Google Shopping Campaigns are regularly used because they are prominently listed in the Google Search Results. When searching for products in search, seeing an actual image of the product is going to lead to more clicks than blue links. Along with that, it’s also at the top of the search results or takes over the whole right column. Another reason why these ads are not only attractive, but a necessity for ecommerce companies is the fact they pop up on Google SERP much more than typical paid ads.

Even though Google Ads Shopping Campaigns are an excellent way to generate more sales, not being careful and making even the tiniest mistakes can be the difference between generating profit or losing money. No matter how seasoned you are with using Google shopping campaigns, we’re human and we all make mistakes.

However, there are ways to reduce the number of mistakes and set yourself up for success to increase the likelihood of generating a positive ROI.

1.  Having a Disorganized Google Shopping Campaign Structure

If you sell a variety of products, careful segmentation, organization and categorization of your campaigns is very important. Meaning, creating product groups to corresponding product categories that are aligned to your business. For example, product group smartphones, smartphone cases and covers, and gadgets. Creating a structured campaign and manually implementing custom labels is important because it will help you segment your products and give you more control and greater flexibility over your bids.

This is especially important if you decide to run a promotion or add a limited-time discount on one product group, for example smartphone cases and covers, but not of the other products. Having different product categories allow for selectively promoting just one, two, or as many categories as necessary. 

Bidding on all products the same may not always be smart or profitable, especially if your campaign structure does not completely fit the strengths of your business. In fact, it may lead to missing opportunities for gaining profit.

Creating product-level ad groups allows you to see the Auction Insights and Search Query for that product, and that is very useful once you pick 5 to 10 of your best-selling products and focus on dominating the SERPs only for them. If, on the other hand, you do this for all products you sell, you will end up buried in tons of data, which is tough to manage and can stir you away from your main goals.

2.   Not customizing your bids for…

Desktop and Mobile

If you are already categorizing products differently, and bidding for each category differently, perhaps it’s time step your game up. Mobile and desktop perform differently, so your bids should reflect that. Think about your website and the experience customers have on desktop vs. mobile and customize your bids based on where you see the best performance. Test the results, we use cross-device metrics to see how many users start the search on mobile then move to their desktop, see where your traffic and orders are coming from, then build on your campaigns from there.

Products that perform well outside Google

Start analyzing other revenue sources. You can use Google Analytics to see online store metrics or even your platform like Shopify or Magento to track product performance. Also, if you’re a retail brand or have distribution through wholesale channels, find out what is working well for you.

On Google Analytics specifically, you can login and follow this path to view product performance:

Conversions à E-commerce -> Product Performance -> Product SKU à Secondary Dimensions -> Source/Medium. Then select more rows and finally, export the CSV file.

Since the goal is to eliminate as a source and find revenue streams outside of it, start by sorting the CSV by source and delete all rows that contain source. Next, sort the remaining data in the CSV by revenue, and find the item IDs with highest revenue. Add those IDs to your AdWords campaign, each in its respective product category, and lastly, customize their bids.

Continually finding top performing products can not only help with Google Shopping, but also help guide your “Top Sellers.” This allows you to drive traffic towards products you know people are interested in.

Underperforming product ads

When you are finished increasing bids for well-performing products, and adjusting bids and budgets for desktop, mobile and products that perform well outside Google, it’s time to bid down for the underperforming ones, and stop wasting your money. You don’t have to pause or completely remove underperformers, you can just stop paying a premium for them to be on the SERPs. Keep monitoring their performance, they might come back.

However, if one of your top-selling performers is suddenly plunging, take a second and try to find out why?. The most common reason is price. It can be because your competitor offers free shipping, and you aren’t, or maybe you sell a seasonal product. Either way, assess the reason and the adjust your bids, or update your product listings. 

3.   Negative keyword Usage

Google shopping campaigns work a little bit differently when it comes to keywords use. They use negative keywords to make sure that your ad doesn’t come up for irrelevant or unrelated searches. Still, it is important to access your search terms report and check whether your ads show up at the right time. If you use negative keywords correctly, you will limit the search queries for which your ad should show up, therefore ensure you reach most relevant customers and receive valuable click. Reducing the number of irrelevant clicks from customers who are looking for something that you don’t sell means reducing your overall costs, and increasing your ROI.

An example of this could be the word “cashmere” in the search query “cashmere women’s sweaters.” If your brand doesn’t sell cashmere sweaters, adding this keyword negative would reduce the number of clicks and waste in ad spend.

But, do not go overboard and get “negative keyword happy” (as I like to call it) by setting too many negative keywords. Overly restrictive negative keywords reduces the audience who sees your ads. Sometimes, top-of-the-funnel keywords that do not have direct conversion value can play an important part in reaching new customers and exposing your brand to a wider audience. Getting people to the site at the top of the funnel is still very valuable, especially if you are leveraging remarketing campaigns through retargeting and some form of CRM/Email marketing. Those audiences can a great source of ROI.

Choose your negative keywords carefully. Make sure you’re not wasting spend on things that will never convert while at the same time keeping in mind brand reach and keywords that do not directly convert may play a key role in your buyers’ journey.  

BONUS: Not Using Google Merchant Center Special Promotions

Merchant Center is a great way to make your offer stand out. If promotions are available on your account, do not hesitate to use them. The “Special Offers” tag is a promotion that shows up under your product listing and makes it look even more attractive to potential customers. By making your offer look exclusive and limited it can give you a competitive edge over competitor retailers who don’t use it.

It can improve your campaign’s performance, help you optimize click-through rates and cost per clicks. And higher conversion rate, usually translates into higher ROI. So next time you have a discount offer or free shipping, use the “Special Offer” tag and make your ad more visible and more appealing. Do not be alarmed if your promoted ad doesn’t appear right away. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for Google to approve merchant promos, so submit your feed earlier to ensure you are not missing out.

The merger of Product Listing Ads and Shopping Campaigns allowed marketers to better manage large scale campaigns and browse inventory straight from Google Ads, which is a big plus. Performance reporting is now available down to product-level, and metrics such as benchmark data and impressions help and improve bid management.

There is no right or wrong way of doing your campaigns. You have to find your own “right” and “wrong”, and cater your campaigns in way that best represents brand and supports your goals. Make the most of your ads by avoiding making these 3 major mistakes, and looking for new and better ways to combine shopping campaign features, or let the pros lend you a hand (Yes, us!) and help you achieve well optimized, defined and organized campaigns that have high CTRs.

Published On: October 27th, 2021 / Categories: Google Ads / Tags: , , , /

About the Author: Tony Adam

Tony Adam is a serial technology entrepreneur, investor, and Fractional CMO. He is currently the Founder & CEO of Visible Factors a Digital Marketing Agency providing Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands, startups and large organizations services around growth and online marketing principles like SEO, Google Ads, Meta Ads, and Email/Lifecycle Marketing. Prior to Visible Factors, Tony founded Eventup, an Event Venue Marketplace and grew to 12 cities and over $1MM top line revenue in under one year. Throughout his career, he has worked with early stage startups, SMBs, Fortune 500 companies and high-profile brands including Yahoo!, PayPal and Myspace.
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