With the latest upgrade made to Google Shopping, retailers are now forced to adapt to these changes or be left behind. This Product Listing Ad campaign upgrade to the new Google Shopping campaign format can be a bit disjointing at first. However, like it or not, it’s something that retailers have to live with.
Over the past few months, we’ve worked closely with clients on this new campaign format, and have endured all the struggles and obstacles that you likely face. But through it all, we have also seen our fair share of clear benefits that come with the new Shopping campaigns. And as we learn more about these upgrades, we’re beginning to see improved results for our clients. The future is exciting. We’ll continue to hone our expertise and find better ways to optimize key aspects of this new format, which in the end translates into an improved return on investment.
What it all comes down to, in the end, is how well you keep your product data accurate and up-to-date. These PLAs are generated from your data and feeds, so there’s very little optimization you can do on your end until your foundation (or your product data) is firmly secure. Once secured, you can move onto other optimization tips, such as the following.
Merchant Feed Optimization
If you’re familiar with Search Campaigns, then you’re familiar with targeting (keywords) and messaging (ads), and being able to handle both from right inside AdWords. With this latest change in Google’s ecosystem, however, this isn’t the case. Most of the management you’ll be handling will occur from right inside your Merchant Center Feed. That’s because ads are generated using feed data, and the keywords for which ads appear are based on how you describe your products and how Google determines its relevance based on how you categorize it.
The title is one of the first ways to grab a reader’s attention. Make sure your titles are keyword-rich, descriptive, and fall under 70 characters in length. Frontload your key terms whenever possible, particularly if you’re afraid that your title might be too long, thus will get truncated. If, for example, you sell shoes, you’ll want to write a title that includes the brand name, style, and gender (if applicable), like this: Tom’s Sandals for Women.
Your Merchant Feed description should be around 500 characters, which happens to be much shorter than the space allows you. You want to be succinct but inviting. It’s important to keep your product description keyword-rich and product specific. If you offer more than one variant for a product, don’t list them all for a specific product. For example, if you sell gold and silver rings, don’t put both terms in the description for your gold rings, as then Google might show the wrong ring to a web surfer.
Other tips on how to improve your Shopping Ad performance
New structure, new benefits
With any new changes comes new structures, and in the case of the new Shopping campaigns, you’ll discover an improved streamlined experience. As such, you’ll find it easier to manage your product ad performances right from within your campaigns. We suggest you sub-divide your “All Products” ad group into more defined segments of your product catalog. This will require you to commit some time and effort beforehand, however, by developing a thorough strategy you’ll be able to optimize your future campaigns with ease.
Layer your custom labels
So how can you structure your campaign for optimal success? One way is to make it so that you use those five custom label options to see a specific segment of your catalog. When you’re making optimization decisions, always consider profitability. When you create a custom label based on product margins, you’ll end up investing more appropriately to bids for products that yield higher margins. Inversely, you’ll pay less for products with lower margins.
What to do with top-selling products
Thanks to this new structure, you can target your top-selling products like never before. Segment them into their very own product group. By becoming this specific, you’ll be able to control your bids. Also, you’ll be able to monitor your top products, to make sure they are meeting and exceeding their benchmark data points offered in the new campaign format. If your impression share for a top-selling product is lower than it should be, you’d then be able to rethink your bid strategy to see how much you can afford to increase the bid to make your product more visible.
As you adjust your bids, remember that the max CPC are recognized only at the lowest product level. The default ad group level bid serves as the starting CPC value for your products. Once you start sub-segmenting your product targets, you will have to adjust your bids at these lower levels. If you don’t, nothing will happen, and you’ll struggle to enjoy the highest return on investment for your bids.
The power of geo-targeting
While your Shopping campaign continues to collect data, we encourage you to use the Geographic reporting option in the Dimensions tab to examine your campaign’s performance for specific locations. Do you have plans on expanding to a new market? Are you wondering if your efforts in one region are worth the investment? Your Geographic reports will help you make the decisions necessary to grow your business at a healthy, upwardly rate.
Did you know that ad scheduling is a part of your Shopping campaigns? This is key, because according to our research, online retailers enjoy the most success during the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. Also, Mondays and Tuesdays are generally the most popular days for online purchases. But even with that information in hand, it’s important that you evaluate your very own data to find the best (and worst) times and adjust your ad scheduling bids accordingly.
Don’t forget mobile shoppers!
Mobile shopping has shown its dominance in the last few years, meaning you cannot forget this segment of your audience. You need to monitor your Shopping campaign’s mobile performance, and adjust your bids accordingly. Here’s a tip: you can make mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level, unlike ad scheduling and geo-targeting. You can make campaign-wide adjustments for mobile devices or dig even deeper into the individual ad group levels for mobile performance.
Educated changes based on data
The changes made to Google Shopping include new benchmark data columns that are like little nuggets of gold to the online retailer. But just because Google gives you this data doesn’t mean that you should treat it like concrete truth. You shouldn’t increase your bid to the benchmark level provided without good reason. Make sure that you consider all of the tips above and adjust your bids based on all of the data made available.
Are you still confused on how best to work with the latest changes in Google Shopping campaigns? Contact Commerce Pundit today to learn how we can help you adapt to these changes and use them to your benefit.