If you’ve an ecommerce site doing PPC and have yet to explore the wonders of Google Shopping campaigns then you’re missing a trick, as these Product Listing Ads are a great way to drive additional traffic and sales to your website.

In many ways traffic from Product Listing Ads is often better qualified than that which arrives via traditional text ads. This is because they feature rich product images together with prices, thereby letting the searcher know exactly what to expect before they click through.

Shopping campaigns have been around for quite a while however, but it’s only relatively recently that Google have expanded their automated bidding solutions to them. Therefore, if you’re revisiting your Shopping campaigns to make the most of this new functionality then it could also be a good time to review their overall setup and ensure you’ve the best practice points covered off to try squeeze out more sales from them.


1. Keep your product feed up-to-date

If your feed isn’t up-to-date then you could potentially be shooting yourself in the foot by showing incorrect prices, or worse, products which are out of stock. Google Merchant allow you to schedule an automatic update of your feed once a day so if your product inventory is frequently changing then it’s recommend you take advantage of this.

2. Fix any errors in the feed

Sometimes errors can occur which means not all of your products are included. It’s therefore important you keep on top of this when submitting a feed. Google assist with this by providing a feed debugging tool which points you in the right direction when trying to resolve formatting issues.

3. Optimise your product names and descriptions

Products are returned which closely match a user’s search query; therefore make sure your product names and descriptions accurately reflect what you’re trying to sell and how people may be searching to find it.

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4. Use negative keywords

Whereas with a traditional search campaign you have to choose which keywords you appear for, with a Shopping campaign you have less control since this is based upon data from your feed. For example, the below screenshot shows a search for “used garden furniture” – yet none of these products are.

This can be easily rectified though by running a search query report to identify potential negative keywords, as well as using the Keyword Planner to do some wider research into possible terms worth including on your negative list.


5. Use high quality images

The product image takes up the majority of the ad space and has a big influence over the ad click-through-rate (CTR). It therefore needs to relevant, clear and free of watermarks. If there are several competitors selling the same product then it’s also good to try and use different imagery to stand out from the crowd as shown in the below example…

6. Utilise reviews

Google Shopping results can show ratings for both products and sellers which are based on a 5-star rating system which aggregates all of the reviews available.

Seller ratings are typically taken from various third-party sources and automatically appear so don’t require any action on your behalf. However, if your seller rating is low then it’s worth taking action to try and improve this as often people have to be chased for positive reviews, whereas if they had a poor experience they are quick to leave a bad one.

Product reviews on the other hand can come from your own site (in addition to third-party sources), and if you wish to use them then you need to submit a product ratings interest form.

Compared to seller ratings which require an of at least 3.5 stars to appear, product ratings can appear no matter what the score, since this can help buyers make an informed decision.

7. Use custom labels for profit margins

Not all products are created equally, some will inevitably have higher/lower margins and you need to know this information so you can set your bid strategy accordingly. Google Merchant allow you to specify custom labels so it’s worth using these to categorise products based upon their margins, thereby allowing you to bid more aggressively for those with a higher margin.

We’ve done this for a client and discovered they were actually selling products at a considerable loss! Whilst an extreme example, it shows without clarity on product margins you can’t make informed decisions on what you should and shouldn’t be promoting with PPC.

8. Group similar products into campaigns

By default Google Shopping campaigns will promote all products within your feed, although unless you’ve limited products which all have a similar margin you’re unlikely to want to promote all products with the same bidding strategy – instead be selective and break them down into closer knit groupings so you’ve more control over them.

9. Put bestsellers in their own campaign

If you’ve products which are selling well, either because you’re the only retailer offering them or you’re heavily undercutting competitors, then you’ll want to really push these. However, the last thing you want is for them to lose visibility because the campaigns run out of budget as there are thousands of other products also competing for a share of the limited budget.

This can be easily avoided by placing them in their own campaign with their own dedicated budget which you can then prioritise over your other Google Shopping campaigns.

10. Use automated bidding strategies

Finally, if you’ve thousands of products or are perhaps limited by time then it’s worth exploring the new options open to Google Shopping campaigns in the form of automated bidding solutions. You can now maximise clicks, enable Enhanced CPC or set your campaigns to Target ROAS – these give you more flexibility than ever before and can help you achieve your objectives whilst also saving you time!

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