Want to increase your meat sales to people in your community, or do you want to skyrocket your online, direct-to-consumer meat sales? You’ll need Google Ads to do it because Facebook won’t let you. Here’s what you need to consider about running online ad campaigns to put meat on consumer plates.
Earlier this week, I wrote about how wellness, supplement and meals subscription companies leveraged Google Ads to drive new customers accounts and increase brand awareness during the pandemic. Guess what? Meat companies with direct-to-consumer revenue models did too –– and they did it pretty effectively.
Should I Be Using Google Ads to Drive Meat Sales?
The short answer is yes. There are dozens of meat producers, ranches and food companies who sell meat utilizing search, display and shopping ads.
For years, ButcherBox and Crowd Cow have proved consumers are willing to pay for more expensive meat to be shipped to their door. Now other producers and companies are following suit. Thrive Market, Grass Roots Farm, Oregon Valley Farm, Farm Foods Market, Omaha Steaks and Harry & David are heavily invested in SEM in order to market different types of meat subscriptions.
Does Google Have Any Restrictions I Need to Be Aware of When It Comes to Marketing Meat?
Yes, there’s one. You want to be aware of the High Fat Sugar Salt Food and Beverage Ads rules as it relates to ads for cured and more processed meat products (pork and beef sausage, hot dogs, salami, prosciutto, bacon, fried meats, fried fish). While you can run ads, you must declare you’re doing so before you set-up and run campaigns. Google ad rules stipulate that:
We support responsible advertising of food and beverages. HFSS F&B ads and destination sites are allowed if they comply with the policies below and don’t target minors. The information reflected in this policy is not intended to be legal advice and we expect all advertisers to comply with the local laws for any region their ads target, including local requirements that may differ from this HFSS F&B policy.
Advertisers are required to self-declare that they are using an account to run HFSS F&B campaigns, and all the creatives within that account will be subject to the HFSS F&B policy restrictions. In order to self-declare please use the form here.
Google has outlined the entire process and requirements (destination URLs, ad copy, campaign creative, logos, transparency) you must take into consideration here (the same rules were updated for the UK and EU in October 2020).
Overall, you can run ads for more processed and cured meats with a few extra steps. There are no restrictions when it comes to less processed cuts, or even ¼, ½ or whole animal shares.
What Kinds of Ads Can I Run to Sell Meat Direct-to-Consumers?
Google Ads are pretty robust. The five main types of ads you’d want to consider running to boost meat sales are search, display, local, shopping and video. And each of these ad types have variations and features you can utilize to make them even more impactful.
Testing the different campaign types and ad features is critical. For example, you can use expanded ad copy to utilize more real estate on search pages in order to convey selling points in your search ads. You can also leverage sitelink extensions, promotion extensions, call outs or structured snippets to increase the effectiveness of those same search ad types. This is something most of the meat companies using search ads are doing very well.
Great Examples of Search Ads and Ad Extensions
Here’s a great example of a search ad with ad extensions from Crowd Cow.
General Search Ads
Here are some more general search ads that have great copy. Note that you can’t influence how all your ad units appear. The Google algorithm mixes and matches.
Once you become more advanced, you may find that running smart campaigns or enabling responsive ads in your display or search ads can increase your conversion while bringing your cost per conversion down.
In all the examples above, you’ll notice the copy is clear and concise. The copy is also written with the keywords customers would use to find these companies, and it includes shopper values like “heritage breed pork” or “100% grass fed.” And, of course, the smart ones utilized promotions that resonate with customers like “free shipping” and discount codes (very effective for first time signups). Also note that meat companies don’t use the discount over multiple orders that many meal subscription companies use.
If You Have E-Commerce, You Want to Run Shopping Ads
Most direct-to-consumer meat companies of course, have the ability to take orders online. But guess what? Even the smallest, local independent producer does too. If your site is built on Shopify, WordPress with WooCommerce, or just about any other major ecommerce platform, you can run shopping ads as most of these companies have made enabling them fairly simple.
For those of you with more custom e-commerce systems, Google of course gives your developer step-by-step instructions on how to get them running (be sure to check your Google Ads and Analytics integrations so that your campaigns are accurately being logged in your goals and you’re optimizing your campaigns on accurate conversion numbers).
When “could be” customers are utilizing shopping ads, the possibility for them to turn into paying customers is much higher as they are specifically looking for something they want to buy.
It’s important that your Google shopping ad units feature any and all necessary information that would help incentivize someone to explore what you offer. In the example above, ButcherBox offers free shipping and a flat rate. They also used lifestyle photography versus raw product images (unlike many other choices in this ad example). Porter Road also used a single lifestyle image, and also linked to their reviews to set them apart.
Put effort into your ad copy, images, and use of features counts. Take the time to utilize proper character lengths in titles and descriptions. Format your images to be the right size in order to maximize the space you have for showcasing your product.
It pays off in terms of more sales and lower cost per acquisition.
Want to Convert Website Visitors? Don’t Forget to Double Down on Remarketing
When it comes to direct-to-consumer marketing, remarketing is your best friend in getting a customer who’s on the fence to come back and buy. Just like Nordstrom follows you around the web with the shoes you just lust looked at, and across your social channels, remarketing has the same effort for selling meat to hungry online foodies.
Just take a look at this awesome example from Crowd Cow that I was served while ordering on Target.
What Is Remarketing?
Remarketing is an ad tactic you can use across all your different ad types it allows you to further target the people who visit your website. With remarketing, you can build different actions into how and where your ads are served to people (like location ). You can also use remarketing to target the customers in your database utilizing your customer lists.
With Google Ads, you can create Google ad audiences that allow you to match customer name, location (addresses), emails and phone numbers. To utilize your list, your ad account must be in good standing and you must have spent $50,000 in Google Ads. You can utilize lists to create lookalike audiences without having to hit the $50,000 threshold.
Pro Tip: The better your match rate, the better your remarketing performance.
Alright, I’m In. How Much Should I Spend Each Month?
If you’re a small, local business, you may be able to get away with a few hundred dollars in Google search and local ads. If you want to use all the cool things, then you’re looking at $1,000 per month. For more established operations, on average, you’re looking at $2,500 to $7,500 spending on the robustness of your ad program. And, of course, if you play with the big boys (like the ad examples here) you’re going to want to think about having an ad spend of $10,000 or more.
Also, when you hire an agency to run your ads, you’re going to be looking at a flat rate per month or a fee based on percentage of spend (which usually 15-19%). If your PPC guru or agency provides other services like copy, landing page development, creative services, and Google Tag Manager/Analytics support, you’re going to pay for those services (which you should, as you’ll sell more meat and make the world a happier, healthier place through real protein!).