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Types of Paid Advertising to Boost Your Ecommerce Business

Published on Monday, February 12, 2024

The average return on ad spend (ROAS) for Google Ads is 200%. That means for every $1 you spend on search ads, display campaigns, YouTube ads and other Google Ad formats, you’re likely to get $2 back. And the ROAS for social media ads is even better, reaching a massive 250%!

Paid advertising is a highly profitable strategy for building brand awareness, attracting new customers, and increasing sales for ecommerce businesses of all sizes and niches. To help you decide what to focus on, let’s look at the most popular types of paid ads, how to create them, and when they’re most effective.


These pay-per-click (PPC) ads appear at the top and bottom of a Google search engine results page (SERP). They’re marked with an “Ad” tag to show that they’re paid content rather than organic search results.

With Google, you can write three headlines of up to 30 characters and two descriptions of up to 90 characters to mix and match. That means you need to catch users’ attention and convince them to click in as few words as possible.


How to create paid search ads

You can launch a paid search ad campaign through your Google Ads account. Simply click “Create” followed by “Campaign”, then select your objective, campaign type, and conversion goals.

The most important part of writing your paid search ad is choosing suitable keywords. These trigger your ad to appear based on a user’s search query.

You’ll see the best results by using long-tail keywords. These are phrases of three or more words that users are likely to search to find your business, such as “buy luxury beeswax candles online”. Long-tail keywords ensure your ad is as relevant as possible to the user’s search intent, maximizing your conversion rate and keeping your cost per click (CPC) low.

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you need to set a maximum bid for your ad’s placement. Your bid is the highest amount you’re willing to spend when someone clicks your ad. This along with your ad’s quality score (Google’s determination of how well your ad matches a user’s search query) determine where your ad appears on SERPs.


When to use paid search ads

PPC search ads are an excellent tool for attracting new leads to your ecommerce website over those of your competitors. Well-written ads appear in front of engaged and interested prospects even before organic results. This increases the chance that a prospect will visit your website to satisfy their needs.

Paid search ads are especially useful when launching a new product, running a limited-time promotion, or hosting a one-off event.


Social media ads

Whether they use Facebook, Instagram, X, or any other platform, around 72.5% of the total US population use social media. With so many potential customers, social media ads have become one of the most popular forms of paid advertising. And the best part is that you have plenty of platforms to choose from to suit your audience and ecommerce needs.


How to use social media ads

Launching ads on every social media platform would be very expensive and time consuming, and probably offer comparatively little ROAS. So the first thing you need to do is decide which platforms to advertise on.

Each platform services a particular demographic that makes it most suitable for different types of ecommerce advertising. For example, TikTok is a general platform mainly used by18-24 year olds, making it a great option for quick business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a business-focused platform largely populated by 25-34 year olds, and so is better suited to promoting long-term business-to-business (B2B) partnerships.

After you’ve settled on a platform, you’ll need to choose an appropriate ad type. Social platforms offer many ad formats, including image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and stories. Just as with social platforms, each ad type has its own strengths. For example, carousel ads let you showcase a range of products, whereas story ads let you demonstrate your brand’s personality and authenticity.


When to use social media ads

The greatest strength of social media advertising is that you can target your ads based on location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and other personal factors. That makes it very easy to put your ecommerce brand in front of an engaged and qualified audience, and convince them to visit your website. Use social media ads when your main goal is to grow your customer base.


Display ads

Display ads appear on websites or in apps as banner ads, videos, animations, GIFs or other types of visual content. Your display ads can also be responsive, meaning they automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit the available ad space.

While you can buy ad space directly from publishers or through a media network, a popular option is to advertise on the Google Display Network (GDN). This is a group of more than 2m websites, apps, and videos that display Google ads.

This type of paid advertising lets you reach customers based on their interests and various demographic factors. You can even target people who have visited websites similar to yours, ensuring your display ads reach an eager and engaged audience.


How to use displays ads

Setting up a GDN display ad is very similar to setting up a paid search ad. You need to set a bid amount that determines how much you pay per click.

The biggest difference is that Google must review and approve your ad before your display ad campaign can begin. Make sure your ads follow Google’s ad image size requirements to keep them from being denied.

You also need to choose which sites your banner ad will appear on. By selecting only those relevant to your business or that your target audience will also visit, you can reach a huge number of interested leads.


When to use display ads

While some ads aim to sell products, display ads are more focused on brand discovery. They increase your exposure to your ideal buyers and place you at the front of their minds when they need your products and services. It’s best to use display ads to build greater awareness of your ecommerce business and build customer trust.


Instream ads

These are video ads that play before or in the mid-roll of YouTube videos. Although making instream video ads takes more time and effort compared to text or image ads, they can be highly rewarding.


How to use instream ads

If you’re creating a YouTube instream video ad through your Google Ads account, you have three choices:

  • Skippable ads that allow viewers to skip after 5 seconds
  • Non-skippable ads that run for around 15-20 seconds
  • Non-skippable bumper ads of up to 6 seconds

In skippable and bumper ads, you don’t have long to grab viewers’ attention. So it’s vital that you present your key point or hook right at the start of your clip.

Once you’ve prepared your instream video ad, select a daily budget and how long you want your campaign to run. You can also choose whether to display your ad in YouTube search results, YouTube videos, or through video partners on the GDN. Lastly, select your target audience and where you want your placements to show.


When to use instream ads

The visual nature of instream ads makes them perfect for demonstrating your products in action and bringing your brand to life. And unlike video ads on social media, it’s highly unlikely your instream ads will play while muted. That means you can build awareness of your brand while also creating a personal connection with your target audience.


No time to run paid ads?

Despite the huge benefits of paid advertising, some ecommerce brands simply don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to make them work. Instead, they partner with a professional ecommerce marketing agency like LimeLight Marketing.

Our team of digital marketing experts has the skills and determination to help you succeed in any type of paid ad campaign. That’s how we’ve been able to:


Get in touch today to find out how we can help your ecommerce business achieve record growth through paid advertising.

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deion pruitt
Deion Pruitt
Senior Paid Media Specialist