Are You #Winning at Google Shopping Campaigns?

As an advertiser for mass e-commerce brands, I’m often asked about my favorite part of Q2. For me, it’s using any extra time I have to ensure my search accounts are completely optimized prior to the heavy holiday season in Q4 – I call it “Spring Cleaning.”

If you’re down for a little spring cleaning this season, something you could be optimizing right now are your Google Shopping Campaigns. For many retailers, the change from Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to Google Shopping Campaigns in February of 2014, provided a streamlined way to organize, bid, and report on their PLAs. However, I find that many advertisers aren’t going above and beyond to use the newest features of Google Shopping Campaigns. Whether that’s due to limited knowledge or limited know-how on the execution front, I plan to walk you through all the latest and greatest in Google Shopping Campaigns to ensure you’ll be #winning.

So, let’s talk about a few features. We’ll dive into measuring performance, opportunities lost to impression share, the bid simulator tool, enhanced cost-per-click bidding, special offers, and remarketing for Shopping Campaigns via RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads).

Measuring Performance

Assuming you’ve got conversion tracking in place, you’re probably measuring your Shopping Campaigns just like your typical search campaigns. You’re focused on your most important KPIs, including click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and either your CPA or ROAS. These are all your most important metrics, however, you can dig a little deeper with Shopping Campaigns by measuring how your product ads compare to those of similar products. Head over to your Shopping Campaign, click into an adgroup, navigate to your product groups, and click “Columns.” From here, you can add in Benchmark CTR and Benchmark Max. CPC column. To gauge performance, you should compare your own metrics to the benchmarks to see where you stand.

benchmark-shopping-campaign

Is the benchmark CTR higher than your own? Consider raising your bids, improving the product information in your Merchant Center feed, or adding negative keywords that might be bringing down your CTR. Is the benchmark max CPC higher than your own CPC? If so, and you’ve got room to push bids, go for it! After all, you want to stay competitive with other advertisers in your space.

Impression Share

Just like with your search campaigns, it’s important to keep a pulse on the impression share of your Shopping Campaigns. This can be measured at the campaign, adgroup, or product group level in AdWords. From here, you can see how much of your impression share is being lost to budget, and how much is lost to rank. If rank is low, consider raising bids or improving product descriptions in your feed via Google Merchant Center. Improved descriptions allow Google to better match your products to a search queries and in turn should boost your CTR if your ad is showing on more relevant searches.

impression-share-shopping-campaigns

Bid Simulator Tool

If you’ve pulled reports on the benchmarks for your product groups and have also taken a look at your impression share lost to rank, you’ve probably already got some good direction on how you should adjust your bids. If you’re still unsure, check out the Bid Simulator Tool to see how your performance would have been affected over the last seven days if your bids were different. This algorithmic tool collects and analyzes your last seven days’ worth of data, considering the quality of your ads, competitor bids, and product data to produce an estimate of what your advertising results could have been. Keep in mind that the Bid Simulator Tool will not work to predict future performance and should be used directionally. Learn more about the Bid Simulator Tool at the Google Support Center.

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) Bidding

Provided that you have conversion tracking in place, you may consider switching from manual bidding to ECPC bidding in your Shopping Campaigns. This bidding options uses conversion tracking data to predict which clicks in Google Search are more likely (or less likely) to lead to conversions. With this data, AdWords automatically adjusts your bids accordingly, pushing your current CPC up to 30 percent or lowering as much as 100 percent based on their predictions. Enhanced cost-per-click bidding can be enabled at the campaign or adgroup level and works off of bids set either at the adgroup or product level. To begin using ECPC in your Shopping Campaigns, you must first set up a Flexible Bid Strategy in AdWords to be stored in your Shared Library. More information on how to set up Flexible Bid Strategies and ECPC Bidding can be found here.

Special Offers

Now that we’ve handled the bulk of measuring and bidding, it’s time for something a bit more…special. Every advertiser knows that searchers can be easily swayed when they see a “special offer” in their search results. Of course, the goal is to sway searchers in your direction and not to competitors, so consider showcasing unique special offers in your Shopping Campaigns.

The easiest and quickest way to showcase an offer is to add it directly into your Shopping Campaign ad copy as “promotion text.” However, based on the setup of your campaigns and your feed, it may not be ideal to serve one offer across all products. If you have more detailed promotions for special products or product categories, consider learning about Merchant Promotions via Google Merchant Center. They have two popular options – a “+PROMOTION” tool, which is a feed-free way to submit a few promotions at once, and a promotional feed, which is product feed with promotions directly built into it for maximum granularity. Learn more about how to get started with Merchant Promotions here.

If you use the promotion options via Merchant Center, you get this cool “Special Offer” price tag, too. Not bad.

promos-shopping-campaigns

Remarketing for Shopping Campaigns (RLSA)

For those of you running search campaigns, you’re probably very familiar with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. In a nutshell, with RLSA, you get the opportunity to bid more on specific terms if a user has been to your site previously. For example, if you sell shoes, it’s probably very expensive to show up in position one for the term “shoes” so you don’t bother with such a generic term or you let your ad positions fall around three to four to be more cost-effective. However, if a user has already been to your site, and then they execute a generic search for “shoes,” you may be willing to bid more on that term if a user has recently been to your site. Now, there are talks in the search community about this also being possible for Shopping Campaigns. There is no official word from Google as of yet, but many advertisers are claiming to be able to add audiences and adjust bids on those audiences from within the “Audience” tab of their Shopping Campaigns. Try it out and let us know what you find! Essentially, this would allow you bid up your product groups showing your products more often to users who have shown interest in your brand by recently visiting your site and are executing a search that would typically lead to similar products.

For more on Shopping Campaigns, spring cleaning, or just thoughts about #winning in general, reach out in the comments section below!

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