Understanding How Google AdWords Can Reach Potential Ecommerce Customers In Multiple Ways

Google AdWords and ecommerce go hand-in-hand. It’s a perfect fit for new ecommerce businesses, and the advertising platform that many medium and large sized ecommerce companies are built on.

With AdWords it’s possible to simply:

  • Show ads to people searching for specific brands and products
  • Determine how much you wish to pay to acquire a new customer
  • Increase performance and net revenue in an easy-to-measure way

AdWords’ main strength in ecommerce terms is its ability to target prospective customers when they are ready to purchase products, but there are a lot of other opportunities the platform has.

Where Do Your Sales Really Come From?
AdWords & Multi-Touch Attribution

Coupling AdWords with data collected by Google Analytics, it’s easy to see a clear picture of how visitors behave on an ecommerce website.

Many website owners attribute their sources of sales to the last place a visitor came from before purchasing – say for example, if someone searches for a product on Google and clicks on the organic result, then buys a product, a website owner may give the responsibility for the sale to Google Organic Search.

A quick glance at the “Multi-Channel Funnels” report reveals that it’s not always the case that a visitor will search for something, click on a result and then make a purchase. The visitor may go to a series of other sources on their way to buying, including other websites, social networks, paid ads, organic search, forums – many places. If you are using AdWords to target people as they’re getting ready to purchase then good for you – but if you’re paying to boost your presence on other sources and not giving those sources credit for sales: you’re doing it wrong and you may lose out on future sales if change how your budget is spent.

“Multi-touch attribution”, or “linear attribution” gives credit to all sources that a visitor goes to before buying.

“Last interaction” attribution gives credit to the final source a visitor goes to before buying.

A “Position Based” attribution gives credit to certain sources along the path to a visitor converting – e.g. the first and the last take most of the credit.

My opinion on how attribution should be determined is based on where budget is spent. If you’ve spent money to earn, or buy, presence on one of these “touchpoints” then that budget should be factored into your cost per-customer acquisiton.

The Google AdWords Conversion Funnel


Google continue to add useful new features to AdWords that increase its value as an ecommerce promotion tool. Those of us managing AdWords PPC Campaigns really appreciate these new features.

The main types of Ecommerce AdWords Campaign are

  • Product Listing Ads (PLAs): Taking products from a website’s Merchant Centre Shopping Feed, Google display product images, prices and simple messages in prominent positions in search results
  • Search Ads: The most commonly used AdWords ad type, where advertisers bid on keywords and display above or to the side of organic search results
  • Display Ads: Googles advertising network is used by millions of websites, which allow advertisers to display banner or text ads, often matching the topic of content of those websites
  • Display Retargeting: Google refer to this as ‘remarketing’ – advertisers can display banner ads to people who have visited their website, and perhaps looked at a certain page, or not made a purchase, with the aim of ‘nudging’ them back to the site to convert
  • Dynamic Retargeting: Similar to display retargeting, ‘Dynamic Retargeting’ displays product prices and images from a Merchant Centre Shopping Feed to visitors who have been to certain pages on a website, but perhaps not bought anything

Other advertising platforms offer similar functionality to the types of campaign above – some are more specialised.

By setting up a sequence of possible paths visitors may take to purchase, Google AdWords can bring great results for an ecommerce business.

So this is what the ‘conversion funnel’ looks like, from attracting visitors to converting them into customers, and if that doesn’t succeed the first time, by retargeting them with further incentives to purchase.

Read more: How to Use the New Google AdWords Budget Change to Your Advantage