A massive 1.8 billion people bought goods online in 2018. And since then, that number has only gone and grown, with online sales expected to reach up to a staggering $4.8 trillion by the end of 2021. With eCommerce continuing to develop and grow, online advertising is becoming all the more essential when it comes to standing out from the competition. So what can you do to give your online advertising the extra push and get your products noticed?
In a nutshell, eCommerce advertising is the practice of displaying paid messages on online channels, with the hope of persuading users to purchase an item or service. It can also be to create brand awareness.
Advertisers will bid for ad space, often with the goal of generating clicks, impressions, or awareness. If the advertiser succeeds in winning the ad space, then their ad will appear when triggered by a keyword or other means.
Ecommerce advertising comes in a wide variety of forms, from video advertising to carousel advertising. That means there is the ideal advert for every situation, regardless of a business’s goals. However, there is still a lot of competition for every ad space, even if you have the best bid. This is because the ad that is shown is decided by a platform’s algorithm, which uses numerous factors beyond the bid amount to decide which ad gets the space.
Platforms decide which ad is shown based on a quality score (or relevance score in some cases) which incorporates things like advertisement quality, past ad performance, relevancy, and the landing page. The significance of the quality score means advertisers have to focus on more than just their bids, and that is where employing the best practices for eCommerce advertising comes in.
Images are the first thing that catches the eye of users. Therefore, they need to be of the highest standard. By optimizing your images, you should theoretically see better results in terms of conversions. This is because customers will have a better understanding of the product they are purchasing, and therefore have greater trust in the brand.
Beyond meeting the basic image requirements on the platform, you can optimize your images in multiple ways. Firstly, you should attempt to ensure that you only use images of the highest resolution. This will ensure they are clear to anybody viewing your ad.
Secondly, you should try to showcase your product from multiple angles. Any worthwhile online platform will allow you to add multiple images. This will help you highlight your product from every perspective, giving customers the added benefit of various viewpoints.
Last but not least, you should also avoid any excess clutter when it comes to your product images. By this, we mean keeping your images as simple as they can be. Try to only include the product or the necessary elements to showcase your product when in use. You can try to include both lifestyle and product images, to provide customers with a greater variety - just try to avoid creating any potential confusion when doing so.
Ad copy also plays a significant role in the success of your advertising. Keywords within ad copy are what dictates who sees your ad. Therefore, using the right keywords is integral for the success of your advertising.
However, you should also consider where you place your keywords within your ad copy. On many platforms, only a certain number of characters are initially visible to users. Even less if they are using a mobile device. Therefore, you should try to place the most important keywords at the forefront of your titles and descriptions.
You should also note that any copy you create is designed for people, as well as search engine algorithms. Therefore, any copy you do create should flow and be easy to read. Consider using bullet point descriptions that are easy to scan. That way, people can read quickly on any device, which should help you increase your conversion rate.
Your call to action is something that has to grab the attention of the user. Therefore, it needs to be clear and catchy. Try to create a sense of urgency around what you are advertising with phrases like ‘buy now", ‘download here’, or ‘order whilst stocks last’. These phrases will not only grab the attention of the reader but are also very short and easy to consume. This ensures the reader knows exactly what to expect if they click on the ad.
You can also try to generate a CTA that is representative of your brand. By doing so, your ads will become memorable and the call to action will therefore be even more effective. And remember, your CTA should also remain consistent with the rest of your advertisement. This will help to avoid causing any unnecessary and unhelpful confusion for readers of your ad.
Social proofing is a great way to generate trust between your brand and its customers. This is because it takes the unfiltered, honest opinion of current customers and displays it to potential customers in the form of reviews, or similar methods.
By using social proofing on your website and alongside your advertising campaigns, you can improve your credibility as a brand, and therefore improve your conversions as customers choose you over less reliable competitors.
Social proofing is easier to implement on some platforms than on others. Facebook and Instagram are two of the best places to use social proofing, as users can comment on your ads. However, you can still use this technique on most platforms that allow you to showcase customer reviews, whether via a link, photo, or response to your initial ad.
Another great way to build trust with your customers is through engagement. By engaging with customers during a campaign, you help to bridge the gap between customer and brand, connecting below a corporate level. This helps to make everything that little bit more personal, and also starts to build a relationship with customers, as they remember you in the future.
To drive engagement, you can reply to your posts on social media, as well as creating posts that customers can easily respond to. This could be in the form of generating opinion, or something along the lines of competition. You can also get involved with current affairs, and create a clear brand standpoint. This will help customers to identify with your brand, due to having similar views.
No single ad type is perfect for every brand, in every situation. Some types of ads may be more effective for you than others, or even be more effective on a certain platform.
The best way to find the most effective ad type for you is through trial and error. Consider the pros and cons of each ad type, including the price, conversion rate, and impressions. You may find Facebook’s carousel ads are much less impactful for your brand than Instagram feed advertisements. Another factor to consider is what you are trying to achieve, and convey. If you only want impressions then a standard Google text ad may be cheaper and more effective than anything Facebook can offer you. However, that would be ineffective if you want to convey an emotional video message. With the rise of online creative tools such as design apps and online video editors, generating ads in multiple formats for testing is now an accessible and inexpensive option.
In short, there is no ideal, perfect ad type for all. But depending on your brand and situation, there will be the best option for you.
Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to advertise when it comes to eCommerce. This is because it aims your advertisements at those who have already expressed an interest in your products or brand.
If someone visits your website (or a particular product page) and then doesn’t complete a purchase, you can show them ads for your products in an attempt to encourage them to buy. This is made possible by tracking cookies, which monitor where people who visit your website go next.
You can also use retargeting for those customers who already have an account on your website, and abandon their cart before buying. In this case, you can send out a series of targeted emails to encourage them to finalize their purchase.
Regular testing of your ads is essential if you want prolonged success. A/B testing allows you to find the weak variables in every campaign, and over time optimize them for better ad performance. This is done by comparing the performance of the original ad, to the ad with one different variable (such as a different title).
As you progress with your A/B testing, your ads should slowly improve in their performance. However, keywords may weaken, or an outside factor such as new research could alter what is in demand. These changes make it essential to keep testing regularly.
The goal of eCommerce advertising is to get your product noticed. And what better way to do so than by ensuring you get the perfect ad space, with the best quality ad possible. By following these best practices, you can ensure that you are finding your target audience, with the most persuasive advertising content. Thus, getting you ahead of your competition and generating interest in your products from the get-go.
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+ eCommerce channels in more than 50 countries.
Content marketer by day and book nerd by night, Momina works at Mailmunch as a Marketing Communications Specialist. Momina eats, sleeps, and breathes content marketing. Her expertise ranges from ideation to production to distribution of content, thanks to 4+ years of experience in the B2B content marketing sphere.