You’re a customer shopping at a big box store.
You pick up a product, read the package, look at the price, and start to mull it over — then you put it down without purchasing. You were a potential customer, but you remained anonymous because the product was only being sold in a store. The product brand can’t interact with you or persuade you through the buying cycle.
Now take this same experience online, this time from the brand’s perspective. An online shopper is looking for exercise equipment and sees an ad for a fantastic ab machine, but the baby starts crying, and they walk away. The good news for you is that you have a cookie installed on your site and can push retargeting ads back to that interested mommy until she is ready to make a purchase.
This open line of communication starts and ends with eCommerce advertising — one of the most effective ways to get interested prospects over to your site to make sales fast.
Keep reading to learn more about how to create an eCommerce advertising plan and the channels you should consider utilizing to get paid.
What is eCommerce Advertising?
eCommerce advertising is the act of spreading paid ads throughout various digital channels to generate sales.
eCommerce Advertising Rules to Live By
At Mojo, we’ve worked with some of the biggest eCommerce and direct-to-consumer companies on the planet who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in paid media that ultimately land on Mojo powered landing pages.
Here’s what we’ve learned that will help you to avoid wasting your time or money on the wrong strategies.
Get Your eCommerce Landing Page Up. Fast.
In our many years of working with brands like Keurig, Motorola, Philips, Hoover, Dirt Devil, and Sheex, who have spent millions on online ads and earned billions in sales, we’ve learned a few things.
Successful brands get their eCommerce landing pages up fast so they can focus on driving traffic to their site, generating sales and measuring data to improve ROI.
Here’s what you can learn from brands that spend millions on eCommerce ads:
- They use templates to get their sites up and running in hours, not days
- They make all decisions based on metrics, not opinions. Focus on driving traffic, getting data, then tweaking your advertising for maximum ROI based on website metrics, not personal preferences.
- They A/B (C/D/E/F/G) test everything
Your eCommerce landing page is like the heart of your company, it’s what funnels everything through the business. Get this part right and you can then focus on making money and the next rule..
Determine Audience to Increase Direct Response Targeting
With eCommerce, you can create ads for your anticipated audience or take a shortcut and go after your existing audience.
Check out this ad my wife got from a brand she follows on Instagram:
The Reno School already knows she is a fan of their page, so rather than trying to create a new demographic target market (on Facebook) they took the shortcut and just went ahead and targeted their existing audience to generate quick sales. The Reno School already knows an interest exists and interested viewers make for great customers.
But what if you don’t have a dedicated social media following like The Reno School? What do you do?
It’s helpful to create a buyer persona to better understand your target audience. 82% of companies that create buyer personas for their product sales improved their product value because they understand who they’re selling to. Some things to consider when creating a buyer persona are:
- Marital Status
- Whether or not they have children
- Where they live
- Their education
- Their motivations
- Their frustrations and problems they wish to solve
- Their personality traits
Here’s a handy little buyer persona infographic to help you create these identities that will make your online advertising efforts a lot easier.
While major brands, like Amazon, can attract all types of customers by casting a wide net in their marketing, you would likely waste a lot of money by using the same tactics. You need to target your audience with laser-like precision to get the best responses possible to maximize the return on your advertising spend.
Determine Budget with ROI Metrics in Mind
Now that you have your audiences identified — either from your existing network or your buyer personas — you should focus on setting a budget that accounts for your ad spend as well as your margins.
If you are doing digital advertising, you probably already know that the major ad networks — Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest — provide you conversion (read: sales) estimates within their platforms.
Whether you are managing the ads yourself or using a vendor, make sure you understand how much it potentially costs to get a sale and if your advertising budget is consistent with the conversion metrics estimated by your desired ad platforms.
In addition to digital ads, you may also be considering radio or TV spots, so you’ll want to get some estimates of conversion rates together on these platforms as well. This will ensure you are spending money in the right places per your profit margin goals.
Measure eCommerce KPIs to Evaluate Advertising Performance
eCommerce KPIs (key performance indicators) help you measure your progress toward the goals you have for your eCommerce campaign. Here are some excellent examples of popular eCommerce KPIs:
- Conversion Rate (total number of sales divided by the number of unique visitors x 100)
- Conversion Rate By Channel (the conversion rate broken down by advertising channel)
- Cart Abandonment Rate (total completed transactions divided by shopping carts created x 100)
- Average Order Value (the total of all sales divided by the number of customers)
- Cost per Order (Total advertising campaign cost divided by the number of orders = CPO)
The conversion rate by channel is a mandatory KPI to track as it is the best way to determine where to spend your eCommerce advertising dollars.
Example: Of 1,500 sales conversions, 650 arrived at your website from a tv commercial, 840 arrived at your website from a Facebook ad, and 10 arrived from a radio ad.
With these KPIs, you may conclude that you should allocate more of your budget towards tv commercials and Facebook ads rather than your radio ad (assuming the ad spend was the same across all channels).
Be Smart and Test These 6 eCommerce Advertising Channels
Testing your eCommerce advertising channels will make the difference between a mediocre and outstanding ROI.
Consider that there are four stages in this funnel so that you can get more specific and relate each stage to a particular point of your unique selling processes: awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.
Email: Free, targeted advertising
Studies show that email marketing boasts an average $42 return for every $1 spent. So an investment of just $500 could return $21,000, depending on the product you sell.
Another benefit of email marketing is that you can talk to warm leads. The people on your list already like what you do, and they want to hear more from you. 61% of consumers say they like receiving weekly promotional emails from businesses they are interested in.
Here’s an email example from a brand I’ve opted in to, Gardyn.
Gardyn regularly sends me these promotional emails, and I regularly open them. Why? Because I like their products and I like saving money.
Perhaps the best part about email marketing is that it’s effectively free. Unlike many of the other advertising channels below that require you to spend money, email marketing costs next to nothing. My best advice, start here and get the cash register blazing.
Social Media: Free and paid, hyper-focused demographic targeting
Social media allows the advantage of organic and paid advertising strategies to help you reach more potential customers. In 2020, social commerce grew to 80 million buyers in the US alone, driven primarily by Gen Z and millennials.
For advertisers, the success of these platforms comes from the social media’s algorithms and their ability to detect user preferences and provide personalized recommendations. For eCommerce, there may be no better place to utilize these recommendation engines than with Facebook and Instagram.
According to Statista, Facebook is the leading social media platform for buying goods, followed by Instagram.
PPC: Intent-focused targeting
If Facebook and Instagram are the winners of demographics-based advertising, Google’s PPC ads take the cake when it comes to search-focused eCommerce. In fact, the lowest average CPC for Google Ads belongs to the eCommerce industry, making it a cost-effective advertising option for marketers.
If your product has search-intent (easily researched with Google’s Keyword Planner tool or like the above Ahrefs premium tool), this may be an excellent option for you to drive traffic and sales. For example, our PPC software (red box) tells us that “best ab machine” gets 900 searches a month in the US, and the average cost per click is only $0.60.
On the other hand, if you promote a product that requires more brand awareness and doesn’t have search volume, Facebook and Instagram may be better suited for your ad dollars.
Retargeting Ads: Because Conversions Often Take More Than One Visit
Retargeting ads have an average click-through rate (CTR) that is 180.6% higher than a regular display ad – and a conversion rate that is 2,917% higher!
With retargeting ads, potential customers who have visited your site will see your ads on other websites later as a reminder to purchase the product like this example above from Eater Wine Club.
A great approach with retargeting ads is to use them across platforms. For example, if you have a product that performs well in Google Ads but not so great on Facebook ads, you can use a Facebook remarketing pixel to retarget those Google-driven visitors on Facebook properties.
This can often result in lower cost-per-click or cost-per-impression advertising fees for select industries, saving you money to use for more advertising.
Infomercials: The death of TV is vastly overrated
Not to be confused with a traditional TV commercial, infomercials for direct-to-consumer products are highly effective. In fact, according to Statista, “television ranks as the second most profitable advertising medium behind the internet and accounts for approximately 25 percent of total U.S. media ad revenue.” Inc.com says the ‘As Seen on TV’ direct response ads generate nearly $300 billion in sales each year.
Our most successful clients use their eCommerce landing pages and infomercial advertising campaigns in tandem. By strategically pointing these TV viewers to the product website, they have additional opportunities to sell their products with additional information, testimonials, or other information they may not have otherwise be able to fit into their infomercial.
Plus, these advertisers are utilizing retargeting to stay top-of-mind in front of these prospects once they land on their websites, effectively maximizing their potential to get huge ROIs.
Affiliate Marketing: Get influencers to sell for you
According to a Forrester report, 81% of advertisers use affiliate marketing to increase their visibility.
If you don’t know how affiliate marketing works, here’s a quick primer. When someone shares your products on their blog or social media, they can use a unique link that ties back to them. If someone in their audience clicks that link and purchases, you’ll get a sale, and you pay a small commission to the person who referred the customer. If these affiliates have large amounts of blog traffic or social followings, the referral sales they send to you can add up very quickly.
Use platforms like CJ to become an Advertiser and partner with other Publishers who are interested in promoting your products. According to their site, one billion consumers are reached worldwide.
Start Advertising Your eCommerce Business Today
You have a lot of options when it comes to advertising your eCommerce business. Use the tips above to laser-focus your approach, save time and money, and start driving revenue as quickly as possible… like the pros do.