10 Simple Google Shopping Campaign Optimization Tactics

Posted on December 1, 2014 by Jacques van der Wilt

10 Simple Google Shopping Campaign Optimization Tactics

Creating a perfect data feed is not enough to successfully advertise your products on Google. You need to create a Google Shopping campaign in Google AdWords and optimize it, to increase your sales and not waste your money on products that do not perform well. In this article we are going to show you how to do that in 10 steps.

 

1. Create a new campaign

Creating a new Shopping campaign in AdWords is pretty simple. Just go to your AdWords account, create a new campaign and select Shopping from the list of available campaign types. If you have more than one Merchant Center account linked to AdWords, you will have to select your Merchant ID.  

You should be aware of the fact, that you cannot use more than one target country in your campaign (except for US and Canada). Hence, you need to select the country of sale. If you have feeds for multiple countries, Google will automatically pull products from the correct one.

 

Create a Google AdWords Campaign

 

If you advertise the same products using multiple campaigns, you can assign priorities, using advanced Shopping settings. It determines which campaign will be used by Google to show each product.


Create a Google AdWords Campaign for Product Listing Ads

 

Set your daily budget and default maximum cost-per-click. It is a good idea to start with a high bid so you gather enough performance data in a short period of time.


Create a Google AdWords Campaign Bidding Strategy

 

Get our guide to Double your Google Shopping Sales in an hour

 

 

2. Create a new ad group

After your campaign settings, you need to set up an Adgroup. It is best to start with just one adgroup and divide your products into multiple product groups using categories, product types, custom labels, brands or product IDs. This is described in more detail in the next chapter. If the campaign is new, you may consider starting with just one product group (all products) and sub-divide it into multiple product groups later, when you have enough performance data to base your decision on.

 

Create a New Ad Group in Google AdWords Campaign

 

3. Optimize your campaign structure

You don’t want to have 1 bid for all your products: Different products have different profit margins, some products are more popular than others, some have very different conversion rates, etc. That is why AdWords enables you to divide your products into different groups. You can divide by category, brand, condition, Item ID, product type and custom labels.

Divide your products

Dividing by (sub)Category is done most often. If you have multi-level categories in your feed, you need to use each level separately. To add a product group for 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry > Bracelets' you need to create a group for Apparel & Accessories first, then divide it by category to create a group for Jewelry and subdivide it again for Bracelets. That may look tricky, but it is quite easy. You will find a step-by-step instruction below.

Which attribute should you use to divide your products? It depends on your campaign. If all your products have the same Google category, this attribute will not be helpful; using Product Type may be better. On the other hand, if you sell items manufactured by Nike, your brand group may contain T-shirts, shoes and sport equipment.

The good news is that you can divide your products using one attribute and subdivide them again using another one. Hence, subdivide your products by brand to create a group for Nike, and subdivide it again by product type or category to add separate product groups for Nike T-shirts, Nike shoes and Nike sport equipment. Or do it the other way around: divide your products by category or product type and subdivide again using your brands. Last but not least: it is a good idea to create product groups with comparable numbers of products inside. The good news is that Google allows you to check how many products you have in brands, product types etc.

 

Divide Products in a Google AdWords Campaign

 

How to structure your campaign

You start with one product group - 'All products'. Click ‘Edit’ and select the select an attribute that you would like to use to divide your products. You will see the list of available values - all of them are pulled from your data feed. You can create separate product groups for some of your values (use '>>') or for all of them at once (use '+').


How to Structure Google Shopping Campaign in AdWords

 

Now you can subdivide these new product groups once again. Just edit them and select attributes that you would like to use. You can repeat this process many times. Here is an example of a campaign structure: Category > product type > item ID

 

Subdivide Google AdWords Campaign

 

Once your campaign has the correct structure, you need to set bids. Important: Google Adwords automatically adds a new product group called 'Everything else'. As a result you can use a different bid for one particular product within a category, brand, product type etc. and another bid for all other products (Everything else) in this group.

 

Stucture Google AdWords for Google Shopping Optimization

 

4. Top vs. Other

It may sound surprising, but increasing your bids is not always a good solution. Some products may perform much better, when they are not shown at the top of search results. Go to Segments -> Top vs. Other and compare conversion rate, CPA and other important metrics between Top position and other positions. Please note that this data is available for ad groups but not for product groups.

 

Create an AdWords Campaign for Top vs Other

 

5. Find your winners and losers

‘Winners’ are products or product groups that bring you many transactions. ‘Losers’ provide you with many visits, but no transactions. You probably want to sell your products, not just show them, especially since you have to pay for every single click. Identifying your winners and losers will help you to boost your sales and decrease your CPA.

How to do that? Go to the ‘Dimensions’ tab and to ‘View: Shopping’. Select an attribute that you would like to use to look for your winners and losers. If you are searching among individual products (item IDs), it is a good idea to customize columns and reflect the structure of your campaign (add product type, brand etc. to your columns). This way you will know which product group you should modify to set separate bids for winners and losers.

 

Create an AdWords Campaign with Winners and Losers Optimization

 

Filtering your products will help you to find losers in an easy way. Please note that you should adjust your filter to your campaign and market. A T-shirt with 100 clicks and 0 conversions is a loser, but it may not be for a luxury watch. Note, that not only a product without conversions may be a Loser. If cost per conversion is higher than your profit margin, you are wasting your money as well.

 

Filter by Winners and Losers for Google Shopping Campaign Optimization

 

Once you know your winners and losers, go to the ‘Product groups’ tab and adjust your bids for them. If they are not in your campaign structure yet, you need to create separate product targets for them first. Just subdivide your categories, brands, product types etc.
Bid more on winners and bid less on losers with high cost per conversion. Items with many visits and no transactions should be excluded.

 

6. Exclude unprofitable products

You can stop advertising your losers in an easy way – just exclude them from your campaign. All you need to do is edit your bids and mark these products as excluded.

 

Exclude Products Google Shopping Campaign Optimization

 

Alternatively, you can use a data feed tool like ours to identify Losers with a similar filter and remove them from your feed with a single click:

 

Remove Google Shopping Unprofitables DataFeedWatch-Analytics

 

7. Do not make drastic changes

Google Shopping campaigns are sensitive. A small adjustment of your bid may have a big effect on your performance. Hence, except for excluding your losers, you should not make any drastic changes. Here is a good practice: do not increase/decrease your bids by more than 20%. Do that for product groups that bring you no more than 20% of your traffic. For example: if your campaign gets 1000 clicks within a certain period of time, adjust your bids only for product groups with up to 200 visits in total.

 

8. Add negative keywords

You cannot define keywords that will trigger your product ads to show – all queries are pulled from your data feed. However, you can limit the searches for which your ads will show by adding negative keywords.
Let's say that you sell silver bracelets. Someone who is looking for a gold bracelet probably will not buy your products, but he may click your ad. You can add 'gold' as a negative keyword so his 'gold bracelet' query will not trigger your ad to show.

You can add negative keywords for each ad group separately or for the whole campaign. Just go to the 'Keywords' tab, scroll down to Negative keywords and add your values.

 

Add Negative Keywords Google AdWords Campaign Optimizaton

 

AdWords allows you to check search terms that have triggered your ads to show. You can use it to find queries that bring you many visits but no transactions. The good news is that you can 'exclude' them in an easy way - just add them as negative keywords.

Go to the 'Keywords' tab and then to Details > Search terms > All. Select terms that you would like to use and add them as negative keywords.

 

Create an AdWords Campaign and Add Negative Keywords

 

9. Ad Scheduling

The 'Dimensions' tab enables you to check the performance for day of the week or hour of day. This data may be really useful, since it may occur that your cost per conversion is much higher at weekends or at night. To check it, just go to the 'Dimensions' tab and then to View: Time
>Day of the week (View: Time >Hour of day)

 

Google Shopping Campaign Ad Scheduling

 

If you want to differentiate your bids for days/hours, you need to create the ad schedule first. Go to the 'Settings' then to 'Ad schedule' and create a new schedule. Important: if you want to set different bids for hours, you need to add one day multiple times with different periods of time.


Edit Google Shopping Ad Schedule

 

Once your schedule is ready, you can increase/decrease bids in an easy way.

 

Increase and Decrease Bids in Google Shopping Campaign

 

10. Track the changes that you make

You need to be sure that you are doing the right things. Increasing your bids does not always bring you more conversions. Decreasing your bids does not always lower your cost per conversion. There is an easy way to check whether the changes you have made were successful or not. Wait one or two weeks after your adjustment. Check your performance for last 7 or 14 days and compare it to the previous period. Clicking the ‘+’ button enables you to compare your data for selected performance metrics.

 

Track Google Shopping Campaign Performance

 

If you are not sure which bids you have adjusted, you can check it in the Change history. What is more, you can revert your unsuccessful change with a single click.

 

Google Shopping Bid Change History

 

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About DataFeedWatch

DataFeedWatch is data feed optimization and management software that enables merchants on Magento, Shopify, Volusion3Dcart, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, OpenCart, VersaCommerce, and numerous other shopping carts to optimize their product data feed for Google and 1000+ Shopping Channels in 50 countries. The most intuitive and easy data feed management and optimization tool on the market. Free trial and live demo available.

Posted in: Google Shopping, Optimizing campaigns

Written by Jacques van der Wilt

Jacques van der Wilt, Founder & CEO at DataFeedWatch is an eCommerce industry leader specialized in online marketing.
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