Google Shopping

Scary Stuff: Common Google Shopping Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

By Anthony Capetola on October, 31 2016

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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!

Happy Halloween retailers! United States pioneer in marketing John Wanamaker once said:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

If John were alive today he would undoubtedly re-enforce that message, especially when it comes to Google Shopping. It can be hard enough for retailers to efficiently manage bids at scale while still worrying about those “campaign extras” such as mobile bid adjustments, negative keywords, priorities, etc. At the same time however, there are some of those broad pitfalls that all retailers must recognize and try to avoid to make sure their campaigns aren’t in jeopardy of losing money.

Here are a few of those common Google Shopping mistakes to avoid along with ways to fight them off.

Broad Bidding Tactics

No, we aren’t talking about broad match or broad match modified keywords. There are no keywords in Shopping campaigns anyway! We are also not talking about overbidding, even though that also can be lethal at times.

Broad Bidding Tactics are a lot more about campaign structure than anything else really. If you are already starting out with a poor campaign structure then chances are you could be bidding too much on some products and too little on others. So how do you avoid this?

  • Structure Campaigns According To Product Margins
    • This may take some extra work with the Product Type attribute but it can be worth the time to split product groups by small margin ranges (5-10% at the most) thus grouping products with similar CPA’s. This can be effective in some cases but at times you may still wind up masking individual ID-level performance. At least you’ll avoid ghoulish experiences such as bidding .25 on a product that costs $4.00 at the same time you are bidding on a product that costs $400.
  • Structure Campaigns By Product Type
    • Effective in separating products into user-selected categories yet can also suffer from a lack of granular approach and the same above “CPA nightmare” situation. However if you are able to further subdivide groups to the ID level then it gets better.
  • Structure Campaigns By ID
    • Yes! This is by far the best way to ensure that each product can receive a unique CPC bid and you can monitor individualized performance. It may be a “Pro Level” structure but with the help of Bulk Operations and some careful reading, it can be done by even the newest to Google Shopping.

Making Drastic Changes To “Test Things Out”

This is for those micro-managers out there. What’s the saying? “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Sometimes retailers and marketers, even when performance is fantastic, have the urge to make major product feed changes or create additional campaigns with wild bidding tactics.

Don’t’ get us wrong. Performing routine or one-off tests can be extremely valuable in Google Shopping, but only in a Controlled Environment. The Holidays are not the time to do this. Instead of thinking about things to change or test consider how to enhance or supplement your campaigns.

  • Offer Additional Promotions
    • This can include anything from coupons, extra savings, Free Shipping (if you don’t already). You can look into Merchant Promotions for Google Shopping or start the process of becoming a Google Trusted Store. The important thing is to provide added value to your customers.
  • Adjust Your Mobile Bidding
    • More and more shoppers are starting their journey on a mobile device. The number of people completing that journey on a mobile device is also ever increasing. To get more eyes on your products you can open up your mobile bids a bit more than usual. If you are already lowering your mobile bids significantly then start to take some off the top and then segment your Dimension report in AdWords over the course of the next few weeks to see if it had any impact.
  • Keep The Feed Alive
    • Maintain a watchful eye on your product data and feed health. One of the worst things that can happen during crunch time is your feed being disapproved, or worse, your entire Merchant Center account being suspended. Always provide quality product data and follow Google Product Feed Specifications.

You Aren’t Remarketing?!?!

For those who haven’t already, Dynamic Remarketing and RLSA can be some heavy hitters when paired with optimized Google Shopping campaigns. Even if you don’t run or can’t run either, at least try and set up basic Search Remarketing to deliver banner and text ads with your holiday offers. Entice shoppers to come back for more. If all else fails, enable some type of email marketing follow-up for users who already purchased from your site.

  • RLSA – Remarketing Lists For Shopping Ads
    • RLSA allows you to segment your site traffic into specific audiences and deliver different ads based on their on-site behavior. This can be incredibly helpful when you want to target those who purchased already vs those who abandoned cart vs those who just window-shopped.
  • Dynamic Remarketing
    • With Dynamic Remarketing it’s more or less a “let it ride” system. You can deliver product ads to previous visitors with some level of CPC bid control. If you aren’t familiar with RLSA then this can be a better option to get started with Remarketing in the first place.
  • Email
    • Forgoing what is inherent to Google Shopping, let’s quickly talk about what you can do at the cart level to increase your odds of more conversions. When users checkout you should have some type of follow up messaging delivered to draw them back for another round of add to cart. Maybe it’s as simple as “Save 10% On Your Next Purchase.” Whatever the message, you’ll benefit in the long run. This also builds lifetime value and consumer loyalty which both can be priceless in the end.

Now go out there and get selling! Happy and safe Halloween wishes to you all. Remember that everything we have talked about here is not “Holiday Specific.” These are some best practices that you should continue to use year-round.

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