Google has recently completed the transition from Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to Shopping Campaigns. The concept behind this strategy is to allow merchants to bid on products rather than keywords. The approach is to target people who search for specific products rather than use generic search keywords which link to your merchandise webpage. Actually, Google provided this service through AdWords to list product prices. But since then, the company has shifted to a paid model where merchants have to pay for the listing. Google shopping also allows users to compare prices among different vendors which increase the competition for the same products.
There are different structures to build your Google Shopping Campaigns to promote your merchandise, and reach a wider audience. One method is to subdivide your campaign using different variables such as the Product type field. This field can be set manually or you can use the standard taxonomy developed by Google. The manual option gives you more flexibility and room for customization. You can establish your own categorization and gain control over how your product should be segmented. The benefit is that you can develop your own product hierarchy, and improve the visibility of your products.
When you create your product data feed, you have to keep some key attributes in your mind. Make sure that the information provided in the feed is correct and up to date. Define the product by a unique ID, a suitable title, a clear description and the right product category. You can also choose the product type, link the item to your website, and mention the stock availability and price of the item. Shopping ads are generated automatically using the data you enter in your feed, so you don’t have to put more efforts in it.
Use the product title and description to maintain relevancy, because as mentioned earlier, Google shopping campaign does not rely on keywords. So you have to make the content appealing to potential buyers, and maintain consistency with your product so it can appear in search queries or results.
Another tip is to make sure that the prices are accurate especially if shipping outside country or selling in other foreign currencies. Google will filter out your products if the information is not correct, and it will not appear in the search results. If you’re advertising for different countries, you will need a product data feed for each country since shopping campaigns in AdWords are specific to country.
Product images are very important for your ads, and can make all the difference. The images should be of high quality, and not edited to provide information that is not relevant to the product. The images should be suitable and user-friendly, so they are not suspended due to inappropriate content.
Once you setup your product data feed and link it with your AdWords, your Shopping Campaign is ready to go online. The campaign is strictly based on product based bidding, and you need to understand it thoroughly to improve the performance of your ads. You can use the bid simulator to determine whether you should increase or decrease the bid amount for a certain product group.
There are no keywords in Shopping Campaign bidding, and you have to set the bid on the actual products that you are selling. You have the option to bid on individual or group products giving you greater flexibility. When bidding on an item, be sure to keep in mind how much you want to spend on an ad for a specific product. If you have small data feed for less than 200 products, you can set the bid down to each item. You can also segment by brand or category before segmenting for the product ID, and then make the bid. If you have a large data feed, you can segment the product by the profit margins, and bid for that group of items.
In the beginning, you can set bids lower that you typically would, and play safe. You can also use geographic bid modifiers to bid high or low depending on traffic volume generated from different regions. You can also use mobile enabled option, but keep a close eye for statistics as some businesses do not find it cost effective especially when selling individual items of net worth greater than $100. Be sure to analyze your traffic frequently, and at different times of day to have a betteridea of your ad performance. The competitive advantage lies with the merchants who are successful at navigating more users to their product webpages.
The way you organize your product groups has zero bearing on how Google establishes product relevancy. However, the product groups will help you categorize and set bids according to your priority. Using priorities for segmenting traffic also improves search results, and cuts down costs by 20%. Having multiple ads in the same ad group can also improve performance because Google can rotate those ads, and customers don’t have to see the same posters twice. You can perform an A/B test to analyze this.
The changes made to the Google Shopping Campaigns have also introduced custom labels, and each account is limited to five. They’re designed to segment and organize products to make them more visible, however, the merchant needs to develop some skills to get the most out of this feature. The custom labels can be set up in different ways such as based on category or most popular items. They can also be categorized on the basis of high or low profit margins. Sales status is another label which can be used for easy ad group creation and promotion.
However, don’t try to get rid of your previous product listing or AdWords labels. Some other sites might still be using this information, and publishing it in their product recommendation. Since older sites will take time to transition to the recent changes made by Google, the best approach is to have the PLAs in place, and customize your data feed according to the new requirements to make your products more searchable.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.