The holidays are just around the corner!
This means that every ecommerce store should pay additional attention to their Google Shopping Campaigns.
To start, check out our tutorial on how to pause your AdWords campaigns for the holidays.
Now, whether you are getting your campaign ready for Cyber Monday or Christmas, setting up your store for success is a couple of optimizations away if you follow these steps:
1) Make Sure to Highlight the Products That Are the Most Profitable
A) Use Custom Labels
The use of custom labels is a must during this busy season. You can use them to highlight your top seasonal products and they allow you an additional layer of control. A good example of custom labels for this season is:
Custom Label: 0
Your definition: Profit Margin
Values: >25% <35%
Custom Label: 1
Your definition: Seasonal
Values: Autumn / Winter
With custom labels you can make informed decisions about excluding seasonal products or bid aggressively on highly profitable items.
B) Subdivide Your Products to Manage the Bids and Performance at a Granular Level
You should never keep your product inventory in a single product group. Remember to prioritize and split your inventory into product groups based on top selling brands, seasonality, and/or profitable items. By doing this you will be able to bid smarter on products that have a higher profit and control it with the help of custom labels.
I will go a step further and say that you should split your campaigns into different product lines and use a different CPA goal per each.
Your structure could be as follows:
Profitability Level 1
Top Selling / High Revenue Products / High Priority
Profitability Level 2
Products that don’t sell as often / Moderate to Good Revenue / Medium Priority
Profitability Level 3
Everything else in your inventory / Moderate Revenue in bulk / Low Priority
Based on this simple structure you could set a different CPA goal per each, set different campaign priorities when similar products are advertised across campaigns, as well as control the traffic type by including a tailored list of negative keywords at campaign level.
This is me oversimplifying the approach of segmenting your campaign based on product types. Please drop me a line and let me know what your structure here for some free tailored advice.
C) Adjust the Bids on Most Profitable Items
Once you have labeled and subdivided your products accordingly, it’s time to decide which items in your inventory deserve special attention.
You could set a “profitable” bid depending on your subdivision. However, if you have a large inventory this becomes incredibly time-consuming.
My solution: Use a flexible bid strategy. Whether you are using AdWords built in Enhanced CPC or you have a third party bid management software, you have to let these powerful algorithms work for you, through this busy time of year.
If you would like to know more about how ECPC and AdWords Bids strategies work, click here:
One of the great features of Google Shopping is that you are given benchmark values to consider when changing your bids such as Benchmark Max. CPC and Search Impression Share.
One gives you an estimate on how other advertisers are bidding on similar products and the other points out which product groups have the opportunity of receiving additional impressions by managing its bids.
D) There Will Most Likely Be an Increase in Budget
If you have kept track of your holiday spend (highly recommend), you can forecast your holiday budget needs. This is key if you want to capture a higher percentage of the traffic available on Google Shopping, but why stop at Google Shopping? Remember that you need a strong presence across platforms and devices.
You have to make sure to appear for people are looking for your products across all devices and provide a consistently great experience for each.
Everyone is looking to increase sales during this time, so CPC’s tend to increase. In fact, it is not rare that during the holidays budgets increase 3 to 8 times higher than normal. If you setup your campaign for success, a budget increase will result in a very good investment. Just remember that the changes you implement need to be done so at item level within the desired group, otherwise the segmentation will lose its purpose.
2) Use Analytics Data to Make Informed Decisions
A) View Audience Reports to Determine Profitable Locations
As you may already know, Google Analytics contains essential data you can use to make informed decisions about your campaigns. With Google Shopping, it’s important to have ecommerce tracking enabled in Google Analytics and to constantly review its data.
I personally find most useful to review Audience >Geo>Locations in Analytics to do a comparison between the locations that have driven the most revenue based on the number of transactions completed.
This will help you with the exclusion of granular level locations, i.g. Zip Codes, that are driving your costs up.
B) View Product Performance to Determine Best Performing Products
Drive additional traffic and engage users that have already shown interest in your products.
A high percentage of users will abandon your shopping cart without completing a purchase, not because your product is below par but because they want to make an informed decision and get the most of their money.
It’s on you to provide an additional opportunity to buy or simply keep the conversation going as to why they should pick your brand over your competitors.
3) Promotions and Special Offers
A) Highlight Your Products with a Promotional Message
Using promotions in your products can often be overlooked, but it is actually one of the most important optimizations you can make when getting your campaign ready for the holidays. Online stores go all out during this time, so promotions are key when trying to influence purchasing decisions.
You can go the extra mile by using Merchant Promotions or make your ads more appealing with Product Ratings. Check out the tutorial below on how to add promotions to your Google shopping ads.