How To Use Google Ads For Shopify Success

There are many hard drives to swallow in life and work. Let me share one with you.

As much as you want that to be true, having an online store powered by Shopify doesn’t automatically mean success.

Sure, we read about many success stories and it can be tempting to think that the same thing will happen to all of us. But simply using Shopify alone doesn’t get the product moving.

The platform only plays a supporting role.

However, when Shopify is paired with the right tools, it can really be an integral part of your online success.

More and more, we’re seeing brands of all sizes and types choose Shopify for a variety of reasons. It’s easy to use, it’s updated frequently, and there’s a whole community of people willing to provide support when you need it.

It’s also really easy and simple to integrate with a variety of other apps and tools.

But for many, one challenge remains: How do you get your online store in front of as many potential customers as possible?

This is where Google Ads comes in. The combination of Shopify and Google Ads really is a match made in heaven (when managed right).

So, how do you advertise your Shopify store and where do you start?

Planning for Shopify Success

Given the relative ease with which you can start marketing your Shopify store (more on that in a moment), it can be easy to forget that a well-thought-out strategy and detailed plan are essential.

This is undoubtedly the first and most important step.

Without a plan, you’ll realize that it’s hard to know what’s working and what’s not when it comes to driving high-efficiency Google Ads traffic to your website, which converts into leads, sales, and revenue.

Once you have a plan, it’s time to get started!

Shopify Shopping Campaigns

If you’re new to Google Ads, with Shopify the best place to start is undoubtedly Shopping ads.

The process is quick and easy, requiring only two steps that can be easily completed from within the Shopify interface itself.

Once you’re in the Shopify Google channel, you can sync all of your products.

Screenshot from Shopify, November 2021

This means that they will be automatically pushed to the Google Merchant Center, allowing you to easily create Google Smart Shopping campaigns.

Create Smart Shopify Shopping CampaignsScreenshot from Shopify, November 2021
Note, if you don’t have a Merchant Center account yet, you will need one, but you can easily create one in Google within a couple of minutes.
Google Merchant CenterScreenshot from Google Merchant Center, November 2021

Another key to success with Shopping campaigns is optimizing your product feed, so make sure your Shopify product descriptions are accurate and as keyword-rich as possible (no keyword stuffing allowed).

You can even sync discounts that you create in Shopify with Google Ads.

Once the campaign is set up and published, Google will simply use its own automation and machine learning to improve it.

Shopify Marketing

Marketing for Shopify can also help you get started with Facebook ads.

This tool allows merchants to run Google Smart Shopping campaigns and Facebook ads locally, and track results directly in Shopify.

Shopify MarketingScreenshot from Shopify, November 2021

As a side note, while it’s a great place to start, I encourage you to take the time to explore these channels directly from within their platforms.

This is because you are better able to fine-tune ads, optimize campaigns, and take advantage of more advanced targeting features.

Optimize your shopping campaigns

After syncing your products, Google will add them all in one ad group by default.

However, you should take the time to review your product listing and only advertise items that you know have the potential to yield a positive ROI.

Everything else should be isolated into a separate, low-priority ad group, or simply excluded entirely.

Benefit from enhanced e-commerce tracking

If you use Google Analytics as your main analytics platform (and chances are that most of you are), you can benefit from Enhanced e-commerce tracking In Google Analytics to automatically generate audiences based on customer journey and interaction with your website.

Essentially, this grips low-hanging fruit—the tarko karts and pushers—into slices. Then you deploy these audiences to Google Ads to create campaigns that target these users with persuasive ads and offers.

Audience targeting

With all of your marketing, you should take advantage of platform testing features.

This means that you are not only able to innovate and experiment, but also be proactive in responding to changes and fluctuations in the market.

In particular, you should make audience targeting one of your first priorities.

Google’s focus on the user (and audiences) has grown exponentially in the past few years. Understanding your customer should always be at the forefront of your mind.

After all, these guys are the ones who keep you in business, right?

Google allows you to test how different segments respond to your ads and convert by setting audience targeting, or even just adding them in monitor mode.

The latter is a great way to really get to know more about your existing and new clients.

Additionally, you can use and test different layers of audience targeting.

For example, you can use affinity audiences to search for users based on their interests, or in-market audiences to target leads and buy-ready users.

The best user experience starts from the first (ad) impression.

Don’t underestimate or underestimate the importance of actual ads.

In life, the first impression is often the most important and ad impressions are no different.

Undercooked, rushed, or poor ad text and ad design generally won’t help you cut through the noise. It also means that you miss out on showing potential customers that you are the best option when they are actively searching for the products you stock.

Make sure big selling points like free shipping and easy returns are clear and easy to understand.

Then, if possible, enhance the ad with a campaign landing page optimized for conversions. Shopify offers many different ways to create landing pages, including using third-party tools and page builder apps from its own app store.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)

I’ll be the first to admit that just a few years ago, Dynamic Search Ads weren’t among my favorite ways to create ad campaigns.

However, since then, Google’s machine learning has taken a huge leap forward and these ads now perform exponentially better.

Combine that with the fact that it’s now near impossible to anticipate and cover all possible terms and phrases that people might use to search and find your products, and dynamic search ads are quickly becoming one of the last few secret tools in the pool of search experts.

They can be especially useful for Shopify merchants who have large inventories as a DSA can really help clean up on the long tail and drive additional cost-effective sales you’d otherwise otherwise miss.

Retargeting: Check! But what about cross selling?

We got it. Selling is hard, and so we are often quite satisfied with being able to close the deal and move on to the next customer.

But what about the opportunity to increase your customers’ lifetime value (LTV) and allow them to buy more from you?

Stop thinking of retargeting as a way to only interact with website visitors who haven’t converted and start thinking more about using your customer lists.

Fortunately, this is an easy task for Shopify customers.

From the Shopify interface, just go to the Customers section and find the menu on the left-hand side.

From there, choose to export all your clients and modify the downloaded file to fit the format required to upload it to Google.

Shopify customer listScreenshot from Shopify, November 2021

Next, go to the Audience Manager section within the Shared Library under Tools in Google Ads, and proceed with the upload by following the prompts.

Google Ads customer listScreenshot from Google Ads, November 2021

Once this is done, your customer list will be ready to use and allow you to target or suppress those that Google can match with. It will also create lookalike audiences (similar audiences) in Google.

Freedom from hats

Don’t let your success be limited by budget. Instead, let marketing guide its profitability and ultimately only work towards achieving your target ROI.

We often see marketers and brands limit their opportunities to grow their business by allocating fixed budgets.

think about it. If spending $1 on Google Shopping sets you back $5 or $6 even after excluding the cost of merchandise, marketing costs, etc., why not increase the investment?

Elevate your campaigns with a multi-channel strategy

Google Ads can open up your Shopify store to the world, helping to reach and engage users who are actively searching for your products with the right message at the right time.

But if you really want to take things to the next level and elevate your campaigns, you should consider a multi-channel strategy.

For example, you can create Facebook prospecting campaigns by creating target audiences based on demographics, interests, or behavior, or using your own lists.

Then, retarget those who have shown strong interest in your products but haven’t yet converted through Google Ads.

Or you can use Facebook and Instagram Ads to retarget those users who visited your website after clicking on one of your Google ads.

How to choose the best Shopify theme for SEO

The options – and opportunities – are endless!

Develop a full track strategy

While it’s easier for e-commerce marketers to focus on down-the-funnel campaigns targeting sales, revenue, and ROI, it’s important to remember that Google Ads can do so much more than shopping and search ads.

In the same interface, advertisers also have the ability to create ads and campaigns that can help generate awareness and consideration.

Examples include placing ads on YouTube, Gmail or the Discovery feed.


We started with a quick reality check, and I’ll finish with one, too.

All businesses are different. Therefore, what works for some people may not work for you.

To succeed, you must be personally familiar with the Google Ads platform. This will help you better understand what motivates your target audience and how to leverage ads and campaigns to achieve your goals.

At the end of the day, this is your business and its success is up to you! Do your best to learn the platform now, and you will reap the rewards later.

More resources:

  • How to choose the best Shopify theme for SEO
  • Top 10 Shopify SEO Apps and Tools to Improve Organic Performance
  • Shopify & Fast Simon: An Ecommerce SEO Case Study

Featured image: Shutterstock / Kaspars Grinvalds

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