While retail sales may currently be bouncing back at a rate faster than predicted — increasing by 1.2% between January and February of 2023 — they are still some way behind the comparative period of 2021.
To continue on a positive trajectory, the retail sector must focus on the growth being driven by consumers’ continued adoption of online shopping. In grocery ecommerce alone, online revenues are expected to account for more than 13% of total category sales by 2026.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is among the most cost-effective ways to boost sales online, by allowing brands to efficiently reach the right consumers at the right time. Getting PPC strategy right can be a minefield, but here are five often unexplored tips that can do the trick to help build market share.
1. Think Local
Local inventory ads allow brands to display information about products — stock levels, store opening times and directions — to shoppers in their local area. The ad format is designed to bring local shoppers into stores by showing them that the shop has items they’re looking for, ready to purchase and pick up nearby.
Benefits to retailers and brands include promoting in-store inventory in real time, using Google Shopfronts as a local, digital experience and monitoring the impact of digital advertising.
2. Make Sure Your Product Feed is 100% Accurate
A product feed is a file that contains a list of products a brand wants to advertise on Google. It’s crucial to maximize the performance of Google Shopping campaigns. Every piece of information presented in listings — from product IDs, titles and images to descriptions, page links and prices — is extracted from the feed.
A great tip here is to understand how the information displays in the listings, because that’s what the end user actually sees. For example, “Large home storage box – 35 x 40 x 20 – Recycled plastic” may show as “Large home storage bo…” for certain impressions. Instead, lead with the key selling point, “Recycled Plastic Large Home Storage Box, 35 x 40 x 20,” to ensure the unique selling point is always visible.
3. Top Ratings
Product ratings display a score of one to five stars on eligible Google Shopping Ads. Studies show that product ratings increase click-through rates by anywhere between 35% and 107%, depending on a variety of factors. The numbers can be even higher in some cases.
Consumers face uncertainty buying products online, with an endless variety of options. Product reviews help them to choose items and click on ads with confidence by seeing average scores and reviews from real-world customers.
To get product ratings on Google Shopping listings, brands must meet the following criteria:
- Use a supported reviews aggregator to submit your product reviews to Google; and
- Have at least 50 product reviews.
4. Ad Extensions
These are additional pieces of information that expand ads to make them more useful to users and help them stand out. They are especially important for text ads that tend to blend into the search results.
There are two extensions to use wherever possible:
- Price extensions show a range of products with prices relevant to the search query; and
- Promotion extensions highlight current special offers for seasonal events.
5. Go Beyond Google
While Google still dominates the overall digital advertising scene, retail is one area where it’s no longer the top name. Here are some alternatives to consider:
- Amazon — More than half of all product searches now take place on Amazon, and the world’s biggest online marketplace offers its own advertising platform that’s eating away at Google’s market share;
- Facebook — The social media site remains one of the top platforms for retailers trying to reach new markets. With a wide range of ad types, brands can target their ad to a very specific audience based on everything from age, gender, interests, location and behaviors; and
- Instagram — This social platform has launched features such as Instagram Shopping and Instagram Checkout, making it a key marketing channel for many ecommerce brands.
The fact is, PPC works on many ad networks, not just Google Shopping. Consumers are everywhere these days, interacting with, researching and buying in multiple ways. Microsoft Ads, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and more should all be added to brands’ PPC shopping lists to make the most of the digital shopping revolution.
Lee Wilson has been leading digital services since the early 2000s and is currently the Service Operations Director at Vertical Leap. His career includes managing online marketing for an international financial services company for over seven years and running his own digital agency. Wilson has worked with many global and multinational brands since joining Vertical Leap in 2010. Since 2016, he has become a multiple-published author, including the titles Tactical SEO and Data-Driven Marketing Content. He also regularly contributes to industry publications such as Search Engine Journal and The Drum, plus many media sites including The Times Raconteur.