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9 Google Ads Best Practices For Scale (Ecommerce)

There was a time when I was solely focused on Facebook ads. More towards the beginning of my own eCommerce journey.

I still remember how I would focus on finding the best practices for Facebook and the amount of tests I would run to figure things out.

As I made my move from Facebook ads onto Google ads after a humiliating ad account suspension that wiped out my entire business, I figured I knew it all.

After all, I had been finding decent success on Facebook ads and could implement the same strategy on Google.

Right?

Wrong. In fact, this was so wrong, I was running at a below 1x ROAS for the first two months of operation with my new eCommerce brand.

Total and utter destruction on my pocket and on what was left of my funds.

I slowly began to realize Google ads is a beast of its own. Not only does it rely heavily on the algorithm for data, but the data itself takes a bit of time to accumulate based on overall strategy.

And as time went on, I began to understand certain practices which, if implemented properly, could result in immeasurable growth and scale for just about any eCommerce brand (that has search demand).

Running my Google ads agency for over a year now also helped me understand the fundamental strategy and tactical steps needed to make Google ads work long term. And let me tell you – a main fundamental strategy can work on just about any eCommerce brand regardless of niche.

In this article, I’ve compiled a list of 9 different best practices that you can implement right now when it comes to Google ads in general to scale your eCommerce brand to the next level. At a high level, you’ll be able to see how different puzzle pieces come together to give the campaigns and the algorithm the boosts they need to perform better.

Keep in mind that these are JUST 9 different strategic approaches to growing sales with eCommerce; there are many more you can use and implement to find continued growth.

Framework #1: Feed Optimization

Your feed is one of the key pillars of your eCommerce brand.

A pillar that your brand simply cannot exist without. Yet it is one of the most overlooked aspects of Google ads strategy.

I’ve spent a lot of time with my team really analyzing the feed and figuring out how different levers impact the performance. And one thing has become very clear:

Relevancy is key when it comes to the feed.

Whether it be with choosing the Google product category or adding SEO keywords, it’s important to be closely related to what your potential customer searches for. On a strategic level, this means doing proper keyword research to find those with:

  • 30,000+ average monthly searches
  • No irrelevant words within (brand names, etc.)
  • Buying intent

For this part of the framework, I prefer to reference the AIDA principle: attention, interest, desire, and action. The feed optimization part falls in between the attention and interest part of the formula as it does a great job of driving the right eyeballs to your ads and further increasing interest in products.

See How My Agency Can 10x Your Brand's Sales With Google Ads

Google Ads – effective targeting and scaling methods for ROI.

Bing Ads – dominating the market of a fairly untouched platform.

Facebook Ads (Retargeting) – helping stop the leaks from all sides of the bucket, especially with retargeting.

But the bottom line is, always focus on choosing the right options when it comes to the product feed and further enhancing the effect with strategic keyword insertion within titles and descriptions.

Framework #2: Google Merchant Center Optimization

I’ve said this often and I’ll say it again; a properly optimized Merchant Center not only paves way to strong results, but it makes the entire process easier.

Issue is, most eCommerce brands have extremely weak foundations that do nothing but bring the overall results down.

Keeping this in mind, the best type of strategic approach to take to optimize the feed is to start with the most important things.

Things like the product disapprovals.

Almost all product disapprovals happen due to a key reason and this reason causes your campaigns to not perform at optimal levels. Clicking the little “question mark” next to the actual disapproval provides the exact reason as to why it happened.

From there, it’s as simple as fixing up the main issue to get rid of the disapprovals. A well optimized product feed running at 100% health is what signals to Google that your eCommerce brand is following all the right things.

When this happens, the algorithm begins to favor your shopping ads vs your competitors and this is what leads to crazy low CPCs and more.

While this alone can change the entire trajectory of your Google ads campaigns, it’s not enough.

This brings us to the actual programs the Merchant Center offers.

Things such as the shopping experience score or the promotions section or the product reviews.

When it comes to this framework, the bottom line is that the more you do, the better it plays out. We want to occupy as much ad space as possible when it comes to shopping ads and having things like reviews and promotions definitely helps.

Framework #3: Multiple Conversion Tracking Tags

In the previous framework, we focused on fixing up the backend in terms of the Google Merchant center. This framework is also for the backend but in a slightly different section.

Normally, eCommerce store owners are aware that they need to have proper conversion tracking to ensure every small piece of data is flowing in properly. But few have insight into what the best attribution model is for conversion tracking.

If this is you, I don’t blame you.

Google itself doesn’t do too good of a job when it comes to explaining these things. And it ends up costing the eCommerce brand hundreds of thousands of dollars in the wrong run.

To avoid this and to take a strategic approach towards ads, you want to have multiple conversion tracking tags within your Google ads account. But here’s the caveat.

When you create all of these conversion tracking tags with different attribution models, ensure they’re all set as secondary instead of primary.

For example, we set up three different conversion tracking tags for this account. The third one, which is recording data via tag manager, is recording only half the data compared to the other two. Normally, eCommerce store owners would install a tag like this via the tag manager and forget about it.

BIG mistake.

And while there are ways to directly compare attribution models, it’s a whole different story to see it live with these secondary tracking tags.

After testing for about 30 days, it’s as easy as choosing one of these tags as the primary and running the account with them.

Framework #4: Audiences

If there was a hack to supercharge your brand’s Google ads algorithm with proper data quickly, this would be it.

Yet this is also one of the most overlooked frameworks when it comes to Google ads.

Applying this framework is as simple as creating a bunch of these audiences at the account level. The campaigns you create – especially Performance Max – are designed to dive deep into the audience manager to gather data from those you created.

But this works exceptionally well for standard shopping campaigns as well.

We think audiences are such an integral part of a campaign that we have a whole checklist of different audiences we create right when we take over an account.

But keep in mind that audiences only become an integral framework of your Google ads strategy when they’re created with intention. Creating random audiences in the hopes that something works is not a strategy.

Once all these audiences are created, it’s as simple as inserting them within the campaigns created under an “observation” basis. Choosing anything else will narrow down the campaigns’ reach to only these audience selections, which defeats the whole purpose.

Framework #5: Multi-Campaign Type Approach

Now realistically, you may have heard of the multi-product type approach or the multi-channel type approach.

What about the multi-campaign type approach?

Working with hundreds of eCommerce brands in varying niches has led me to one conclusion which I’m pretty set on; most eCommerce brand owners focus too much on shopping ads.

And we all know what happens when there’s a massive amounts of eCommerce brands using one given advertising space:

  • High competition
  • Low profitability
  • Low scale

All things which could be resolved fairly seamlessly with this framework. This framework has become such an integral part of our strategy that we implement it right when we take over an account.

Here’s how it works.

If the Google ads account is brand new, the easiest approach to it would be to launch shopping and search campaigns together. In terms of search, a simple campaign for the brand itself is sufficient enough.

If you have extra budget to spend, letting the shopping campaign spend for at least a week before creating a search campaign around the most spending keywords is also ideal. But regardless of which approach you take, having multiple campaigns running at any given time is an absolute necessity.

For more established ad accounts, we prefer to have these kinds of campaigns running at any given time:

  • Shopping campaigns (standard + performance max)
  • Search campaigns (warm + cold)
  • Display campaigns (retargeting)
  • Discovery campaigns (cold)
  • Youtube campaigns (retargeting)

Taking this strategic approach towards Google ads takes off the reliance on just one campaign and diversifies the traffic entirely.

Framework #6: Naming Convention

One of the most overlooked frameworks involves the naming of the campaigns. And this is when problems begin to arise.

Naming the campaigns properly and with a strategy can actually be beneficial to the overall process and approach with the campaigns.

Simply because when you know exactly what the campaign is for, when it was created and why, making the necessary changes becomes extremely easy.

It becomes less about figuring out why the campaign was created and when it was last optimized and more about scaling what needs to be scaled while saving time.

And trust me, when you have 100+ campaigns running, a naming framework becomes extremely necessary.

The way our team does it over at Yoru Marketing is pretty simple. With the name of the campaign, we’re trying to answer a few key questions:

  • Who the campaign was created by
  • What kind of campaign it is
  • What products it contains
  • What country it targets
  • When it was created

Having direct insight into these things without needing to dig deep into the actual campaign is an actual hack that can grow eCommerce brands on its own. Here’s an example of how we would name a Performance Max campaign running for the best sellers:

  • [YM] PMax: Bestsellers | USA – 11/03/22

Simple to read and concise. An important framework when it comes to ad strategy that should not be overlooked.

Framework #7: Disabling Recommendations

In many of my Youtube videos, I’ve said this often; recommendations should NOT be ignored.

Yet eCommerce brand owners continue to disregard them and keep them coming up within a given ad account. Worst of all, some eCom store owners actually even apply some of them.

Big mistake.

And in order to understand why this isn’t ideal, we need to understand the fundamentals of the Google ads algorithm.

The algorithm is designed to work off of data. The moment you start running campaigns within the ad account, the algorithm begins to analyze the data coming in and tries to connect the dots.

Oftentimes, this leads the algorithm to begin suggesting automated changes based on what it thinks is right.

And this is where problems arise.

According to an actual Google ads representative, having too many recommendations active at any given time on the account lowers something called the ‘optimization score’.

The lower the score, the more it interferes with the campaigns optimization and actually signals to the algorithm that something is ‘wrong’.

In my experience, the ideal strategic approach towards recommendations is dismissing all of them unless there are any you wish to apply.

But it’s always best to have a real person looking through the account and deciding changes and all compared to a computer. And while the extent to which this impacts performance cannot be directly calculated, I have seen accounts with all of the recommendations dismissed perform better than those without.

Framework #8: Broad → Narrow

When strategizing towards scaling, I’ve seen too many eCommerce brand owners try to micro-target their customers and get as close as possible to their ‘ideal audience’.

Credits: Social Media Examiner

And while this may work with Facebook ads or TikTok ads, this is a setup for failure with Google ads.

Here’s why.

On the interest based ad platforms like Facebook and TikTok, you have the ability to actively choose your audience. And the benefit with this targeting method is the platform actually shows you how many members reside within that given interest.

With Google, this is essentially impossible. We don’t have the ability to choose interests here nor do we have the ability to find out how many people exactly want our product on any given day.

As if this wasn’t vague enough, the amount of people searching for your product(s) changes every single minute!

Talk about complexity.

The strategy we’ve been using for the majority of eCommerce brands is the total opposite of what you would use with other ad platforms.

Here, the main goal is to actually start as broad as possible and go narrow over time.

For example, if we were trying to sell a red rectangular spaceship that has three antennas on top, we wouldn’t try ranking for just “red rectangular spaceship with three antennas”.

Instead, a better strategy would be to rank for “spaceship” or “antenna spaceship” or “red spaceship” or “rectangular spaceship”.

The list is essentially endless.

Not only does this broaden up our audience list, but it also starts sending valuable data to our ad account’s algorithm faster.

And trust me when I say this; the algorithm knows exactly how to narrow down from the extensive data it gets via these broad searches.

Framework #9: Custom Landing Pages

The framework we discussed earlier can also be further applied to the landing pages we use for our brands.

Most eCommerce store owners begin to narrow down on their landing page design and layout way too quickly. Often without any data to backup the colors or wording styles and such.

As a result, they end up with dirt poor conversion rates and their brand struggles to scale with Google ads.

As one of the best eCommerce Google ads agencies out there, we often have the pleasure of working with some of the biggest brands out there. And many of these eCommerce brands have one thing in common:

Custom landing pages.

I’ve yet to see an eCom brand scaling past $500k per month with a basic Shopify theme.

And that’s simply because custom landing pages are an integral framework of Google ads and overall scale.

When it comes to Google ads, the actual landing page design should be based off of a competitor initially.

Especially the one that’s dominating Google shopping ads and consistently ranking in the front. But keep in mind that copying a competitor’s design isn’t what I recommend.

Your main strategy should still be to add your own unique elements and test different things. Over time, as you begin to get more data, you can start making more crucial changes to design and record the impact on conversion rates.

Using These Frameworks

Frameworks help us move the needle the right way and grow our brands.

Think of these frameworks as the blueprint of a successful Google ads campaign. The more frameworks you follow from here, the more progress you’ll make towards scaling to the next level.

Regardless of what the end goal of your eCommerce brand is, these proven pillars will help establish a strong foundation for the brand.

But keep in mind it’s important to mold and change these pillars as needed. Google ads isn’t a marketing platform that’s set and stone.

It has many running parts to it and things change all the time. So instead of following everything by the letter, be open to change.

Expect change.

The algorithm changes all the time. The policies change. Even the demand for your niche changes.

The only thing that helps you through all this turmoil is a good Google ads strategy.

If you run an eCommerce brand doing $40,000 or more per month and you want to scale to the next level with Google ads, let’s work together. Schedule a free call with me and let’s talk about growth for your eCom brand.

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