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Mastering Google Shopping Campaigns: Tips & Tricks

Google Shopping can be a valuable tool for driving customers to your eCommerce site and generating conversions. Google recently reported that 98% of surveyed global consumers reported shopping online regularly. This statistic creates significant opportunities for eCommerce sites to find new customers and keep them coming back.

However, you need an effective Google Shopping strategy to truly drive meaningful growth. This unique campaign varies significantly from other Google campaigns, so you need to use the best strategy possible. Keep reading to find the best tips and tricks for maximizing your Google Shopping campaigns.

What Are Google Shopping Campaigns?

Google Shopping is a specific type of campaign from Google designed to leverage product feeds to advertise an eCommerce store's specific offering. These campaigns are a unique way to promote your eCommerce products that vary from other paid ad options offered by Google. 

You’ll need to set up an account in the Google Merchant Center rather than the typical dashboard, and you’ll run your campaigns from there. Additionally, Google Shopping leverages product feeds to drive your ads rather than selected keywords and ad creatives.

Where Do Google Shopping Ads Appear?

Google Shopping is designed to highlight your products to potential customers in a different area of search engine results pages (SERPs) than other paid ads. Your product feeds will be used to generate ads right at the top of the SERP.

For example, if someone searches for “refurbished smartphones” and you’re a refurbisher, your current refurbished device offering may appear right below the search box, including a thumbnail and price. Clicking on the thumbnail will take them directly to your site.

It’s worth noting that there are both free and paid Google Shopping campaigns. Paid campaigns take priority and appear above free campaigns.

How Do Google Shopping Campaigns Work?

Google Shopping campaigns work differently than you might expect — no Google shopping keywords exist. So how do you control your campaigns?

Campaigns are driven by your provided product feed. As such, the answer or product groupings and Single Product Ad Groups (SPAG). You’ll need to optimize each product feed for Google Shopping to have the best control over your campaigns.

Varos is a unique platform that allows you to better understand your Google Shopping campaigns by comparing your results to your peers. Below, you can see real-time click-through rate (CTR) benchmarks for your competitors right alongside your own results. 

Setting Up Your Product Feeds

Google Shopping campaigns depend on product feeds. A product feed is a comprehensive list of everything you’d like to advertise, which includes price, availability, thumbnails, and more.

However, creating a product feed isn’t a one-time task. You need to create a process for updating each feed to keep the information up to date — otherwise, Google will see the discrepancy and won’t show your ads.

Product feeds can be made with Google Sheets, third-party services, or specialized software that makes sure Google always has the latest information. Google Sheets can be a great place to start and give you the most control while you’re learning, but if you have a massive product catalog, Sheets can become sustainable.

These feeds are at the core of your Google Shopping campaign, making it crucial to set them up correctly. The nuts and bolts of setup will depend on how you decide to make them (Sheets or third-party software), but there are a few vital factors to keep in mind, regardless of the method you choose:

  • You won’t provide keywords, so titles and descriptions are crucial: Google uses the information in your product feed to decide when to show a viewer your ads. You don’t dictate keywords directly, so keyword-rich titles and descriptions tell Google when your ads should be displayed.
  • Prices must be accurate: Keep your prices updated at all times — any changes will necessitate sending Google a new product feed, or your products simply won’t be shown to customers. Google checks your live site against your product feed to catch any discrepancies, and factors like pricing or availability will affect your campaign. Updating feeds is an essential part of Google shopping campaign management.
  • Provide international currencies (if applicable): Your feed must include pricing in every currency if you're targeting multiple countries. Failing to provide the appropriate currencies for target countries will result in your ads not being shown.
  • Use high-quality images: Your feed includes links to images, and they must be intriguing and of the utmost quality. Additionally, they should not have any watermarks or contain anything besides the product being sold.
  • Double-check your links: Ensure you aren’t giving Google dead links — ensure every product link goes to a live page.

You can see why some companies use a service to generate and provide Google with product feeds. However, it’s worth highlighting that you don’t need to go that route and can use Google Sheets.

Whichever way you go, your product feeds need to be optimized at every step to make sure Google shows them to the right potential customers.

Top Google Shopping Campaign Best Practices

Google Shopping campaigns are a unique way to advertise specific products that aren't available on other platforms and are even unique among Google’s campaign types. However, that means it might take more time and effort to start seeing the results you’re after.

That’s why learning how to optimize Google shopping campaigns is crucial for maximizing your ecommerce profits. So let’s discuss some of the key best practices to help you cut down on the learning curve and start generating conversions.

Optimize All Product Feeds

We discussed product feeds in-depth earlier, but it’s worth quickly touching on them again — feeds are the most important element of your campaign.

Keep optimizing your feeds periodically, measuring and tracking the results when you implement significant changes. Some ways to optimize feeds include:

  • Try different product titles or descriptions, provided they’re still accurate
  • Provide different pics that show products in new ways, such as a new angle or zooming in more.
  • Refine processes for generating and providing new product feeds to Google so you’re never penalized when making changes.

Continually explore new ways to make your products more appealing to shoppers and Google alike to reap the full benefits of Google Shopping.

Organize and Enhance Product Groups

Product groups give you the most control over your ad campaigns. You can use a single product group for everything you sell, but for most organizations, this isn’t the best way to make the most of your budget.

Google allows you to create specific product groups, and you can keep dividing up product groups as necessary. For example, if you sell shoes, you can have an ‘athletic shoes’ product group, then create sub-product groups for individual brands.

Why does this matter? Your Google Shopping bids are set per product group. Creating super-specific product groups lets you set bids that make sense for the price point or competition for the given group, which likely won’t be the same for your entire online store.

Additionally, a specific product group will share similar keywords and indicate to Google when your products should be displayed. You’ll have more control over your entire campaign with shopping groups — it’s essential to master product groups for precise Google Shopping targeting.

Refine Ad Bids

Now that you understand product groups, the next step is refining your ad bids themselves. As discussed, you set ad bids for every individual product group. 

Setting bids is similar to other Google paid aid campaigns; however, you should start lower than you would when running a similar Search campaign. Start low and keep an eye on the results, then adjust accordingly. 

If you start too high, you’ll end up with higher campaign costs than necessary to drive traffic that converts. So when you’re just getting started, increment slowly over time. Once you get a good idea of what makes a great bid

Varos compares your ad spend metrics alongside your peers in real time. You’ll then have a better idea about how to enhance the bidding strategies for your campaigns to get better results. Below, you can see Varos in action, comparing cost-per-click (CPC) right alongside competitors.

Exclude Poor-Performing Products

You don’t need to provide every product in your store to Google. You might have some products that are worth listing but generally don’t convert or have a small profit margin. If you spend advertising dollars to drive traffic to these products, you might end up just wasting your budget.

It’s up to you to determine which products to advertise and which ones to leave out. Evaluate sales volume and profit margin to make sure you’re only driving traffic to products with a high chance of converting the visitor into a customer.

Team Up with Varos for Potent Data-Driven Insights

Getting the best results from your Google Shopping campaigns will take time and experimentation. You’ll need to optimize product feeds, maximize bid strategies, and adjust to a new way of targeting that doesn’t involve keywords. It can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort to drive new customers and, ideally, keep them coming back for more.

Fortunately, Varos can help you gain new levels of insights into your Google Shopping campaigns by comparing your results right alongside your competitors, all in real-time. 

Below, you can see how our platform breaks down KPIs with tiered-based medians, so you can easily tell how you compare.

Ready to discover how Varos can help maximize your Google Shopping campaigns? Sign up with Varos today or contact our experts for a demo to learn more.

About the Author

Sarah Clowes-Walker 

Head of Marketing at Varos

LinkedIn

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Chase Dimond | Email Marketing Nerd 📧
@ecomchasedimond

Bottom line: I’m recommending Varos to you all because it’s FREE (for now) and it’s already added a ton of value for myself and my clients.Check it out 👇

Social Savannah
@social_savannah

I would definitely recommend checking out Varos. With Varos you can easily see how your peers are performing, for free. You get insights into not only TikTok Ads benchmarks, but also similar data for Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and more. #VarosAmbassador

jason wong
@eggrolI

Varos allows thousands merchants to upload anonymize marketing data across meta and google and aggregating it to show what the average is across different categories and ad spend

Cody Plofker
@codyplof

With varos.com, I can see exactly how our performance across channels stacks up against our competitors in our space.

Barry Hott ☄️
@binghott

Compare your ad performance to benchmarks of companies just like yours, anonymously.
I would've killed for this tool years ago and now it's here and oh it's free. Amazing.

Ron Shah
@obviceo

I've been seeing some content about @Varos_com so we decided to check it out.

One underrated feature of theirs is the Shopify Benchmarking, which is FREE btw.

Literally impossible to access this data anywhere else. Check out what we're seeing at @my_obvi 👇

William Harris
@wmharris101

I'm loving what @Varos_com is doing with providing much more relevant benchmarks for #ecommerce... especially since it shows that we are absolutely DOMINATING @Elumynt on #facebookads!

This is in the Baby and Children vertical.#fbads #ppcchat #retail #dtc

Chase Dimond | Email Marketing Nerd 📧
@ecomchasedimond

Bottom line: I’m recommending Varos to you all because it’s FREE (for now) and it’s already added a ton of value for myself and my clients.Check it out 👇

Social Savannah
@social_savannah

I would definitely recommend checking out Varos. With Varos you can easily see how your peers are performing, for free. You get insights into not only TikTok Ads benchmarks, but also similar data for Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and more. #VarosAmbassador

jason wong
@eggrolI

Varos allows thousands merchants to upload anonymize marketing data across meta and google and aggregating it to show what the average is across different categories and ad spend

Cody Plofker
@codyplof

With varos.com, I can see exactly how our performance across channels stacks up against our competitors in our space.

Barry Hott ☄️
@binghott

Compare your ad performance to benchmarks of companies just like yours, anonymously.
I would've killed for this tool years ago and now it's here and oh it's free. Amazing.

Ron Shah
@obviceo

I've been seeing some content about @Varos_com so we decided to check it out.

One underrated feature of theirs is the Shopify Benchmarking, which is FREE btw.

Literally impossible to access this data anywhere else. Check out what we're seeing at @my_obvi 👇

William Harris
@wmharris101

I'm loving what @Varos_com is doing with providing much more relevant benchmarks for #ecommerce... especially since it shows that we are absolutely DOMINATING @Elumynt on #facebookads!

This is in the Baby and Children vertical.#fbads #ppcchat #retail #dtc