It is estimated that around 2.14 billion people shopped online in 2021, an increase of 110 million from the previous year. And with the popularity of online shopping continuing to grow, it is now more important than ever to get your eCommerce advertising strategy right, so you can take advantage of the huge amount of opportunity available when selling online. So where is the best place for eCommerce advertising? And how can you build the perfect advertising strategy to draw in the multitudes of consumers surfing the web?
What is eCommerce advertising?
E-Commerce advertising is a type of online advertising, specifically designed to encourage the purchase of online goods and services. Advertisers pay for a range of things, including clicks and impressions, over a range of online platforms. Platforms that are commonly used for eCommerce advertising include:
- Google sites, including Google Shopping and the standard SERP
- Other search engines, like Bing
- Other well-known marketplaces, such as Rakuten or Etsy
Which is the best platform for eCommerce advertising?
Deciphering the best platform for eCommerce advertising isn’t straightforward, as it is often determined by a number of variables unique to you and your business. There is no ‘best platform’ for everyone.
For starters, you have to consider what your brand represents, and who your target audience is. Consider which platforms you are most likely to find that audience on. When you have an idea of that, you should consider the goal of your campaign. Perhaps it may not be to reach out to your traditional audience but to expand your customer base outside usual demographics. In that case, it may be best to take an alternative approach and advertise outside the scope of your usual demographic.
You also need to consider how you want to put your message across. Some platforms offer a variety of ways to do this and are even renowned for certain kinds of advertising, such as Instagram’s story ads. Then there is also the factor of price, with certain platforms offering cheaper advertising than others.
All of these variables (and more) mean that there is no correct answer when it comes to choosing a platform to advertise on. If you are in the early stages of advertising your brand and product and are still unsure where to start, you can do smaller-scale campaigns across the platforms. By analyzing the results of these campaigns, you should get a general idea of where is best for you to advertise. Alternatively, you could use a combination of several platforms, to maximize the impact of your campaigns and reach a wider audience.
Optimize for mobile, tablet, and desktop
Taking the time to ensure your advertisements are just as effective on mobile and tablet as they are on desktop devices is important. Mobile and tablet devices use smaller screens, so it likely on most platforms that your titles and descriptions will be cut short. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you place the most important information, and keywords at the front of your content. That way, it can be seen across all devices.
Conduct in-depth keyword research
Keywords are what draw potential customers to your listings, regardless of the website. Therefore, in-depth keyword research is essential for getting the most out of your eCommerce advertising.
There are a wide variety of keyword research tools available on the current market, some are free, some are paid. So regardless of your budget, you can find the keywords necessary to create great ads that reach your target audience.
Personalize how you reach out to potential customers
Generic advertisements will always be less effective on potential customers. However, if you personalize advertisements based on a customer’s previous browsing habits and information provided to the platform, your ads will be more effective.
A good example of this is Facebook, which has an abundance of data on consumers, from their gender to their political views. With this information, you can create tailored ads to consumers’ interests.
Upsell to your already loyal customer base
If you already have a devout and loyal customer base, you should make use of it. Try creating various email promotions for your existing customers, and remind them of everything you have to offer.
Retargeting campaigns can be some of the most effective. The principal of retargeting campaigns is to reach out to those who have previously shown interest in your products. This could be because they abandoned their cart, or just visited your listing several times.
By retargeting people who have previously shown interest in your items, you are more likely to receive conversions from your ads. Making them more cost-effective than standard targeted advertising.
Take an omnichannel approach
An omnichannel approach is where you sell on a number of different channels at once. By taking an omnichannel approach, you provide convenience for potential customers, as they can shop in the place of their choosing. The customer will then start to come across your brand on other platforms if your strategy is correctly coordinated.
To master this strategy, you need to ensure all your channels work in unison. If a purchase is made on one channel, the other channels should be in a position to react and show the customer additional advertisements relevant to that purchase.
Create consistent branding
Branding is what people remember your products by. So you need to make sure your message, logo, colors, and more are consistent across any channels you choose to make use of. By staying consistent across channels, you create a brand people recognize and trust.
Perfect your images
On most eCommerce sites, images are the first thing a consumer sees. Therefore, as well as being within guidelines, your images should be high quality. By this, we mean, with a high resolution and with no confusion as to what you are advertising.
High-quality images can make the difference between you getting a sale and a competitor. This makes image optimization well worth the effort.
Master your content
Content is an integral part of any listing. Titles and descriptions are where customers get their information from, so they need to be clear and concise. With titles, try to place the most important information at the front. You can do the same with descriptions, but you should also consider the layout and how the description reads.
Content is not just for Google’s algorithm, but also for your customers. So you need to make sure it is readable for both parties. You also need to ensure it is optimized for others devices such as mobiles. Bullet pointed descriptions are a great way to create concise and effective descriptions across all devices.
Make use of social proofing
There is significant competition when selling online. Most consumers will compare several merchants before deciding on making a purchase. One of the things consumers will consider is what other buyers think of the brand and the product. That is why social proofing is so important.
In essence, social proofing is showing potential buyers what previous buyers thought of their purchase. Social proofing can be anything from reviews, to a feed of customer stories. By showing the experiences of previous buyers, you establish trust quickly with other potential buyers, as you are showing them unfiltered information on how your product performs.
Create referral programs
Referral programs are a great way to draw in new customers at little cost. By running a referral program, you offer a small incentive (such as a discount on future orders) to your current customers when they recommend your products or services to someone else. These small discounts will cost a fraction of what you would pay for traditional online advertising, and you also build a better relationship with your existing customers at the same time.
Influencers are people that have a large audience in a certain field. Influencers will already have preestablished trust with their audience, which can be used to your advantage as a business.
If you intend to use an influencer, you should ensure that their audience and your target demographic cross over. Then, by paying an influencer to promote your products or services to their audience, you will reach consumers who you know are more likely to buy what you are selling, as you already know they have interests related to your niche.
Try using CTA buttons
CTA buttons can help make your CTA stand out even more than usual, and therefore have an enhanced impact. This is because the different colors and shapes draw the attention of the reader’s eye away from the rest of the text, which is usually far less notable.
Many platforms have a few ready-to-use CTA buttons available for you to add to your advertisement. All you have to do is ensure you use the most relevant one and watch the customers stream in.
Tailor your advertising to the platform, as well as the customer
When advertising your brand and products online, you may wish to use a variety of platforms for your campaign. It is only natural to consider adapting your advertising campaigns to the potential customers, and demographics on those platforms. However, one thing many advertisers neglect is the platform itself.
Certain ways of advertising on certain platforms will always be more effective than others. For example, on Facebook in-feed ads are more noticeable than those in videos, because not everyone watches Facebook videos. Despite that, the Facebook newsfeed is something most users scroll through quickly, which means any ad you place there will need to be eye-catching, and comprehensible at a quick glance. You should try to tailor all your ads to the platform based on how the site will showcase them, and how users will likely respond to them.
Trial campaign effectiveness with A/B testing
Building a successful campaign strategy takes time and a good deal of trial and error. With A/B testing, you take two ads with different variables and compare their performance. This allows you to find weak points in your campaigns, and improve on them over time.
A/B testing can be used if you have a struggling campaign, as a way of improving it, or as a means of testing whether your campaign is still as effective as it was previously.
Building the perfect eCommerce advertising strategy is an ongoing challenge. You will need to know your business’s unique audience and their buying patterns well. And even then, you will be required to constantly adapt, optimize and update your strategy to keep up with the ever-fluctuating market. However, by using these tips and staying on top of your advertising strategy, the rewards will be well worth all your hard work and endeavor, as you see your business remunerated for your efforts.
About the author
Jacques van der Wilt is the founder and CEO of DataFeedWatch, a leading global feed management and optimization solution that helps online merchants optimize their product listings for 1,000+ e-commerce channels in more than 50 countries.
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What is A/B testing?
A/B testing (also known as split testing) is the practice of simultaneously displaying two variations of the same web page to separate segments of website visitors and evaluating which variant leads to further conversions. Your conversion funnel determines whether or not your website receives high traffic and converts more users.