If you are selling products on the Internet you’ve probably heard about Google’s Shopping Ads – maybe you are already advertising on Google’s Shopping platform. Shopping Ads can be a powerful boost to online sale, but only if campaigns are properly setup and maintained. Here are some things you should know if you want to run a successful Shopping campaign:
Your Merchant Center and Product Listing Ads Are Connected
In order to advertise using Shopping Ads you need to link two platforms together: Merchant Center and Adwords. The Merchant Center act as a data repository where all your Shopping Ads are maintained and AdWords is used to manage, track and evaluate how your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) perform.
Start by signing up for a free Google Merchant Center account and upload all the products that you want to advertise. Google (and other shopping platforms) provide a template that you can use to ensure your products are accurately listed and your Shopping Ads appear correctly.
The template is easy to understand – it’s basically just the product details:
- Product Category (based on Google’s product taxonomy)
- Product Type (determined by you)
- Link to Product Page
- Availability Status
- Sale Price
Google even offers a step-by-step for filling out your product spreadsheet.
Manage and Maintain Your Shopping Campaigns
- Shopping Campaigns Are Not Like Text Ads. PLAs rely on keyword relevancy, so if your product titles or descriptions don’t show a strong relevancy to the search queries used chances are your PLAs will not show above the organic search results — or your ads might show for different search queries.
- Always add negative keywords. Shopping Campaigns still rely on negative keywords, so if you see a search query that isn’t relevant to your product add it as a negative keyword as soon as possible.
- Product prices should always be checked and corrected if needed. Google (and other top search engines) will not show PLAs if they see a discrepancy or peculiar prices for your products.
- Make sure your ad images entice shoppers to click through. Success with PLAs is highly dependent upon the pictures you show to shoppers. Remember, this is just like real-life shopping – customers need to see attractive product shots that encourage them to click for more information and ultimately purchase.
- Make sure all URL’s point to well thought-out and properly constructed landing pages. Your landing page can make or break the sale of your item. When a shopper clicks on your PLA you need to make sure that they land exactly where they can learn more about that particular item and be able to purchase it easily. Don’t send shoppers to your homepage or main product listing.
Product Groupings have no impact at all on what Google shows or which ads show on top of search results or which items show first on the Shopping results page, but they do serve as a means of getting your products organized so that you can manage them properly. For example, some advertisers like to put all their best-selling products into a single group since these best-sellers might require different bidding strategies or other activities.
If you have a smaller inventory, stick to organizing by Product ID instead of the Group or Category level; this gives you more control over individual PLAs. If you have more than 200 products, then using Product Groups is advised.
Bidding on Shopping Ads
Starting low is the way to go. PLA’s generally have a lower cost per click (CPC) compared to Text Ads, so start by bidding low — even lower than $1 depending on the level of competition. As data starts to accrue you’ll get a better idea about how much you are willing to bid per-click moving forward and you can slowly bid upwards. It’s still best to compute your bids based on revenue or conversion data.
Shopping campaigns can be a great place to feature your specials and promotional offers. Use the Description to tell shoppers that this item is “On Sale” or that there is a “30-Day Trial” or “Free Delivery on All Orders.” This is one strategy that can make your Shopping Ads stand out against your competitors’.
YES – this might all seem a little daunting to manage, especially if you are focused on running your business! It’s also important to recognize that Shopping Ads aren’t a set and forget, one-time upload and you’re done type of thing. Continuous monitoring, tracking and optimization needs to be done in order for your campaign to get the most out of each impression and click. Call us if you need help in this area – we’re here to help you develop a solid plan for managing PPC campaigns and/or to assist you with your overall SEO and online marketing initiatives.