Any good business strategy begins with thorough planning – and a Google Shopping campaign strategy is no different.
Google Shopping could be great for your business, or it could lead to some wasted time, wasted ad spend, or both. That's why it's important to reference the what successful campaigns have done, and to build up or modify your campaigns accordingly.
Now, it's difficult to find a fully optimized, relevant competitor's campaign for you to reference – but that's not necessary. What you need to know is where to focus your efforts.
No successful Shopping campaign got to where it is without the necessary insight. To properly plan your Google Shopping campaign strategy, set your sights on these three areas:
- Keyword research to identify opportunities
- Segmenting products into groups for easier, more effective targeting
- Setting goals based on most important KPIs
1. Thorough keyword research
Keywords can be as much about your customers as they are about your products.
How are customers looking for your products? What phrases are they typing into Google to search? Are they just beginning to do research? How much do they know about the products they want to buy?
These are important questions because searches can tell you a lot about buying intent. Understanding what your customers are searching for can give you a big advantage when creating product titles and descriptions in Google Shopping.
To dig up useful search queries that match your products use these tools:
- Google Ads Keyword Planner - You don’t need to have an active campaign but you do need to have a Google Ads login to access this tool.
- SpyFu - This tool gives you your keyword’s top five variations along with search volume numbers for each. Investing in the paid version might be worth the investment as it gives you unlimited searches and allows you to spy on your competitors’ keywords.
- Keyword.io - This tool offers upwards of 1,000 free keyword variations per keyword search but the free version does not provide search volume. However, one free feature lets you export all the keyword recommendations to a .csv file.
- Ubersuggest - Started off as a simple keyword research tool, but now it's more of an all-in-one SEO solution.
- Google.com - Even with all these tools at your disposal, we always recommend doing a Google search for each of your keywords. Take note of what keyword variations Google suggests and scope out your competitors’ top product listings.
2. Product segmentation
Your products vary by price, margins, inventory, seasonality… and more. While these attributes might seem trivial on paper, they can help you create smarter campaigns (or hurt your campaigns if ignored).
Knowing how your products vary based on these attributes will allow you to segment the catalog you push to Google using custom labels. You can then use those custom labels to create optimized campaigns with bidding strategies tailored to each segment’s unique CPA.
We recommend a combination (or all) of these segmentations for new Google Shopping campaigns:
- Price points - This allows you to distribute bids so that you’re not bidding in the same range for a $10 product as you would for a $100 product.
- High ROI - Products with bigger margins give you greater freedom in bidding – even for lower priced items.
- Seasonality - Season-specific segments let you raise bids when items are in season and decrease bids (often significantly) when they are less likely to sell.
- Clearance items - Here you have two options: for selling low-selling items as fast as possible, raise bids; to minimize COS and maintain a decent ROI on discounted items, lower bids.
- Best sellers - Product segments based on performance allow you to increase or decrease bids accordingly to get the best possible return on investment.
- Catch-all - This is a base campaign with all of your products. It is intended to catch any relevant product search queries that don’t match any of your other segments. This segment’s campaign priority should be set to low and the bid should be set to no more than a few cents.
3. Realistic, relevant goals
For the purpose of Google Shopping campaigns, goals should always revolve around a target cost per acquisition (CPA). The reason for this is that you want to keep sales and costs in perspective at all times.
With that said, it’s important to note that not all acquisitions are created equal. To determine each acquisitions value to your business, it's important to understand what key performance indicators (KPI) matter most to you.
Obviously every business is going to want to prioritize different KPIs, but here are 7 powerful metrics that would be useful to track for any shopping campaign.
- Conversion Rate
- Average Order Value
- Cost-of-Sale Percentage
- Cost Per Order/Cost Per Acquisition
- Return on Ad Spend
- Customer lifetime value
No one thing can make your Google Shopping campaigns a success – you'll need to do sufficient keyword research, segment your products effectively, and to set actionable goals.
It's up to you to set up your campaigns as best as possible, and then to polish them accordingly.