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How to Leverage Google Shopping Campaigns to Improve Customer Lifetime Value

This is a guest article by Tara Johnson, Lead Reporter, Retail at CPC Strategy.

For an online retailer, there are few metrics as important as “lifetime value.” 

Customer lifetime value, or LTV for short, tells you exactly how much a customer is worth to your business over their lifetime – how much they’d spend, how many times they’d return and just how worthy they are of your time, effort and resources. 

Traditionally, retailers haven’t been that great about monitoring their customer lifetime value – or working to improve it. Caught up in the day-to-day clicks, views and conversions of their efforts, they forget that regular, repeat business is almost always more lucrative than a new customer – especially once you factor in acquisition costs. Fortunately, if you use Google Shopping Campaigns, you can do both, improving your day-to-day returns, while also boosting your customer lifetime value in the process. Here’s how: 

1. Make Product Listing Ads One Cog in the Machine

Your Google Shopping campaigns need to be holistic efforts, with every inch working toward the same goal: increasing that customer lifetime value. When looking at your metrics, don’t think of each click or conversion as a separate entity on its own, but instead consider them just one small, touchpoint in the long-term customer relationship – the first chance you have to impress a customer and win them over. 

a website displayed on a laptop

If you think of your product listing ads in this light, you start treating each individual product as your very own marketing tool. Optimize each photo, title, price and description with this in mind, and let your products do the initial customer acquisition work for you. 

“If you were an advertiser five years ago you could probably see decent success online if you ran a basic campaign / digital strategy. But these days there is an influx of advertisers looking to target the exact same user that you are,” Ben Whitrock, Sr. Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy said. 

“This and ecommerce businesses feeling the pressure from Amazon means a larger amount of advertisers are also now willing to pay 2, 3, or 10x as much for that placement as they would have 5 years ago.” 

Because the landscape is and has been changing, it’s vital to get strategic about the way you run your Google Shopping campaigns – or you will be left in the dust of your competitors. 

2. Knock Their Socks off with a Great Web Experience

Once those product listing ads have done their job and brought customers to your website, make the experience as seamless as possible. Make sure ads take them directly to a dedicated, optimized product page from the get-go, and fill that page with plenty of information to excite and delight them. Add quality photos, integrate reviews and ratings, create detailed product descriptions and specs, and include an informative FAQ when necessary. 

3. Give Them a Simple Checkout Process 

Within one click, those users should be able to add that product to their cart and head to checkout – no difficult registration or login processes required. If you can whittle your checkout process down to one page, that’s even better. As many of today’s online shoppers are using their mobile devices, long, drawn-out checkout processes are often a one-way street to cart abandonment. Make sure your visitors complete the purchase they came for by giving them a simple, no-hurdles route right to the finish line. 

4. Follow up with an Email

Once the order’s in, send the customer an email confirming their purchase and breaking down all the important details. When will it ship? What will be in the order? You can also take this opportunity to offer a coupon code for a future purchase or to promote other products or sales they may be interested in.  

If they’ve given you permission (via an opt-in during the checkout process or another form on your site), then add them to your email marketing lists, too. You want to stay top of mind with customers who already know and love your products, and email is one of the most trusted ways to do so. Be sure to keep them in the loop when you offer promotions or discounts that can save them cash – particularly around the holidays. 

5. Remarket After the Fact

Finally, loop back to Google Shopping, and use remarketing ads to reach back out and remind them of other items they might have looked at or added to their cart last time they visited. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick reminder that you’re there, and you’ve got a sale in minutes. (Who knows, maybe they were waiting until payday to make that purchase.) 

The Last Step 

Finally, as with any online marketing campaign, you’ll want to watch your metrics, edit and repeat the cycle all over again. The formula for customer lifetime value is [ (Average Order Value) x (# of Repeat Sales) x (Average Retention Time) ], so check in often and see how your lifetime value changes as you tweak your Google Shopping campaigns.  

To learn more about customer lifetime value or Google Shopping, email tara@cpcstrategy.com.

Angelica Valentine

Angelica Valentine is the Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions, and a contributor to VentureBeat, Business Insider, The Future Customer Engagement and Commerce, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

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