Google Shopping Best Practices
Getting started with Google Shopping and not sure where to start? Or are you a Google Ads veteran, but need some tips to keep your campaigns driving revenue and profit? Read on to see how to improve your campaigns!
Maintaining Your Product Feed
You can't even think about setting up a Shopping Campaign in Google Ads until you get your product data feed defined and have a process in place to update it as product info, availability, and pricing change. This is super important because if your data feed doesn't match your website, Google will not show your product ads.
A good data feed is a huge factor in the success of your Shopping Campaigns. A few super-important things to keep in mind:
Shopping campaigns don't use keywords to determine relevancy, so make sure your product titles and descriptions are keyword-rich but also appealing to a potential buyer who is viewing your ad; Google uses this data to see if your products are relevant to a search query. Make sure prices are 100% accurate, especially if dealing in international currencies – Google will not show your products if this info is not accurate!
If you are advertising to multiple countries, you'll need a product data feed per country. Shopping Campaigns in AdWords are country-specific, so you'll have to set up a new campaign per sales country.
Product images can make or break your ads – make sure your images are high-quality! No edited or watermarked product images – the images should be of only the product you are selling. “Family-friendly” images are best and least likely to get suspended.
Obtain a Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) - The most important feed attribute to consider is a GTIN, essentially a Universal Product Code (UPC). If a product requires a GTIN, it's needed for shopping feed optimization. Google's matching algorithm will look for the GTIN and reward products that include it. While Google may still approve products that are missing a required GTIN, they will be set at a lower priority than products with this number. Companies that want to include a GTIN for their products can obtain one from the product manufacturer. Having this attribute in place can mean the difference between going unnoticed and significantly increasing conversions.
Use the Full List of Attributes Supported in the Feed - Ensure you are also using the full list of attributes that the feed supports. These attributes include "pattern," "material," "size_type," and "is_bundle." If there's any additional information about products worth including in the feed, it may not fall under these attributes. In these cases, it's possible to have them with the "product_detail" attribute. Including as many details as possible about a product will improve relevancy and matching in the long run.
Make Sure The Price Is Right
Consumers are always on the lookout for the best price. This notion is true when shopping in-store and online. When consumers are presented with a series of Google Shopping ads from different retailers, all of which look the same to the shopper, they are likely to click on the one with the lowest price. The truth is that all the product feed optimization in the world is useless if retailers are not pricing their products competitively. Therefore, it is essential for merchants to see what other retailers are offering the same or similar items for and aim to beat those prices. A great way to undercut the competition is through merchant promotions.
Google defines merchant promotions as “a free feature that allows you to distribute online promotions with your Shopping ads.” Pretty straightforward stuff. Utilizing this element can have a substantial impact on a Shopping campaign’s performance. This feature enables retailers to include a “special offer” link on their Shopping adverts, thereby increasing the chances of a click-through and conversion. With merchant promotions, sellers can create different types of product promotions, including:
Discounts: Provide prospects with a percentage off, buy one get one (BOGO) deals, cashback offers and more.
Shipping Promotions: Offer free or discounted shipping rates.
Free Gifts: Give consumers a complimentary item or gift card with specific purchases.
By running regular promotions, retailers can increase sales, attract new customers and cultivate brand loyalty.
Shopping Campaign Bidding
Remember, product ads are generated by your feed data so you don't need to write any ads directly in AdWords.
Shopping Campaign bidding works totally different from search campaigns. There are no keywords in Shopping Campaigns! So, what do you bid on? You can set the bid on the actual products that you are selling – this gives you a huge amount of control. You can either set the bid on individual products or you can set the bid on groups of products – either way, the thing you set the bid on is called a "Product Group."
Picture all the stuff you sell in one giant bin – this is what Google calls the "All Products" product group. You can set a bid on this product group and ads for all products in that bin would get the same bid. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense since different products have different profit margins and also different levels of competition. You'll want to set your bids based on those factors.
Google allows you to take all of the products in that giant bin and split them into smaller bins so you can set bids on those smaller bins. And if those smaller bins aren't granular enough, you can make even smaller bins to set bids on. To create these bins (product groups), you use the attributes you set in your product feed to segment products. This concept is by far the most complicated part of setting up a Shopping Campaign.
You may have noticed that every time you segment a product group, you always end up with an "Everything Else" group. Google does this automatically for you as a catch-all for the products that don't fit in the bins you define.
Include Negative Keywords
Using negative keywords is a crucial tactic for advertisers to not only increase a campaign’s ROAS, but to also conserve ad budgets. Campaign and ad group negative keywords will help to ensure that product ads do not surface for searches that might include a targeted keyword but are ultimately irrelevant. For instance, if a retailer sells sunglasses, they will likely want to add a negative keyword for terms like “drinking glasses.” As is relatively standard, merchants can employ negative keywords in three different categories: Exact Match: This category will only exclude exact keywords, as they are entered. Therefore, any queries that contain other words before or after the targeted keyword will not be prohibited. Phrase Match: Targets exact keyword phrases to be omitted. Broad Match: If a negative keyword is found anywhere in the query, it will be excluded. Using different match types to optimize Google Ads performance is an essential skill for advertisers to master.
Track The Right Google Shopping Metrics
The secret to truly profitable, successful campaigns is taking a data-driven approach to managing those campaigns. It’s impossible to manage an account to profit effectively if you have no idea what is actually happening in the account.
That also means putting metrics in proper context, too. Metrics shouldn’t be viewed in a vacuum. Each one is part of a much larger picture of account performance.
Here are four metrics that are commonly either misinterpreted – or simply not tracked at all:
Average order value - Has a number of implications for account performance. An increase in this metric can justify an increase in ad spend and/or cost per order. It also may provide important context to a drop in sales. For example, if you’ve recently redirected spend to focus on larger sales that come at a slightly higher price point, a small dip in sales isn’t a big deal. A drop in AOV that is accompanied by an increase in cost or a dip in sales, or both? That’s possibly cause for concern and definitely worth investigating further.
Revenue per Click - Is the amount of revenue generated in a time period divided by the number of clicks needed to produce it. Like AOV, revenue per click offers important insights on account performance. If revenue per click increases, you can justify an increase in ad spend per click, which done correctly will produce even more revenue. If you can do all this while controlling costs (by reallocating ad spend toward more profitable search terms, for instance), profit will increase!
Conversion Rate - Is a valuable metric to track because – for starters – improving it is a great way to increase revenue per click. Conversion rate trends can also provide early warning for site usability or pricing issues.
Contribution Margin - Is the percentage of revenue that flows to profit. Tracking this metric – which takes into account both efficiency and sales volume – is the best measure of profitability for your program. Every program will have a different ideal benchmark for this metric, which is based on available margin.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you get the most from your Google Shopping campaigns, contact us today.