Are you still doing the ol’ daily conversion rate ritual? Estimating ROAS. Calculating COS. Figuring ad spend vs. clicks vs. transactions vs. … some other metric you hold dear. All in an effort to determine what your Google Shopping margins are and how much of your sales can be attributed accurately to PLAs?

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? And worse yet, it’s inexact.

Maybe it’s time to rethink your Google Shopping campaigns altogether.

When ecommerce marketers track the success of their Google Shopping Product Listing Ads, the daily conversion ritual is often the go-to method to determine campaign ROI.

But there’s another way — a more realistic and, if applied properly, more profitable way — to look at PLA campaigns.

Google Shopping PLAs as a Long-Term Investment

Stop looking at each Google PLA impression, click and conversion as a single unit in a vacuum.

Instead, start looking at each of these KPIs as part of a holistic strategy to convert one-time shoppers into lifetime customers. As such, PLAs then become key components to a larger marketing funnel that applies a variety of techniques to push shoppers along touchpoints to keep them coming back.

The more times a shopper visits your store and the more times a customer purchases from you, the stronger your relationship with them will be. Particularly if they have a good experience each time. That means they’re more likely to become a brand ambassador, spreading the word about your products to others, creating a dream scenario where your products sell themselves.

But it all starts with really good PLAs.

Step 1: Bring in Customers with PLAs

Make sure your PLA has a clear and specific offer. Provide high-quality data. This not only increases your odds of making a sale, but also associates your company with professionalism right off the bat. Where possible, include your brand name to start helping people develop a connection with your company.

Run your PLAs through the Google Shopping PLA best practices checklist to make the most of every impression.

Step 2: Seal the Deal with Optimized Product Pages and an Easy Checkout

You’ve heard this story before. Product page optimization is the bread and butter of online retail sales. To achieve fully optimized product pages, you’ll need:

  • A variety of great product images.
  • Product descriptions that not only describe the product and its specs, but also clarify its uses and applications.
  • Social proof. Ideally, in the form of product reviews, though social media and blog mentions can also be put to use. If your store and/or product is new, you’ll need a strategy to getting product reviews.
  • Conversion-focused design. That means an uncluttered layout that draws attention only to the product the shopper clicked on (and not to everything else you want to sell him; that comes later).
  • Provide in-depth visual detail. Great product images are a baseline. They’re mandatory. No exceptions. The next step is to go into even greater visual detail. That means product videos.

From here, they’ll head to the checkout. Make sure you capture their email address and permission to add them to a mailing list. Entice them with deals or useful information to get their sign-up. It is also valuable to gather key demographic info to get a better sense of who they are and what they are interested in.

A best practice is to offer the customer the option to create an account after they’ve made the purchase. This way it doesn’t serve as a deterrent to making the purchase, but makes future purchases easier and gives you access to their contact information.

Step 3: Build a Rapport with Transactional Emails

Don’t overlook this step in the sales funnel. Transactional emails get eight times more opens and clicks than other types of email – and they can generate six times more revenue.

You also don’t need permission to send a transactional email; it’s expected. So make use of it. Upsell other items. Promote your social media. Plug your newsletter. And show off your brand’s personality.

Step 4: Continue the Conversation with Email Marketing

Email marketing is the most trusted form of communication. A surprising 77% of consumers prefer email over other online forms of communication.

So now that you have that email address, put it to use! Share new or related product offers. Make your communication as personalized as possible. You could see up to six times higher transaction rates for your efforts.

Step 5: Stay Top-of-Mind with Remarketing Ads

“Americans buy the same 150 items, which accounts for 85% of household needs,” says Jami Oetting of Hubspot.

So there’s a good chance, your customer will need/want to buy your product again. Depending on the product, that might be next month, three months from now or next year. That difference is important because it can determine how you time remarketing initiatives.

It can also be the right touch to persuade browsers to commit to a purchase. If someone clicks through that email you sent them in Step 4, they may still need another nudge to make that purchase. With remarketing, you can gently remind them of the product offer as they surf the Web or visit their social media accounts.

Similarly, if they clicked on the PLA but did not make a purchase, remarketing can be a helpful reminder to them about your product while they are still in research mode.

Step 6: Track, Tweak, Repeat

Once you’ve created an effective marketing funnel, see what small things you can do to improve it. Run A/B tests, and take action based on the results. Consider trying other techniques to encourage repeat purchases, such as:

  • Creating a customer loyalty program.
  • Offering discounts or deals to encourage customers to return.
  • Sending a reminder once your product lifespan has ended, if applicable.
  • Setting up abandoned cart emails.
  • Using cookies to offer personalized offers to past customers on your site.

The key is to stay connected and be top-of-mind at the right moments. The more you can develop the relationship after that first click on a PLA, the likelier you’ll be to create long-term customers and the higher your potential return on investment.

Bryan Falla

Bryan Falla

Marketing Director at GoDataFeed
Bryan is a digital marketer whose experience spans over a decade of tech trends and strategy swings. More recently, he's helped develop ecommerce marketing strategies for more than 200 online retailers.
Bryan Falla
Google Shopping Campaigns: 6 Steps to Building Customer Lifetime Value
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