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Google Shopping campaign optimization is a key part of your selling strategy. In this step-by-step guide, we'll review 5 proven techniques for optimal Google Shopping campaigns. From data optimization to employing custom labels, we'll dive deep into some of the most talked-about concepts in Google Shopping strategy and present five ways in which you can effectively optimize your Google Shopping campaigns to improve performance.

 

1. Exclude Search Queries

Though Google Shopping campaigns don’t include keywords to bid on, PLAs are triggered by search queries.

You can view these search queries in the “Dimensions” tab under “View: Search terms” or in the “Keywords” tab by clicking “Details” and then “Search Term > All".

I prefer to review search queries directly within the “Keywords” tab, as I’m able to exclude directly from this interface. Once I have the queries, I set up a filter for poor performing terms. The filter can be set to your desired preference. First, I look at queries that haven’t converted but have seen at least 50 clicks over the last 30 to 90 days.

I also look at queries with the highest cost per conversions and/or lowest conversion rates.

Here's an example:

I am more likely to exclude a query that has seen 100 clicks and only 1 conversion with a cost per conversion of $120 than I am a query that has seen 300 clicks with only 5 conversions at a cost per conversion of $70.

Determining when to exclude a query can be subjective so it’s important to analyze in conjunction with your account goals. When excluding queries, you’ll also want to pay attention to your Search Funnels report. This report shows how your keywords and campaigns are working together to produce conversions. For example, a click on a PLA might have been the first click, but the user left the site and then clicked a branded ad and ultimately converted. Unfortunately, you can’t see which query assisted, but you can see that a Google Shopping campaign helped.

2. Boost (or Suppress) Individual Products

Just like search queries, you can see individual product performance in the “Dimensions” tab.

You can easily see which products are producing conversions at acceptable rates and which are not. For products that are performing well, bid higher. You can do this by going to the Google Shopping campaign they're in and subdividing by item ID and setting a higher bid.

In this example, the specific item ID may get a $1 bid while the accessories product group may continue with a $0.85 bid. Recognizing that the specific product performs better, you are giving it more exposure with a higher bid.

Conversely, you can lower bids on products that aren’t performing or exclude all together. I’ve also created poor performers campaigns that house these ineffective products. The idea is that I’ll exclude these products in my regular Google Shopping campaigns and relegate them to a campaign with a much lower bid.

3. Identify Top Brands

You can also view performance by brand using the “Brand” report in the “Dimensions” tab. Just like individual products, you can see which brands perform better or worse. The goal is to subdivide your product group by the specific brand.

For example, if you are selling socks you may only want to bid on the Nike brand because it has the highest profit margin. You would then exclude everything else in that accessories product group. Thus, any “sock” related search would produce a PLA containing a Nike product.

4. Daypart and Geotarget

I’ve found that dayparting and geotargeting are two optimization techniques that are really easy to implement, but are often forgotten. I don’t know if it’s the misconception that dayparting and geotargeting aren’t applicable to Google Shopping campaigns, but they can pay huge dividends.

After I accrue enough data (usually 60 to 90 days of impressions and clicks), I set my time and geo modifiers. Keep in mind that these modifiers can’t be set at the ad group level for Google Shopping campaigns (like in standard Search and Display campaigns).

If, for example, I find that cost per conversion is too high during the hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., I put in a substantial negative bid modifier. After setting the modifiers, continue to review at least once a month for additional opportunities.

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5. Optimize Product Data Feed

Admittedly, optimizing the feed can be difficult, but is well worth the effort in the long run. As stated earlier, Google Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords so Google pulls the most relevant product for shopping SERPs based on the shopping feed details. The bulk of what provides those details come from a small intersection of your product data, most notably:

Product titles

If you could only optimize one item in your data feed, it would be this. Your product title is very important in helping Google find, index and return your products for the appropriate search queries. So what does an optimized product title look like? Well, that depends on your product. Below are a few examples that you can test to identify which formats work for you.

But before we get into optimization templates, let's get one thing out of the way:

PLA titles should be much more keyword dense and information rich than your online store's product titles.

In fact, if you're using your store's product titles as your PLA titles, stop what you're doing right now and go fix that. Nothing throws your product listings into the Abyss of Lost Impressions as poorly optimized titles.

Here are some industry-tailored formulas you can test to come up with your perfect product titles:

Apparel:

  • Brand + Product Type + Gender + Keyword 1 + Keyword 2 +Color + Size
  • Gender + Keyword 1 + Keyword 2 + Brand + Color + Product Type
  • Gender + Brand + Material + Product Type + Size + Color

Athletic and outdoors:

  • Type of Sport/Activity + Sports Team/Brand + Age Group + Product Type
  • Brand + Sport + Product Type + Color
  • Brand + Gender + Color + Size

Jewelry:

  • Brand + Weight+ Shape + Style + Occasion + Metal
  • Style + Metal Type + Shape + Product Type + Size (i.e., Length, Width, Weight) + Gender + Product Type
  • Age Group + Metal Type + Gem Type + Shape + Product Type + Size (i.e., Length, Width, Weight)

Home and garden:

  • Brand + Product Type + Color + Room Type
  • Brand + Usage + Material + Usage + Product Type
  • Style + How it’s made + Product Type + Color + Size + Brand + Product Type

Generic:

  • Brand + Product Type + Color + Material
  • Brand + Size (length, width, height) + Product Type + Color
  • Material + Product Type + Color + Brand
  • Style + Color + Product Type + Brand
  • Product Type + Size + Color + Keyword + Brand

Product descriptions

Google allows up to 5,000 characters for product descriptions. But that’s way more than any shopper would ever read. Pushing that limit could actually lead to messy product listing ads with unclear selling points that result in low click-through rates.

The optimal count for full-length product descriptions is between 500 and 1,000 characters. To make the most of this space, give your product descriptions the same treatment you give to SEO page titles and meta descriptions by thoroughly researching and implementing good keywords. Here's how to find keywords for your Google Shopping descriptions.

Product images

Product image optimization comes down to one question: Will this image make shoppers want to see more? Essentially, this can be summed up as follows:

  1. Don't use stock/manufacturer photos
  2. Use high-resolution images
  3. Use a white background
  4. Use an angle that highlights your product's best attributes
  5. Use image ALT and Title tags in the image file

GTIN or Brand/MPN

Google uses Global Trade Item Number to identify trade items globally. There are different types of GTINs that vary based on product type and where the products will be sold. Google only accepts the following types of GTINs:

  • UPC (12 digits) used in North America
  • EAN  (13 digits) used in Europe
  • JAN (8 or 13 digits) used in Japan
  • ISBN (13 digits) used for books
  • ITF-14 (14 digits) used for multipacks

Adding relevant information to your product listing ads can increase the chances of your product showing up in your target consumer’s search results.  When you add a GTIN to your product listing, you are providing yet another way that your product can be identified. This additional information helps Google match your products to their catalog, which can help increase the relevancy of your ad in search results.

Check out this post for a full review of Google product feed optimization.

Google Shopping Campaign Optimization Summary

As you can see, there is a lot to be optimized in Google Shopping campaigns and much of it requires going well beyond standard techniques. Just like standard Search and Display campaigns, it’s not “set it and forget it.” Make sure you are utilizing optimization tactics to continue improving performance.