Turbocharging Sales and Growth with PPC Ecommerce


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When it comes to promoting their business online, ecommerce leaders have seemingly innumerable options at their fingertips.

While search engine optimization (SEO) is an organic marketing strategy that boosts your business’s rankings in search engine results, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a digital advertising model for displaying ads on various platforms, including search engines, social media platforms, and across the web.

Essentially, it’s a way of buying website traffic rather than earning it organically. Advertisers bid on keywords related to their ad. When a user searches for those keywords, the ad is displayed to them. If the user clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays a predetermined fee for that click.

Unlike ecommerce SEO, which requires a long-term commitment to content marketing and keyword optimization, ecommerce PPC offers immediate visibility to potential customers, increasing the chances of making a sale.

What’s more, businesses can target users of specific demographics, locations, and interests to optimize ad spend efficacy.

Understanding the mechanics of PPC

Managing PPC ads requires an understanding of keyword research, good copywriting skills, and A/B-testing different creatives to find the winning combination that garners the most clicks.

Keyword research.

Advertisers must identify the keywords their audience uses most frequently when shopping for their product. These keywords are integrated into the PPC ad campaign to ensure ads display to the appropriate audience.

Seed” (short-tail) keywords are broad, general terms related to the business. For example, if the ecommerce company sells running shoes, seed keywords could include “running shoes,” “athletic footwear,” or “sports shoes.”

Long-tail keywords are phrases people use for internet searches. For example, “running shoes for endurance” or “best sports shoes of 2023.” Keyword search tools such as SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner help marketers identify additional keyword ideas.

Most marketers and advertisers focus on keywords with a medium-high search volume to ensure their ad is competitive.


Compelling ad copy can draw eyeballs and incentivize clicks.

PPC ads typically consist of a headline and description. Strong copywriting communicates the brand’s value proposition, ending with a CTA that implores the user to take action (eg: “Sign up” or “Get a quote”).

Effective copywriting is tailored to the advertising platform. For example, an ad on a search engine relies more on a catchy headline than a social media ad, where images and videos are permitted.

Each platform has a distinct audience, which must be considered when drafting and framing copy.

Video and image assets.

Visually appealing ads garner more clicks than text-only ads. Consistent use of logos, color schemes, and visual elements deepens brand awareness.

Videos might show a product in action, demonstrate its features, or communicate the general “feel” of a product (eg: aspirational or uplifting). Facebook and Instagram enable carousels that showcase multiple images or videos in a single ad.

Quality score.

Ranging from 1-10, an ad’s quality score measures its relevance given your chosen keywords. The score is based on the quality of the ad copy and associated landing page.

Scores impact how often your ad appears and its cost-per-click (CPC). Higher quality scores lower your CPC.

The score is determined by the following:

  • Keyword relevance: How well the keywords in the ad group align with the ad copy and the user’s search query.

  • Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR): The likelihood the ad will be clicked based on its historical performance and relevance.

  • **Landing page experience:**The relevance and usability of the landing page users reach after clicking on the ad.

A/B testing.

PPC campaigns require constant A/B testing to find the winning combination. Marketers can alternate the ad copy (headlines, descriptions, CTAs), visual assets, and ad extensions (site links, callouts, structured snippets) to achieve the highest CTR.

Consider rejiggering the design, layout, and CTAs on your landing page to increase conversions.

Advertisers can also compare bidding strategies, such as manual bidding versus automated bidding, to find the most cost-effective approach for their campaign.

Conversion rate optimization.

In a perfect world, everyone who clicks your ad becomes a paying customer. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) refers to techniques advertisers use to bump the rate of website visitors who take a desired action (eg: making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter) after clicking a PPC ad.

This includes: A/B testing ad copy, visual assets, and landing pages; optimizing ad extensions; enhancing landing page load speed; and using trust signals such as reviews, testimonials, and security badges.

Monitoring the PPC campaign.

PPC ads are like young children; they need constant monitoring and direction. Using CRO best practices, advertisers make data-driven decisions to optimize campaigns based on real-time performance metrics.

Here are a few things you should track:

  • KPIs: Common KPIs include CTR, conversion rate, cost-per-conversion (CPC) and return on ad spend (ROAS).

  • Conversion tracking: Monitor the actions users take after clicking on your ad.

  • Segmentation: Segment your data to analyze performance based on keywords, ad groups, demographics, and geographic location.

  • Budget: Keep an eye on the daily and overall budget.

Utilizing PPC ecommerce to boost online sales

Ecommerce PPC strategy gives online businesses an opportunity to boost product visibility without the need for a massive ad budget. Here’s how.

Immediate traffic and feedback.

Once a PPC campaign goes live, ads appear at the top of search engine results or on relevant websites, driving traffic to the ecommerce site almost instantly.

Advertisers receive real-time feedback on ad performance through the ad platform, which highlights the most relevant metrics.

High-quality conversions.

Ads are targeted to a desired audience based on predefined keywords and audience characteristics. This precise targeting enables ecommerce websites to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in their products.

Well-crafted PPC ads use keywords that correspond to a user’s search intent, matching businesses to website visitors with the intent to purchase.

Remarketing to website visitors.

Remarketing lets advertisers display ads to previous site visitors who did not convert. Browser cookies identify users when they browse other websites within the same ad network.

Advertisers can set up campaigns targeted toward a specific segment (eg: cart abandoners) with tailored ad copy and CTAs to lure them back to the ecommerce website. 

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PPC ecommerce challenges to watch out for

While PPC ads can be relatively cheap and easy to set up, they require constant monitoring and adjustment to achieve the highest returns.

High costs for competitive keywords.

Popular, high-traffic keywords drive up CPC for those keywords as advertisers compete to secure top ad positions in search results. The highest bidder’s ad is displayed most prominently and frequently.

What’s more, search engine results pages (SERPs) have limited space for ads, especially in highly competitive industries. For example, a highly specific keyword like “medical rehab facility” has a CPC of $195, versus “inpatient hospital” ($30).

Steep learning curve.

PPC advertising is complex. On top of that, campaigns need ongoing optimization, requiring digital marketers to be data-literate and stay abreast of ever-evolving PPC trends.

Users must learn how to navigate PPC platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, which have sophisticated interfaces and features designed for advanced users.

Keyword research is also a skill that requires knowledge of user intent and competitor analysis.

Requires constant investment.

PPC ads require time and money. Advertisers must continuously adjust bids, update keywords, and A/B test strategies to improve ad performance and stay competitive.

Ad copy and creatives must be refreshed periodically to keep the messaging relevant and engaging. The time commitment is so immense that many large enterprises hire dedicated employees or freelancers to manage ecommerce ads full-time.

PPC platforms for ecommerce marketing

PPC advertisers have a range of ad platforms to choose from, including Amazon ads, YouTube Ads, Twitter Ads and Reddit Ads. However, we’ve chosen to highlight the best ones below.


Facebook’s ad platform offers robust audience targeting options. Advertisers can target users based on demographics (age, gender, location), interests, behaviors and more. Ads may appear in the Facebook News Feed, Stories, Instagram feed or Audience Network, which runs ads on third-party mobile apps.

Facebook provides a tracking pixel that lets advertisers track user interactions and conversions on their website associated with ad clicks. Supported ad formats include: Photo ads, video ads, slideshow ads, and Collections ads.


Instagram’s ad platform is closely integrated with Facebook, given they’re both owned by Meta, with similar audience targeting options, and a detailed analytics dashboard.

The main difference is that Instagram also offers Stories ads —full-screen vertical ads that appear between users’ Stories. Ads may also appear in the Instagram feed and Explore page.


The world’s largest and most popular PPC platform, Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is used to advertise on Google’s search engine and vast network of partner websites. Advertisers bid on specific keywords to display their search ads in Google search engine results.


TikTok for Business offers various targeting options and ad formats focused on short-form video content. Advertisers can also use Custom Audiences for retargeting and Lookalike Audiences to find users similar to their existing customers.

TikTok also provides a suite of creative tools to produce engaging ad content, including adding music, text, and visual effects.

PPC ecommerce management best practices

Using PPC ad optimization requires a bevy of tips and tricks, from optimizing landing pages to A/B-testing creatives, bid adjustments, and more. Here’s how it works:

Landing page optimization.

An engaging ad accomplishes nothing if it links to an uninviting landing page. An optimized landing page aligns with the ad users clicked on.

For example, if the ad copy states “Shop our Fall collection,” the ad must link to a corresponding product page. Effective landing pages encourage the user to take action —browse products, find more information, or sign up for a newsletter or event.

Adjusting ad copy.

Ad copy needs regular refreshing to ensure alignment with the targeted keywords and landing page content. Marketers can remedy a low CTR by A/B testing different headlines, and copy to better entice users.

Certain platforms, including Google Ads, support responsive ad copy. Advertisers provide multiple headlines and descriptions, and the platform generates combinations based on user context to “personalize” the ad.

Adding negative keywords.

Negative keywords are terms or phrases advertisers exclude from triggering their ads. This lets online stores refine their audience targeting and prevent ads from surfacing in unrelated search queries. Negative keywords reduce wasted ad spend on irrelevant clicks.

An ecommerce brand selling athletic apparel might designate “Nike” as a negative keyword to ensure ads don’t appear when users search for Nike products such as “Nike running shoes.”

Running dynamic targeting campaigns.

A dynamic targeting campaign automatically generates relevant ad content based on a user’s search history, inferred interests, and past interactions with ads.

For example, a product catalog feed updates ads with real-time product information, such as new arrivals or promotions that match the user’s search query. This approach pays off for ecommerce businesses with a vast product portfolio or constantly changing inventory.

Strategic keyword bidding.

Keyword bidding is like an auction for keywords. Advertisers bid to see who will pay the highest CPC when a user searches for a particular keyword. Here’s how it works:

1. Keyword research: Conduct research to identify relevant and high-performing keywords related to the product.

2. Keyword grouping: Keywords are often grouped into ad groups based on their relevance and similarities. This helps advertisers organize the PPC campaign and create tailored ad copy and landing pages for each group.

3. Setting bids: Advertisers set bids for keywords in their ad group (the maximum CPC they are willing to pay for a click).

4. Budget allocation: Advertisers must distribute their budget strategically across different campaigns and ad groups.

5. Bid adjustments: Advertisers can adjust bids based on factors like device type, location, time of day and audience characteristics.

Launching a remarketing campaign.

Remarketing, or retargeting, involves showing targeted ads to users who visited your website but did not convert. Re-engaging these users with relevant ads keeps your brand top of mind and prompts users to take a desired action.

Retargeting also lets advertisers create personalized ads based on users’ past website interactions.

For example, an ad displayed to a cart abandoner might prompt them with a first-time buyer discount, while a user that immediately bounced from your website might better respond to a product catalog feed.

Utilizing AI.

AI-powered tools empower marketers to make data-driven decisions, automate repetitive tasks, and improve targeting and personalization.

Here are some ways marketers can use AI for PPC:

  • Automated bidding: AI algorithms can analyze historical performance data and real-time user behavior to automatically adjust bid amounts in ecommerce PPC campaigns. Automated bidding optimizes bids for specific goals such as maximizing clicks, conversions, or ROAS.

  • Keyword research: Identify new keyword opportunities and receive suggestions for long-tail keywords.

  • **Ad copy optimization:**Analyze ad performance data and see suggested adjustments to ad copy.

  • A/B testing: Identify the best-performing combinations using automated A/B testing.

Creating a good shopping cart experience.

A user-friendly shopping cart experience ensures users who click on your ads enjoy a seamless journey from product selection to checkout. Furthermore, some ad platforms rate the shopping cart experience as an element of the landing page experience, directly impacting the ad’s quality score and CPC.

A good shopping cart experience includes a user-friendly interface, clear CTAs, and multiple payment options.

Using Google Shopping ads.

Also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Google Shopping Ads showcase product images, prices, and product details directly within search results, providing users with essential details upfront.

This boosts product visibility while surfacing product listings to users who intend to purchase. Shopping ads are especially effective in capturing mobile users’ attention.

Options for building a world-class PPC ecommerce team

Ecommerce businesses have a range of options for assembling a PPC team. They can outsource to an agency, hire freelancers, or build an in-house team.

Utilizing a marketing agency.

Some companies outsource PPC marketing given their complexity and associated learning curve. Reputable marketing agencies specializing in PPC bring in-depth expertise and up-to-date knowledge of best practices.

By overseeing the day-to-day management of PPC campaigns, agencies free up the in-house marketing team’s time to focus on other activities.

Finding independent freelancers.

Hiring freelancers can be preferable for businesses that run PPC campaigns intermittently or those requiring a more flexible, cost-effective approach. Freelancers may have specific expertise in ecommerce PPC management for a particular industry or ad platform, which is valuable for niche industries.

Contractors can typically have lower overhead costs compared to agencies, resulting in more competitive pricing for their services.

Cultivating an in-house PPC Team.

Businesses that run PPC ads as part of core marketing operations may benefit from building an in-house team. Internal teams have a deeper understanding of the company’s products, target audience, and brand identity. This knowhow helps in crafting highly relevant and personalized PPC campaigns.

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The final word

PPC advertising is a worthwhile investment for online businesses that want to drive more traffic to their website and acquire new customers in a way that is well-targeted and relatively inexpensive.

Ad platforms now boast advanced features that enable advertisers to use sophisticated audience targeting techniques, drill down into their analytics to better understand ad performance, and take advantage of a suite of creative tools to create eye-catching, click-worthy ads.

That said, PPC ad management comes with significant challenges — namely, the necessity to manage and monitor them consistently and stay up to date on industry best practices.

Businesses considering PPC advertising should ensure they hire a qualified professional to manage PPC ads. Failing to follow ecommerce advertising best practices results in a lower quality score, higher CPC, and lower ROAS overall.

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