Google Ads For E-Commerce: A Simple Guide

jasper E-Commerce Marketing Leave a Comment

I can’t count the times that I start at a new client to find a Google Ads search campaign that is setup totally wrong.

But my point is that it is really not that hard to totally mess up a Google Ads search campaign. And when this happens, a lot of money can go down the drain.

Thankfully, most of the time I can rectify this situation in less than a day. And today I’m going to teach you how to do this as well.

All you need is a simple guide to use Google Ads for e-commerce and that is exactly what I am going to give you.

Let’s start with the basic principle of an excellent campaign.

One simple rule to follow

There is one very important rule to make your Google Ads Search campaign a success: Make sure your entire campaign is as relevant as humanly possible.

This may sound logically and simple, but you won’t believe how many times I’ve come across companies who fail to do this. I’ll give you a very simple example.

When someone is searching for a red t-shirt, they are expecting to see results (and ads) for red t-shirts. Not for t-shirts in general and not for sweaters, they want red t-shirts. So it is only logical that you show them your ad for red t-shirts.

Ok, so we show people the ad that they are expecting to see. This will directly impact one of your KPI’s, the CTR (Click Through Rate). If your CTR is low, something is going wrong in this phase of your campaign.

Next when someone clicks your ad for a red t-shirt, where do you send him? Your homepage? Your general page about clothes? Maybe the t-shirts page? Nope.

We want to send that person straight to your landing page with, you guessed it, red t-shirts.

Ok, so how does this look as a Google Ads Search campaign structure?

Your first campaign structure

A Google Ads account consists of two main levels. First you have your campaigns, these are the highest level within your account. This is where you set your budget, target geographical region, specific audiences, etc.

Next within each campaign we can create Ad groups. These are basically holding your keywords and ads. This is also where you want to create your relevance.

Let’s look at an example. We’ll stay with the t-shirts example for now.

Let’s say our example is an online clothing store, what would a good Google Ads account look like? Let’s see:

  • T-shirts
    • Short sleeve t-shirts
    • Long sleeve t-shirts
    • Red t-shirts
    • Black t-shirts
  • Jackets
    • Bomber jackets
    • Leather jackets
    • Parka’s
  • Pants
    • Jeans
    • Chino’s
    • Shorts

The main bullets are campaigns and the bullets under them are ad groups. You could also differentiate your ad groups by brand for example.

Just make sure you don’t overdo your keywords within each ad group. We’ll talk more about this later in this article.

The different elements dissected

Now that you know what a good Google Ads account should look like, let’s take a deep dive into the different elements that make up an ad group.


Your keywords are the core of your ad group. They are how you choose to who you want to show your ads.

There are 3 different types of keywords:

Broad match: red t-shirt

Broad match means that Google will show your ad to people searching for red t-shirt, but also those searching for variants and any search query containing red t-shirt. Most of the time this is not what you want.

Phrase match: “red t-shirt”

Phrase match means the search query can have anything before or after this keyword and close variants to the keyword will also show your ad. This is usually the best type to start with when you’re creating a new campaign.

Exact match: [red t-shirt]

Exact match means that your ad will only be shown to people searching for your exact keyword or very close variants. This is the way to go for more mature ad groups.


Your ads are the link between your keywords and your landing pages. This is also the way you can stand out from your competition. So when writing your ad copy, it is incredibly important to have some empathy with your customers. What do they care about? What problems are they facing? What would really make their day?

Think about it this way: When you are a customer searching for the keywords within a specific ad group, what ad would you expect that totally speaks to what your wants and needs are?

A couple of things you can mention in your ads:

  • Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • Your competitive advantage
  • Your delivery time
  • Any discounts that are applicable (These can also be added as an ad extension)
  • The product your ad is about (!)

Ad extensions

Ad extensions are basically a way to make your ads take more screen real-estate, effectively a way to stand out more. I’ll mention some of the most common ad extensions that you should definitely add:

  • Sitelink extension
  • Callout extension
  • Call extension
  • Location extension
  • Review extension

If you start with the aforementioned list of extensions, you are well on your way to make the best out of your ads.

Landing page

Last but not least, the place where everything comes together… the landing page. So you created a nice range of campaigns and ad groups focused on relevance, selected the best keywords for each ad group and wrote some of the best ad copy the world has ever seen. Now these ads need to go somewhere. This is where the landing page comes in. Most ecommerce systems provide you with the necessary tools to easily create every landing page you need in a second. Like collections within Shopify for example.

And again it is essential to make these landing pages as relevant as possible. I really can’t stress this enough, since this will be the main differentiator between a campaign losing money or a campaign making money.

You can expect an entire blog post about ecommerce landing pages soon, but for now I will provide you with a list of some of the most essential elements of an ecommerce landing page:

  • A good title (should match with your ad)
  • Good, attention grabbing photos
  • Some supporting copy, like product benefits
  • Your USP’s
  • Social proof, like testimonials
  • A call to action (The color should be different from your brand identity)

To bring this all together, try using a clean design that guides the user through your page.

The metrics that matter

Once your Google Ads campaigns are running, you’ll need a way to gauge how they are doing. I’ll list some of the most common KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that will tell you how your campaign is doing and how you can improve them.

Average CPC

This is the average amount you are paying for each click on your ads. You can improve this metric by improving your QS (Quality Score).

QS (Quality Score)

This is a score from 1 to 10, where 10 is the best. This score is calculated by combining your keywords, ads and landing pages and valuing them for their, you guessed it, relevance. So the more relevant your campaigns are, the better your quality score will be and the less you’ll pay. Isn’t that a great incentive?

CTR (Click Through Rate)

This number shows you the percentage of people that saw your ad and clicked on it. So basically the number of people who clicked on your ad divided by the number of people that have seen it.

Conversion Rate

This is the number of people who have taken the action you want them to take on your website (for ecommerce this will probably be a purchase) divided by the number of people who clicked on your ad. Improving this number is a bit more complex than the other KPI’s because this is basically where everything comes together. To improve this number you need to look at the relevance within an ad group, the elements on your landing page and your market position.

Return on ad spend

When you divide all the value your ads are generating and divide this by all the costs for your campaigns, you’ll get the return on ad spend. The bigger this number the better, of course.
Every marketer will proudly tell you about that insane ROAS they once had a few years ago. 

When calculating your return, you should of course keep in mind your Customer Lifetime Value as well.

Bounce rate

When you link your Google Analytics property to your Google Ads account, which you always should do, you’ll also get access to some Google Analytics data within your campaigns. The bounce rate is one of the great metrics that you can use to improve your campaign. A user is registered as a bounce when they arrive on your landing page and immediately leave again without taking any other action on your website. So this is the number of users that “bounces” divided by the number of users who visit your page.

A high bounce rate indicates that the user who clicked on your ad didn’t find what they were looking for. To improve this, you need to improve the relevance between your ads and your landing page.

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