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Google Ads Shopping Campaigns – Strategy, Design and Optimization

Shopping campaigns – a must-have in modern marketing!

The campaigns for online stores have the most complicated structure. Advertisers who want to advertise their products in Google can make use of any kind of targeting available in Google Ads advertising system. Very often the central point of Google Ads accounts are Shopping Campaigns whose design, structure and optimization substantially differ from other forms of advertising in the Google Ads system.  

Managing a wide range of products and specifying parameters of shopping adverts at the same time is very problematic, especially if you don’t know which elements to focus on.

If you wonder if you should adopt the shopping campaign in your advertising strategy, the answer is – YES! It brings a series of benefits I have already mentioned in one of my previous articles. Shopping campaigns are most often the primary source of traffic on online stores, and price comparison engines such as Google Shopping have become the basic solution available on the E-Commerce market for sellers.

Take care of product feed quality

In order to deliver a product campaign, you will need to configure the product feed in the Google Merchant Center system properly. Before the campaign is launched, it is essential that you make sure the data are of high quality because product information is the only source of campaign keywords.

Basic elements of the Google Ads advertising system apply to Product Campaign to the same extent as adverts in the Search Network. You will thus be able to set rate modifiers for various kinds of devices, exclusions of specific keywords and various ways of specifying rates per click. However, the differences in running the Purchasing Campaigns are very large and result from the difference in the way the auction-related algorithm works.

In Shopping Campaigns there are no keywords. The crucial role is played by the product feed which contains a series of information on the product. This is basic information, such as [title], [size], [color], [price], as well as more complex structures, such as [maximum_energy_efficiency_class] or information whether the product is in the collective packaging. The quality and quantity of this product information is used to match the product to the user’s search. If every product is described properly, and data are correct and comprehensive, the campaign will bring positive results.

As for the Search Network campaigns, it is necessary to work on the quality of the target website or just selection of keywords in order to select the most relevant keywords.In the case of a Product Campaign, you have to take care of the quality of product feed. If the problem is related to insufficient number of displays or clicks, consider if the problem is not due to the quality of product information sent to Google.

The more information you send, the more keywords will be associated with the product you wish to advertise. Remember that all feed parameters have a great impact – not only [title] and [description].

To be sure the product feed you send to Google is of top quality, visit the section – diagnostics – in the Google Merchant Center account as it informs you about product errors.

Clear structure

In the process of keeping the Google Ads account, people make a frequent mistake – building complicated account structures which are unclear and impractical. The intention to create an ambitious and advanced campaign project may be tempting and in some cases appropriate, but most advertisers should take care of clarity and transparency of presentation of campaign results.

To illustrate – you may want to create separate campaigns for each product category on the online store. It is more advisable to manage one campaign whose ad groups constitute these categories. You may also wish to separate campaigns into various devices (one campaign for mobile phone users, one for PC users and one for tablet users). This particular solution is practical, especially with respect to large number of conversions on various kinds of devices and use of systems which automate optimization process. With manual campaign optimization whose results depend on many factors, it is more important that you consider these issues in macro scale, and therefore use the same rate modifier for various kinds of devices.

Simple and clear account structure allows us to analyze effectiveness of the deduction model – from general to specific. First, we evaluate the effectiveness of various channels at the campaign level, then ad groups, subsequent file break thresholds, and finally at the product level. Thanks to this, daily analysis of expenses will be easier, and weekly analysis of effectiveness will run smoothly. It will be much easier to edit rates, even if you specify maximum CPC value on your own, thanks to filters you can use to search products that meet relevant criteria.

Take care of displays and clicks ot the most important products

It is the most difficult condition to meet because much depends on seemingly unrelated factors. If the conditions are perfect, when the product feed is created well and the clear account structure is used, we will easily find products which perform better than others in terms of reaching a wider audience.

At this point it is necessary to consider why other products are not displayed. Don’t they meet Google conditions? Or maybe it is all about flaws of these products and parameters sent to the product feed? Paradoxically it is the most difficult task because it requires much patience and knowledge of the store’s products. You need to know strong and weak points of the products sold and take into account various factors (market, budget and technical, related to AdWords system).

Due to differences in the quality of descriptions, titles, information sent to Google Merchant Center, as well as differences in business goals, sometimes you cannot take care of every single product. For this reason I suggest that you separate the ones you prioritize and make sure they are displayed, clicked and conversed.

To learn more about product effectiveness, it is advisable to visit the tab – products – in Google AdWords. This tab includes information on all products which belong to the campaign – also regarding effectiveness. It is a great source of information on what changes you could make, which products generate best sales and which demonstrate best return on investment rate.

Remember about rate modifiers

If you don’t use Google Smart Bidding, check if the rate modifiers for various groups of recipients (RLSA) and types of devices are set for advert group level or campaigns. Remember to analyze these elements when you optimize your campaign because implementation of changes in this respect may make a difference. It is a very simple operation which requires basic analytical skills, so take advantage of this fact.

You should make these changes every 2 weeks. Think about analyzing the cost of conversion for various remarketing groups and diverse devices so as to reduce the rate for particular group or type of device. It may turn out that mobile phones spend way too much in relation to revenues they generate. When you lower the rate for this device, you will allocate budget in the better-conversing area. You may also encounter the opposite situation  – after you have added a remarketing list of people who abandon the cart to the Product Campaign, it may turn out that the cost of conversion for this user group is substantially lower than the average value of every other conversion.  

Then you can raise the rate for this group of recipients to make sure the users who belong to this group can see your advertisement high when they enter the name of the product in the search engine again. This way you raise the likelihood of their return to your website, and in effect sales.

Exclude only these keywords and products which were bound to emerge

This principle is highly important because it lets you save time. As for text advertisement campaigns in the Search Network, you can easily learn what keywords generated conversion and which users’ entries caused the AdWords system to display the ad. Unfortunately, product campaigns have a different mechanism of adjusting the advert to the search on the basis of the product feed. For this reason, it is important that you exclude keywords and products based on self-defined filters. Thanks to this, the optimization – that is adding exclusions – will be faster and more efficiently.

Thanks to filters, you can find all phrases entered by customers for which we spent more than PLN 50, have 200 clicks in the last month and failed to result in any conversion.

Summary

Preparing and optimizing the Shopping Campaign is a demanding task, yet if you adopt a suitable strategy, it may prove to be much more effective. As long as you follow the framework of actions and analyze the campaign results at relevant intervals, the person responsible for handling the campaign may see satisfying results, but it requires patience and organizational discipline.

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