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Google Shopping campaigns: A guide for retailers

The EU recently slapped Google with a record-breaking fine of $2.7bn for abusing its dominance in the search engine market, and violating EU antitrust laws. With this shocking scale of foul play, it leaves the advertiser wondering, ‘Is there a fairer and more effective way to promote and sell products online?’

At Croud we think we’ve found a solution. Following a few simple steps, we have seen our eCommerce clients achieve significant growth in Google Shopping activity, highlighting the importance of marketing investments.

Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q1 pointed out that spending on Google Shopping has risen by 32% year on year compared to a 12% increase for text ads. This form of  advertising has seen an impressive number of developments over the past few years. So how can you make it work for you?

Your data feed

Having a high quality, updated, and optimised feed provides you with strong foundations for high performance on Shopping, and with so many different options for structuring your campaigns, it is important to remember that your data feed is the core of your Shopping performance. Google cross references your data feed with search queries, which allows it to collect information about your products; the more detailed you are, the better the performance.

To help you achieve higher performance, we’ve put together a list of tried and tested key elements that will give your feed a boost, and will improve and provide higher quality data:

  • GTIN: This is the barcode of your product. Ensure you have one attributed to every product.
  • Titles: Use the following structure for your title: Brand – Style – Size – Gender – Colour. Include keywords in your product title to match search queries.
  • Description: Provide the most accurate product data by ensuring the description refers to the product characteristics.
  • Product Type: Consider the keywords you want to display, as Google uses this additional information to choose the most relevant products.
  • Customs Labels: Use them to highlight certain products such as ‘best sellers’
  • Images: Use clear, high resolution pictures and additional images where possible.
  • Prices: Use both RRP and sales price.
  • Keep it updated: Ensure that your feed is regularly updated with the latest product information. Having outdated and irrelevant information on your feed can put you at risk of being taken down.

Item level bidding

You can bid at product level in the same way that you would for keywords. Product level bidding will offer you better return on advertising spend (ROAS). Try experimenting with a variety of bids concentrating on the more profitable products that suit your budget. Discover what works best for you and you should soon notice the return on investment.

Extensions

Stand out from the crowd and outdo the competition by using extensions such as merchant promotions. This visual extension helps highlight offers, and even shows a product rating produced by third-party and Google users. This review-based tool is excellent for building up trust and helps the consumer quickly gauge the quality and price range of the product, making it easier for them to make snap decisions. This will help increase product visibility and could lead to an increase in sales and impulse buying.

Audiences

Use your audience to improve your shopping campaigns’ performance. Explore setting up remarketing lists to retarget visitors or your website. Entice those baskets abandoners back and capture new audiences by paying close attention to their shopping behaviour.

Merchant Centre

The Merchant Centre is a tool that helps you upload your store, brand, and product data. This makes it visible to Google Shopping and other Google services. This is where all your shopping activity starts. Here you can review things such as disapproved products, review missing attributes, titles, and product descriptions. You can also save time by setting up Merchant Centre alerts that will help you identify errors when your feed is refreshed.

Dynamic remarketing

If you are an eCommerce retail business, you can use your feed to set up remarketing display ads. This allows you to promote ads to past site visitors and allows you to customise those ads, based on the section of your site that people visited. This offers a more targeted approach and with dynamic display ads for retail, you can take this one step further and display dynamic remarketing ads with specific product information specially tailored to your customer’s previous site activity.

What’s next for Shopping?

Google Shopping will start appearing on the display network for retail businesses. Advertisers will be able to opt in or out of the display network.

 

Finally, Bing Shopping is another opportunity to drive incremental revenue for advertisers that shouldn’t be ignored.