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Google Ads for Shopify: 14 Ways to Boost Performance

Scott Jones

Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Brands like Apple and Nike are so well known, they might not even have to advertise — at least not to generate brand awareness. For all of the other brands out there trying to build their own ardent bases of superfans — Shopify sellers included — there are Google Ads.

While some product-specific searches have migrated to Amazon in recent years, nearly half of consumers still use Google to discover new products. And that makes Google Ads for Shopify an effective way for D2C brands in particular to find new customers. 

Google’s 2019 Economic Impact Report found brands make about $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. Not bad, right? Layer in the following fourteen tactics, and you can supercharge those Google Ads for the highest possible conversion rate — and return on investment (ROI). Here’s how: 

Understand the Different Types of Google Ads

Google Ads help Shopify sellers boost visibility in multiple channels — here are some of the Google Ad types most relevant to ecommerce merchants:

  • Search Ads allow you to reach shoppers who are actively searching for your competitors or relevant products. 

  • Shopping Ads on YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, and the Google Display Network are great for reaching shoppers currently browsing products similar to yours. 

  • Video Ads that show up before, during, and after YouTube videos are a fantastic way to grab attention and engage with shoppers. 

  • Display Ads are image ads on websites with visually prominent CTAs — perfect for re-engaging shoppers who have already seen your ads or visited your site. 

If you’re looking to enhance ad performance, it’s a good idea to start by understanding the differences between these options — including which consumers are on a given channel, what they do there, and what kind of messaging would be most effective, so you can be sure you’re delivering the right ad to the right consumer at the right moment.

Align Ad and Site Copy

To maximize the impact of your Google Ads for Shopify, make sure your ad copy mirrors the content on your website. This provides a clearer path to conversion for consumers and increases your Quality Score, which is what Google uses to measure “the overall experience your ads and landing pages provide when users search for your keyword(s).”

A high score not only means you have good ad copy, but it also reduces ad costs and increases ad exposure thanks to better positioning in Google’s search and display networks. It helps boost conversions too.

So, for example, if your Google Ads are promoting “all-inclusive women’s swimwear,” the copy on your landing page should read, “inclusive women’s swimwear” or “women’s swimwear.” However, if these ads send consumers to a website that talks about bikinis and trikinis, there’s a clear disconnect that may affect your cost per click (CPCs) leads. If shoppers land on your site expecting one product, only to see something else, they’re more likely to drop off without converting. 

Optimize Your Landing Page

You can encourage shoppers to buy advertised products by testing out various landing page elements, such as color schemes and calls to action (CTA), to see which combinations have the highest conversion rates. Once a potential customer clicks on your ad, there’s an even better chance they will actually convert based on the elements you’ve already tested — and your conversion rate should go up. 

Analyze Visitor Data

Pro tip: The Google Analytics dashboard includes a Behaviors tab. Use the data here to figure out what your site visitors want and/or need. For example, if you see more new visitors than returning visitors, it’s a clue your brand awareness may be low — so your Google Ads for Shopify should focus on helping your target audience get to know your brand better.

If you’re a Shopify seller that consumers seek out by name, don’t let that behavior go to waste. Instead, incorporate those specific brand keywords in your Google Ads for Shopify campaign as well. This ensures you’re able to speak directly to those shoppers and invite them to take advantage of the most compelling offers on your site. 

Implement CTR-friendly Tactics

Google defines click-through rate (CTR) as a measure of “how often people who see your ad or free product listing end up clicking it.” The higher your CTR, the higher your conversion rate should be. There are few easy tricks almost guaranteed to immediately improve CTR:

  • Capitalizing title letters in ad copy

  • Using keywords that align with customer intent

  • Testing and optimizing ad frequency

Don’t Forget Negative Keywords

According to Google, a negative keyword is “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.” In other words, your Google Ads for Shopify won’t appear when consumers search for these phrases if you tell Google to ignore them.

If you’re a burgeoning food brand, you may want to include words like “free” or “cheap” on your negative keyword list so your Google Ads for Shopify won’t be associated with content about where to dine out for free. Research shows this can help increase both CTR and revenue. 

Take Advantage of Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking

Google Analytics offers a powerful Enhanced Ecommerce tracking tool that automatically creates audience segments using the data it’s collected on your customer journey and how shoppers interact with your site. 

For instance, you can use the Enhanced Ecommerce tracking tool to launch a Google Ad campaign that targets cart abandoners and delivers them specific messaging encouraging them to return to your site and check out. 

Review Your Audience Targeting

Google’s audience targeting tool is one of the most comprehensive out there — beyond just targeting shoppers based on their location, gender, age, or behaviors, you can create:

  • Affinity audiences to reach shoppers with specific habits and interests. 

  • In-market audiences to target shoppers according to their purchase intent. 

  • Life event audiences to reach shoppers who have reached an important life milestone. 

  • Detailed demographic audiences to target shoppers based on their long-term life facts. 

Leverage Dynamic Search Ads

Take your Google strategy to the next level with Dynamic Search Ads. It’s one of the best ways to find shoppers who are ready to purchase. 

This strategy involves using your ecommerce site’s content to fill in the gaps of your keyword-based ad campaigns. Rather than painstakingly crafting headlines and landing pages, Google will automatically generate Dynamic Search Ads using your site content. 

Learn more about Dynamic Search Ads here.  

Connect Your Shopify Store With Google Ads

Getting started with Google ads as a Shopify merchant is easy — simply download the Google channel app. From there, you can:

  • List your products across Google Search, Shopping, YouTube, and more for free. 

  • Create Smart Shopping campaigns, where Google automatically optimizes your ad based on performance. 

  • Earn up to $500 in matched ad credit. 

Make Google Ads a Part of Your Multichannel Strategy

While Google Ads can help boost the traffic to your Shopify store, the best way of approaching Google as a marketing opportunity is to incorporate it into your multichannel marketing strategy. After all, ecommerce stores that see the highest ROIs use Facebook, Instagram, Google, TikTok, Pinterest, and TikTok ads fluidly, with each channel working hand in hand, rather than in a silo, to help move shoppers further down into the funnel. 

Interested in learning more about transitioning to a multichannel or omnichannel marketing strategy? Check out this guide.

Include Retargeting

Retargeting is a highly effective display ad strategy because it reminds consumers about the products they’ve already viewed and encourages them to convert. By using browser cookies to serve ads to users who have already visited your site or clicked on an ad, retargeting helps recover abandoned carts, as well as re-engage existing customers. And since the potential customers you’re retargeting have higher intent to purchase already, including this tactic in your Google Ads for Shopify strategy is an easy way to boost performance, too. 

But here’s where things get tricky: Running retargeting ads on only one channel (such as Google) has limited reach. Instead, you need a multifaceted approach to target and connect with shoppers across all the platforms where they’re spending their time.

That’s where AdRoll comes in. Our multi-channel retargeting solution not only covers the entire Google Display Network, but also Facebook, Instagram, and more than 500 additional ad networks. In essence, you’ll be able to increase your reach while lowering your costs — say hello to higher ROI.

Connect Shopify and Google Analytics to AdRoll

Speaking of free, AdRoll’s Shopify integration is free for existing Shopify sellers. All it takes is a few clicks to connect your Shopify account to AdRoll. Then, AdRoll can tap into your first-party data along with all of our existing data so you can ultimately provide more personalized experiences for customers and prospects.

By also connecting Google Analytics, you can give AdRoll read-only access to data like traffic to better understand your audience and create even better campaigns, as well as recommend tweaks for better performance.

CTR + Conversions = Better Google Ads

If you want to easily boost the performance of your Google Ads for Shopify, you should focus on maximizing CTR and conversions. You can do just that by understanding where to advertise and analyzing consumer data, optimizing your website and aligning ad copy, and implementing retargeting and negative keyword lists. 

Connecting Shopify and Google Analytics to AdRoll is a smart idea too. If you need help along the way, AdRoll is here.

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