How to run your first ecommerce ad campaign

Once you’ve launched your new ecommerce store, it might feel like a good time to press pause and celebrate. But the hard work is far from over: getting people to visit your shop is your next challenge. 

The internet is an extremely competitive space. There are no guarantees that anyone will find your store among all that noise – let alone make a purchase from it. 

Think of it like a bricks-and-mortar shop. You wouldn’t open up in the middle of nowhere and rely solely on the custom of whoever might just happen to walk past, would you?

Advertising your new online retail business is key for getting people through those virtual doors and filling up their carts with your wares. Unfortunately, new businesses are unlikely to have a huge budget for glamorous advertising campaigns or the specialist knowledge needed to get the most bang for each buck you spend. 


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So, it’s time to experiment. There are several easy-to-implement options for novices, which you can tailor more effectively as you learn, as well as flexible budget options. Here are three great places to start.

1. Email marketing

If you’ve not already started building an email list of existing and potential customers, now is the time to jump on it. 

Email marketing is a low-cost way to advertise your online store effectively to an engaged audience. People who have signed up for emails from you or provided you with their contact details are clearly already interested in what you have to offer.

Another benefit of email marketing is that its success is very measurable. Email campaign platforms can give you access to stats like click-through rates and open rates. Some can even couple this with insights to audience segments, meaning you can start to learn more about the groups within your customer base and what each are interested in. 

There are lots of platforms available to manage your email advertising campaigns. Popular options for small businesses include MailChimp, ConvertKit, Sendinblue and ConstantContact

Once you’ve started to build up a list of email contacts and signed up to an email marketing platform, it’s time to create your adverts. Here are some types of email adverts to consider: 

  • Newsletters: These are regular emails with updates and product promotion
  • Stock update emails: This is an alert to notify customers when an item they have previously shown interest in is back in stock
  • Product announcement emails: These are great for advertising new products that you’ve just introduced
  • Cart abandonment emails: These tailored messages are sent to follow up with your customer after they’ve abandoned a shopping cart 

Whichever types of emails you start with, remember they rely heavily on good-quality content to generate results. So make them useful, insightful, relevant and well-written to maximise your return on investment (ROI). 

2. Social media advertising

Paid-for social media services can be powerful tools for targeting new audiences. If you’re clever with your campaign, it can be really cost effective too. 

This is because most platforms offer the capability of segmenting audiences using different signifiers, like age, geographical location, interests and brands they follow. This allows you to accurately target specific groups and create personalised ads that resonate. 

Every big-name platform in the social media world offers advertising options, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all perform equally well for your brand. So, you’ll need to establish which platform is the most popular among your target audience. You can do this by surveying existing customers or looking at demographic data for social media.

Once you know where your potential customers hang out online, there are several ways you can advertise to them, including: 

  • Paid ads: These are classic-style adverts which are image, video or product-led 
  • Influencer ads: This involves partnering with a relevant social media influencer who will post about your store or product to their followers
  • Promoted posts: Paying to boost your social media posts means they’ll be seen by more people, both existing followers and those outside of your current audience.

User-generated content can be very powerful in particular. If you decide to try out promoted posts, consider using a sparkling review of your product to push out to wider audiences, for instance. 

If you feel like you’re in over your head when exploring your chosen platform’s advertising capabilities, it might be worth consulting with a professional. You can find loads of experts on sites like Fiverr, who can set up, manage and coach you on advertising campaigns. 

As an ecommerce business, you might also want to consider setting up a store on social media (Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook offer shopping capabilities). This will make it even easier for customers to find and purchase your products.

3. Google ads 

If you haven’t already, it’s well worth carving out an effective SEO strategy to get your ecommerce store climbing the search engine results pages. That said, the best chance you have of snatching one of the top spots is by using Google Ads. 

As of July 2022, Google is the source of about 83 percent of online searches – so it should be your top priority for your ad campaign. There are a few different types of Google Ads, the most relevant to your ecommerce store probably being:

  • Search: This will see your website displayed at the top of the results list after a relevant search
  • Shopping: These ads are clickable images of products accompanied by store details, prices and review scores, displayed at the top of relevant results pages 
  • Display ads: These can vary in format, ranging from banners to ads in their Gmail inbox

Again, you can control your budget so you don’t exceed the amount you’re able or willing to pay.

Before you start

It’s a good idea to do some background work before you dive into your first ad campaign. 

First, choose your goal so you can measure the success of your ads and determine what works for your brand. This could be to get traffic to your site or hit a certain sales target, for example. 

Then, define your target audience and try to learn as much as possible about them – this will help you create relevant adverts and decide how to serve them to your potential customers. 

Doing this will reward you with a strong starting position. But your first advertising campaign is still going to be a learning curve, so go into it with an open mind and remember to make the most of everything you learn during the process. It often takes a fair amount of trial and error to develop a strategy that’ll work best for your business. 

If you’re eager to get going on a campaign and want to speed up or streamline the process, it might be worth getting an expert onboard. Fiverr gives you access to experienced advertising professionals, many of whom specialise in ecommerce and the types of campaigns we’ve covered.

You can browse their directory to find freelancers to suit every budget and help you kick off your first ad campaign.

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Karina Kundzina
Karina Kundzina is the Content and Marketing Assistant at Inkwell, the company behind The Pitch.

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