Google Shopping: 4 Tips to Help You Get it Right

June 16, 2015

Digital Marketing Laura Lane By Laura Lane

If you’ve searched for a product on Google recently, you’ve probably noticed more image-based ads showing up in your search results. Research indicates that Google is displaying Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in search results far more frequently – 118% year over year.

Many companies have seen real success with Google Shopping campaigns, with Google Shopping campaigns providing a streamlined way to organize, bid on and report on PLAs. But many retailers aren’t yet making the best use of the new features. To maximize traffic and boost sales, it’s essential to learn how to get the ad format right and optimize pricing strategies.

We’ve identified four important pillars of Shopping campaigns, along with a lowdown on best practices for each one. ChannelAdvisor’s complete support for Google Shopping removes the guesswork with automated and revenue-based features to ensure that you get it right every time.

Tip 1Content Is the Backbone of Shopping Campaigns: Content matters for Shopping campaigns for two reasons: searchability and management. Put the effort into ensuring your feeds are optimized for Google Shopping. When creating titles and descriptions, think of SEO. Don’t save the best for last; put the most important information in the first 25 characters. It’s always worth testing out content to assess what’s best, and compare search terms over time to identify what’s working.

Another tip: Use Google Merchant Promotions. It’s free to list special offers, so make the most of the opportunity, since Merchant Promotions can greatly improve your Google PLA performance and optimize click-through rates. Merchant Promotions allow you to add special offers with a ‘Special Offer’ tag to make items more attractive to potential buyers. You can use various formats, such as a percentage off, money off and buy one get one free. Promotions can be used for a specific item or product group.

And when it comes to pictures, focus on image quality. Make sure your pictures are as detailed as possible, enabling viewers to zoom in and get a real feel for your products. And to ensure that you’re always using the image that will generate the most clicks, stop guessing and use ChannelAdvisor’s Product Image A/B Tester.

Tip 2Organize Campaigns to Maximize ROI: A sound campaign structure leads to successful bidding, so pick a strategy for product group creation carefully. When you create a product group, think about how you would organize goods in your shop. Break attributes down into a long category tree. Google’s Shopping campaign data feeds can use product attributes accurately down to the smallest detail, including individual SKUs. So it pays to get granular. Then, let ChannelAdvisor’s Product Group Generator build your campaign structure in a fraction of the time that it would take you to do it by hand. The Product Group Generator also keeps new products in sync with your existing campaigns, so that you’re not constantly building new structure.

Apply custom labels since they’ll be in the feed and will dictate how items will be displayed. Custom labels could specify, for example, whether the product is new, existing or discontinued, whether it’s on sale and whether it has a limited inventory or is seasonal.

Don’t forget to look out for orphaned products and find them a suitable home!

Tip 3Proper Structure Leads to Optimal Bidding: Remember that all clicks aren’t equal, so don’t pay equal for them! When you create product groups, look at your business model: How do you view your products? By value? Or by performance? Bid differently on top vs. low performers, or on those that bring in the most/least revenue. Bid higher for products that are more valuable to your business. Use the formula # of products/# of unique bids.

Stop guessing at which bids will generate the most revenue. It’s a dynamic market, so make use of automation. ChannelAdvisor’s Automated Bid Manager will remove the guesswork and automatically keep your bids in line with your revenue goals.

Tip 4Monitoring Ensures Campaigns Are Running Efficiently: Keep tabs on how your campaigns are doing and look at whether they’re affecting the performance of your other marketing channels.

Consistent monitoring helps your campaigns run smoothly. Use all the information available to you –don’t simply put the focus on ROI as it goes up and down. Dig deep and see how many clicks and impressions you get on various devices, including mobile, along with their conversion rates. Then you can measure the direct and indirect impact of your spend versus performance by device. Your conversion tracking will measure KPIs, including click-through rates (CTRs), conversion rate and either cost per acquisition (CPA) or return on advertising spend (ROAS).

ChannelAdvisor’s Google Shopping Dashboard will show you, at a glance, the health and status of every component of your campaigns. No more worrying. No more guessing. Just peace of mind.

Summing It Up

We hope this blog post has given you some practical ways to increase your success rate on Google Shopping. When it comes to optimizing your effectiveness, focus on the four pillars we’ve described: Your content, campaign structure, bidding and analytics. Keep testing to see what works for you!

If you’d like to learn more ways to get the most from Google Shopping, this on-demand webinar has excellent tips.