Google Shopping is known for its potential to drive high customer engagement and return on ad spend numbers, so it is no wonder you are interested in learning more about it and using it to drive revenue for your brand. However, it also comes with lots of challenges that make it difficult to harness its full benefits.
There are three main struggles often recited in the PPC world regarding shopping campaigns. These include a lack of control over searches, a lack of differentiation from competitors, and a lack of frequent bid optimization. Stop and think about it for a minute. Within your search campaigns using specific keywords, you can narrow down which searches to show up for at a granular level, but you don’t have this control when it comes to your shopping campaign. How can you reach the most relevant audience without losing out on market share? Also, consider that there are probably at least 10 other business owners that are selling the exact same product. How can you stand out from your competitors? The Google Shopping marketplace is constantly shifting according to the time of the day, day of the week and the season. How do you keep up with your bid management to remain competitive?
That is a lot to keep in mind and know you are doing the right thing, each and every time. Can you say for sure that you are getting the most out of your Shopping Campaigns or are you struggling to overcome these challenges? Remember, these questions cost you money when you get it wrong! With that in mind, we have identified five optimization opportunities that can help you overcome these challenges and take your shopping campaign to the next level. They include:
Opportunity #1 Product Title Optimization
The product title is one of the most important items in your shopping feed and has a major influence on your shopping campaign performance. Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords to trigger their ads, instead, they use your Merchant Center product data to decide how and where to show your ads. This is something you can use to your advantage. A good product title can improve the relevancy of your products to your shoppers’ search queries and help increase your exposure when compared to your competitors’.
In the example below, these are similar searches for “women summer dress”, “women’s summer dress” and “womens summer dress”. Google shows different search results, even though the searches are very similar. Some of the products show up in all three search results, while others only show once. How did they achieve this? The product title!
A few best practices for optimizing your product title include:
- Include important attributes in your titles, such as brand name, color, size, gender, age group, or anything else relating to your product.
- Match your product title to your landing page. Don’t use synonyms or terms that aren’t included in your product’s landing page.
- Create keyword testing in your shopping feed to test which keywords and title variations are working for your campaign.
- Explore your search term report for highly trafficked search terms to include within your product title.
- Think like your shoppers and understand your searcher’s intentions.
Google will only display up to 70 characters in the product title, even though you have the option to submit up to 150 characters. Be sure to put distinctive product attributes at the beginning of the title to make the best use of your characters.
Opportunity #2 Ad Enhancements
Are you looking to set yourself apart from your competitors and increase your customer engagement? Who isn’t! When you use the following ad enhancements, your Google Shopping ad will stand out from the rest:
Merchant Center Promotions. Merchant Center promotions allow you to show online promotions with your shopping ads as a “special offer”. Google accepts the following promotions:
- Discounts: Percent off, cash back, buy one get one for free, buy one get the second percent off.
- Free gifts: Free item or gift card for a specified value.
- Shipping: Free or discounted shipping.
While these promotion feeds don’t affect rankings on Google, they will still boost your click-through-rate and increase conversions. That’s great news!
Product Ratings. Product ratings provide critical information to shoppers making purchase decisions and can make the difference whether a shopper chooses to click on your shopping ad or your competitor’s. In fact, 88% of shoppers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Product ratings show on Shopping Ads with a 5-star rating system. They will be displayed when there are at least three reviews for the product and are related to the specific product. Instead of doing all the hard work yourself, let your satisfied customers speak on your behalf!
Opportunity #3 Machine-Learning Bid Optimization
Google and third-parties have come a long way when it comes to automated bid management. It is possible to have your product bids updated in real-time, to fully maximize your ROI. There are numerous factors that influence whether a customer decides to click on your shopping ad or your competitor’s. Infrequent bid optimization is one of the main reasons why shopping campaigns are underperforming. The solution is simple- just trust the machine! It will update your product bids in real-time for every auction at the product level and incorporates the user’s historical behavior to determine the bids. The only challenge is setting the right bid optimization goal. Our personal eCommerce favorite is Target ROAS.
Don’t panic after just one day if it is not giving you the ROAS you were hoping for. Depending on the historical conversion data, the automated bid strategies can take up several weeks to reach the desired performance.
Keep in mind that this is not a way to just set up the automated bid management and forget about it. You will need to constantly “train the machine” and adjust the automated bidding strategy to achieve the desired results.
Opportunity #4 Custom Labels
You can’t let the machine do everything of course, and custom labels are where you need to step in and get creative. These custom labels will segment the products in your campaign to even further success. You can use them to segment products that have a specific price range, that are seasonal, best-sellers, on clearance, by profit margins, or anything else that will help. This segmentation will increase your ROI, perhaps significantly, because you are probably currently spending money on products that are not competitive enough on high-value or high-margin products.
Segmenting your Shopping campaigns with product labels will make it much easier to adjust your bidding strategy and bring in more revenue.
Opportunity #5 Remarketing Lists for Shopping Ads
We aren’t finished quite yet! Lastly, you can use Shopping Remarketing Lists to show Shopping ads to people who previously visited your website as they search for your products on Google, just like a retargeted ad in your other PPC campaigns. This will give you the ability to segment your site visitors and target specific audiences, such as “shopping cart-abandoners”, “repeat visitors”, “previous buyers” and even specific product or category viewers on your website. Adding these specific remarketing lists will help you bid more aggressively for specific users. Below is a real-life example of what remarketing lists can do for your campaign:
It is important to monitor your data and know your industry in order to use these remarketing lists to your benefit. Depending on your product and the average buying cycle in your industry, you might want to target one to even three-day shopping cart abandoners more aggressively than 30-60 day shopping cart abandoners.
If you aren’t happy with the results your current Google Shopping efforts are bringing you, there is a lot you could do to boost your ROI. Try one, a few, or all five of these suggestions! By optimizing your product titles, you can take more control over which products appear for which search query and at the same time increase exposure. Be sure to make use of all ad enhancements available; they are for free! Use this to your advantage to make your ad stand out from your competitors and increase your click-through rate. Remember, you don’t need to optimize 1,000 product bids yourself when you can use machine learning to update your products bids in real-time. Don’t just settle for segmenting your shopping campaign based on brand or product categories. Instead, segment your Shopping Campaign by price, profit margin, best-sellers or seasonality to set more effective bids and bring in more revenue or profit. The RLSA feature for Shopping allows greater targeting control that can result in a more efficient use of ad spend and better ROI numbers. It may seem like a lot to take in at first, but these efforts will be worth your time to learn and undertake!