Google Shopping is one of the most profitable channels for retailers, predominantly because it’s so easy for consumers to use. Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest of Google tools for a brand to optimise, and a lot of your problems will stem from the quality of the feed. In our first dive into best practices, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about getting your Feed right.
Your Google Shopping Feed comes from the Merchant Centre, and your actual campaigns come from AdWords. What makes it different from a regular campaign in AdWords, however, is that it doesn’t use keywords, but we’ll get into that a little bit later.
As you’re setting up your feed, there are a couple of things to make sure you cover. One of the biggest mistakes we find with Shopping Feeds is short product titles or ones that don’t include the brand for example.
Google Shopping doesn’t work like traditional Paid Search: there are no keywords to bid on. Instead, Google uses information from advertisers’ product feeds to match search terms to relevant products. You’ll need to make sure you’re actively including all distinguishers in your item titles and descriptions of your feed.
As any PPC expert will tell you: if things are performing differently, you need to split them out and treat them as such. Sizes and colours are the big players here. Add these distinguishers to the product titles, and you’ll likely see an increase in your conversion rates.
Other fields to ensure you have taken care of: brand, description, GTIN, product category (which is defined by Google) and product type. According to Google themselves, the product type is the second most important thing in determining which searches you show for. The product type is something which you define, so the more specific and granular you can be, the better you’ll perform.
On a final note, the feeds need to be updated as often as your stock is. Once a day is likely a bare minimum, but we work on feeds that are updated at least four times a day. It’s a constant labour of love, but it gets the job done.
Preparing your feed is key to performing well with Google Shopping, but what happens when you don’t have control over your feed?
Optimising delivery focuses on search query level bidding. In a similar way to bidding higher on specific keywords, you can bid up on the products people are buying or searching for. If you know certain sizes or colours aren’t performing as well, you can reduce your bid. If you know that your women’s clothes sell better than your men’s range, you can increase the bids to match.
Taking it a step further, you can place one product per ad group and follow product level bidding. This allows you to keep a much closer tab on what searches you’re appearing in. For example, if you have a child’s shirt that isn’t appearing in any child searches, you’ll notice this quite quickly with this campaign structure. From here, you can fix the problem within the feed, or you can negative it out. Negative keywords are far more effective when you set one product per ad group.
Imagine you have all of your shirts in one ad group. You find that a particular men’s shirt appears for the search “children’s polo shirt”. To stop this from happening, you add “children’s” as a negative keyword – but this means that any children’s shirt in that ad group won’t appear when you want it to. By placing one product per ad group, you are able to be much more granular and specific in your targeting; as well as being able to make the most of your budget.
When you’re setting up the product title in AdWords, make sure you’ve got the brand in the title, as well as any events which are coming up: “Valentine’s Day” or “Mother’s Day” for example. A little trick that has seen conversion rates improve massively is to include “for Her” in product titles for women’s clothes and “for Him” on men’s clothes.
Google Shopping can be tricky, but when done right it is hugely profitable for retailers and brands. If you need a refresher or want to show your colleagues, check out our one-page PDF with all of the tips you’ll need to nail your Google Shopping.