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Google Shopping Campaign Priorities Best Practices

By Richard Aviles on November, 16 2017

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Richard Aviles

Inbound Marketing Specialist at Sales & Orders. All I need in life is my girlfriend, my dogs, my camera and a campfire. Water's cool too, I guess.

Retailers are constantly looking for a leg up when it comes to improving their positioning and overall success in Google Shopping.

For many, this arena is a bit of an enigma considering we can’t target specific keywords or demographics/interests like we can in the Search and Display networks.

So how do e-commerce stores crack the code, and improve their results in Google Shopping?

The answer to that is quite complex, involving a combination of optimization strategies and different settings available in Google.

A valuable, yet often overlooked, setting for Google Shopping campaigns is the Campaign Priority. This setting is important for a couple of reasons:

  1. If you have the same product in multiple campaigns, Google determines which bid it will consider by campaign priority.
  2. Retailers can utilize campaign priorities for advanced strategies that can help increase your ROI and better target how you spend your advertising dollars.

How Priorities Work

“When you have the same product in multiple Shopping campaigns, you can determine which campaign should participate in the auction for that product with campaign priority. Your campaigns already have a priority: Low. But you can change this priority to Medium or High. These priorities determine the bid for any product that the campaigns share. (Google Support)”

Campaign priorities determine bids using 3 rules:

  1. The highest priority campaign will bid: If one campaign has a higher priority than the others, the campaign with the higher priority will bid, i.e. if you have the same product in multiple campaigns, one being high priority and the other being low, Google will use the Max CPC bid in the high priority campaign. Even if the bid in the lower priority campaign is higher than the bid in the higher priority campaign, the higher priority campaign bid will be used.
  2. If the highest priority campaign runs out of budget, the lower priority campaign bids: Continuing with the previous example, when the budget for the High priority campaign is used up, the bid from the Low priority campaign will be used.
  3. When multiple campaigns have the same priority, the highest bid is used: If you have 3 campaigns with a Medium priority and the same product is listed in each, the campaign with the highest bid for that product will participate in the auction.

How to Find and Set Your Campaign Priority

To find the campaign priority setting:

  • Select the campaign you want to view the settings for.
  • Click on the “Settings” tab.
  • Find the Shopping settings (Advanced) section, and click the + symbol to expand it.
  • Click on the “Edit” link next to the current campaign priority to open the options.
  • Select which priority you want the campaign to be on, and click save to finish.

Priorities Best Practices

Retailers can utilize Campaign Priorities as part of their Google Shopping strategy.

Considering how Google operates within the parameters of the rules explained earlier, here are some best practices when determining how to utilize priorities in your Google Shopping efforts.

Low Priority

Low Priority campaigns should be used as your “catchall” or safety net campaign, where all your products live at a very low bid (1-3 cents maximum) with a small ad budget allocation.

The reason we call it a “catchall” campaign is quite simple: in the event that your budget runs out in your medium/high priority campaign, then all your products will fall into this campaign.

The idea here is to ensure that your listings always have the opportunity to show in Google.

Not showing for several hours, in the event of your budget being exhausted, could harm your indexing in Google and negatively affect your positioning in future auctions.

Setting such low Max CPC bids also influences what search terms your listings will appear for. Since the bid is so low, the only time you will show in Google is when a shopper enters a long-tail search term, meaning he/she is looking to buy.

If a search leads to a conversion, and you only spend a penny on bid, your return will be tremendous, and your CPA will be very low.

Medium Priority

Medium priority campaigns should be where the majority of the action occurs.

All of your products should live here, just like in the low priority campaign, but you should be applying more advanced bidding strategies here, such as adding RLSA audiences, using dimensions to find relevant data for optimization, and more.

Keeping all of your listings and the majority of your bidding strategies on medium priority allows you the freedom to create specialty and seasonal campaigns, which leads me into the next point.

High Priority

High Priority campaigns are best used for specialty campaigns, such as seasonal products or top performers.

Setting these types of products to a higher priority from the rest allows you to allocate a separate budget and develop a unique strategy for these certain products.

For example, if a retailer sells snow blowers and lawn mowers, obviously you’d want to focus on the former during the winter months and the latter during the spring/summer months.

Doing this helps you to minimize wasted ad spend, and can also maximize the revenue you can earn from these products.

Final Thoughts

Campaign priorities should be a major consideration when developing strategies for your Google Shopping campaigns.

Understanding how to best take advantage of a campaign on each different priority level will go a long way in helping your e-commerce store succeed in Google Shopping.

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