTok ads
  7. Amazon ads

Let’s take a closer look at these dig
ital marketing channels, the types of eCommerce ads they include, and their targeting options.

1. Google Ads for eCommerce

Best-suited for: All eCommerce brands (B2C or B2B)

When it comes to marketing channels and ads, Google Ads for eCommerce is a must for any brand. With a wide variety of campaigns and targeting options, Google is an eCommerce lead-generating tool that can reach potential customers and shoppers at every touchpoint.

The trick is using the right ad type with the right targeting strategy.

Top Google Ads for eCommerce

  1. Google Display network
  2. Google Shopping ads
  3. Smart Google Shopping
  4. Google Remarketing Ads
  5. DSAs (Dynamic Search ads)
  6. Google Search ads
  7. YouTube ads
  8. Google Gallery ads

Google offers a wide range of targeting options for online retailers, including:

  • Contextual (keyword) targeting
  • Placement targeting
  • Topic targeting
  • In-market audiences (interest targeting)
  • Affinity audiences (interest targeting)
  • Demographic targeting
  • Shopping behavior retargeting
  • Similar Audiences
  • Custom intent

Here’s an example of how these targeting options can help you build your eCommerce ads strategy for Google.

Let’s say you have an online pet supply store based in San Francisco, California. You could create Google search campaigns that target “dog clothes” (keyword targeting) and “San Francisco and nearby cities” (location-based targeting.)

You could also target topics based on seasons for your Display ads. For instance, you could add the keyword “buy dog costumes” with the topic “Hobbies & Leisure Special Occasions Holidays & Seasonal Events.

An eCommerce brand that understands the power of diversified channels and ads is Moving Beans. They were able to increase their monthly revenue 5x with an optimized eCommerce PPC campaign strategy.

Here are some of their most recent eCommerce Google ads.

google search ad example ecommerce

[Google Search Ad Example]

responsive display ad example google

[Google Display Responsive Ad Example]

gmail ads example eCommerce

[Gmail Ad Example]

ecommerce YouTube ad example

[YouTube Ad Example]

2. Facebook Ads for eCommerce

Best-suited for: All eCommerce brands (B2C or B2B)

No winning eCommerce ads strategy would be complete without Facebook. When it comes to Facebook ads for eCommerce, you want to diversify your campaigns and targeting and ensure that your ads work to feed other channels like Google.

Top Facebook Ads for eCommerce

  1. Dynamic ads
  2. Collection ads
  3. Video ads
  4. Domain ads
  5. Messenger ads
  6. Instant Experience ads
  7. Lead ads
  8. Carousel ads
  9. Offer ads

It’s Facebook’s targeting options that make this channel super powerful for online sellers. When used strategically, you can not only reach thousands of new potential customers but convert customers with personalization.

Facebook’s targeting is diverse and include:

  • Engagement-behavior targeting
  • Geographic targeting
  • Demographic targeting
  • Behavior targeting
  • Interest targeting
  • Custom Audiences for new shopper acquisition
  • Lookalike Audiences to find similar audiences to existing customers
  • Retargeting audiences (Facebook pixel) based on onsite behavior

In short, you will need a mix of campaigns targeting different segments to ensure you are hitting every stage of a customer’s journey.

To do this effectively, you should first put effort into upgrading your audiences before reviewing the types of Facebook ads you are using.

Here are just a few examples of audiences you should be tweaking at various journey touch-points:

  1. Awareness: Custom Audiences based on Google Analytics data or brand interest and value-based customer lookalike audiences.
  2. Consideration: Custom Audiences based on web traffic behavior, Facebook/Instagram content engagement, email subscribers, and Google Ads traffic.
  3. Loyalty building: Custom…

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