Seven tips to squeeze more revenue from Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping ads continue to be mission critical for ecommerce search marketers.

Even when Google removed the right-side ads in February, it didn’t dare touch the highly popular right-side Shopping ad (previously PLAs) unit for shopping results.

A look at Merkle’s Q2 digital marketing report proves this point, as you see a 43% year-over-year increase in ad spend on Google Shopping during Q2 and clicks are rising 71% year-over-year in Q2.

Here are seven tips on how to squeeze even more revenue from Google Shopping campaigns.

Tip #1: Monitor prices and rank vs. the competition

When I meet with clients and review competitor ad data, I often find that my clients’ prices are much higher than the other sellers listed.

This tip is a basic one: keep close tabs on competitive prices for your products. It’s impossible to do this manually so we usually use The Search Monitor as a tool to help monitor shopping data.

In addition to prices, the data in this tool also reveals your product’s average rank as well as screenshots of the Google shopping ad itself.

monitor your price

Tip #2: Work with partners to dominate the shopping results page

While your company cannot appear more than once in the same PLA shopping ad unit, your products can. And who wouldn’t want to double their exposure to push out another competitor?

The trick is to work with your partners to make sure you’re bidding high enough on the same keywords to increase the chance you’ll both appear. ‘Partners’ could be your affiliates, retailers, or distributors.

work with partners

Tip #3: Learn from competitors’ ad copy

Your data feed sometime change hands a few times before it gets to Google, so the most advanced Google Shopping marketers constantly monitor these elements in the SERP to confirm their ads are as compelling as those of other sellers.

There is more data on our ads than you can shake an Excel table at but start by looking at ad copy, and reviewing how Google is displaying your product names from your feed versus those of sellers of the same product. You often times find a simple mistakes you can fix easily.

Then, expand the review to other ad elements and competitors. How do your product reviews compare? How many sellers are displaying payment methods? Use this knowledge to write kick ass ads that convert!

Tip #4: Make the most of the Special Offers

The Special offer field is a relatively new addition to Google shopping ads. Are you using it? If so, are you seeing the same positive results our clients are seeing?

When collapsed, it’s an exceptional way to make your ad stand out from the crowd. When clicked, it becomes a strong call-to-action, complete with a sales message, expiration date, promo code, and Shop button.

Start by monitoring your competitors’ use of this field, and then make sure your offer is at least comparable to what they offer, if not much more compelling.

special offers in adwords

My first four tips were ones that I have used to make quick, large gains in their campaigns. I’ll conclude with three more advanced tips by Ty Martin, the founder of AdBacon

Tip #5: Take the power back

When you first launched Product Listing Ads, you may have been surprised to find that Google PLAs didn’t allow you to target ads to specific keywords. Instead, with PLAs, Google’s algorithms decide which products will show for which queries.

But now you can take the power back and achieve query-level targeting— and the bidding precision that comes with it.

By exploiting a smart configuration of negative keywords and campaign priority, you can segment campaigns to specific types of search queries – branded, product-based, or other queries. With this hack, you’ll achieve better segmentation, which drives better bidding precision and improved ROI.

Tip #6: Find out where you stand in terms of share of voice (SOV)

In your text ad campaigns, you’re probably already looking at “Average Rank Position” and “Impression Share” to get a full picture of your visibility compared to competitors on important keywords. Those two metrics answer the age-old question, “Am I maximizing my opportunity on the keywords that are most important for my business?”

But that’s not possible in Google Shopping, because AdWords doesn’t have keyword-level PLA reporting. How can you know your brand visibility for important queries?

You need a PLA Share-of-Voice metric to provide this answer. This essential metric combines impressions, rank, and ad location data to score your visibility by keyword. Trend this for your most (and least) profitable keywords to identify opportunities to adjust your bids.

Tip #7: Reduce corruption in your GTIN

Lastly, here’s a very specific tip concerning your data feeds. In May of this year, Google began requiring every advertiser to include GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) in their product feed. This hack is for your team members who are personally handling product feeds – opening them or passing them on to others.

If you open and re-save the file in Excel, you may be corrupting the GTIN and not even realize it. And that makes the Google algorithm less likely to show your product when people search for it – leading to a decline in click volume.

shopping campaigns

The good news is there are a couple ways to fight corruption of your GTIN. Option #1 is a manual hack. Immediately after opening the file in Excel, right-click the GTIN column, choose “Format Cells” and then set the custom format to “00000000000000.” That’s 14 zeros. This tells Excel to display the entire number with no truncation and guarantees that when you re-upload the file, the GTIN information will be perfectly preserved.

Option #2 is to download and use this free Excel Add-In that I created to do the work for you in a single click.

Final Thoughts on Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping is a hot ad format for retailers and the competition is not expected to wane any time soon. The seven tips I’ve shared are meant to help in all parts of the Google Shopping process, from data feeds to targeting to ad content, metrics and competitive strategy.

You’re now privy to the secrets that most sophisticated Google Shopping advertisers use to beat the competition. Please share your feedback or thoughts in the comments below.

Jamie Smith is the CEO of Campaign Watch and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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