How to optimise your e-commerce website for paid traffic

Mark Bagnall

Google Shopping is one of the most common sources of paid e-commerce traffic, and also one of the most expensive. But did you know that Google shopping bounce rates can be as high as 60% or even 80% in some instances?

This means that many e-commerce businesses are spending huge amounts of money on Google Shopping but getting very little return on their investment. The fact is, not only is paid traffic in general — and Google Shopping specifically — one of the most expensive types of online marketing, but customers are also quick to leave after landing on a product page.

Tips for boosting PDP conversions

Given the importance of paid traffic to e-commerce success, not to mention the high cost, it’s critical to take steps designed to maximise your Google Shopping ROI. Here are seven tips for boosting product detail page (PDP) conversions:

1. Use professional, high-resolution images. Feature a combination of product, model and lifestyle shots. Alongside price, imagery is probably the most important contributor to high add-to-basket and conversion rates.

2. Make sure pages are relevant. Product titles and descriptions should exactly match the product being displayed on the page to avoid customer confusion.

3. Make sure product descriptions and information are clear and accurate. Descriptions should be simple and engaging and highlight key product selling points. Clearly describe key product features, benefits and specifications, using bullet point lists whenever possible to improve readability.

4. Pay close attention to calls to action. Size selection options (if applicable) and add-to-basket buttons should be clear, eye-catching and easy to spot. We often see strong results when testing sticky add-to-basket buttons on mobile.

5. Optimize your PDP for mobile users. This should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. The majority of e-commerce website traffic today comes from mobile devices so make sure your site layout and key interaction areas are designed for mobile visitors.

6. Focus on load speed. You may have heard the statistic reported by Amazon that every 100ms of latency costs them 1% in sales. Unfortunately, things haven’t improved much since this statistic was first reported. We estimate that 50% of visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

7. Use social proof. Positive ratings and reviews of your products from real customers can make a big difference in boosting conversion rates. Positive user generated content and testimonials go a long way toward persuading site visitors to complete a purchase.

Two experimental approaches

One strategy that we have seen get positive results involves the product recommendations grid/carousel (e.g., You might also like…). This usually appears at the bottom of the PDP, but repeating it at the top of the page below the header can be effective when visitors land on the page from offsite via a Google Shopping ad.

The hypothesis is that if the visitor decides they aren’t interested in the product they were originally searching for but scrolls back up the page, you can try to catch their attention with another product before they leave the page. This is based on the psychological principle that the cognitive ease associated with something will alter our feelings about it and whether or not we are motivated to invest our time and effort in it.

We tested this hypothesis with a popular online fashion marketplace by having the product recommendations grid repeat at the top of the page below the header when visitors scroll back up after initially landing. The experiment resulted in a 2.63% increase in conversion rate on mobile and an approximate increase in annualised revenue of £894,817.

Some e-commerce retailers might feel having content appear above the main product is too obtrusive for the customer. An alternative is to move the product recommendations above the product details section, as opposed to situating them at the very top of the page. In other words, you would move the product recommendations to the middle instead of the top of the page.

We tested this hypothesis with a popular high street clothing brand. The experiment resulted in a 12% increase in conversion rate on mobile and an approximate increase in annualised revenue of £260,000.

Boost your paid traffic ROI

Paid traffic is too expensive to not make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimise your site for this traffic. An optimisation agency can help you implement best practices like those listed here in order to boost your conversion rates and return on your paid traffic investment.

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