Why you should be using PPC if you’re an ecommerce business

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

Are you selling something? Do you want someone to buy it? PPC might be exactly what you need.

Most e-commerce based businesses have moved predominantly online with varying degrees of success. We only have to look at the likes of Amazon and Ebay to see how successful it can be. On the flip side of the coin poor old Toys R Us probably could have done with some digital help.

So how can you make use of PPC to generate your own success in the world of e-commerce?

We live in a world of comparison sites and service providers who connect both customers and businesses in a virtual market place. But there is no reason why you or your ecommerce business can’t do this yourself.

We are going to look at PPC; in particular, Google Ads, and discover what can be utilised in the Google Ads Platform by either a PPC Professional or your Digital Marketing Agency. We’re also going to be looking at how these all work and why you should be using them.


Google Shopping

It’s becoming more apparent how important Google Shopping will be for retailers and ecommerce business, which is why Google keeps on expanding its offering. First with Standard Shopping Campaigns, then Showcase and now Smart Campaigns. We will work through them all.

Standard Google Shopping works like this; a potential customer may be searching for a product that your ecommerce business sells, and so then you are able to advertise said products to them, sounds simple right?

The beauty of standard Google Shopping Campaigns is that as an ecommerce business, in particular retail, you are able to display your product image, price, product information and your business name to the customer via the use of a product feed. All this is before they have even reached your site.

With most Google campaign types you only pay for clicks, so even for those who don’t click, you are still getting free brand exposure. For the customers who do click they tend to be highly engaging. Lets not forget these customers have already seen all the product information including the price, and so are in a buying mode, so marketing to these types of customers is a must. All that is left to do after they click is get them over the line with an engaging customer journey.


Google Shopping Showcase

Previously standard google shopping will allow you to show up for particular terms, you might be selling Mens Red T-Shirts or a Nokia 3310 in Yellow, and you can show the exact advert to that customer. However, some customers don’t know what they want yet and so may search for more generic terms like “coat”, in which case you may want to “showcase” all products that are coats in one go? See what I did there?

Google Shopping Showcase ads allow you to cluster product ranges together, so a customer is able to browse your products together rather than individually. This can be a great way to introduce your brand or business to a customer, and best of all you only pay if they land on your site not if they click through to view the range – winner!


Google Shopping Smart Campaigns

This is another new Google Campaign type which combines standard Google Shopping, Showcase, Display and GSP advertising coupled with machine learning. It does have a few requirements in terms of previous performance of historical shopping campaigns, which I suggest you look into first!

Once this is working it can mean minimal campaign management by just uploading assets and connecting feeds. So far the jury is still out with regards to performance against traditional campaigns, but I do suspect over time this will be the go to campaign – watch this space!


Hotel Ads

Much like Google Shopping is now a cornerstone for more and more retail ecommerce based businesses in recent years, Hotel Ads is looking to stamp its authority on the travel industry, in a similar fashion to how Google Shopping inventory is submitted to Google via a feed. Hotels or travel platforms are then able to advertise there hotel to a customer, who is looking to stay in a certain location. Images of the hotel, price, reviews and location can be seen before a customer looks to visit the site. This allows advertisers to take more control over the relationship with a customer rather than relying on comparison sites and paying fees for the privilege.

Both Google Shopping and Google Hotel Ads are allowing advertisers to take more control of sales and drive bookings to your hotel. This is a very interesting move from Google and is something to keep an eye on for any travel based ecommerce businesses.


Google Search

Probably the bread and butter for most PPC accounts, especially any of those relating to ecommerce. This staple campaign type has been around since the beginning, and has served us well over the years. It caters to any customers who are actively searching for products or services related to your business and serve them relevant ads, simples. Just remember to serve all relevant extensions so you can stand out. It’s also worth noting Google Search is becoming increasingly audience focused and is forever evolving, so make sure you stay a step ahead.



This campaign type doesn’t tend to convert as well from an acquisition point of view but does still have its benefits, such as the cost per click generally being much cheaper than other campaigns. The main Display campaign types are General Display, Retargeting and GSP. Meaning you can either go out to the wider market via the use of audience, keyword or placement targeting.

You can retarget customers both generically and dynamically nudging them back into the journey. The dynamic adverts can be very powerful by showing a customer the exact product they visited but didn’t purchase. GSP (google sponsored promotion) allows you to advertise directly in someone’s gmail inbox and can have a high interaction rate.


All these different campaign types can be combined with a number of different bidding strategies so that your PPC activity can be optimised to drive a return on investment. By looking at all the different touch points on a customer journey and making real data driven decisions, PPC can be very successful for you and your ecommerce business.

All PPC campaigns we have discussed do have the same thing in common; they are designed to reach a customer who could be looking to buy the product or service you offer. Meaning the ultimate reason why you should be using PPC is to get yourself in front of these customers and sell to them, because if you don’t, your competitors will.

Suppose the only question left now is; which one do you try first? If you’re unsure or you have any questions, we’re here to help – get in touch