Using paid ads is still one of the best ways to obtain leads for any ecommerce company.

Paid ads are an approach that many of the successful brands worldwide are using to drive customers. Although there are other methods and tactics that can work well with ads – such as with CRO, influencers and email marketing – going the paid route is still one of the most powerful out there.

Paid ads are here to stay. That is why ecommerce marketers need to become highly skilled in every aspect of it to help scale their brand.


What Are Paid Ads for Ecommerce?

Advertising in the ecommerce space is the approach of showing paid messages on search engines, social media channels, and other websites to sell products to a target audience. The brand operates as the advertiser and pays for placement, clicks and impressions.

When it comes to advertising, most of us would think of Google pay-per-click or Facebook ads. The truth is, there are various types of advertising that are great for ecommerce brands and can help them scale.

Below are the different types of advertising that you can use for your e-commerce brand.

Advertising using paid search, also called pay-per-click (PPC), is when a brand pays to have their listing displayed on search engines or online marketplaces.

Paid social involves ads that show up on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Such ads are quite flexible with regards to the ad format, type, visuals, content and targeting.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is a type of paid content that is uploaded on publisher websites. The content can be in the form of infographics, articles and videos. These appear as native content pieces on the publishing platform.

Display Advertising

In display advertising, a brand advertises its product using an app or a publisher’s website by way of a display. The display could be as images/banners, video, text, or audio files. This can be done using the Google Ad platform or through affiliate partners.

Print Ads

Print advertising is an approach in marketing wherein printed media is used to reach customers on a wider scale. The media can be printed in various publications such as in newspapers and magazines.

Newsletter Sponsorships

Newsletter sponsorship is where an ecommerce brand pays for having a sponsored ad via an email newsletter from an industry website, influencer, or publisher.

Podcast Advertising

In podcast advertising, a product is advertised by a host through a segment, online radio, music streaming apps, or on actual podcasts.

Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor advertising is any sort of advertising that is shown outdoors such as in bus stops, billboards and interiors of public vehicles.

Google Advertising for Ecommerce

Google advertising is one of the best marketing channels that ecommerce brands can use today. Although there is talk about brands moving away from Google to use social media instead, the search engine giant still remains one of the top avenues for helping brands scale their ad campaigns.

Google ads are the advertisements that you see on Google. These ads show up when a user does a search for something and is shown at the top of the search engine results pages.

Such ads can also show up on YouTube or an app that is owned by Google. Display ads can also appear on online publisher websites that have been set up using the Google Display Network (GDN).

Types of Google Ads

When speaking of Google ads, these can be categorised into five types: search ads, display ads, shopping ads, video ads and universal app ads.

Search Ads – This type of ad is the most prevalent form of advertising you can find on Google. Search ads are shown whenever a person performs a search for anything on the search engine. If the search relates to a product, search ads will often be displayed after the Google shopping ads.

Google Shopping Ads – These ads are the best type of ad for ecommerce brands since they are highly visual and pop up on the top of search results. It is also straightforward as you only have to upload a product feed on Google Merchant Center where all of your products can go live.

Display Ads – You can find this type of ad as banners on various websites. They operate primarily out of the Google Display Network, which hosts ads on more than 2 million websites and apps.

YouTube Video Ads – Video ads on YouTube show up before or during the video content. Many e-commerce marketers use this type of ad as it can increase engagement. Just make sure that the video ad is interesting enough for the target audience.

Top Strategies for Ads

Now that you have a better understanding of paid ads and Google advertising in general, let us take a look at some of the best ad strategies you can employ.

Target People Based on Your Marketing Funnel

Consider the search intent of your users.

Try to search for terms that have a high search intent. Since these customers are already at the bottom of your funnel, you should direct them to your landing or product pages.

For users that are in the middle of the funnel, then you should bring them to a high-quality article or collection page where they can read about things like comparisons. These pages should provide a call-to-action for your products.

Make sure that you create different campaigns for users based on which stage of the funnel they are at.

Set Up Negative Keyword Lists

A huge drawback with search ads is that Google has a habit of showing your ads for keywords that are too broad or unrelated. That is why you need to make sure that you are telling the search engine giant which keywords you do not want them to use.

One way you can do this is to create a list of negative keywords so you can avoid using them in the future. This is something you’ll probably have to keep updating too.

Ensure Your Search and Display Networks Are Distinct

A huge reason why you should keep these two separate is because of user intent. Search is for users that are looking for something while the display is for those not looking for anything but we are providing a disruptive experience for them.

Make sure you separate these two in your ad campaigns. This is going to provide you with more clarity while helping improve your ROAS down the line.

Separate New Users from Remarketing Audiences

Remarketing ads are displayed to you users that have visited your site in the past. This is a totally different stop within your customer journey.

That is why you should keep your new users and remarketing audiences separate to avoid overlap. This also lets you handle bids, budgets and ads appropriately.

Social Media Advertising for E-Commerce Brands

Advertising through social media is one of the most popular ways that ecommerce brands can scale today. More and more people visit social media to search for products, which is why it is very powerful.

Platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram have high buyer intent that has made them a go-to for many brands to advertise their products.

The following are tips for advertising effectively on each social media platform.

Facebook Advertising

The most popular ads that you can set up in social media are done through Facebook. A basic form of advertising on the platform is made by boosting organic posts. This approach allows you to display your own posts to a huge audience.

Boosting posts will work for e-commerce brands that are highly active on Facebook. However, if you are not heavily reliant on organic content, you can run other types of ads on the platform such as:

  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Instant experience ads
  • Collection ads

One of the best practices for ads on Facebook is to ensure that your headline has a median length of at least five words. The average text for every headline should also contain at least fourteen words.

Furthermore, consider using call-to-action buttons such as “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, and “Sign Up” on the platform.

Instagram Advertising

Although Instagram is already owned by Facebook, advertising on both platforms works in different ways. Instagram uses different ad formats, it targets audiences differently, and it appears to be more powerful than Facebook.

One way you can advertise your ecommerce business on Instagram is to use its stories feature. According to studies, 70% of users on the platform have swiped to gain access to branded stories.

When advertising on Instagram, make sure you separate your retargeting audiences into segments. You can base this on on-site visits, cart abandonments and profile visits.

Another tip is to make the most out of captions since they are highly relevant on Instagram. Ensure that your captions tell the whole story behind each post you upload for maximum effect.

Pinterest Advertising

Another social media platform that has high buyer intent is Pinterest. According to a report, 77% of users discover and purchase products using the platform.

There are three types of Pinterest ads you should know about:

  1. Promoted pins
  2. Promoted video pins
  3. Promoted carousels

When advertising on Pinterest, make sure to keep your terms specific. The platform does tend to ask users to perform broad targeting, which can be a waste of money.

Also, make sure you keep your organic engagement high by posting at least 10 pins in a day. Staying active on social media is one way to make your advertising even more worth it.

Using Native Ads for Ecommerce Marketing

Native ads are when a brand is promoting a piece of content using a publisher’s website. This can be an article or video that shows up next to standard articles. These can also be in-feed ads or promoted listings.

It is possible to set these ads up on your own using Google Display Network or use a platform like Taboola or Outbrain to help run your campaigns.

For native ads, you want to develop a solid content marketing strategy and then mix in native ads for maximum effect.


Using paid advertising is a powerful way for ecommerce marketers to increase the visibility of their brand online. But in order to use it effectively, you need to follow the best practices to ensure you get the most out of them.

Furthermore, it is important that you do not disrupt your customer journey when serving your ads. Knowing which ads to display at the right time and for the right audience is key to being successful when using paid ads.