Google Ads

How SEM Agencies Help Ecommerce Businesses

Search engine marketing is an important sales driver for the ecommerce industry. But as an online business grows or faces new competitive challenges, it may need outside marketing expertise.

Many marketers consider search engine marketing and search engine optimization as similar. Both are focused on increasing the flow of customers from a search engine results page to the company’s website.

SEO focuses on boosting organic search rankings, while SEM is the management of paid placements. The latter can become complex and expensive. One solution is to hire an SEM agency. These companies are marketing experts and can help an online seller in many ways.

What follows are reasons to consider an SEM agency.

SEM agencies often include multi-platform experts who can help your ecommerce business. <em>Photo: Austin Distel.</em>

SEM agencies often include multi-platform experts who can help your ecommerce business. Photo: Austin Distel.

Experience, Expertise

SEM has grown beyond search engines, to include not only Google Ads and Bing Ads but also Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even Amazon.

Each of these advertising platforms has its own toolset, quirks, and bidding practices.

If an ecommerce marketer is responsible for everything from content marketing and on-site merchandising to email automation and advertising, it can be challenging to be an expert in every area. At some point, even the best ecommerce managers run out of their depth.

An SEM agency can add experience and expertise.

New Customers

Peter Drucker, who some say is the father of modern business consulting, said that “the purpose of business is to create a customer.”

Many successful marketers have taken this to mean long-term customers, since repeat shoppers are valuable to an ecommerce business based both on average order size and ongoing purchases.

Nonetheless, before a company can have a long-term relationship with a shopper it must “create that customer,” as Drucker put it, via marketing and innovation.

Thus, acquiring new customers is essential for ecommerce companies, and SEM may play an important role.

Many SEM agencies are experts at driving traffic. Some SEM agencies may even guarantee a percentage increase in visits. Assuming an ecommerce site has a consistent and strong conversion rate, the additional traffic would lead to new customers.

Scalable ROAS

Return on advertising spend is a frequent key performance indicator for ecommerce. It’s the ratio of the amount invested in a particular advertising tactic to the revenue or profit that it produced.

A good ROAS is a strong reason to invest more. But what if your ROAS doesn’t scale?

Imagine you have a successful, $1,000-per-month Google Ads campaign. It is returning $10,000 per month in bottom-line profit. So your company bulks up its inventory and doubles down on the investment.

Instead of getting $20,000 in profit, your campaign only generates $17,000. It’s not a big deal, so you double the investment again. But instead of getting somewhere between $34,000 and $40,000 in profit, the investment returns just $25,000. It is not scaling.

SEM agencies overcome this problem often and across multiple industries. Scaling ROAS is something the agencies are best at.


Attribution modeling can provide a clear picture of how various marketing and advertising efforts work together to drive sales and profit.

The problem is that attribution modeling as it relates to SEM is often limited to a “single touch” or what some refer to as the “last click.” This limited view of a customer’s journey can lead some businesses to arrive at an incorrect conclusion about, for example, a pay-per-click campaign’s impact on sales. This, again, is a common problem for SEM agencies. They must master attribution modeling to report performance to their clients.

So, if your ecommerce business is having difficulty determining which marketing tactics are driving sales, an SEM agency should be able to help.

Augment Staff

Even with internal SEM expertise, your organization may not collectively have the time.

Or perhaps your company’s in-house marketing team is capable of managing, optimizing, and scaling Google Ads and Bing Ads, but is not familiar with campaigns on Amazon, Facebook, and Reddit.

An SEM agency can augment your ecommerce company’s marketing resources. Some agencies offer short-term engagements, even for a maternity leave or similar.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
Bio   •   RSS Feed