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eCommerce Marketplace Advertising: Get Started Guide (Amazon, Google, and more)

November 30, 2023
13 min read
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This quick start guide will help you better understand and launch eCommerce marketplace advertising campaigns to stand out on one of today’s fastest-growing sales channels.

Intro: The Importance of Building An eCommerce Marketplace Presence

As Ware2Go CEO Stephen Denton points out in the video below, the importance of being in multiple eCommerce marketplaces is growing:

Citing a recent survey on eCommerce shopping habits, Denton mentions these key stats and trends:

  • One-third of all consumers report doing at least ½ their online shopping through an eCommerce marketplace.
  • 89% of consumers say shop in two or more marketplaces before making a purchase decision.
  • Consumers are using eCommerce marketplaces like search engines: searching for similar products and comparing prices across each marketplace.

According to Denton, being in more than one eCommerce marketplace is trending upward, and those who “move quickly…will have an unfair competitive advantage.”

However, as adopting more than one eCommerce marketplace becomes the norm, does that mean that marketplace noise will scale up with it? That may very well be true, and many fast-growing businesses are increasing their presence with eCommerce marketplace advertising.

About this eCommerce Marketplace Advertising Guide

In this guide, we’ll pull from surveys, industry data, and eCommerce marketplace advertising best practices to answer these questions:

  1. What should I consider before advertising on an eCommerce marketplace?
  2. How do I get started with Amazon ads?
  3. How do I get started with Google Shopping ads?
  4. Should I advertise on an eCommerce marketplace that isn’t Amazon or Google?
  5. How much budget should I put towards eCommerce marketplace advertising?
  6. What should I do when advertising starts to grow my ecommerce business?

What should I consider before advertising on an eCommerce marketplace?

Before advertising on any eCommerce marketplace, you should ask, “What are my goals?” 

It’s surprising, but many eCommerce sellers start advertising without asking this important question- and it can make a big difference in setting expectations, and ultimately, sales results. 

Think of your eCommerce marketplace ad strategy in terms of the buyer’s journey. Marketers typically break this journey down into four steps:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision / Conversion
  • Loyalty

So, how do you know where in the buyer’s journey most of your audience is in?

Start investigating by vetting some problem statements past your Executive, Sales, Marketing, Financial, and Customer Success teams. Do any of these sound familiar?

“Our biggest problem is that no one seems to know about us or we only have the same repeat customers.” (Awareness)

“The market doesn’t seem to put us in the product category that we believe we’re in or consider us a solution.” (Consideration)

“Even if people know about us and understand us, the competition keeps winning.” (Decision / Conversion)

“We’re not getting enough repeat buyers or we’re seen as easily replaceable by a competitor.” (Loyalty)

Mapping The Buyer’s Journey To eCommerce Marketplace Ad Metrics

Do you feel like you have an understanding of common problem statements and where your audience is on the buyer’s journey? If yes, now you can begin thinking of your eCommerce marketplace ad strategy in terms of advertising metrics:

  • Awareness: Our goal is to increase brand recognition by maximizing ad impressions (the number of people who see our ads in our target market).
  • Consideration: Our goal is to increase traffic to your marketplace listing or eCommerce site, which may include specific website pages or other actions (like signing up for a monthly newsletter). 
  • Decision / Conversion: Our goal is to increase sales and have confidence in the ROI of our ads.
  • Loyalty: Our goal is to increase repeat business with additional sales or recurring subscriptions.

Of note, it’s important to be honest with where your eCommerce business stands to benefit most. In other words, go back to your problem statements and use that as your guide. It’s tempting to jump straight to the decision/conversation stage—but before people can buy your brand, they first have to trust it. 

Next, let’s take a look at how to get started with advertising on two popular eCommerce marketplaces: Amazon and Google Shop.

How do I get started with Amazon ads?

Amazon provides its own in-house advertising platform that provides opportunities to reach target audiences at different stages of the buyer’s journey. First, register for Amazon ads to get started.

However, before you leap in, you may want to familiarize yourself with these common advertising formats:

  • Sponsored Products, which allows eCommerce sellers on Amazon to promote specific product listings. 
  • Sponsored Brands, which advertisers can use to showcase their entire brand and multiple products in a customized ad. 
  • Sponsored Display, which expands brand reach by targeting potential buyers both on and off of Amazon. These display ads are also commonly referred to as retargeting ads.

To maximize advertising success, emerging eCommerce brands should lean on their marketing teams to:

  • Conduct thorough keyword research 
  • Optimize product listings
  • Set competitive bids
  • Monitor performance metrics (e.g. click-through rates)

By strategically utilizing Amazon’s advertising platform, eCommerce merchants can increase visibility and drive sales in an eCommerce marketplace with 310 million customers worldwide.

How do I get started with Google Shopping ads? (9 steps)

Google Shopping ads are a powerful way for emerging brands to showcase their products. Not only is Google Shopping an online marketplace that potential customers often go to directly, Google also populates its search result pages with ads for Google Shopping. That means if someone searches for keywords related to your product, they may see an ad right on the Google results page.

Here’s 9 steps to get started with Google Ads:

#1 Create a Google Merchant Center Account

First, be sure that you have an existing Google Account and have your ecommerce store already up and running. Once these two pieces are in place you can begin setting up your Google Merchant Center account. During this process you’ll be asked for basic information about your business and direct Google to where your customers will check out (e.g. your website, on Google, or at your physical store).

#2 Product Feed Setup

Your product feed contains essential details such as product name, description, price, availability, and images. This feed acts as a data source for your ads, so double-check that all the information is completely accurate.

#3 Link Google Ads Account

Connect your Google Merchant Center account to your Google Ads account. This integration allows you to create Shopping campaigns directly from your Google Ads interface. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Ads and want to learn more, Google Skillshop has a certification course for Google Shopping Ads. The next couple of steps below outline the basics of setting up your first Google Ads campaign.

#4 Set Up Google Ads Campaign

In your Google Ads account, navigate to the Campaigns tab and select the “+” button to create a new campaign. Choose “Sales” as your campaign goal and “Shopping” as the campaign type.

#5 Configure Campaign Settings

Define your campaign settings, including budget, location targeting, and bid strategy. Consider your target audience and set bid amounts that align with your budget and advertising goals.

#6 Create Ad Groups

Structure your campaign by creating ad groups. Group similar products together to ensure relevant ads are shown to users. This makes it easier to manage and optimize your campaigns.

#7 Product Grouping

Use product groups to organize your inventory within each ad group. Group products based on specific attributes like category, brand, or custom labels. This allows for more precise control over ad bidding and performance tracking.

#8 Optimize Product Titles and Descriptions

Crafting compelling and accurate product titles and descriptions helps your ads appear in relevant searches and grab the eyeballs of customers. Remember, your product data is key: be sure you have accurate product titles, descriptions, prices, and availability. High-performing Google Shopping ads typically have high-res photos and should always be mobile-friendly. For more in-depth tips for optimizing your Google Shopping ads, check out this LinkedIn article.

#9 Monitor Performance and Adjust

Keep a close eye on your campaign performance through the Google Ads dashboard. Analyze metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, and return on ad spend. Make adjustments to your bids, product groups, and ad content based on performance data. It is best practice to collect and monitor data for at least 15 days before making adjustments.

Should I advertise on an eCommerce marketplace that isn’t Amazon or Google?

While Amazon and Google are dominant, exploring advertising opportunities on other eCommerce marketplaces can be a worthwhile strategy. Notably, other platforms may align more closely with your business objectives or offer a unique advantage in terms of audience, competition, and features.

Let’s take a closer look at two big reasons why fast-growing brands often choose to advertise on marketplaces other than Amazon or Google:

Global or Geographic Reach

For getting into markets outside of the US, fast-growing brands may consider ecommerce sites popular in other countries. This includes: 

  • Alibaba, considered “the Amazon of China” known for both B2C and B2B sales
  • JD.com, also a Chinese ecommerce marketplace, which specializes in electronics
  • Rakuten in Japan
  • Cdiscount in France
  • MercadoLibre in Latin America, particularly popular in Argentina and Brazil
  • Flipkart in India

Niche Markets and Audiences

Similar to getting into new markets, emerging ecommerce sellers might consider their product and brand to find more niche markets or industry-specific audiences. Similar to Amazon and Google, these online hubs offer the opportunity to advertise or promote products. 

A few examples of platforms to consider include:

  • Seekers of vintage, bespoke, or handcrafted wares on Etsy
  • Similar, eBay does promoted listings
  • Fans of furniture and home decor lovers take to Wayfair and Houzz
  • Techies and ‘gadgetheads’ swarm to Newegg
  • Fashionistas and lifestyle brand aficionados around the globe on ASOS (which recently announced retargeting ads)

How much budget should I put towards eCommerce marketplace advertising?

Fortunately for emerging brands conscious of their budgets, finding the right spend on eCommerce marketplace ads doesn’t have to be a guessing game. 

For example, both Amazon and Google use ‘smart bidding’ technology that can help marketers test and iterate their advertising campaigns. There are three main questions you should ask to determine your ad spend:

  1. What are our goals for these ads? (Hint: Go back to the buyer’s journey)
  2. How much money does each conversion (or sale) cost us in advertising dollars?
  3. How much value does each sell or customer bring us? (Tip: You may want to consider frequency of repeat buyers)

To get started, you should launch your first campaign using the best practices mentioned in this article. This includes: quality copywriting, high-resolution images, accurate production information, and understanding where your customers are and what they may be searching for online. After 15-30 days, see how much each conversion is costing you. From there, you may choose to keep the same budget, or move to a more sophisticated Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) approach.

What should I do when advertising starts to grow my eCommerce business?

Let’s imagine the near future where your ecommerce marketplace advertising is paying off. That’s great news—but are you ready for the increased demand? One thing every emerging brand should consider is combining Warehouse Management Software with a nationwide warehouse network.

This creates an automated warehouse network that spots inventory trends and streamlines warehouse operations. Now, emerging ecommerce sellers can scale their business while avoiding stockouts and increase certainty around 1- to 2-day delivery. Learn more about how Ware2Go is the go-to warehousing solution.

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