Ecommerce PPC Management: What To Know (2024)

Gone are the days when you had to make an educated guess about your customers’ whereabouts and interests in order to advertise to them. 

Thanks to demographic and browsing data, you can target digital ads based on actual, identified needs of your target customers. With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, ecommerce businesses have the ability to intelligently advertise to prospective customers, with an added bonus: Unlike other digital advertising models, PPC advertising means you only pay when someone clicks on the ad.

Ahead, learn all about the process of ecommerce PPC management, the advantages of this advertising model, and best practices for doing it effectively.

What is ecommerce pay-per-click (PPC) management?

Ecommerce PPC management is the process of setting up, managing, and optimizing your ecommerce business’s pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Ecommerce PPC management involves at least three parties:

  1. The advertiser. You or your ecommerce business.
  2. The ad network. The service provider that connects you with websites selling ad space.
  3. The hosting website. Where your ad is displayed.

Depending on your budget, goals, and familiarity with PPC marketing, you may choose to manage your own PPC campaign or partner with an ecommerce PPC specialist.

An ecommerce PPC management service can help you mediate between your business and ad networks, consult on paid advertising strategy, conduct keyword research, and report on PPC campaign results. Many digital marketing agencies offer ecommerce PPC management, which typically costs at least $400 per month, in addition to ad spending and set-up fees.

What does a PPC agency or specialist typically do?

A PPC agency or specialist creates and manages online ad campaigns in platforms like Google Ads or social media. Their goal is to drive qualified traffic to your website and increase conversions. 

These specialists also research the keywords to target, based on your target audience, and craft compelling ad copy to attract their attention. They can also be responsible for designing and optimizing landing pages to maximize these conversions, but that is up to you. Maybe you would prefer an in-house designer or vetted freelancer to work on your landing pages. It’s flexible. 

PPC specialists are also responsible for managing your budget. They will continuously monitor your campaigns, looking at metrics like click-through and conversion rates, and make adjustments to maximize your spend. 

Who should hire a PPC management service?

Companies that want to improve their online presence and drive traffic to their site should hire a PPC management service. 

It’s possible to build a team in-house, but if you don’t have the budget or expertise to hire PPC specialists, it’s more efficient to hire a partner. They can oversee the entire operation and put a bigger team behind your company to support your efforts. 

In general, the following businesses often hire PPC management services:

  • Ecommerce businesses
  • Service providers like lawyers, dentists, and accountants 
  • Startups and new businesses 
  • Subscription-based services with high customer lifetime value 
  • Businesses promoting a time-sensitive offer
  • Local businesses seeking foot traffic 

Overall, ecommerce PPC management services are ideal for companies looking to get immediate results, target specific groups, and maximize advertising spend for maximum ROI. 

How to start and manage an ecommerce PPC campaign

Ecommerce PPC management is a multistep process, and effective PPC campaigns require an upfront investment in research and development. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Choose your keywords
  2. Create a landing page
  3. Develop your ad
  4. Set a budget
  5. Place your bids
  6. Manage your spend
  7. Pay the ad network

1. Choose your keywords

Keyword research is a critical part of a PPC campaign strategy. Ad networks use keywords to determine when to display your ads. Research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help by showing a keyword’s monthly search volume, competitiveness, and the bid range for top-of-page display. Simply create a Google Ads account to access the keyword planning tool.

In general, it’s a good idea to choose both specific and broad keywords: precise words used in your industry as well as longer phrases that match exact search queries. For example, if you provide catering services in Ann Arbor and have a vegan wedding cake on your menu, you might choose “Ann Arbor catering,” “Ann Arbor wedding catering,” and “Ann Arbor vegan wedding cake.” This approach allows you to reach many potential customers and identify people looking for your unique services. 

You can also select negative keywords, i.e., keywords for which you don’t want your ad to be displayed. Suppose you own an auto-detailing service in Cleveland. In this case, you might exclude “Cleveland car repair” or “Cleveland auto accident shop” to avoid paying for clicks from customers looking for an auto body shop.

Remember, PPC reports allow you to assess ad performance. You can use this data to tailor your keywords over time and select the keywords with the highest conversion potential.

2. Create a landing page

With a click, PPC campaign ads take customers to your ecommerce website. Potential customers who are confused or lost may leave your site quickly, which is why it’s essential to offer them a landing page that creates a clear and straightforward shopping experience.

Feetures landing page after clicking a Google Ad for running socks.

Strong landing pages are visually appealing, relevant to the ad content and keywords you’re targeting, and contain a clear call to action (CTA). An ad for vegan wedding cakes might lead your customers to a landing page designed to showcase your vegan cakes, while an ad for a barbacoa taco bar will lead to a different page on your site.

An attractive, conversion-optimized landing page also makes it easy for your customers to purchase your goods or services by including a CTA, such as an option to contact you or to add an item to a shopping cart. You can also set up the URL to have an Urchin Tracking Module, which tracks how visitors are coming to a specific page.

3. Develop your ad

The type of ad you select determines your graphic and copy needs. For example, some ads on Google consist of a headline and one to two lines of copy displayed on search engine result pages, also known as SERPs, while display banner ads often include images.

Image of PPC ad by Fabletics
Google Ad example from Fabletics

4. Set a budget

Your Google Ads budget should be determined by your marketing objectives, your target ROI, and your overall marketing budget. If your business sells artisanal coffee, for instance, you might start off with a modest daily budget of $20 to $50, depending on how profitable your business is and how competitive your keywords are.

5. Place your bids

To manage your budget effectively, you need to choose the right bidding strategy. There are two main ones in Google Ads:

  • Manual cost-per-click (CPC): Lets you set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. If you’re new to Google Ads, manual CPC gives you more control.
  • Automated bidding strategy: There are lots of options here, like Maximize Clicks, Target CPA, and Target ROAS. For example, Maximize Clicks might be the best option if your goal is to get more people to your coffee website. Target CPA could be better if you’re focusing on sales or signups.

Not all keywords are equal in terms of value and competition. Some keywords might be more expensive, but more likely to convert. For example, a keyword like “buy organic coffee online” might have a higher cost but also a higher conversion rate than a more general keyword like “coffee.”

6. Manage your spend

Keep an eye on your campaign’s performance. Google Ads gives you metrics like clicks, impressions, CTRs, and conversions. 

You might increase the budget for a particular set of keywords or campaign if it’s doing well. On the other hand, you can cut the budget for another part of the campaign or pause it to reallocate funds if it isn’t working.

Suppose you have a monthly budget of $1,500 for your artisanal coffee business. Here’s how you might manage it:

  • Week 1: Allocate $300 to test different sets of keywords and ad formats. Monitor which keywords are driving traffic and conversions.
  • Week 2: Adjust your bids based on the first week’s performance. Perhaps you notice “organic coffee beans” have a good conversion rate. Increase the bid for this keyword.
  • Weeks 3 and 4: Focus the majority of your budget on the best-performing keywords and campaigns. If “organic coffee beans” is your star keyword, it might now receive $40 daily instead of the initial $20, while underperforming keywords get less budget or are paused.

7. Pay the ad network

The ad network then bills you for clicks. Different networks have different ways of charging for ad clicks. Google Ads, for example, automatically charges advertisers’ accounts on the first of the month for the previous month’s clicked ads.

Why use PPC for ecommerce stores?

There are many advantages to PPC ecommerce. Running a PPC campaign can increase revenue, provide insights into the effectiveness of your online advertising strategy, and help maximize your marketing budget. Here’s how:

1. Advanced targeting

PPC ecommerce ads are highly targetable, allowing you to advertise specific products or services to particular audience segments based on demographic information and search behaviors. For example, if you sell handmade hoop earrings, you could target customers who have searched for “hoop earrings” or recently visited other hoop earring product pages.

2. Increased revenue

Ecommerce PPC campaigns can help your business boost ad conversion and drive revenue by aiming ads at customers looking for your products or services. An effective PPC campaign doesn’t just increase traffic to a product page or landing page—it brings in the right kind of traffic.

3. Measurable, data-driven results

Unlike old-school billboards or newspaper ads, web ads track valuable data. PPC reports allow you to assess ad performance, measure conversion rates, and adjust your strategy to optimize results.

4. Display options

You can display PPC ads on SERPs, social media platforms, and content websites. Google display ads alone are available on an estimated 35 million websites.

5. Budget control

PPC ads allow you to set a maximum monthly budget. You only pay for ads clicked—that is, you only pay when it works, meaning no wasting budget on ads that don’t catch attention.

Earn more with ecommerce PPC

A successful ecommerce PPC strategy revolves around choosing the right keywords, creating an attractive landing page, and designing a seamless shopping experience for your customers. If you stay flexible and responsive to your data, you can continuously improve your ads and yield the best possible returns on your PPC campaigns. 

Ecommerce PPC management FAQ

What is PPC in ecommerce?

PPC advertising is a digital ad model in which a business pays for an ad only when a customer clicks on it.

What are the elements of PPC?

A PPC ad campaign involves an advertiser (the ecommerce business that purchases and pays for the ads), an ad network (a service provider that connects businesses with websites that sell ad space), and the website that hosts the ads. Ecommerce PPC ads can appear in search engine results pages (SERPs, also known as paid search), on social media platforms, or websites.

Is Google Ads the same as Google AdSense?

Google AdSense and Google Ads perform separate ad network functions: Google AdSense purchases ad space from website publishers. Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) sells this space to businesses. Google Ads also offers Google Search ads, Google Shopping ads, video ads, and banner ads on Google-affiliated properties.

What is the main objective of PPC?

The main objective of PPC ads is to drive traffic to the ad purchaser’s website or linked landing page. From there, the goals vary depending on the business. For ecommerce businesses, the ultimate goal of a PPC ad is the sale of a good or service.

What is a PPC report?

A PPC report is a report from your ad network, ecommerce PPC specialist, or third-party PPC reporting tool that measures your ad performance. A PPC report often includes the following metrics: total impressions, total clicks, click-through rate (CTR), ad spend, cost per click, conversions, conversion rate, and cost per conversion.

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