How to Drive Traffic to your Shopify Website with Google Ads

Sam Oakes
April 7, 2022

Everybody knows that Google Ads is used as a way to drive traffic or sales to websites. Sure, you can run your ads every day and get a few more clicks and purchases here and there. But is it making a huge impact on your business or is it offering a low ROI? That’s the real question. 

Bringing in consistent traffic or sales to your website from Google Ads is what defines the success of your campaigns. But we will admit that it is tough!

Do you remember that moment from Wolf of Wall Street where all the stockbrokers are going crazy on the phones and Leonardo DiCaprio sits forward in his chair and looks stressed and scared? 

That’s what it can sometimes feel like when competing for visibility and top position on Google Ads. 

Don’t worry though - in this blog, we explain how you can successfully navigate and strategise your Google Ads campaigns to drive traffic or sales to your website. 

Number One: Create a Strategy for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel

By far the most important thing for Google Ads, or any task in life for that matter, is building a foundation. With Google Ads, you need to make sure that you are planning strategies for each part of your sales funnel. This is quintessential to have before creating any campaigns as it will enable you to target the right audience, as well as increase clicks, impressions and conversions with personalised messaging and targeting. 

When you think about your audience and their purchasing behaviour, everyone starts at a different point. Some people may know your brand and are considering but not ready to buy just yet, whilst others can be a spur of the moment, impulse buyers who know nothing of your brand but like what they see!

So for this, we will break down the sales funnel for you into campaign strategies for Google Ads.

  1. Brand Awareness campaigns: These are focused on people who know nothing about your business, what you sell or what your purpose is. A brand awareness campaign can start to build trust between potential buyers and your business, to eventually lead to a purchasing decision. This campaign can be a slow burner, but it is great for building visibility of your brand name and the top keywords which you wish to rank for.
  2. Interest-Building campaigns: These are focused on people who have been exposed to your brand awareness campaign (so they know your name) but they need a bit more information before buying. As we said, it can take a while!
  3. Conversion campaigns: This type of campaign is focused on people who are actively searching for products that you are selling but not necessarily looking directly for your brand. These are typically the most common type of campaigns that you will see on Google Ads. 
  4. Conversion and Promotion campaigns: This is slightly different from the previous campaign. This one is focused on people who are considered your “hottest leads”. They are potential shoppers who haven’t purchased from your business before, but have visited your site in the past. These types of campaigns can be created with the help of the Enhanced eCommerce Tracking tool in Google Analytics. 
  5. Existing customer campaigns: Last but not least, this campaign is designed to target people who have already purchased from your online store. It is designed to build brand loyalty and push sales further with these customers as they have already shown an interest in what you have to offer (so why not buy again?😉).

Building a strategy around your sales funnel will help you to understand the type of messaging, tone of voice and purpose that you need when creating your campaigns. Having the foundation in place, you will be able to target your audience correctly and with the right intent, which is guaranteed to improve your click-through rate on your Google Ads. 

Number Two: Research + Experience with Different Google Ads campaign types

In total, there are 5 different types of ad campaigns that you can create through Google Ads. These are:

  1. Search (text ads that show on Google search results)
  2. Shopping (product listings that show on Google search results and the ‘shopping’ tool)
  3. Display (image ads that show on websites)
  4. Video (videos ads (duh!) that show on YouTube)
  5. App (your app promotion on other channels). 

The ones which we specifically want to focus on here are Search and Shopping (we will delve into the other ad campaigns at a later date). 

When it comes to building brand awareness or selling on Google, you will need to vary and test the different campaign types to find out which combination works best for your business, aligning with your campaign strategy as well. 

Search Campaigns

Google Ads paid advertising logo.

Search campaigns were the first to come about when Google Ads was born. These are purely text-based ads that require creative messaging to entice your audience. With these campaigns, you will need to think about your tone of voice, target keywords, sentence structure and readability of your campaigns. Even though you should think about this with all campaign types, it is even more important with search campaigns as people will be reading what you are writing, so let’s make it good!

Here is a list of the potential Search campaign ad types that you can test run to see which works best for your brand. 

  1. Generic Non-Branded Search Campaigns

As it states in the title, these are non-branded campaigns which means you will be targeting your audience with generic keywords and search terms that relate to your products or services. These campaigns are ideal for bringing in customers who are looking for your products or services, understanding that niche, but don’t necessarily know your brand. 

With generic search campaigns, you can experiment with different keyword combinations and keyword match types (broad, phrase and exact), as well as finding the right balance between cost and competition. By using non-branded search campaigns, you can find new keywords that your target audience is using to search for products or services similar to yours that you never thought of. It is a great way to build research and learn about your audience’s search references.

  1. Generic Niche Search Campaigns

This type of search campaign is designed for businesses that provide a niche product or service, one which can be targetted with niche keywords. Using niche keywords in your text ad may result in lower clicks or less visibility. However they can be more impactful as they will be targeting a specific audience. These audiences will be looking specifically for your niche product or service and when they do, you will more than likely be near the top of the search as the competition will be less fierce

For example, let’s say you sell mugs - instead of targeting ‘mugs’, you can target ‘funny animal mugs’ or something along those lines if it relates to the product that you are selling. 

  1. Branded Search Campaigns

This type of campaign is great for building brand awareness and targeting audiences who are aware of your products, services or brand already and are looking to enquire/buy. These search ads will include your brand name in your list of keywords, which will help attract the right audience and increase your brand’s visibility, as well as ensure you are at the top of Google’s search engine results, even if you are not organically. This will make it harder for your competitors to steal the spotlight from your brand. 

  1. Dynamic Search Ad Campaigns

Using dynamic search ad campaigns are great if you don’t have much time to manage your paid ad campaigns since Google does all the work for you. This works well for Shopify/eCommerce websites that have a large inventory of products and have experience with Google search ads already. Since they are automated by Google, these ad types can be used to target a variety of audiences and feature various combinations of keywords. 

It is worth noting that whilst these are automated and little work needs to be done in the creation, they will need to be monitored and tweaked regularly. This is to ensure that you are not wasting money on targeting the wrong keywords or audience. We will go into more detail about optimising your campaigns in a little bit. 

  1. Remarketing Search Ad Campaigns

Remarketing search ad campaigns are an easy way to target existing customers or people who have visited your website and didn’t make a purchase. They work by combining Google Search with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads from Google Analytics. By targeting this audience who are actively searching for your products or services, you are bringing back visitors who are likely to buy/enquire, overall increasing your traffic to your website and potentially conversions. 

  1. Competitor Search Campaigns

An easy way to make sure that your brand is visible amongst your competitors is by targeting your competitors. These search campaigns are designed to target customers who are searching for your competitors, which can be a great way to drive traffic and build brand awareness. However, these keywords can sometimes be costly and may require a higher daily budget. 

One way in which you can ensure that your ads are showing alongside your competitors is to create a custom audience that is built on targeting people who searched for specific keywords on Google. In this list, you can include branded and generic keywords that you know your competitors are targeting or that their customers are searching for. One way which you can find out this is usually through the keyword planner tool and through the search terms that have been appearing on your own campaigns. 

Shopping Campaigns

Google Merchant Center paid advertising logo.

Shopping campaigns work extremely well with Shopify websites (or any eCommerce website for that matter). This is because they are designed to attract an audience with a high intent of buying - ones who are actively searching for a product. Shopping campaigns also combine text and visual components, which in today’s market, visual marketing usually stands out more than text-based marketing. 

Here is a list of potential Shopping campaign ad types that you can trial to see which works best for your business. 

  1. Non-branded Google Shopping Campaigns

This campaign is a conversion campaign (which we mentioned in point 1 above). It is more targeting people who may not know your brand, but they know the product that they are searching for. 

With this campaign, you want to attract audiences who are looking for precisely what you are selling. This can help to bring in new customers to your website, which you can then retarget to build loyalty and returning customers. 

For this, you need to focus on keywords in the product name, features of the product and generic terms that are used to search for your kind of product, instead of your brand name. 

  1. Branded Shopping Campaigns

So the complete opposite of the last campaign, this campaign is designed to target people who are specifically looking for your brand. So relating back to point one, this will be a conversion and promotion campaign. With this, the people you are targetting already know about your brand and are interested in buying your products, whether they have done it before or not. You will want to make sure that your brand name is included in all aspects of your ad, whilst still showing the products that you are listing. 

  1. Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

The Smart Shopping campaign is a little different from the rest as it includes automation from Google. It works by Google automatically pulling data from your product data feed and creating Shopping ads that are designed to target customers who are more likely to convert and spend, running across various Google locations (e.g. YouTube, emails and Shopping stores). 

This is great for expanding your reach and ideal for those who have less time available to manage their campaigns, however, it is best to use these when your brand is more notable on Google and has more traffic generated to your website. The more data that Google has, the better it will be able to automate its targeting to specific audiences. 

  1. Showcase Shopping Ads

Last but not least, Showcase Shopping ads are designed to build brand awareness through the use of generic search terms (non-branded search terms). This type of ad campaign is ideal for Shopify/eCommerce businesses who have an extensive inventory of products since it allows you to group together related products and present them to potential buyers. 

This ad campaign is a great way to introduce your brand whilst showing off a range of products, generating interest in your business and building awareness of your online product catalogue. 

Number Three: Allow for a Testing Period

Sometimes things take time, especially when you are starting out fresh on the Google Ads market. 

One factor that Google Ads considers with campaigns is the history and trust leverage. This means that for brand new campaigns, you may not always appear number 1 straight away (unless you have a lot of money bidding on it, but even then, it’s not always guaranteed). 

The reason for this? Google needs time to collect data on your campaign to understand which audiences your ads should be serving to. 

During this testing period (usually between 2-4 weeks), you don’t want to make too many changes to your campaign, as Google will still be collecting data. During this time, you can make tweaks here and there. But if you change the whole layout and content, then Google will need at least another 2 weeks to collect the data. And at this point, you're still 6 weeks down the line and waiting for results.

If after the 4-6 week mark you are seeing no traffic generating to your website and a low conversion rate and ROI, then it's perfectly understandable that something needs to be changed with your campaigns. 

It’s also a good idea during the testing phase to run A/B testing campaigns. This is where you will run two (quite different) campaigns that will target different audiences and different keywords, and have a different tone of voice and messaging, to better understand which campaign works best for your business. 

Number Four: Optimise Your Campaigns Always!

Even if you run automated campaigns, you should ALWAYS monitor the progress of your campaigns. You need to do this to make sure that you're not wasting away money on campaigns that are not converting or reaching your KPIs.

By monitoring your campaigns, you know when tweaks need to be made. Whether this is to your audience targeting, your keywords or match types, your CPC setting, your campaign type etc. From this, you can learn whether a specific campaign type (Shopping or Search, brand awareness or conversion campaigns) works best for your brand. 

Gathering data and understanding where your brand stands in the Google Ads auction will allow you to make informed decisions about your campaigns. 

Just remember that every campaign and audience is different - there is no “one size fits all” approach to Google Ads. Here is some advice on the types of optimisation that you can do to ensure the success of your campaign:

  • Managing your negative keywords are vital to your success on Google Ads. This will help your campaigns by making sure that you are not wasting your budget on irrelevant clicks, allowing for the budget to be properly allocated to the right audience and target search terms. By eliminating keywords that you do not want to appear for, your ads will perform better with a higher chance of converting, increasing your campaigns ROI. Remember, you must choose your negative keywords carefully. Adding too many will lower your ad reach on Google Ads. Plus, you need to make sure that the keyword does not relate to your products or services at all (you don’t want to accidentally block yourself from your target audience now, do you?).
  • If you are generating a lot of clicks on your campaigns, but the conversion rate is low, then you will want to check the URL/page that you are sending your audiences to. It may be that the page ranks poorly for user experience on desktop and/or mobile devices. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool or PageSpeed Insights tool to gain feedback on your onsite page performance. 
  • A great way to target specific audiences is through long-tail keywords. These are keywords that are longer in length than generic keywords and most commonly generate lower traffic. Even though they generate lower traffic, they can help lower CPC (cost per click) and increase your ROI and conversion rate. Overall, a happier and better performing ad campaign!
  • Pay attention to your Google Ad campaigns quality scores. This can determine the strength and performance of your ads. If you have a good quality score, Google will likely show your ad higher and more often, meaning that you generate more impressions, clicks and conversions. If you are finding that you have an average or poor quality score, then you may want to review your ad copy, the keywords you are targeting and the amount you are bidding for each keyword. Our advice, read over your ad copy to check you are including relevant information and the target keywords. Make sure that the copy makes sense and is intriguing to the audience. If it appears spammy and too many keywords are stuffed into the content, then it will be off-putting. You need to make sure that your biggest benefits are included e.g. 20% first order, free delivery etc. Also, if the keywords you are targeting have too low of a search volume, then you may want to target a different keyword - this may involve you having to increase your daily budget and allocate more spend towards high CPC keywords. 

Successfully Drive Traffic and Sales to your website with Google Ads

Although we didn’t cover everything in this blog, we hope that you have a better understanding on how to strategically plan your campaigns to target the right audience and keywords, as well as how to create campaigns that pack a punch over time!

If you are reading this and thinking “I’m so confused as to how Google Ads works” - don’t worry. It’s something that can take a lot of practice and training to perfect. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team at Reward are training, with years of experience, in curating and maintaining a variety of paid advertising campaigns, including paid social media campaigns

If you would like help with generating new leads and increasing traffic to your Shopify website, then contact Reward today for a consultation with the team!

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