The Do's and Don'ts of E-Commerce Advertising

One of the keys to growing an e-commerce business is through effective marketing and advertising. Reaching more people, highly-targeted ones, in particular, can easily boost an online store’s chances of improving brand recognition and sales.

Being in the online space makes things easier too. With a variety of advertising options at your disposal, setting up a PPC or social media Ad is quicker and a lot less expensive compared to traditional advertising practices.

Sending out an ad with everyone in mind wouldn’t cut it though. If you want to achieve your advertising goals like increasing engagement and brand awareness, for instance, you need to make sure that you’re doing it right.

The following do’s and don’ts of e-commerce advertising should guide you in creating an advertising strategy that’s both effective and cost-efficient.

E-commerce Advertising Do’s

Know your audience

This is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind before moving forward with an advertising strategy, primarily because it will determine the strategy’s success.

You’ll want to serve your ads to people who are likely to be interested in your product or service than simply sending it to everybody else. When it comes to online advertising, having a targeted audience can make all the difference.

Would a mother be interested in buying basketball equipment? Are athletic guys likely to buy stuff related to pottery? You’ll be wasting money on ads if they get served to the wrong people so before taking the plunge, make sure to do your research on which demographic suits your products well.

Keep your website up to date

When it comes to the online world, it’s important to remember that people’s attention span is short which means they’re likely going somewhere else if they don’t find anything interesting or appealing in a website.

Keep in mind that your ads will direct people back to your website. If the page they arrive at is outdated and not user-friendly, chances are they won’t buy any of your products and they’ll just go somewhere else.

Before you spend money on advertising, try to look at your website first. Does it give the potential customer a good experience? Can they easily find the shopping cart should they decide to buy? Do they have all the information they need on your product listings? Is the website loading fast enough to keep people from getting bored?

It’s important to take all of these into consideration before implementing your advertising strategy because customers would be more encouraged to buy if they’ve got everything they need right at their fingertips.

Would you purchase a product if it takes you more than 5 minutes to figure the website out?

Use high-quality images

Speaking of attention span, we all know how important images are when it comes to grabbing people’s attention. It only takes less than 10 seconds for us to decide whether something is interesting or not which is why image selection isn’t something you should overlook.

Hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your products is ideal because they know how to highlight an object’s best angles and lighting.

Let’s be honest, some of the things we buy online aren’t as attractive in person as they were when we saw them on the website, right? This is exactly why you need to allot part of your spending on images.

Try to stay away from stock images too whenever you can. You’d want your product images to be original as much as possible because it’s more professional-looking and it will make your brand look more legit.

E-commerce Advertising Don’ts

Not including a call-to-action

There’s a big reason why we always see calls-to-action like Click on the Link for More Info or Email this to a friend. It’s because they work!

Running an ad without a call-to-action is one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make because you’re not giving your potential customer a reason to either visit your page or buy a product.

Each communication you share with your audience should always be aimed at building relationships and eventually, move them down the conversion funnel. You’ll be wasting valuable clicks by sending out campaigns that do not explicitly tell people what to do.

Calls-to-action is there to elicit a response and encourage people to take action. By having one included in each and every campaign, you’re getting them one step closer towards your ultimate goal of either encouraging them to visit your store or buy a product.

Those are better odds than not having one, don’t you think?

Jumping on every advertising trend that comes along

E-commerce advertising is constantly changing. Every now and then we get introduced to new advertising fads that don’t usually make sense for your business. It’s not unusual for a business owner to get tempted to try these trends, though. After all, you only want what’s best for your business at the end of the day.

Take the case of QR codes for example. It was viewed as one of the hottest innovations in the advertising world for quite some time but do you really know what it’s for? How many QR codes have you actually clicked on to make you decide that it’s good for your e-commerce store?

Jumping on every advertising bandwagon isn’t entirely bad as long as you do the necessary research before you adopt it. It must be logical to your business and it needs to make sense. Just because it’s new and everyone’s trying doing it doesn’t mean you have to, especially if it doesn’t fit your business and its goals.

Not being consistent

While it’s true that being unpredictable and creative can make a big difference for your business, keeping things fresh doesn’t always lead to better results.

Finding and establishing your identity and voice is crucial in gaining more followers and promoting brand loyalty. This is going to be difficult to achieve if you always find the need to mix it up by changing your tagline, your brand colors, or even your logo.

You have to remember that picking the right voice, colors, and fonts is an important decision. Once you have decided which is which, there’s no reason to change it whenever you feel like it. What you need to do is stick to it instead because that’s how your consumers recognize you. It’s what they remember your brand by.

To be clear, a change in layout wouldn’t hurt as long as you don’t do it often. The point is your customers should recognize your brand from one ad to the next. They should be able to tell that the ad, regardless of the product you’re trying to promote, belongs to you.

Brand recall is important because it promotes brand loyalty. If people can easily associate your brand with just one look at your ad, it means you left a mark and that there’s a big chance that they will continue to buy from you because your brand is already familiar.

Don’t overlook the voice you use in the ad’s captions as well because consumers may get confused if they’re already used to your usual tone and approach.

Consistency is key. If you want to gain more clicks and engagement in your ad campaigns, you need to make sure that your branding is recognizable in each of them.

Final Thoughts

There’s no question that advertising can be a game changer for e-commerce businesses when done the right way. The benefits you stand to gain will not only keep your business on a good standing financially, but it will also help you secure its future by attracting more potential customers and keeping existing customers loyal at the same time.

By keeping the do’s and don’ts we provided in mind, you’ll be able to lessen the mistakes and use e-commerce advertising to your advantage.

Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of He currently lives in Denver, CO.