Ecommerce Marketing / Enterprise Ecommerce

How to Manage AdWords Campaigns — From Google itself [+16 Experts Weigh In]

Brad Layous / 8 min read

Over the holidays, Google uncovered how mobile has changed shopping behavior during Black Friday weekend.

In particular, Google’s internal data over Thanksgiving week showed that more shoppers are continuing to use mobile sites as the “door-to-the-store.”

Black Friday itself saw the highest mobile visits over the Cyber Five weekend, correlating with higher than normal foot-traffic in brick and mortar stores.

On average, as mobile traffic increases, so too does foot traffic, both during the holidays and year-round.

Sears and adidas are two brands which have seen massive success with mobile ads correlating to an increase in foot traffic throughout the year.

Selling both on and offline? Google has a solution for that.

Google AdWords can bridge the advertising gap between your online and offline success. Here’s how to think through which ads to use to drive increased sales through both channels.


Read more here on how to set these campaigns up.

Drive traffic and sell more in the early new year

With mobile traffic at its peak, and not likely to slow down, now is the time to begin using mobile ads to increase your own sales both online and off.

Better yet, the sooner you do it, the better.

Google data from 2015 showed that 22% more mobile shoppers visited retailers via Google search in January –– following a holiday season –– than they did in the October before.


Categories seeing higher traffic from Google in January 2016 than October 2015 (UK categories available here)

Why does this matter?

It shows that consumer shopping behavior during the holiday season continues in early Q1, particularly in January.

In other words, shopping searches don’t slow down to pre-holiday levels until after January. And paid placement can help your brand to grab the attention, traffic and dollars of consumers early in the new year (ideally, over your competitors).

Google offers two different paid search placement opportunities for retailers:

  1. Google AdWords: a paid search channel that places your site above organic search results for a specific keyword or long-tail keyword. AdWords are text based.
  2. Google Shopping: a paid search channel that places your products above organic search results for a specific keyword or long-tail keyword. Google Shopping is image and product based.

Paid Search v. Organic Search

Paid search helps small and mid-sized brands earn clicks over larger, more established competitors who have strong domains that consistently rank high in organic results.

How to create Google AdWords campaigns

Before you can begin to effectively manage and optimize your Google AdWords or Shopping campaigns for higher conversion, you need to set them up –– properly.

Here’s how to do just that.

The BigCommerce Benefit

Google created a real-time app just for you, using BigCommerce’s API. Setup is easy with pixel installation taken care of for you. Product mapping to Google Shopping is built in to SKU-level product options. Download the app to sync your store now. If you are new to Google AdWords, here’s how to redeem your $100 in free advertising.

  1. Navigate to Google AdWords. To login to AdWords, you need a Google account. If you don’t have one it’s easy and free to create one. If you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google Account.
  2. To begin creating your ads, click on “Create Your First Campaign.”
  3. Name your campaign something generic for this first one. As you create more and more campaigns and ad groups, you’ll want to name these specific to your products, categories or brands. This will help you differentiate them in the future. All the default settings here are appropriate.
  4. Move down to Location and specify the geo-locations where you want your ads displayed. Every brand needs to carefully consider their audience, business restrictions, and consult their analytics data to make an informed decision. For example, make sure your store’s shipping zones are set up in your BigCommerce control panel for every region you’re targeting with AdWords. It won’t make sense if you’re marketing to Europe, but not allowing people to ship your products to Europe.
  5. From there, explore Keyword Planner to find ad opportunities.

AdWords PPC management and optimization tips

There are five categories where retailers saw more traffic coming from Google in January of 2016 than in October 2015:

  1. Electronics
  2. Home and Garden
  3. Health and Beauty
  4. Vehicles and Parts
  5. Furniture

If you sell products in these categories, use the following best practices to expand your reach to shoppers.

1. Use click share to drive more engagement.

Products in top positions may see better engagement from shoppers, especially on mobile. The following benchmarks highlight the mobile click share by category you’ll need to be competitive in reaching the top positions.

To grow your click share, start by increasing your bids and ad relevance for your priority products.


2. Create a strategic seasonal campaign.

Separate strategic products or items on sale with a separate campaign with a higher campaign priority. A separate campaign enables more flexibility in managing keyword bids and budgets for these products without affecting the rest of your campaigns.

3. Use custom labels to create seasonal product groups.

If you plan to sell high-value products in a given category, like winter accessories for vehicles and parts, use custom labels to create a segmented product group in your campaign.

This way, you can specifically adjust the bids for winter accessories and then monitor the click share to reach top positions in Google Shopping results.

4. Remarket your products to previous shoppers.

Renew shoppers’ interest in your products by creating a remarketing list of previous visitors who abandoned their carts at checkout.

Chances are, many of these shoppers are still looking for the best deal available — providing the opportunity to capitalize on their familiarity with your brand. If you’re having a clearance sale, highlight your lower prices to these shoppers as they continue to browse.

Whether it’s to gear up for the winter or take advantage of clearance sales, these shoppers were eager to continue shopping online last January. Continue adjusting budgets, especially in categories that saw increased traffic last year to reach these shoppers in the New Year.

For more best practices on driving a successful holiday season, visit the help center.

Experts weigh in on Google Adwords optimization

Running a successful Google AdWords campaign for an ecommerce business isn’t just a set and forget it task. To make it truly profitable, you’ll need to test copy and keywords. You’ll want to measure cost of customer acquisition, and work to lower it as much as possible.

Setting things up and being armed with the right data is one thing. Actually doing running a successful campaign is another. So, we reached out to experts who have done this before –– for ecommerce brands. You may very well need a PPC management service, but these best practices will empower you to take a crack at it — or improve your ability to manage contractors who do it for you.

Here is how the experts recommend you use Google AdWords.

Jan Lastuvka, CEO & Co-Founder, MonkeyData


Winning in Adwords has become more difficult as the space has become more competitive. It is important for ecommerce entrepreneurs to focus on highly relevant and targeted long-tail keywords.

These are very specific keywords that are more likely to convert since they are searched for later in the buying cycle.

For instance, someone searching for “shoes” on Google is less likely to convert than someone searching for “red cross trainers size 12 men”

As a rule, long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, but also lower suggested CPC bids, so you can be competitive on them.

You can generate a list of keywords by typing your URL, current keywords and type of business into the Google Keyword Planner. You can also type in the URL of your competitors to generate ideas.

Once you generate a list of primary and auxiliary keywords, you can create a combine function in Excel in order to create your long-tail keywords. For a more detailed description of this process, check out halfway down the page on this post on Reddit.

Everett Sizemore, Director of Marketing, Inflow


First of all, if you’re not using remarketing lists for your web advertising, you probably should look into that. If you have a brick-and-mortar aspect to your business, try displaying an ad on Google Maps with a “local search ad.”

Definitely take advantage of the “expanded text ads” option released back in July. You may have to apply for this feature.

In summary, keep up-to-date with the new Adwords features. Early adoption is a huge advantage in the PPC space.

Jason Dea, Director Product Marketing, Intelex


Spend as much time as you can developing and refining your buyer personas.

The more you understand the nuance of who your ideal customer is, the more you can refine your keyword and adword strategy to reflect the long tail questions they will be asking online.

When it comes to Google Adwords, the more specific you are, the less competition you are likely to face and the more successful (and economical) you are likely to be.

Andy Etemadi, CEO, EYEMAGINE


Respond to the data. Put emotions, ideas, and feelings aside, momentarily.

Run PPC campaigns, measure the results, and continue to invest in the most successful ad campaigns.

Responding to data results in higher return on investment.

Taylor Sicard, VP of Growth,


Be highly focused on your target market. The recipe for disaster with AdWords is a lack of focus. Your budget will run out with very little return on investment.

Being highly focus on customers helps you speak their language, better tailor your AdWords (especially CTAs) ads, raise their interest and convince them to interact with you.

Secondly, having a clear goal from the beginning helps a lot. Are the AdWords designed to grow sales or increase brand awareness? A clear goal in mind helps ecommerce companies define key performance indicators that enables them to optimize the ads on the go.

Annie Cushing, Founder, Annielytics


One word: retargeting. I have seen so few sites use retargeting ads well. I have a pair of shoes I bought following me on sites I visit as well as Facebook. It’s a colossal waste of money for that retailer.

They would be better off serving me a retargeted ad that shows me related products, i.e. shoes that others have bought who have also purchased those shoes.

Ruthie Berber, Co-Marketing Manager, Yotpo


According to Google, adding customer reviews to Seller Ratings increases their click-through rate by 17%. This means your CPC goes down and you’ll see an increase in high-quality traffic.

How can ecommerce stores win with Adwords PPC? By adding customer reviews to Google Seller Ratings and Rich Snippets, eCommerce companies will see an enormous impact on their CTR and CPA.

Jacob Firuta, Content Manager, LiveChat


Have your PPC advertisements displayed in places where your customers can actually see them. When looking to specify where your ads are displayed, make sure to narrow it by interest/topic to specific customer niches.

Going for broad terms is great when it comes to reach, but it doesn’t really make sense if nobody clicks the ads and converts into a customer later on.

Sanjay Arora, CEO & Founder, Nextopia


Do your keyword research! Really, keyword research is market research.

Your AdWords campaigns won’t have great ROI if you don’t know how much to bid, and what to bid on. So before you even make an ad, be sure to find out exactly who you should be marketing to, and which keywords to bid on.

Grant Thomas, Digital Marketing Manager, JustUno


Optimize your website and your landing pages to better convert Adwords traffic.

Let’s face it, Adwords don’t convert at the highest rate.

Rather than invest more money in Adwords, invest resources in tactics to convert that traffic once it gets to your site.

Test landing page variations to see what shoppers respond to, use email pop ups to convert traffic into new leads, and have consistent messaging in your ad copy and on your website.

William Harris, Ecommerce Consultant, Elumynt

manage ecommerce adwords campaigns

There are often a lot of other keywords that are still very relevant for you that aren’t just product related.

If you sell all types of car parts, it’s great to have your Google Shopping feed optimized, but sometimes people search for just the brand, or the type of part (mufflers), or even “buy car parts online.”

All of these won’t be captured as well in your Google Shopping campaign, but you can use them to your advantage in Adwords.

A.J. Ghergich, Founder & CEO,

how to run adwords campaigns

If you are struggling with running a profitable Adwords campaign, turn off everything and only bid on the brand names and product names you carry.

Do this on exact match.

You should be profitable. If you are not, you need to look at your landing pages as the culprit.

Drew Sanocki, Author, Nerd Marketing


Relevancy is the great equalizer. To beat the big brands, you have to have a relevant persona targeted by a relevant ad with relevant ad copy driving to a relevant landing page.

It’s a lot of work, but not many big brands take the effort.

Ryan Kulp, Founder, FOMO


Doing great on AdWords in ecommerce means going super long-tail. Consider adding keywords like “with free shipping” or “with great reviews” to your campaigns.

Igor Lebovic, CEO, Kindly Care


Adwords can be used to test new content ideas. You can run an A/B test with different titles and evaluate which one gets a better CTR.

Chris Van Dusen, CEO, Parcon Media

ppc management chris van dusen

If you have a limited budget, use Adwords ad scheduling and geo targeting options to make your spend more efficient.

Start with your highest ROI locations/time of day settings and expand from there once you have more data on what is and is not working.

Also use dynamic retargeting. Show customers the products they viewed but didn’t buy. If they added it to the cart but didn’t purchase, offer them a discount to win the sale.

Conclusion: Always Be Optimizing your PPC Ad Campaign Management

There’s no magic lever. Rather, you need to get as granular as possible and pay attention to the details if you want to beat the bigger fish. Regardless of budget, the tactics listed by the experts above  will help take your campaigns to the next level.

Focus on your ad groups. Really test your ad copy. Drill down to the keyword level and don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves. Think critically about how PPC ads factor into the rest of your marketing mix.

And most importantly: don’t let the spreadsheets and analysis detract from your creativity. Think about customers first and good things will happen.

Bonus tip: check out the StoreYa Traffic Booster

Want more insights like this?

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