Don’t make these 3 ecommerce advertising mistakes, use these 5 techniques

🕒 15 min.

What is ecommerce advertising?

Ecommerce advertising is the act of driving target awareness toward the business that we run electronically. It’s a great way for ecommerce brands to attract a relevant audience to their websites.

This improves the chances of amplifying sales since this type of advertising would be targeting people who are most likely to be interested in their products.

You can use social media platforms, digital content, search engines, and email marketing campaigns to attract visitors and facilitate purchases online.

How does ecommerce advertising differ from service advertising?

Before we start talking about the techniques and advertising strategy points that you can use to improve your sales through different channels, let’s clear up the difference between ecommerce and service advertising. They may sound the same, but they do not focus on the same objective:

  • Service or product advertising focuses on promoting a specific individual product.
  • Ecommerce advertising, on the other hand, focuses on promoting the overall brand.

This is illustrated better with an example. This ad from Sephora is an example of an ecommerce ad. This one in particular is designed to remind past customers about them, showing a membership card with mysterious copywriting. As you can see, they promote the image of the company, without focusing on any product in particular.

Facebook ad from Sephora

These kinds of ads can also be used to introduce the brand, as a whole, to new customers. It’s about building brand awareness and driving traffic to the ecommerce site, where users may browse to see if they find something.

Product/service ad, on the contrary, creates a demand for a particular product. We can see in the ad below. It comes from the same brand (Sephora) but it focuses on a specific product, the Fenty Beauty Pro concealer. It’s about getting sales from it, and quickly.

Both of them go hand-in-hand alongside each other, but they each serve distinct purposes.

What percent of net sales should be spent on advertising ecommerce?

The first thing you should be clear about is that advertising is not an expense, but an investment, one that gets you sales. Without advertising you will not reach new potential customers, and that could mean lower sales.

There is no clear answer to how much companies should spend on advertising, as it varies in size, income, type of business, etc. But we can give you some examples that will give you an idea of ​​the average percentage spent depending on the type of business.

Small Business Trends reports that the average business spends 1.08% of its revenues on advertising, with variations from industry to industry. For instance, retailers spend more (about 4%) while restaurants spend 1.93%.

Also, in general, B2C companies use more budget for marketing (11.8%) than B2B companies (9.6%). 

For example, if your business is just starting out, you’ll need more budget for marketing and advertising, because you’re still building awareness of your brand and attract new customers. Once your business is established, you may reduce this budget because you will already have a steady customer base. 

What is clear is that the budget for advertising on social networks should be taken into account and invested in the most. Why? Because more and more people are buying online and spending more time online in general. This means that the more you invest in digital ads – chiefly in social networks – the more opportunities you will have to impact them.

Digital purchases chart

In 2016, 58.3% of global internet users had purchased products online. In 2019, this figure grew to 63%. With digital buyer penetration expected to surpass 65 percent of internet users worldwide in 2021, the e-commerce industry is set to evolve and expand.

Common mistakes in ecommerce advertising

Advertising is a great way for ecommerce brands to attract a relevant audience to their websites, we’ve already said this. But we must take into account further details to get the results that are expected. 

There are a few mistakes that are common among ecommerce ads. Let’s take a look at them.  

Having a Slow-Loading Website

Imagine that someone sees an ad for your ecommerce and it attracts them to the point of visiting your website. But once they get there, it takes forever to load. What happens then? The visitor gets frustrated and leaves without making any purchases or even getting any ideas for later use. 

If your website takes too long to load you will surely lose many potential sales. 

Advertisers may invest hundreds into advertising their ecommerce but forget the drastic impact on their conversions because of slow page-load. 

Slow-page abandonment percentage chart

So the next time you run an ad, make sure your landing pages and product pages load quickly. That will help you quickly convert your visitors before they change their minds.

Not using Google Shopping

A lot of ecommerce brands still ignore Google Shopping when running ads for their products. They shouldn’t. The results from Google Shopping appear next to regular Google search results whenever the search engine detects a shopping match, and they are much more prominent than regular search results. This will definitely impact your ad performance.

This can help you save a ton of money because you’ll only be paying for clicks that are on the verge of converting.

Google shopping example with a perfume brand

Repeatedly Showing the Same Ads

Sometimes people get to see the same ad every time they visit a website. It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or if they’re reading a digital newspaper. The same ad appearing over and over again without any change in its text, price or image. You will just end up spending a lot more money on your ad campaigns without receiving much response.

This is where a lot of ecommerce brands get it wrong because they end up generating rejection and fatigue by the consumer. 

Retailers will know if people are or aren’t interested in what they are offering by studying whether they make a move during the display of the ad. 

If you change the method of presentation – using a different and attractive graphic line, a format for each website (videos, gifs, graphics, etc.), and a unique message for each place – you will achieve better results even if you are advertising the same concept (your brand ) in all of them.

Ecommerce advertising techniques

Moving from the first impression to the last purchase takes a combination of techniques that you should use in your strategy. Here are some options:


Customers who have already shown an interest in your website are more likely to make a later purchase.

Retargeting is a technique that tracks customers who have visited your website and displays ads to them while they’re browsing the internet. The intent is to get them back on your website. When these visitors enter your website again, they are far more likely to make a purchase.

Social networks are the best place to show your ad. In fact, 74% of people turn to social networks like Facebook for guidance on purchase decisions.

This is how retargeting works

Omnichannel optimization

It is obvious that the more dissemination channels we have, the more possibilities we will have to acquire new customers who convert. Studies show that companies that choose this technique manage to have a 40% increase in its growth.

How does the omnichannel work? Well, for example, if a customer buys a dress in your online store, she might then view recommendations of which sandals go well with that dress on an Instagram ad, so she can buy from you again. In this way, you are reaching her through different channels with products that interest her and she will be more open to buying.

Make it mobile friendly

Just in the last four years, smartphone usage has increased by 394%. So the fact that your marketing strategy should be mobile-friendly is quite obvious.

You need to impact your target audience in as many ways as possible, and if their mobile is something they always use (most people, on average, spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on our phones). Also, by 2021, it’s expected that 73% of ecommerce will happen on a mobile device.

Segmentation and personalization

We never tire of saying it. The more personalized the communications you make, the better impact you will have on your audience. In fact, studies reveal that more than 95% of marketers say that personalization improves the customer relationship

And how do we get this personalization? Through segmentation. You need to know your audience, what they like, their location, everything. Launch advertising that suits different groups, so that each one sees what they really want to see.

Optimize your traffic drives

Advertisers spend much on resources to create and test countless advertisements, only to drive their traffic to a single, generic landing page. This is an error that will lose them lots of potential customers, but it can easily be solved. 

It’s as simple as using postclick optimization. This is the process of ensuring that the ad click – directing visitors to a landing page that matches the ad’s message – results in an increment on the conversion rate.

Instagram Ad example from Uniqlo

For example, if someone clicks on that ad above, they should be directed to the section of the website where that knit sweater is located.

Free options

Although we have discussed that advertising your ecommerce costs money, there are some platforms that offer this option for free. Here is a list of 7 free comparison shopping engines that you should utilize to get free traffic to your store.

Google Shopping: It’s the king of free comparison shopping engines. It gives the audience the overview of the product and they can see the reviews and opinions, which often is the benchmark for number of clicks and leads.. You will need to create and account and submit a feed using the Google Merchant Center.

Nike Google Shopping example

Bing Shopping: This is the Bing alternative to Google Shopping. Although they have less market-share, free is free. It is a product search-and-discovery service that helps save time by bringing products from multiple sellers together on a single website. It uses the power of Bing to show product results, including photos and product details. Products can be filtered and prices compared. 

Bing shopping example

Ecwid: It is an e-commerce platform that helps to easily create a bold, easy-to-use online store and start selling anywhere online or in-person. Ideal for small and medium sized businesses with a forever-free plan.

Shopify (Free Trial): It is the best, and possibly the most famous, ecommerce platform. It has everything you need to sell online, on social media or in person. Shopify offers online retailers a suite of services, including payments, marketing, shipping and customer engagement tools to simplify the process of running an online store for small merchants. 

It has a free trial that works for 3 months.

Creating facebook ads with shopify

BigCommerce (Free Trial): BigCommerce is a privately held technology company and provides a SaaS ecommerce platform. It lets you set up your store, add products, and make money through your website.

It also offers a 3 month-free trial.

Here are five of the most popular paid advertising networks to help you grow your business.

  • Google AdSense. This is one of the most widely used ad platform for online publishers to earn revenue, where you display ads on a wide variety of content that is suited to an audience’s specific interests. 
  • Google AdWords. It’s a paid search platform from Google where your business ads will appear, beside relevant related search results. Best of all, you only pay if people click your ads.
  • Microsoft Ad Network. Create a custom campaign on Microsoft’s vast network of brands — from search advertising to display advertising and much more — target ads directly to your potential customers. Each advertising package is customizable, and the price varies with each option as well as the scope of your campaign.
  • Yahoo! Advertising Network. Personalize and optimize ads for specific users using Yahoo!’s user-data proprietary advertising technology. Various packages and ad solutions available, depending on your business’s needs – price varies with each package.
  • Microsoft Advertising adCenter. Use adCenter to create ads that appear in the search results of both Bing and Yahoo! search engines and reach millions of their users. You only pay when someone clicks your ad.


Let’s take a look at some examples to see if they have what it takes to earn attention and a click.

This one from Touch of Modern is a great ad because it is striking. It grabs the attention while scrolling in your Instagram feed by integrating a video instead of a static image, making you stop to analyze it. Though there’s no product information in the video, it’s obvious that they’re offering a luxury experience, and the fresh colors pop out of the feed. These kinds of videos can be a good way to attract viewers who might otherwise scroll past.

Blinkist lets you read the key lessons from 3000+ nonfiction books in 15 min or fewer, and they make it clear in their Facebook ad, showing you a variable of books and audiobooks that they offer. Not just one, but a collection of them, with a link for each.

As in the previous one, this Pura Vida Bracelets ad shows their whole collection in one single image. It’s a fresh and vivid image, and it can make you stop and stare at it for a while, just to find your favorite bracelet.

Pura Vida Bracelets Facebook Ad

This one here is an example of retargeting. A previous search for a mobile phone had been made on Amazon, and since the purchase had not been made, the same product is shown through a Facebook as a banner ad again.

Amazon's banner on Facebook

And this last one is an example of a shoppable Instagram post where they show you a nice photo with various products that you can see in the same photo as a label. It informs you of the name of the product and its price. By clicking on it, it directs you directly to the section of the website of that specific product.

Shoppable Instagram post examples

So, as you can see, there are many types of ecommerce advertising strategies and networks where you can show your ads to impact new or actual customers. Remember to test and experiment with multiple messages, targeting options, networks, and budgets to find the optimal strategy for your ecommerce, with a small budget if you’re starting up and scaling up from there.

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