3 Easy Google Shopping Campaign Optimization Techniques For Do-It-Yourselfers

Jun 27, 2017

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With Google’s US search market share of nearly 64%, and a global share of over 77%, there is absolutely no reason why E-Commerce retailers shouldn’t be utilizing Google Shopping as a primary search engine marketing initiative.

Even then, when we pose the question of “why aren’t you on Google Shopping,” we often get the same responses:

“I don’t have the time to do it myself.”

“AdWords is way too complicated.”

“We don’t have a team of marketers to manage campaigns.”

Fact is, Google Shopping doesn’t have to be that hard, at all. With the right strategy in place and a focus on reducing wasteful ad spend, even the smallest shop on the block can succeed and see higher returns over time.

Whether you are using Google Shopping already or not, here are 3 sure-fire ways to supercharge your campaigns for profitability.

Get Granular From The Get Go

Often the term granularity gets thrown about amongst marketers and advertisers when it comes to first creating and structuring Google Shopping campaigns.

Even then though, it is rare that true granularity is followed to a T. Instead, many cookie-cutter approaches to Google Shopping leave retailers with overly structured and heavily compartmentalized campaigns.

We have seen this approach bring about consistent month-over-month and quarter-over-quarter loss in performance KPIs such as conversions and revenue while costs continue to go up.

So, how do you avoid this grave mistake? You have a few options:

  • Structure First By Brand: Especially for retailers who monitor margins by which brands they carry, one way to allow for more ease and efficiently and campaign management and bidding is to start out by first subdividing your Shopping campaigns by Brand. Then, for each brand, you can use manual bulk value editing to subdivide each brand further to the pure ID-level.

With this structure, you solve for scalable management by being able to approach your campaign(s) one brand at a time. Additionally, you can apply unique bids for each individual product or bid a bit more broadly based on brand-specific margins.

  • Utilize Product Type: Product type is a user-defined attribute which can be applied to products in one’s product data feed (Merchant Center). By applying product types to products, you can have an easier time identifying specific groups of products in a grouped Shopping campaign structure. Continue your subdivision with manual bulk value editing to go full granular.

Product Type winds up alleviating much of the complications that Google Product Category structures bring about. Category structures usually wind up being so overly structured that you can lose complete control over your campaigns.

  • Go Pure ID: For retailers with smaller catalogs (hundreds versus thousands) the Pure ID-level Shopping campaign structure allows for true perfection in granularity. It allows one to manage each individual product bid on its own.

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We love the Pure ID-level format and it is how we build and manage all Shopping campaigns. If you comfortable with AdWords, this format is ideal when combined with AdWords Bulk Operations. Over time you can export product performance and adjust bids in Excel and then send it right back to AdWords. This can greatly reduce the time and effort it takes to perform regular bid adjustments whether it be weekly or monthly.

Segment Your Top Performing SKUs

This used to be quite the task not too long ago. In fact, little could be done to define top performing products in Google Shopping without the above-mentioned Pure ID-level structure.

If you are looking to scale out your Shopping campaigns for optimal performance then segmenting out your top performing SKUs is for you. Even better? It’s super easy with Dimensions.

From AdWords, click into any one of your Shopping campaigns (or just the one if that’s how you roll). Now, using the upper tabs of the interface, click on ‘Dimensions.’

  • Click on the ‘View’ dropdown, just below the Ad groups tab
  • Select ‘Shopping’ and then ‘Item ID’

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What you have now done is given yourself a filtered view of ID (product) level performance stats. Now you can either:

  • Filter based on Conversions/Conversion Value
  • Sort columns by Conversions/Conversion Value

Any products driving the majority of conversions and revenue can now be considered your “Top Performers.” Export your filtered view (Excel).

Now build an entirely new Google Shopping campaign and:

  • Set your priority level to ‘High’
  • Set the priority level of your other campaign(s) to ‘Medium’
  • Choose to start with one ad group with all products
  • Open the subdivision menu and select ‘add bulk values manually’
  • Copy the Item IDs from your exported Excel doc
  • Paste them in the bulk field

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This will break out your campaign to the ID-level and just for those top performing SKUs. You must exclude the ‘Everything else in’ all products product group which AdWords creates automatically. This will ensure that no other products can be triggered in this campaign.

You can now set a dedicated daily budget specific to this campaign on its own. If you’d like to do a bit more, you can pause the same Top Performer products in your other Shopping campaign(s) (if possible) to make sure you aren’t competing against your own ads.

If you can’t pause those products, don’t worry too much. Due to the higher priority (and for extra measure set some higher bids on top performers) the top performers campaign shouldn’t fight for clicks with any other campaign with duplicate products.

Segment, Analyze, and Optimize Per Devices

Outerbox CEO Justin Smith summed it up beautifully in a recent post and infographic all about what to expect in mobile E-Commerce stats this year and beyond.

Though we live in very much a mobile-first consumer environment today, it is beyond crucial for retailers to understand how consumers are interacting with their marketing efforts across all device types.

A very easy way to add some juice to your Google Shopping campaigns begins with device segmentation. While we recommend that you have at least 30 days of past performance data here’s how to get started:

  • In AdWords while under the campaigns tab, locate and click on ‘Segment’
  • There are a few ways to segment but obviously for this we want to choose ‘Device’

By doing this, you will wind up adding 3 rows to your reporting which include segmented performance data per each device Computers, Mobile Devices, Tablets.

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This can help you make more informed decisions about not only how to manage your Shopping campaigns more efficiently but also provide a bit of insight into site performance statistics per device.

You may realize that shoppers typically don’t convert on mobile so maybe it’s time to take a look at how mobile friendly your webstore actually is, or isn’t for that matter.

That’s not all though:

  • Based on the performance or comparison of date ranges, you can gain a better hold on device bid modifications for your Shopping campaigns. Consider adding a significant decrease modifier to mobile. This can help control wasted ad spend because even today, most consumers would rather window shop on mobile and then complete purchases on a laptop or desktop computer. A similar or higher bid modifier can be done for Tablets as well.

In a case where your mobile performance is stellar, consider building a device-pure Google Shopping campaign.

The ultimate form of segmentation, you can take full control over budgets and products per exact device targeting. This can be extremely beneficial when you want to completely separate Mobile Device performance stats from Computers and Tablets.

Anthony Capetola

Written by Anthony Capetola

Tony is the Marketing Manager at Sales & Orders heading up our inbound marketing and advertising team. His latest adventure, though? Being a dad!