How to Use Google Shopping Bidding Strategies

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What is Google Shopping Bidding Strategies? 

There’s no second doubt about the fact that Google Shopping (previously known as Product Listing Ads) is one of the most reliable platforms to give your eCommerce store the right head start. It counts as one of the most trusted platforms to introduce your brand to a broader section of customers and acquire a strong base online. 

Google Shopping Ads leave you the possibility to explore the entire globe in terms of market size. Yes, that’s a massive opportunity!

However, what if we told you that even Google Shopping has its own ‘Achilles heel’ that can either make or break your Google Shopping campaign?

Yes, it’s true. Your bidding strategy is a significant factor that can change the entire scenario of Google Shopping Ads for your eCommerce business. 

The heart of the issue?

Your bidding strategy. It needs to be ‘STRONG,’ else it’ll be you wasting your money behind your campaigns, even after including every relevant piece of information and backing it up with positive product images. 

The bidding strategy is not a strong waste of money over Google Shopping ads.

Google Bidding strategies is the art of devising effective strategies that include relevant keywords that ensure maximum conversions while keeping it less on expenses. 

Sounds a lot, right?  

In more straightforward terms, Google bidding strategies are a tricky balancing act where you need to strategize your campaigns, keeping relevant keywords in mind. However, here comes the tricky part. 

When you make too high bids on keywords, the chances are that you might lose all your money without good results. On the other hand, when your bids are consistently low, your site won’t be able to receive high-quality traffic.

The solution to this tricky situation lies in a simple concept:

Bid more on the products that are the best sellers of your store. It makes no sense to invest the same amounts for a bestseller and a loss leader.

Now That You Understand What Google Bidding Strategies are Let’s Dive More in-depth and Explore its Types

Types of Google shopping bidding strategies 

When you plan to launch a new campaign, Google comes up with two options for setting up your nid strategies. Users can either choose Manual or go with Automated bidding strategies.

Having questions about what they are? Relax, we are just getting started!

1. Manual bidding strategies:

Manual bidding strategies by Google is a bidding method that allows you to execute and control your bidding strategy by yourself. When you choose this option, you can select your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) for your ads. 

Manual CPC bidding provides you with the functionality to control the maximum amount that you want to pay for each click on your ads.

Over the manual feature, you can efficiently allocate your advertising budget to keywords generating better results.

2. Automated bidding strategies:

As the name suggests, Automated bidding strategies are completely automated bidding strategies designed to maximize results over your campaign goals. Under this type of strategy, you don’t need to set targets, audiences, or placements. 

The system uses direct integrations with Google Merchant Centre to match ads, based on the likelihood of a click or conversion. 

Moreover, automated bidding strategies offer Google Smart Shopping campaigns to allow buyers to pay only after a successful conversion.

Benefits of Google Shopping Automated Bidding Strategies 

Listed below are some of the top benefits of opting for Google Shopping automated bidding strategies: 

  • Derive more traffic and sales: Google Shopping automated strategies help you drive more traffic and generate sales, allowing you to concentrate on the campaign’s overall performance.
  • Uncover insights and trends: With Google Shopping automated bidding strategies, you need to enter the goals that you want to meet. Like traditional shopping campaigns, the Google Smart Shopping campaign allows users to tap into real-time insights. 

Automated bidding strategies are away beyond the traditional approach to PPC marketing; their work nature makes them a much-desired option to go with. 

Want to explore more around automated bid strategies? Let’s have a look at its types over the next section.

Types of Automated Bid Strategies

To set an effective automated bid strategy, you need to understand its types to help you develop the perfect plan that suits your goal. Listed below are the three automated bid strategies and the fields they work best.

1. Maximize clicks: 

Maximize Clicks bid strategy might be the option for you to improve your visibility or reach over your Shopping campaign. The process is simple, you input your budget, and Google Ads manages the rest.

As the name suggests, you can select this automated bidding strategy to spend your advertising budget on getting the maximum number of clicks. 

2. Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC)

Have a brand that needs conversions? 

If yes, this automated strategy might come to your rescue. 

The Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) allows you to maximize your conversions without affecting the total ad budget.

Interestingly, ECPC also allows users to control their bids so that they can adjust individual bids based on the likeness of any given conversion.

With ECPC, the end results should be improved conversion results, better than your regular campaigns.

3. Target return on ad spend (ROAS)

The target return on ad spends (ROAS) bid strategy works on the implementation of machine learning. Under this strategy, Google’s algorithm automates bids’ entire process to maximize their returns on a Shopping campaign. 

Getting started over target ROAS is simple; you need to provide a target return on the overall ad spend. 

Yes, we know it isn’t apparent. Let’s make it simpler!

Target ROAS = total reported value total cost. 

Example: When you spend $1 over a suggested Shopping campaign and generate a revenue of $5, your ROAS is 500%.

Now that you have understood bid strategies and the types of automated bid strategies, we know the excitement of getting started. Here’s something that might come in handy.

1. Setting up enhanced CPC for your Shopping campaigns

Setting up enhanced CPC over your Shopping campaigns is easy; you need to look for the following:

Steps to begin:

i. Sign in to your Google Ads account.

Ii. Reach out for the ‘Campaigns’ section from your page menu.

iii. Select the name of the campaign that you want to begin with.

iv. Once done, move to the ‘Settings’ in the page menu.

iv. Under the ‘Settings,’ move to ‘Bidding’ and then click the Change bid strategy.

v. Go for the ‘Manual CPC’ strategy, and you will have two options to select from:

  • Optimize for conversions 
  • Optimize for conversion value.

vi. Save your campaign settings.

Having understood the steps to begin, let’s know the available optimization in details:

Optimizing your strategy for improved conversions

When you optimize your campaign for conversions, enhanced cost-per-click navigates ad auctions, looking for keywords that have higher chances to entice the conversion process, following which, the automated bid strategy tends to increase your max CPC bid. On the contrary, if Google Ads thinks that the keywords won’t bring results, it’ll reduce your bid. 

Let’s understand the same with an example:

You are the seller of apparel over a specific eCommerce store. Let’s say your CPC bid is set to $1, paired with ECPC bidding. Now, if Google Ads navigates into an auction where the audience is more likely to buy apparel, based on the conversion tracking, it might raise the bidding limit to $2. Similarly, if some other auction won’t give you conversions, Google will automatically reduce your bid to, say, $0.25 for that specific auction.

Optimizing your strategy for increased conversion value

Optimizing your ECPC for conversion value allows Google to look for bids that are likely to give more excellent value conversions. This process is monitored via conversion tracking. Google will automate your max CPC bid strategy based on the same. 

Example:

Let’s consider a situation where you are a seller of shoes and have designed a campaign with a maximum CPC bid set at $2, with your ECPC bidding turned on. Now, when you have placed your overall cart value as your total value of conversion and Google Ads navigates into an auction with keywords of interest, it might start with a lower bid, say $0.50 for that specific auction. On the other hand, in another situation with a wide variety of apparel and lifestyle products but comes at a higher bid, ECPC could raise your bid to $2.40.

Things to keep in mind before opting for this bid strategy: 

  • To set up an enhanced CPC strategy, users need to enable conversion for that Shopping campaign. 
  • ECPC bidding works only on Google Search and does not apply adjustments over the bids on Shopping ads over different Search Partner sites. 

Steps to evaluate if ECPC is performing for your campaign

  • Evaluate the performance of your bidding strategy only after 15 days.
  • Consider the different factors that might affect your campaign’s performance (holidays, special events, weekends, or more).
  • Understand that your CPC might vary, depending on the type of conversions offered by the clicks. Under this situation, ECPC makes use of savings to bid higher over conversions that seem more likely.
  • Keep a tab on conversion delays.

2. Setting up Maximize clicks for Shopping campaigns

Listed below are the steps to set up ‘Maximize clicks’ :

 i. Once you are signed in to your Google Ads account, reach for the menu page in the upper right-hand corner.

ii. Navigate to ‘Shared Library’ and click ‘Portfolio bid strategies.’

iii. Now, create your bid strategy with the ‘+’ button, and click on ‘Maximize Clicks bid strategy,’ 

iv. Once you are done with the configurations, based on Maximize Clicks, apply the strategy to your campaign.

Watch out for these things before you begin:

  • If you are confused about using the right bid strategy for your campaign, understand the different strategies and their use. However, if you have an idea of the same, consider using the following tips.

Tip: 

  • Configure your Maximize Clicks for mobile devices
  • Make sure you have set up your maximum bids

How to check if “Maximize clicks” is working for my campaign?

  • Account for the number of clicks to understand the difference in clicks for your budget.
  • Collect enough data before evaluating your bid strategy’s performance; try and keep it at 15 days span.
  • Consider the different factors that might affect your campaign’s performance (holidays, special events, weekends, or more).
  • Understand your click share. High click share provides you with all the possible traffic. 

3. Setting up target ROAS for Shopping campaigns

Creating a strategy with target ROAS for shopping campaigns is easy; listed below are the steps to get started:

i. Reach out for the ‘Campaigns’ section under the page menu.

ii. Select the type of campaign that you want and then click on the Settings option.

iii. Change your bid strategy to ‘Target ROAS.’

iv. Finalize your campaign by clicking the ‘Save’ button.

Things to consider before you begin

You need to understand your target and enable conversion tracking before starting with target ROAS for your Shopping campaign. Further, your campaign must accumulate at least 20 conversions for the last 45 days to use this strategy.

How to check “target ROAS” is driving results for your campaign?

  • Account for the number of clicks to understand the difference in clicks for your budget.
  • Collect enough data before you evaluate your bid strategy’s performance; consider giving it 15 days.
  • Consider the different factors that might affect your campaign’s performance (holidays, special events, weekends, or more).
  • Calculate your target ROAS with the help of your conversion value. To be able to evaluate the same, try: “conversion value/cost.”
  • Consider the fact that your bid strategy might go down. 

Tips to Create an Effective Google Shopping Bidding Strategy

Going with the right Google Ads bidding strategy plays a significant role in bringing the desired result and devising a solid plan. However, your bid adjustments are the real kingpin that is a critical factor to consider for reducing the ad costs.

Therefore, knowing the right moves and implementing them with your strategy is necessary. It takes your campaign performance to the next level of improved conversions. 

On a somewhat interesting note, planning an effective bidding strategy can shoot up your conversions by up to 142.86%.

Let’s walk through different tips that will help you create an effective Google Shopping bidding strategy.

1. Segment your campaigns based on objectives

When you don’t segment your campaigns, you are at a higher risk of negatively impacting your Shopping campaign. When you segregate your catalog of products based on segments, your eCommerce store is at a higher chance of showing relevant results. This way, your bid strategy becomes cost-effective.

2. Reduce your bids over keywords where Ad spent doesn’t give results

When your bids are based on categories, the chances are that you are wasting your money. Therefore, it’s essential that you set a rule to reallocate your ad budget over regular intervals, based on performance.

3. Implement where your bids need to increase

Keep a keen eye on places where you think your bids should increase. You can segment your converters into the suggested:

  • Mid-Range – Filter your repeaters, based on cost-of-sales. Once done, you can later increase your bids for each.
  • Top – Use a different bidding strategy for keywords with the highest ROAS to give you the desired profits.
  • One-Off – Craft a bidding strategy that provides you with a balance between two elements: getting sufficient exposure and saving on costs over products.

4. Access your products with zero impressions

Yes, it’s possible to have products with zero impressions over your campaign. Instead of reallocating your ad budget, try assessing the field’s competition and modifying your campaigns.

5. Keep increasing your bids at promotional events

Promotional events are a chance for you to increase your conversions. When you are participating in promotional events, make sure that you are growing your bids as well. 

Yes, your profit margins might drop at the promotional event. However, the end results will be a lower overall ROI, paired with increased exposure and sales.

6. Test your bids

Testing your bids is the right way to get maximum results. When you increase your bids by a small percentage, the end results can be massive. Therefore, it is always advisable to simultaneously test bids and secure the best balance. 

Tip: Break your campaigns weekly and hourly basis, This way, you can understand your conversion rates and metrics behind the same.

Conclusion 

Setting up an effective bidding strategy is a composition of understanding the different aspects of manual and automated bidding. 

To summarize:

  • Your bidding strategy needs to be ‘STRONG,’ else, it’ll be you wasting your money behind your campaigns, even after including every relevant piece of information and backing it up with positive product images. 
  • Manual bidding strategies by Google is a bidding method that allows you to execute and control your bidding strategy by yourself. 
  • The Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) allows you to maximize your conversions without affecting the total ad budget.
  •  Automated bidding strategies are completely automated bidding strategies designed to maximize results over your campaign goals.
  • Optimize your campaigns to generate the best results with a selective bidding strategy.

About the author

Ra Karthik

Ramachandiran Karthik is the Digital Marketing Manager at Adnabu. He loves to help Shopify stores grow their business with Google Shopping & Google Ads, using advanced features like multi-currencies, multi-languages, Metafields. Karthik has a lot of experience in digital marketing and enjoys exploring new ways to make advertising more effective for both advertisers and customers.

By Ra Karthik