Google Shopping Q4 e-commerce strategy is key for more holiday sales and exposure. Here are some of the major plays your competitors will use to try and out leverage you on the Google field.
1. Improve Brand Perception
Google Shopping space on search is generally relegated to about three to eight Product ads, and three to six paid ads. While that is a good portion of the Google Shopping page (see image below), getting visibility in these areas can be a challenge.
Your competition will be leveraging space on Google to highlight their brand, store, and product attributes to encourage more click-throughs, impressions, and sales. Consider utilizing the following Google programs to elevate your products and online store:
Google Special Offers: Highlight product promotion within Google product ads.
Google Special offers highlight a deal for shoppers right on the search page, which distinguishes your store and products:
Consider leveraging this opportunity to extra visibility on search (in addition to your existing Q4 sales and shipping deals).
Google Seller Ratings: AdWords seller ratings are an important trust indicator for AdWords shoppers.
Be sure you are monitoring your customer service before and during Q4 to maintain or build up positive seller ratings. Keep in mind Google generates seller ratings from itself and other review sites such as Bizrate (Shopzilla) and eKomi.
Improve Seller ratings for Q4:
- List your products on Shopzilla before Q4 to increase positive reviews.
- Feature your store as a Google Trusted Store.
Google Product Ratings: Product ratings on Product ads.
Product ads have highlighted reviews for specific products on Google for some time. Google's July update increased the visibility of those reviews, which now appear on product ads in search:
Unlike seller reviews which only appear if retailers have at least 3.5 stars, product ratings show on search with as low as 1 star (1-5 product rating).
Leverage product ratings for Q4 :
- Listing on sites aggregate product reviews (e.g Ekomi, Bazaarvoice)
- Submit your own product reviews for Product ads.
- Be aware product reviews are visible (even if you haven't signed up for them). To opt out, use this form.
2. Make Feed Changes
Q4 is the optimal time to revisit feed optimization for your AdWords campaigns. Data feed changes can be time-consuming and difficult, but have a significant impact on Google SEO, conversions, and click-through rate.
Be sure you are familiar with Google's recent Shopping Campaign updates:
- Custom Labels: A new name for the old AdWords Labels column. (Limited to five)
- You'll want to highlight seasonal products using custom labels
- Google Shopping Campaign Structure: Take the time to restructure your campaign.
Enrich your product information:
- Product Title: Enhance product title SEO, and user search queries for title optimization (150 character limit).
- Product Description: Design your product descriptions for optimal search exposure, keeping in mind search filters, longtail searches, holiday shopping trends, and shopper intent (5,000 characters).
- Recommended Columns: These are optional, but you should be including them in your product feed.
- Custom Label Column: Limited in number and scope, so you'll need to use data to identify top performing and seasonal seller groups
3. Optimize Big Data
Google Shopping Campaigns tools are a great way to track and leverage Google data for Google Shopping campaigns.
Here are some useful Google Shopping tools and reports your opposition is using:
- Bid Simulator: Test different bids to gauge effectiveness against competition without actually implementing any bids.
- Impression Share: Identify which impressions you are getting on which products.
- Benchmark Click Through Rate: Highlights how similar products are performing. Google Shopping campaigns benchmark CTR notes what the average CTR is for products to help you stay on top of your competition.
- SKU Level Reporting: Highlights individual SKU performance.
- Max Cost Per Click: Notes competitor bids.
Create an ad schedule for Google Shopping Campaigns.
Break it out into six, four-hour blocks:
- i.e. Midnight - 4 a.m., 4 a.m. - 8 a.m., 8 a.m. - noon, etc.
- Consider running ads during peak times on off-days to measure and test performance.
- Modify spend and budget based on high converting days and times.
For PPC, consider running the following AdWords Performance reports:
- Ad Performance
- Campaign Performance
- Search Query Performance
- PLA Performance report
- Ad Extension Report
Remember to look at performance for individual campaigns, ads, and your campaign as a whole.
4. Leverage Search Trends
Mobile is the fastest-growing segment of e-commerce. Your competitors are leveraging mobile specific device bids, and optimizing mobile exposure for the holiday season.
Historically, we've seen conversion rate on mobile traffic is low. However, mobile is still an important part of a solid Google strategy.
Leverage Mobile Traffic on Google:
- If you don't have a mobile optimized site, start with a bid of -25 percent to -50 percent on mobile traffic
To change your device bid for mobile in AdWords:
- Navigate to the settings tab in your Shopping Campaign and select Devices
- Click on the bid adjustment next to mobile devices
- Change your mobile bid
Location Targeting is a strong lever to moderate traffic and conversions for Google Shopping during Q4.
Leverage Mobile Traffic on Google:
- Start tracking Geographic performance as soon as you e switch to Google Shopping Campaigns
- Decide which regions to target based on your site, audience, and performance goals.
- Consider segmenting for online and B&M locations.
- Start with State-level bids
- Adjust geographical bids every 30 days based on performance
There are 84 days till Thanksgiving - how prepared are your Google campaigns?
At SES London (9-11 Feb) you'll get an overview of the latest tools, tips, and tactics in Paid, Owned, Earned, Integrated Media and Business Intelligence to streamline your marketing campaigns in 2015. Register by 31 October to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.