Your Top Google Shopping Questions Answered

Keith Meagher, Acquisio’s SaaS Solutions Architect, shared his insights in a post about Google Shopping campaigns recently, so we asked him to be part of our webinar on the topic with experts, Seer Interactive. An agency with offices in Philadelphia and San Diego, Seer knows paid media marketing. Seer’s PPC Manager, Joe Levinthal, presented with Keith during the webinar and really held it down during the Q&A, giving one-to-one advice to anyone who had a question about their own campaigns. We can’t thank Joe and Keith enough for their expertise! Since both the questions and the answers about Google Shopping campaigns were gold, we owed it to you to share them here.

1 Is there anything you can recommend from a structural perspective to drive quick wins?

[Levinthal]: Be mindful of what your product groups and your ad groups are. It’s a great way to lump similar products together as well as create hierarchies for your highest margin products. If you structure your campaign in such a way that your highest margin products are given preferential treatment over the others (you can do that through creating a product hierarchy within the campaign), Google is going to allocate more budget to those products and those ad groups than they will to anything else within that campaign.

2 How much more does a PLA’s (Product Listing Ads) CPC’s tend to be compared to search ads?

[Levinthal]: So I would say that like search, it does vary based on the level of competition. If you’re going up against big, national, name-brand companies, they’ll tend to push the CPCs a bit higher because they can afford it. But across the board we do tend to see that the CPCs are lower than they are on search. There are more spaces that you’re competing for, there is a higher opportunity to appear as an ad. So I would expect that it’s not going to be in the $3-4 range per click, it should be a bit lower than that.

3 What can I do to make sure that I’m driving relevant traffic to my site?

[Levinthal]: The best way to do that is to actually look at search queries. Because there aren’t keywords that we’re bidding on (the search terms that trigger the ads to appear come from the information in the product feed, so there aren’t keywords that you bid on), a lot of people do tend to forget to look at search queries. But it’s a great way to identify broad, low-margin, search terms that are just spending money without driving any purchases, or products that somehow your ad is showing for, through a minimally-perceived relevance from Google’s perspective. Take a look at those and add negative keywords to product groups, to the ad groups, to the campaigns as a whole, and that will ensure that the money that you are spending to drive people to the site is going to most likely result in a purchase of some kind.

[Meagher]: Like Joe was saying, the real key with Shopping ads is around product feeds and the titles and descriptions really tie the search term to the ad to ensure that it’s being placed. So you need to have tight descriptions that also include terms that people might be searching for related to that product, without just filling your whole description with keywords and search terms. You still have to make the descriptions conversational in some way and focus on copywriting. Use certain terms that you want to be included in the Google Shopping algorithm that will decide whether your ad is going to show. You want to take all that into consideration since you’re not bidding on keywords.

4 If I’m running a promotion on my site, how can I show it in my product ads?

[Levinthal]: There is a special setting in the Google Merchant Center interface that allows you to run what are called “Merchant Promotions.” These are little notes that appear at the bottom of the product ads in the search results that highlight any promotions that you have running at the time. If you’re running 20% off, buy one get one half off, whatever it may be, you can highlight that directly in your ads by adding a separate little addition in the Merchant Center in the promotions section. If you require a code at checkout, keep track of how many people are using that promotion. You can provide that information directly in the ad as well.

5 How do you add negative keywords?

[Meagher]: Negative keywords for shopping campaigns are the same as negative keywords for traditional text ads. The can be added at both the ad group level and the campaign level.

[Levinthal]: I would say that tactically it’s going to be a little bit different depending on whether you’re using the new or old AdWords interface or Bing. But there should be tab for keywords and if you’re in the shopping campaign, it should take you to a button that says ‘add negative keyword’.

Helpful Holiday Hints

  • Leading up to Christmas, shoppers don’t risk ordering online and instead they tend to go in-store. Ramp up Local Inventory Ads to make sure you’re reaching those last minute shoppers, telling them you have the product they’re looking for in-stock, and attracting them to your store.
  • Minimize non-performing products and don’t be afraid to bid down or pause low ROAS product. If there are specific products or even product categories that are low-margin or just have not proven themselves in the last month or two, don’t be afraid to bid down or pause those entirely. There is a cost to maintaining visibility for an entire catalogue.
  • There’s a lot of tendency to start chasing after Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even Christmas holiday keywords, but if you’re unsure of what the return will be, we would advise caution when doing so.
  • That said it’s still a good idea to update your ad copy for the holidays and highlight what makes you unique. If you offer the fastest delivery before Christmas, call that out in the ad.
  • Some people are really focused on price-points and discounts. If you and five other advertisers are offering the same TV, but your 30% discount is the best available that’s going to be a huge consideration for someone to ultimately engage and purchase on your website. Really own that space where the ad copy is going to be to show what your competitive advantage is.
  • Everything that you do from here to the end of the year really should be optimizing that return on ad spend or CPA goal.
  • Lean on year-over-year data to proactively prevent where campaign issues will arise. If there was a problem-child product last year, chances are it will continue to be one this year. If you’re return diminished last year as you approached the holiday it makes sense to lower daily budgets now.
  • Keep your business goals in mind! The great thing about shopping and e-commerce is that everything that we do maps back to direct revenue and a return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) goal or even a target CPA – don’t lose sight of those goals!

To watch a full replay of the webinar click here. Happy Google Shopping everyone!

Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash/Jaelynn Castillo

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Chandal has created content strategies for both the biggest and sometimes the most unexpected markets, while developing strategic relationships with editors and publishers. Chandal contributes to some of the highest authority industry publications, has been featured in industry events and is thrilled to be Acquisio’s new Content Manager.

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