Basic Optimization for Google Shopping Campaigns

optimize google shopping

Formerly known as Product Listing Ads, Google’s Shopping Campaigns can be extremely lucrative for eCommerce stores when they’re set up properly. These ads are served to users based on specific products they’re looking for and how well your products match the searcher’s keywords. While these can be very effective for driving conversions, the ads work very differently than search or display network advertising.

How do The Campaigns Work?

Campaigns are first set up through Google’s Merchant Center where the products are added, which you then link with your AdWords account (where the campaigns are set up). One of the key differences between Shopping campaigns and search or GDN ads is that you cannot create any ad copy or choose the keywords you’d like to target. Google chooses for you based on the product descriptions you add to your Product Data feed.

How do Shopping Ads Drive eCommerce Revenue?

eCommerce businesses that often see success from Shopping campaigns include:

  • Apparel retailers
  • Consumer technology companies
  • Home goods

The more products you have, the better. Your ads may still be served with a smaller selection, but with a larger number of products you have more opportunities for impressions.

Shopping ads have much better visibility than text ads. For example, let’s say a shopper is looking for a necklace. Which ad would you click on from these results?
shopping campaign necklace example

The image ads obviously draw more attention as they’re larger and more visually engaging. These are Shopping ads.

Shopping ads can also be effective because they have the ability to prequalify customers. The individual searching for the necklace probably has an idea of what they’re looking for. Upon seeing the Shopping ads, they know the price and what the product looks like, so by clicking through, you can better ensure the shopper is seriously interested in purchasing from you. Users can also hover over the ad to get the description which further solidifies the value of a click.

Shopping vs. Search Ads

Shopping ads typically perform better than search ads and actually cost less. A study from Adgooroo indicated that compared to search ads, Shopping ads had:

So if you feel you’ve got an excellent grasp on the keywords that are bringing in traffic and driving conversions for your products, Shopping ads seem like a no-brainer to include in your advertising campaigns.

Optimizing Shopping Campaigns

Setting up your campaigns is relatively straightforward, but optimizing for conversions requires in-depth knowledge of buyer’s search behavior and the AdWords platform. You’ll need a few weeks of solid data in order to start optimizing your campaigns. Start with these tips:

Fix Your Product Feed

Your Product Feed is set up and managed through your Merchant Center. It’s a spreadsheet that stores your product titles, descriptions, prices, image, and other labels. This spreadsheet is something you set up manually so it’s important that it’s optimized for search. Fill out all the labels available and use very descriptive text in the product “title” and “description” fields so it comes up in search. Because you don’t have the option to input your own keywords within the campaign setup, your Product Feed is what’s crawled for keywords.

Add Your Own Labels

The labels in the Product Feed template provided to you in your Merchant Center only include basic product specifications. Some companies may require custom fields so they can segment their products further. For example, a coin dealer would likely add a custom field labeled “denomination”, allowing the seller to segment their coins by pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters into separate product groups, allowing for them to allocate separate budgets to those accordingly. Get the full list of product specifications here.

Split Up Your Product Groups

Breaking out your product groups allows you to focus your budget accordingly. This is particularly beneficial for businesses with a large number of products, brands, and categories.

Maximize Impression Share

Take a look at your impression share. If it’s not at 100%, increase your bid on a product group to better utilize your budget.

Check the Benchmark CPC

The benchmark maximum CPC tells you how other advertisers are bidding on similar products. If you’re way over or way under, it’s time to modify your bid.

Leverage the Bid Simulator

If you’re apprehensive about increasing or decreasing your bid, use the Bid Simulator tool to find your optimal bid based on your budget and what a click is worth to your business.

adwords shopping bid simulatoradwords bid simulator

Incorporate Keywords from Your Search Terms

Review your search terms (within Keywords) and edit your product feed to include the keywords that are resulting in conversions. The “title” and “description” fields should include these terms, be make sure you’re not stuffing and overusing keywords.

Don’t Forget Negative Keywords

As mentioned earlier, you’re not able to add keywords, so your negative keywords are key to filtering out the wrong buyers in your Shopping campaigns. Be sure to add them to each product group so they’re extremely relevant to that line of items. Not sure what to add? Take a look at your search terms and see which keywords are bringing in little or no return.

Increase Bids for Top Converters

You’ll often see specific locations, days or devices bringing in more conversions than others so adjust your bids accordingly to focus on the ones driving value. Here are some examples:

  • Increase bids for top converting geographic locations/decrease→  decrease for lower converting locations
  • Increase bids for top converting days of the week/times of the day→ decrease for lower converting days of the week/times of the day
  • Increase bids for top converting devices→ decrease for lower converting devices

Remember that successful advertising is a result trial and error. Test different components of your shopping campaign like the order of the words in your product titles, different keywords in your descriptions, add new labels, adjust your bids, and even your price! Let us take a look at your account and we can help you optimize your campaigns to start driving BIG conversions!

About Andrea Moxham

Creative, driven marketing and communications leader with a proven track record in strategy and implementation. Entrepreneurial spirit and experience with inbound marketing, social media, digital marketing, and public relations.