1. Google Shopping
Essential for all online retailers, Google Shopping will get your products right in front of consumers searching for anything from bathroom taps to birthday balloons. Google uses your product feed to pull in all the information it needs, then displays it to waiting customers exactly when they’re looking to buy. Typically, Shopping ads will take up to 25%-35% of viewable space on the search results page and they’re often the only visual content, meaning the shopper’s eye is drawn directly to them.
2. Pay-per-click (PPC)
When you’re searching for your next pair of trainers on Google, you’ll find that sponsored (paid) ads take up much more space on the page than they did three years ago. The combination of shopping ads and sponsored ads leave organic listings with around 25% of the viewable page space.
PPC ads give you excellent control over where and when you appear for relevant search results and allow you to target users throughout their path to purchase. For example, an initial search for mugs may lead to a more refined search for spotty mugs, then finally a ready-to-buy search for Emma Bridgewater spotty mugs. As a rule, the more specific the search term, the closer the consumer is to making a purchase. So while an ad for Emma Bridgewater spotty mugs may attract fewer clicks, the people clicking on those ads have a higher propensity to buy. Finally, the more specific keywords will be cheaper to ‘buy’ – it’s a win-win all round.
3. Social ads
Ads on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn get bad press, mostly around relevancy (from a user perspective) and performance (from the advertiser’s perspective). However, if you can identify your target audience and you know they’re active on a platform, the range of targeting techniques and ad formats available are great for driving targeted traffic to your site. As with other less-used platforms/products, the cost-per-click is cheap and while the volume of clicks is lower (for the time being), they’re no less worthy of a mention here.
Consumers rarely buy the first thing they see from the first site they visit. They shop around for discount codes and offers before they make their decision. Remarketing gives you the opportunity to get those visitors back to your site, rather than a competitor’s. Clever remarketing – think beyond ‘come back and buy’ messaging – using segmented audiences, dynamic product insertion and special offers will ensure you get much more bang for your buck.
Finally, don’t just use Google for remarketing. Most social platforms also offer remarketing, and if your audience is there make sure you are too.
5. Go mobile
Ensure your ads are running across all devices and that your site works well (all the way through to conversion) for mobile visitors. By the end of 2015, 40% of all ecommerce transactions will be completed on a smartphone and 16% of all sales that start on a mobile will be completed on another. Both statistics make the case for being present, no matter what stage of the journey your potential customers are at.
6. Be relevant
Above all, make sure you’re targeting your audience – whether they’re existing customers or prospects – with the right message at the right time. More relevant ads tend to earn more clicks and appear in better, more valuable positions and bring you the most success. Not only will they heighten awareness of your brand or message, the more pertinence they have with your audience, the more it will decrease your cost-per-click, saving you money. Non-relevant ads will serve up fewer clicks and may not even show up at all.