Effective PPC management can increase brand awareness, drive qualified traffic, and maximize ROAS, but there are a lot of nuances and strategies to ensure that happens. Pay-per-click ad management requires you to reach the best prospects and get them, and only them, to click.
With experience helping hundreds of brands grow faster with proactive PPC management, the XYZ Advantage team put together this guide to help you master ecommerce PPC management that helps you scale your business without inflating your marketing budget.
Keep reading to quickly learn about PPC for ecommerce, the most important strategies for ecommerce PPC at four stages of growth, the biggest mistakes to avoid, and how to pick the best partner to ensure a high return on ad spend.
Table of Contents
- What is Ecommerce PPC Management?
- When is an Ecom brand ready for PPC?
- Understand Different PPC Stages for the Right Expectations
- Avoid Doing These ROAS-Killing Mistakes
- Choose a Resilient Partner that Understands Your Business Goals
- E-commerce PPC FAQs
What is Ecommerce PPC Management?
Pay-per-click ads, or PPC ads, are advertisements where advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad. It’s often used to drive traffic to websites, with the goal of converting this traffic into sales or leads. The cost per click (CPC) is determined by various factors, including the advertiser’s bid amount, quality of ad, and competition for the keyword.
eCommerce PPC Management encapsulates the data-driven strategies implemented to optimize pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns specifically for eCommerce businesses. The primary objective is to attract potential customers and increase eCommerce sales by driving traffic to an eCommerce website or online store.
While that may sound like a lot, effective PPC management for ecommerce brands can drive a high ROI and increase brand awareness. Since XYZ Advantage focuses on performance marketing and delivering results for your bottom-line, our PPC ads tend to convert better than other channels like SEO, organic social, and PR.
In fact, research shows that PPC converts 50% better than organic link visitors and offers an average of 200% ROI.
There are different PPC channels that you can use to improve targeting. While Google is the clear leader of the search engine market, Facebook is considered a highly converting social media platform . Other options include Microsoft Bing Ads, Amazon Ads, LinkedIn, and other popular social media platforms.
However, you can’t go by clear numbers and averages, because you must choose a channel where your customers are most likely to be. For example, if your business has a younger demographic, then TikTok ads might be a good option. However, for an older and more business-savvy audience, LinkedIn is probably the better choice.
No matter what channel you choose, it’s critical to make your revenue and ROAS the primary goal. You can learn the ins and outs of the platform and train its AI algorithm to drive the thing you need the most -sales!
When is an Ecom Brand Ready for PPC?
It would be a mistake to jump into PPC campaigns too early. Instead, you want to naturally progress toward PPC and the best way to determine when you’re ready is by using your monthly revenue as a guideline.
< $10k/Month Revenue – Not Ready
Before you jump directly into a PPC marketing strategy, it’s important to test the waters. We recommend waiting until you can generate $10k or more in monthly revenue before starting a PPC campaign, because that’s a sign that there is a demand for your product or service.
Smoke campaigns can be used to test product-market fit and make sure that potential customers will actually buy what you’re selling. A smoke campaign is often a cost-effective way to make sure there is a demand.
To do this, you can set up a basic landing page with a clear CTA.
After you figure out that there is a market for your product, we recommend working toward establishing a consistent revenue before starting your ecommerce PPC campaigns.
$10 – $15k/Month Revenue – Start with PPC
A good rule of thumb is that you’re ready for ecommerce PPC management when your online store or ecommerce brand consistently hits $10k to $15k in monthly revenue using organic traffic from social media, SEO, and traditional advertising strategy.
To get there, use the scrappiest route possible to get new customers. For example, use a free or pre-made Shopify theme, grow a single-channel social media following, build a highly engaging email list, and use affordable SEO practices.
When growing an initial social media following, it can be tempting to try several platforms like Meta, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more.
However, it’s better to focus only on one, at least for now. Find the platform that has the right demographics for your product.
$100k+/Month Revenue – Scale with PPC
Once you hit the $100k monthly revenue milestone, your ecommerce business is ready to start scaling your PPC ad campaign. This allows you to build upon your prior success and elevate revenue by allocating more resources into your PPC marketing.
XYZ Advantage can help you implement high-performance PPC ads to drive growth. If you’re interested in seeing how we can raise your bottom line with effective PPC strategies, click here to set up a free consultation call.
Understand Different PPC Stages for the Right Expectations
PPC campaigns have different stages that offer different results, so it’s important to understand them to develop the right expectations and strategies for your upcoming efforts.
Low-Hanging Fruit Easy Wins
If you chose the right time to start PPC for your ecommerce business, then the first stage should contribute to rapid growth in traffic and conversions. This is when you target your best customers with for-sure keywords and value propositions.
With good PPC management, the expected result is a low cost-per-action, high conversion rates, and increasing revenue.
Start with a paid search like Google search ads as well as marketplaces like Amazon. Try to achieve a 5-10% ROAS.
Testing and Climbing – Plateaus are Common
After your initial rapid growth stage, you will likely need remarketing to continue climbing and growing revenue. This will require you to test new value propositions, creatives, landing pages, and advertising platforms.
It may also involve adjusting keywords and eliminating keywords by adding negative keywords to your campaign.
While this stage has a higher cost per action and relatively flat revenue, it’s focused primarily on customer insights, competitor research, keyword adjustment, and creative testing on Meta to find the best approach to keep sales high.
When you encounter plateaus that you can’t seem to break through, it’s important to have a team of experts that have a track record of shattering revenue barriers, even when other PPC specialists fail.
Working Toward The Tipping Point
The next stage is optimizing your winner concept, which means you leave the high cost-per-action testing stage and achieve a low CPA with increasing revenue once again.
You and your PPC partner have discovered the right elements, shopping campaigns, PPC channels, display ads approach, and more that drive conversions and profits.
However, the work isn’t over. You still need to focus on boosting the click-through rate (CTR) by contingent to optimize your landing pages and emails with the same messaging that’s already working. Align your brand and marketing strategy with your successful PPC approach.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re slogging through this stage, but once you break through the plateau, you’ll be on track and will just need to keep working toward the tipping point.
Finally, the scaling stage is when you can increase your ad spend and add fuel to the fire. This will flatten out the CPA while significantly increasing revenue. Since you’ve already discovered an optimal way to maximize return on ad spend during the tipping point stage, every dollar you add into the campaign should lead to more returns.
During this stage you can add different media, expand to other channels, and continue to test and tweak to create new creatives for continuous and consistent growth. You can use Google Analytics and other metrics to continue A/B testing, use retargeting, test different pricing options, and more to continue to scale in the long term.
Avoid Doing These ROAS-Killing Mistakes
While a PPC campaign can drive significant ROAS, some ecommerce PPC management mistakes could impede your progress and impact your bottom line.
Overcomplicating your account structure with too many campaigns
One of the most common mistakes in PPC ad campaigns is overcomplicating your account structure with too many campaigns. Running multiple campaigns without proper testing will make it hard to identify obstacles, adapt messaging, and follow results with clear metrics.
While some brands attempt to manage numerous campaigns, they often fail to work together and may inadvertently exclude one another. They might compete against each other, impede a unified brand, or create confusion in determining which campaign was responsible for specific results.
The same goes for using multiple platforms too early. While it can be tempting to immediately use Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Meta simultaneously, without the proper expertise or resources doing so may be over complicated or increase the risk of spreading too thin and not achieving desired, or expected results.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to start with a single channel and do your best to focus your efforts there. Once you maximize the potential of that first channel, then you can expand to other channels as needed.
Chasing the Wrong Goal
Furthermore, starting your PPC campaign without clear goals or chasing the wrong ones can lead to overlapping targets. Knowing which goal is the most important for your specific campaign is essential.
Then, you can set a clear goal and make sure that all aspects of a single campaign work toward that goal first. Then, work through the stages at least to the tipping point before adding many more campaigns and platforms. This will provide clarity and simplify your PPC efforts.
Spending Too Much on Your Retargeting Campaign
You can also make budget mistakes that can impact your ROAS. While retargeting is important and can generate a high ROAS, you don’t want to spend too much on it without the proper approach.
That’s because you can only expand the reach of your retargeting campaign by feeding it from the top and middle of your funnel. Simply increasing ad spend will only result in higher ad frequency to the same potential customers, which can cause annoyance with your brand. In turn, this could negatively impact CTR and cost-per-click.
Changing Ad Spend Too Quickly
Additionally, while there are times when significantly increasing or decreasing the budget is an effective move, these changes should not be too sudden or drastic. Doing so can not only waste money but could slow your PPC effectiveness. Make sure you track and pace your budget carefully throughout all PPC stages to maintain steady progress toward your goals.
Overusing Manual Bidding Strategies Instead of Leveraging AI
Another common budget mistake is leaning too heavily on manual bidding. Automated bidding uses AI to save you time and money and offers exceptional targeting and segmentation as well as prediction models that analyze human behaviors and demographics to improve PPS ad performance based on a variety of factors.
When a PPC ad isn’t working, it can be easy to panic. However, doing so can be a big mistake. Fluctuations are normal and shouldn’t derail your entire campaign. That being said, you also don’t want to leave bad ads up for too long. It takes a balance as well as continuous testing to ensure the best decisions without overacting.
For most campaigns spending $10k to $50k per month, a weekly analysis and update cycle is health and effective.
Prematurely Abandoning Winning Ads Due to Misdirected Focus
Some ecommerce companies also make the mistake of turning off ads that are working for whatever reason. It’s a mistake to make decisions based solely on the best ROAS and is better to adapt an ad instead of abandoning altogether if it’s already working.
Almost every brand has a good ROAS on BOFU campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you should throw all of your spending into that aspect. In order to feed and optimize your BOFU campaigns, you’ll need to focus efforts in nurturing MOFU campaigns and lead generation TOFU campaigns.
The entire funnel needs to work as a cohesive unit in order to drive revenue at the bottom of the funnel. That also means you should spend more on prospecting campaigns instead of spending too much on retargeting as we mentioned above.
Lack of Tracking Clarity
Whether you want to generate leads, drive sales, improve the user experience, or simply get more traffic on your ecommerce website, tracking is important. You can track anything, but you have to set your goal and develop clear KPIs to do so.
Focusing On Wrong Metrics
With ecommerce PPC campaigns, your primary goal should be revenue, ROAS, or CPA. While you should consider reporting metrics including impressions, clicks, CTR, CPC, average position, conversion rate, quality score, and more, the main focus should be on how the PPC ads are improving your revenue without skyrocketing your ad spend.
In addition, this requires setting up tracking pixels that collect user data. This can help you track conversions, user behavior, and retargeting to optimize your campaign for better results.
Avoiding Out-of-Platform Tracking
While in-platform reports like Google Shopping Ad analytics are extremely useful, it’s not smart to rely solely on them. Instead, track using outside reports that offer detailed information on every aspect of your campaign.
Choose a Resilient Partner that Understands Your Business Goals
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PPC advertising is complex, and it can be difficult to get started. The wrong approach can waste your digital marketing budget, but the right PPC partner can ensure that your PPC strategy amplifies your brand, raises your bottom-line revenue, and maximizes your return on investment.
However, you need a partner that’s right for your ecommerce store and brand. Here are some key factors to look for when selecting a high-quality ecommerce PPC agency partner.
Understands Your Business Goals
There are many reasons brands use PPC ads including ecommerce sales, awareness, lead generation, new product releases, or supporting other online advertising strategies like email marketing.
Make sure you choose a partner that takes the time to thoroughly understand your business goals as well as your brand, budget, target audience, and KPIs. PPC metric are virtually meaningless unless they connect to your revenue and business goals. Find a partner that understands this and will generate not merely clicks, but money for your business.
For example, XYZ Advantage uses weekly or biweekly sync calls to determine how PPC is directly impacting your business goals and to gather valuable insights. While we are experts in PPC ad campaigns, you are the expert on your business. That’s why it’s important to align our strategies to ensure we’re on the same page moving forward.
Resilience and Adaptability
It’s crucial to have an ecommerce marketing agency partner that is resilient and able to adapt to the changing competition, search engine results pages, cost per click, and all the nuances of effective marketing.
The best ecommerce PPC management services will continuously adapt using metrics to not only ensure a high-volume of clicks, but to ensure clicks by the right customers that lead to conversions and a high return on investment. At XYZ Advantage, we pride ourselves on being able to evolve, adapt, and continuously develop new ideas for improvement and perseverance.
Proven Track Record and Expertise
There are tons of PPC specialists with an unprovable track record or a few success stories. While they might be great at what they do, it’s a gamble. Instead, choose a partner that can demonstrate their value and expertise with case studies, testimonials, and proven data-driven success.
In addition, you should look for a PPC management partner that offers all the necessary services that you can’t do in-house. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to ecommerce PPC campaign management including design, copywriting, research, analysis, and more, but not all PPC experts offer everything you might need for your campaign.
It’s difficult to evaluate an agency’s expertise based solely on a resume or screenshot. A good case study can show you how their PPC campaign helped to efficiently generate more money for another business.
It also provides critical information and context that can help you determine the best option for your brand. For example, a 5+ ROAS could be terrible if the account previously generated 10+ ROAs but could be fantastic if they used to generate a 1+ ROAS.
E-commerce PPC FAQs
What is the best PPC advertising platform?
It depends. Google Ads is the biggest, but others offer different demographics, tools, and average conversion rates to consider. It’s important to find a platform that works for your goals, your brand, and your target audience.
Should every ecommerce business use PPC ads?
PPC ads are not the best route for every ecommerce business and are suitable for some industries more than others. Additionally, it’s important to test the market and drive revenue using other marketing strategies before jumping into PPC.
How do you start an ecommerce PPC campaign?
The steps to starting an effective ecommerce PPC management include:
- Determining your goals with your PPC ads
- Researching your target audience and competition
- Choose the optimal advertising platform
- Select keywords with high buying intent
- Test, tweak, and optimize your PPC ads, landing pages, and more
However, it can be hard to get started so it’s good to have PPC specialists on your side that have a proven track record of delivering results.
Ecommerce PPC management can be an excellent way to accelerate revenue growth, drive traffic, elevate conversion rates, and maximize return on ad spend. However, you need to pay attention to the entire management process including all the elements required for effective PPC ads, the stages of a campaign, and potential mistakes you must avoid.
Keep these things in mind and you can ensure a successful PPC strategy that drives results for your business. However, it’s important to have a PPC marketing agency partner that understands your business and can help you scale using high-performance campaigns and data-driven testing.
Click here to learn about XYZ Advantage PPC management services for a successful campaign for your ecommerce business.