Tony is the Marketing Manager at Sales & Orders heading up our inbound marketing and advertising team. His latest adventure, though? Being a dad!
Competitive Metrics in AdWords are some of the best (albeit often underutilized) metrics for analyzing performance trends in Google Shopping campaigns. The entire grouping of Competitive metrics for Shopping campaign product groups originally included Benchmark CTR, Benchmark Max. CPC, Search Imp. Share, Search Lost IS (rank).
In November 2015 Google launched Click Share for Google Shopping. Click Share is defined as the number of clicks a product group (or product ID) received divided by the estimated maximum number of clicks it could have received in a given time frame.
So what can you really infer from Click Share data? A lot of chatter since its release has focused primarily on bidding and adjusting bids to affect your Click Share. When you really think about it though, do bids really impact why users are more likely to click on your ads or impact how often your ads appear before the next competitor’s?
After we did some research we wanted to shed some light on what Click Share really might be indicating in Google Shopping and some steps you can take to make it work for you.
Impressions Before Clicks
We will just come out and say it, bidding sometimes has more to do with Impression Share than Click Share. You’ve probably heard the saying “before you can walk, you must learn to crawl.” That saying, oddly enough, perfectly describes what retailers face when they first start using Google Shopping. After campaigns are built and structured, the time comes to start setting bids on products. Two common scenarios generally arise in the weeks and months after initial bids are set:
- Zero or Low Impressions: You set your bids too low so ads are generally not appearing enough or at all thus there are little to no clicks and little to no conversions. Keep this up and your sales will certainly be low or non-existent.
- High Cost with Low Conversions: You set your bids too high and you’re getting clicks that are too expensive to even warrant that spend for just a handful of conversions. Let this keep going and you’ll have wasted precious advertising dollars.
Now looking at our first example, that scenario is literally described by another vital Competitive Metric Search Lost IS (rank). You’re losing out on impressions due to poor Ad Rank.
Wait a minute! Ad Rank? But I’m not bidding on keywords nor do I have ad copy to match to landing page relevance!
You’re right. This is Google Shopping and Ad Rank has a lot more to do with Product Data and Max CPC than it does anything else.
So my bids don’t affect my clicks or click-through-rate?
Not directly they don’t. Sure, bidding a few cents more than the next guy can put your ads ahead of his but Ad Position in Google Shopping is not that strong an indication of overall performance. Let’s look at some interesting findings we discovered when we examined how Max CPC, Search impression Share, Search Lost IS (rank) and Click Share are relative to one another in a Shopping campaign but also what happens when we look at each products’ Click Through Rate:
Pretty interesting don’t you think? If we look at these numbers, higher bids or lower bids don’t really seem to have universally measurable impacts on Impression Share or Click Share. In fact products with lower bids, even with lower Impression Shares, often had higher Click-Through-Rates and a Profitable ROAS as compared to products with higher bids with higher Impression Shares.
With that being said, we still haven’t really answered the question yet: What does Click Share actually tell us?
Let’s re-word the question and therein may lie the answer: What could you have done to increase the chance of getting clicks on your products?
We already know that we first must get Impressions to then get Clicks. But still though, bidding alone clearly was not necessarily the answer.
Taking Action Beyond Bidding
The measures you take to help out your Click Share are probably going to be identical to the one’s you might take to boost your Click-Through-Rates.
Remember that Click Share is the number of clicks your product (or group) received divided by the maximum number of clicks you could have received. Google defines maximum number of clicks you could have received as “dependent on the prominence of your ads and the number of ads you show for a search query.”
As we saw in our earlier example, high bids do not necessarily equate to higher Click Share or CTR. So what other factors should you focus on to possibly impact both? Here are few things to consider:
How quality is your quality Product Data Feed?
It has been said many a time, by many a marketer. Your Shopping campaigns are dependent, first and foremost, on the amount and quality of data you include in your feed in Merchant Center. Each attribute has an incremental benefit on the probability of increased impressions and clicks. There is, however, an unequal distribution of the “quality points” each attribute provides. Product Titles, for example, have a much higher value than Google Product Category.
Whether you do or don’t have concerns about your data and feed quality, you should be regularly reviewing your products to ensure you’re passing the most relevant and accurate information possible. Also be sure that you’re primary keywords are appearing somewhere within your Product Titles and Descriptions. The more front heavy your keyword insertion, often the better your products will match up to search queries.
Are you even Price Competitive?
All other things being equal, have you taken some time to see if the other guy’s ads are showing a lower price point than yours? Let’s say you and your neighbor both offer Free Shipping and No Tax but they are selling the same product for $5 less than you. Who do you think is going to win out in the battle for clicks?
Performing routine competitor research is a key practice for retailers in the ever growing world of online retail. Every year, new competitors enter the ring, each with similar offerings and websites just as stunning as the next. Note that it doesn’t really hurt to search for your own products and give yourself an impression or two because the overall long term value of discovering that you’re overpriced far outweighs the chance of a nominal effect on CTR.
Have you tapped into some Google Shopping Add-Ons?
The two that immediately come to mind are Merchant Promotions and Google Trusted Stores. Both are programs that you need to apply to and get whitelisted for but both offer a unique advantage on the digital shelf space.
Merchant Promotions is literally another feed that you pass in Merchant Center with its own unique attributes. What it delivers is a Special Offer icon in your Shopping ads which, when clicked by a potential shopper, opens up a bubble where you can display a coupon code and offer that the shopper can then use during checkout. It has shown to have great results for retailers who regularly utilize Promo Codes to increase conversion rates and shopper loyalty.
Google Trusted Stores is a program which, once you are approved, allows you to display a special badge on your site that also shows up on your Shopping ads. Trusted Stores offers certain protections to shoppers and can lead to, well, increased Trust from potential consumers.
In The End
We have yet to really see Click Share’s potential as a definite usable metric to benchmark performance for our retailers. Our research has shown the data to not provide as much insight at all into how bidding can be related to Click Share.
Still, general Best Practices for Google Shopping should always be first and foremost in your overall strategy. They should be the cornerstone of your bidding and management style.