Should you segment your standard Shopping campaigns by Brand and Non-Brand?

What are the opportunities and the challenges for marketers looking to split their Shopping campaigns by Brand and Non-Brand? How and when should marketers use this approach?

When it comes to keywords and Search campaigns, it is best practice to separate your campaigns by Brand and Non-Brand, as the strategy and cost between the two are usually very different. When it comes to Shopping campaigns, however, there are differing views on whether it is best practice to split these campaigns based on brand versus non-brand queries. So, should marketers be doing the same for Shopping campaigns as they are for Search?

Why would you split them in this way?

Some of the reasons you may want to split your campaigns by Brand/Non-Brand are as follows:

  • This allows you to monitor brand search demand through your Shopping campaigns over time and maximise capture.
  • You can assess how your cost-per-click (CPC) trends over time between Brand and Non-Brand searches used to trigger your Shopping ads.
  • You may target users differently based on the search term used.
  • Your strategy differs between Brand and Non-Brand; splitting your campaigns allows you to utilise different bid strategies or even which products you show users.
  • Segmenting your campaign will make it easier to report on Brand and Non-Brand performance data separately.

The challenge

As we know, you do not actively target keywords through Shopping and have less control over what searches your ads are shown against, making it challenging to split your Shopping campaigns by Brand and Non-Brand. Therefore, this would need to be controlled by the use of Negatives – while you can exclude your Brand term from your Non-Brand campaigns very easily, it is much more difficult to exclude all Non-Brand searches from Brand campaigns. This will require an ongoing process of continuously excluding Non-Brand searches from your Brand campaigns.

Because of this, the split between the Brand and Non-Brand campaigns is not perfect. Rather than achieving a seamless split, you will likely end up with a Non-Brand Shopping campaign and a hybrid of Brand and Non-Brand campaign on the other side. This campaign structure approach will not work as successfully with the likes of Smart Shopping, which requires a broader approach and does not allow you to add negatives to exclude low quality traffic. Additionally, automated bidding across these campaigns may not be appropriate, especially across all campaigns, as these will override the manual bid set-up (more on this later).

How do you achieve this?

Despite some challenges, a number of advertisers will continue to split their standard Shopping campaigns by Brand and Non-Brand – so how do they achieve this?

Priority settings are important

Google will work to match a search query with a relevant product ad, but your input will be needed for it to decide which campaign to trigger this from. Based on CPC levels and returns on ad spend (ROAS), we would classify Shopping as more of a Non-brand strategy over a Brand strategy. Your Non-brand Shopping campaign should have a higher priority setting than your Brand Shopping campaign. Thus, we should set those to medium, while setting your Brand Shopping campaigns to low priority. Using Low and Medium on your ‘business as usual’ campaigns ensures you can still use the High priority setting for other campaigns, such as High Margin/Sale.

Set your bids appropriately

Depending on your brand, we’d usually expect brand searches to cost less per click than non-branded searches – this should be the case when you set up your Brand/Non-Brand Shopping campaign split.

To appropriately set your bids, it’s important to ensure your product group bids are higher (than Brand) within your Non-Brand Shopping campaigns. Medium priority and higher bids should encourage Google to show products within these campaigns when you are targeting the same products across all. In turn, you should set your product group bids lower (than Non-Brand) within your Brand Shopping campaigns. Low priority and lower bids should encourage these campaigns to be de-prioritised when you are targeting the same products in both sets of campaigns.

Then, you should also consider bid modifiers applied to the campaigns based on the searches coming through and how this will impact bids across the campaigns.

Review your search query reports

As splitting your campaigns in this way is not a perfect set-up, it’s important to regularly review search query reports. The bid set-up mentioned earlier should minimise crossover between campaigns; however it’s worth doing a sweep and adding appropriate negatives every couple of weeks. We recommend creating a negative list that is already applied to the appropriate campaigns that you can continue adding negatives to as required.

As discussed earlier, it’s not enough to upkeep your Brand and Non-Brand split through applying negatives. It’s important to review the performance data of search queries coming through your campaigns and negative out anything that is not working.

Do we recommend a Brand/Non-Brand split?

Now that we’ve outlined use cases, challenges and how to set up and maintain your Shopping campaigns with a Brand and Non-Brand split, do we actually recommend it?

In short, not necessarily.

If you have a particular use case or justification that makes sense for your brand or business, then it may be worth splitting the campaigns. However, from a performance perspective, we haven’t seen uplifts significant enough to recommend this as best practice. For example, if you’re a large brand driving a large volume of traffic and spending a considerable budget through Shopping, you likely want to gain more insight into performance by Brand and Non-Brand; in this case, this approach may be worthwhile.

If you struggle to gain strong traffic volumes, we expect the rewards of this approach to be minimal here and perhaps even detrimental. In these types of situations, we would recommend consolidating your activity or looking into Smart Shopping, especially as we move towards a future of automation.

To find out more about Shopping campaigns, or how Croud can help you with your PPC strategy, get in touch.

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