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Google Shopping Campaigns

How To Boost Your Shopping Campaigns10 min read

10 min read

[vc_row inner_container=”true” no_margin=”true” padding_top=”10px” padding_bottom=”50px” border=”none” bg_type=”theme_default” bg_grad=”background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0%, #FBFBFB), color-stop(50%, #E3E3E3), color-stop(100%, #C2C2C2));background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,#FBFBFB 0%,#E3E3E3 50%,#C2C2C2 100%);background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top,#FBFBFB 0%,#E3E3E3 50%,#C2C2C2 100%);background: -o-linear-gradient(top,#FBFBFB 0%,#E3E3E3 50%,#C2C2C2 100%);background: -ms-linear-gradient(top,#FBFBFB 0%,#E3E3E3 50%,#C2C2C2 100%);background: linear-gradient(top,#FBFBFB 0%,#E3E3E3 50%,#C2C2C2 100%);” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_repeat=”no-repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_img_attach=”fixed” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_override=”0″][vc_column width=”3/4″][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”4615″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][text_output]We’ve seen PLAs grow in importance for our clients over the years. The release of Google Shopping has been a huge stride forward from the days of PLAs and we’re seeing vast improvements across metrics and across clients. This guide will lay out the 4 key principles you need to keep in mind when you’re looking at Shopping campaigns.

  • Feed
  • Structure
  • Bids
  • Device



Croud wins: By optimising client feeds we’ve seen CTR, traffic and conversion rate improve along with drops in average CPC and cost per order. By optimising the feed carefully one client has seen a 92% lift in conversion volume month on month with another seeing a 55% drop in cost per order!

Arguably the most important of the 4 principles it can also be the most difficult to get your head around. It’s a world away from standard PPC campaigns but without it you wouldn’t have a Shopping campaign! It’s worth keeping the following saying in mind when you are thinking about your feed:

“garbage in, garbage out”

If your feed is poor, you’re setting yourself up to fail! So, how do make sure you keep your feed tip top?

1. Titles and descriptions.

    1. Early on keep these simple and to the point – look at the example from Claire’s below compared to the eBay results.

[/text_output][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”4617″][text_output]b. Make sure the title is relevant. So if a user is looking for “mens running shoes” it might be a good idea to have “Men’s Asics” as the title, instead of just Asics.[/text_output][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”4618″][text_output]c. Over time you can review your search query reports to see the kind of queries people are typing in to find your products. You may find that people search for “green running shoes” and so you may want to add “green” to your titles for certain products.

d. Make sure that your titles and descriptions are keyword rich but don’t try and stuff as many as you can in, or repeat them. This can lead to your feed being penalised!

e. Don’t get carried away with your titles and descriptions though. Shopping can show a range of characters from 50 – 70 so if you want to avoid truncation stay around the 49 character mark.

f. Improve user experience and conversion rates by matching your titles and description in the feed to the ones on your site. Users like to see they’ve clearly landed on the right page.[/text_output][text_output]

2. Images

a. Don’t neglect the images – remember that a picture is worth a thousand words (and when your titles are only 49 characters long that’s valuable!) Make sure the image shows your product clearly and the image does not contain any promotions, watermarks or text. This can lead to your ads being disapproved. Google recommend at least 800×800 pixels but we recommend testing as much as you can to find the right balance.

3. Feed Quality

a. It’s vital to have a Unique Product Identifier in your feed too. Google place great emphasis and they rank it highly as a key factor in assessing the quality of your feed.

b. Update your feed regularly to avoid disapprovals. Your feed should be updated every 30 days as a minimum but daily is better when possible. Some common feed pitfalls are:
i. Different price between feed and site
ii. Website URL is not verified
iii. Required attributes missing (It’s important to keep abreast of Shopping updates as feed requirements can change regularly)
iv. Broken URLs (404s)

c. Use the “Custom Labels” column to customise your feed. You can use up to 5 of these in your feed and they are a great way of allowing you to segment the feed by attributes that are important to your business. For example, you could pull in the margin you make on each product and bid differently for them, you could pull in the ratings of each product and make sure you’re aggressively bidding for the products everyone loves or even cut your feed up by seasons to make sure you’re pushing the right products at the right time.



Croud wins: By moving from PLA to Shopping one Croud client saw their average CPC cut by 26% and cost per order cut by 23% with no impact on conversion volume!

  1. Structure your campaign(s) by thinking about where you need the most control. Three areas to think about are:
    1. Product lines
    2. Margin
    3. Best Sellers / Top Performers

With this in mind you might want to break down product groups by brand and within that sub-divide the grouping further by picking out your best performers for each brand so that you can bid on it separately.

Product group 1: Acme T Shirt Company

–          Sub-division 1 – “t shirt 1”

–          Sub-division 2 – “t shirt 2”

Product group 2: Everything else

  1. Consider business needs when thinking about campaign structure. If you have key seasonal events you might want a separate campaign and specific ad groups so you can tailor your ad copy. You can also control budgets more closely and use the Priority setting to make sure your seasonal campaign takes priority during the peak season. You can also use this function to push flash sales for specific products.
  2. Consider whether you need ad groups. With Shopping you can add more granularity in terms of bids by just expanding the product group targeting.  As bulk editing is becoming more available for Shopping it’s getting a bit easier to manage ad groups – but in some instances you don’t necessarily need them. We’d recommend ad groups if some areas of your feed have a vast quantity of products (i.e. tens of thousands) or if you want very tight control over the ad copy, mobile bid adjustment or need to see search query specific to products for feed optimisation (as search query reports are only available at a Dimension level at the moment and only campaigns and ad groups have the Dimension option.)



A key advancement of Shopping is the ability to see impression share data as well as benchmark CTR and CPCs. These tools are great in gauging your performance in the marketplace, but as always, conversion is king!

  1. Always consider performance when setting your bids. However, remember that you can access margin data within the feed if you used Custom Labels so you might be able to afford to pay higher CPAs for products that drive better margin.
  2. You have a great product, it’s selling by the bucket load and the CPA is great. Kick your feet up and relax then? No! How does your impression share look? Could you grab more of the search volume out there if you tweaked your feed a little more, or bid a bit more aggressively? (Top tip: Bidding more aggressively isn’t always about changing your max CPC bid. Have you thought about ad scheduling to be more aggressive on a Tuesday or really push out after 7pm when people are searching for your product? Have you tweaked your mobile bids to make sure you’re getting visibility across mobile devices?)
  3. Benchmark CTR and CPC are useful metrics to guide you when thinking about the next steps for your campaign performance optimisation. If you are lagging behind the competition in terms of CTR you might want to work on optimising your feed or creative before you start to look at bids.
  4. Bear budget in mind at all times. If you are running in to peak season are you sure you have enough budget to support the increase in search volume? Have you taken in to account the fact that other advertisers might be ramping up their bids to take advantage of the better conversion rate?


52% of people say that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a company (source: Google – Shape up your shopping campaigns whitepaper) whilst 72% say they are more likely to return to a mobile friendly site in the future.

  1. Make sure your mobile site experience is top drawer for mobile users:
    1. Try to avoid lengthy forms
    2. Less is more when it comes to buttons; make them easy to click on.
    3. Add services like PayPal or Google Wallet Instant Buy to help people checkout quickly
  2. Optimise your mobile bid adjustments at an ad group level, not just campaign
  3. Use location bid modifiers to increase bids for people close to your shop
  4. Link people to the correct mobile page. Unless your site is responsive design you can now use an attribute in your feed called “mobile link” which allows you to provide a mobile friendly URL for a product alongside it’s usual desktop/tablet version.



Shopping campaigns are a huge step forward from PLAs so it’s important you stay on top of the most recent advancements to ensure you are getting the best performance out of your campaign. For most advertisers there are two very important dates coming up; the 22nd of August is when PLA officially disappears and becomes Shopping. The other key date, of course, is Q4. The last thing you want to be doing in Q4 is the hard work it takes to get your feed and structure right so make sure you are thinking about these things NOW and not in the middle of October when your performance drops!

Key takeaways:

–          Make sure your feed has all the required attributes so you don’t fall foul of Google policy. Try to add in relevant custom labels where you can to improve optimisation opportunities and test, test, test those titles and descriptions.

–          You’ve structured the feed correctly, now structure the “front end” correctly. Break out your top performers so you can monitor their performance closely and optimise accordingly. Consider using ad groups to control creative, mobile bids and negatives; and remember, correct structure is relative. If flash sales are your thing ensure you are structuring your set up to take advantage of it.

–          Make sure you are reviewing bids regularly in terms of KPIs but don’t forget about Impression share (essentially market share) and those benchmark figures.

–          Mobile, mobile, mobile! The year of mobile has been around for a few years now so there are no excuses for not catering for it. Make it clean, make it simple and make it easy. These people are trying to give you their money after all!

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