Google Shopping Optimization: Step by step Guide

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Google Shopping Optimization

Google shopping ads are a great tool for online e-commerce business owners. These ads help your products and services find a sturdy place on Google’s search engine results page. 

This means, utilizing the platform’s features and specs will improve your chances of meeting potential customers. In the long run, customers who stick to your brand can churn out 80 percent of your profits. 

One of the best things about google shopping ads is that it lifts a major workload from your shoulders. The algorithms required to pull the right pieces of information, and ensure that your customers see you – are managed by Google itself. 

This means the only job for business owners is to build an accurate data feed. The data feed needs to make sense of the algorithms designed and executed by Google. 

Apart from better reach, two major goals that back Google Shopping Ads would be improved CPC and a bigger budget if you have a google shopping services agency in place. These are changes that can help your business grow, especially in the competitive online industry. 

In this post, you will read about the tricks and strategies every business needs for making the most from Google Shopping Ads. So, let’s get started on this journey. 

Basics about Google Shopping Ads

Retailers need google shopping ads and google campaigns for better customer reach. This is a platform offered by google for promoting your inventory online. The process begins with product data being fed into the Merchant Center. 

Then, a campaign is created using the data. The campaign is used to create Google Ads, which will be seen by people around the world. Google shopping ads are placed strategically. 

For example, these ads appear above every other search result, on the results page. Two, they are neatly separated and shown in the right column of the SERPS page.  

Unlike traditional advertisements, google shopping ads are known to have additional information. This includes a title, price, an image, and even specifications about the product. 

Detailing often helps the customer learn more about the products, before proceeding into the actual website. These are also known as qualified leads for the business. 

How to Optimize Google Shopping ads

1. Requirements for Google Shopping ads

a. Active Google merchant center account linked with Google ads account.

To make the most out of the google shopping ads platform, both the merchant center and the ads account has to be linked. This is when businesses can leverage the perks of the retail-oriented Google Shopping Ads. 

Linking the merchant center with your ads will help in establishing a strong online presence. This is what all businesses aim for, regardless of the investment or budget. Data from the merchant center can be used freely in your dynamic remarketing efforts as well.  

As a part of linking Google Merchant Center and Shopping Ads, the following steps need to be performed. Navigate to Google Merchant Center and log in. Here, search for “linked accounts”. 

Choose settings and select “Google Ads”. Under this section, look for your ad. Every ad comes with a unique ID. Use this ID, to search for your Google Ad. Once the ad is found, navigate to “Actions”, and click on “Link”. 

If you wish to link your Merchant Center with a third party ad account, you can make use of the links and invites. Send a link request to the owner of the “Ad” account. Once the owner accepts, your merchant center will have access and be able to link your ads with the data feed.  

b. Make sure you follow Google shopping ads policies and google ads policies.

Before the perks of the Google Merchant Center are leveraged, you need to go through its policies and regulations. This will reduce the chances of Google terminating your account at any point in time. Over the years, Google has made its policies and regulations extremely strict. 

This helps the brand identify and separate the good ads from the rest. Also, it helps them build algorithms that actually work. Failing to understand and follow the companies ad policies will do more harm than good. 

For example, your shopping ads may never appear in the SERPS. Or, you may be penalized for missing certain ad policies. 

Few important policies that every business focusing on Google Shopping Ads are: always promote products and services that can be bought immediately. Never promote proposals on the shopping ads page. This often disappoints customers. 

And, Google doesn’t encourage such ads. Two, you need to make use of a language that is trusted by Google. Also, the search engine should be able to understand the language used. 

The language used in the ads must blend with your brand, website, and even the advertisements on other platforms. Three, your customers should be aware of how your company works. Never have hidden charges or untold policies.  

c. Up-to-date Product data feed for profitable google shopping campaigns.

2. Google Shopping Optimization process

a.  Phase one – Product feed optimization

i. Why do you need to optimize your product feeds?

There are numerous benefits in optimizing your product feeds, especially around the Google Merchant Center. To begin with, you will be able to make use of better quality scores. One of the most important things about Google would be its algorithms. 

All the ad channels in this platform have a common factor. That would be the algorithms that run on the product feeds. These algorithms are responsible for deciding what and when an ad will be displayed. Also, the goal of these algorithms is to ensure that high-quality product data is always given to its viewers. 

Optimization improves your chances of showcasing the right pieces of information to your customers. This makes a big difference in the outcome of the Google algorithms. With better product feeds, the chances of your ads securing a higher rank and position online are better. 

Optimization of the product feed gives the brand plenty of time to decide and check on data accuracy. When the data in the store does not match with the content provided in the Merchant Center, the chances of your overall rank going down are high. 

It is crucial for the product data to be up to date. This gives you the opportunity to improve your search engine ranks. Nothing can destroy your campaign more than incorrect, and obsolete data. 

This is exactly what you can avoid by optimizing the product feed. If a product is no longer present in your catalog, you can get rid of it from the entire channel. 

And, if you are introducing new products, potential duplicates need to be identified and removed as well! These are steps you can take during the optimization of your product feed. 

ii. Important Product Feed elements to optimize

1. Title

By now, you should be aware of the fact that product titles are important for optimizing your content online. The titles are required to make your ads more relevant to potential user searches. 

In fact, the product feed strongly depends on the titles. This is why brands spend a lot of time deciding on the right product titles. Most of the time, brands keep the titles towards the end. 

Why? 

Optimizing other fields on the page will help in building a stronger and better title. To begin with, you need to run a keyword test on the titles. The keywords should mirror the actual products and services on your site.

2. Description

When it comes to framing the right description, always match your landing pages with the content shown in the shopping ads. Customers don’t like the sound of web stores that begin with faulty information. 

This will frustrate a potential buyer, and reduce the chances of them engaging in any business with you. To improve and promise a better shopping experience – you need to word the ad description with utmost care. 

Just like how the title plays a vital role, your description needs to salvage the right mix of keywords. Spend ample time finding keywords that would be used by a potential buyer. 

3. Google Product Category

Finally, make use of Google Product Categories. Every product on your website can be categorized. And, Google has constantly invested lots of time in identifying potential categories. 

In addition to trending titles, descriptions, and high-quality images – you need to categorize products properly. The categorization process needs to follow the format proposed by Google. 

For instance, you need to have the full path to the category (or at least the product category ID). Never use a category that is not mentioned in the current product category of Google. Always go with the predefined values. And, choose a category that best describes your services and products.

4. Image link

When it comes to Google Shopping Ads, one of the first few attributes that can grab the attention of any shopper would be the images. This is why brands invest lots of time and effort in capturing images that look stunning. 

Image link optimization is an art. And, there are a few golden rules you need to follow. One, you must ensure that the picture is of high quality. And, it needs to be optimized for mobile devices. You need to capture as many variants as possible. 

This includes images of different materials, sizes, and shades. Always remove text from the images. Details like the sales figures, watermarks, and manufacturer parts should not be seen on the images. 

Finally, you need to handpick between lifestyle and traditional product images. Choose an option that works well for your brand. Remember, the wrong image can turn potential customers away. 

5. Price

Another important element in your product feed would be the price. This plays a crucial role in your overall ecommerce strategy too. Over a period of time. prices of products are likely to fluctuate. 

There will be dynamic changes in the price. This calls for third party solutions that can help you scan and understand more about the prices quoted by your competitors. 

The pricing information also helps in creating customized labels. These labels will be displayed along with your products in the data feed. The labels can help customers understand the fluctuation in your price. 

It could be anything like “high, medium or low”. Based on these labels, Google Ads algorithms tend to run bids.

6. GTIN

The Global Trade Item Number, alias GTIN has turned into an important component of any online optimization efforts. The GTIN plays an integral role in optimizing your Product feed too. It is important for the GTIN number in your store and products to be accurate. 

The GTIN is given by manufacturers. Even though the attribute does not prove to be important, it is crucial and worth your effort. The GTIN helps in creating an impression. 

It allows potential customers to learn more about your products and ensure that it doesn’t conflict with rivals. If there are counterfeit products or services – the GTIN helps in keeping them out of the trending market. 

Above all, this number is a key player in helping customers compare products. 

iii. If you are in the shopify ecosystem you can use AdNabu for Google shopping App to do this automatically.


b.  Phase two – Google shopping campaign optimization


i. Optimize your campaign structure

This step involves structuring your campaigns. When you have multiple campaigns, it is important for you to organize them thoughtfully. For instance, you need to ask questions on how many ad groups are present. 

Also, you need to understand where each ad group will be placed in the campaigns. The structure seeps into the heart of your google shopping ad campaigns. A good campaign strategy will ensure that you follow a structure that bids towards the best outcome. 

There are four types of campaign structures. The undivided campaign features a single campaign and a unique ad group within. The ad group will have all the products. Two, you can opt for single campaigns with multiple ad groups. Each ad group has a common collection of products. 

Three, you can have multiple campaigns with ad groups. This means products can be broken across the ad groups. Finally, we have multiple campaigns with the same set of products.  

ii. Divide products into ad groups

Product grouping plays an important role in any optimization strategy. This would be your first step in organizing data and helping google algorithms identify the right piece of item. 

Dividing products will help in capturing more specific information. This means you will be able to extract specifics like the product’s price, category, type, and even channel exclusivity. 

Once a product is broken and categorized into a specific group – it can be labeled. Often, brands create customized labels for product groups. 

This helps them and the google search algorithm map the right products against customer queries. 

iii. Create Top vs. Other campaigns

According to experts, increasing bids is not the best way to handle google ads. In the long run, it would turn into an absolute waste of money and effort. Many times, you would notice that products that perform well may not top your search results. 

This phenomenon could be caused due to a number of reasons. If you wish to analyze the actual condition of your products, navigate to “Segment”. Here you will find the following option: Top vs Other Campaigns. 

This tool helps in analyzing metrics that decide why a product is not positioned in the “top”. This data is specific to ad groups. It is not available for product groups. 

iv. Create a list of winners and losers products

Identifying winners and losers will cut down on CPA, and even help in boosting sales. This is a way of understanding products that are performing well in your inventory. 

And, those that are not found great. Losers are products that could have high traffic inflow. Yet, none of this traffic is actually translating to profit. In that case, the traffic does not make any sense in the first place. 

To understand the actual figures, navigate to “Reports” and “Shopping”. Here, you can choose attributes like Item ID to learn more about its actual performance. 

v. Remove unprofitable products 

When you understand that a specific product is not doing any good in your inventory – you can remove it from the campaign. This way, the bid can be assigned to a different product which would serve more use to the brand. This theory holds good for products that are seasonal too. 

For instance, spending efforts on a summer product during winter would not be useful. Instead, you need to divert focus on “winter products”. This will increase your chances of securing qualified leads. 

Another instance where you would have to remove products from the campaign is when they go out of stock. It would be unwise to project products that are unavailable to a potential buyer. This increases the chances of them turning away. 

vi. Add negative keywords

Recent surveys show that negative keywords are silent heroes, especially in the world of Google Ad Campaigns.  These are the key terms your products should not be listed during a customer search. 

For example, showing your products when a customer executed a negative search query would be unwise. By identifying negative keywords, and quoting them ahead of time – this can be avoided. 

Every campaign setting comes with a section called “Negative Keywords”. Scroll to this section and enter the keywords. Now, Google algorithms would refer to this section and ensure that your products are not listed if a query contains these terms. 

vii. Use Bid adjustments

Bid adjustments are crucial for any business. Why? It gives more authority to the brand and its capabilities. Bids can be adjusted to suit the location and device. These are two common types of adjustments. 

During location-based bid adjustments, brands study the needs of customers in a specific geographic location. This helps them identify products that can have an impact on the chosen market. 

Thus, products that work well in these regions are given a bigger and better bid. Next, the adjustment needs to be made with respect to the device. If most of your sales originate from desktop devices, your efforts need to focus on these devices. 

Never waste your bids on mobile or tablet devices – when you know that a majority of the traffic and leads are from desktop machines. Finally, you can make adjustments based on the schedule. 

This involves a study on the best times of the year when your products perform well. To get this data, navigate to “Reports” and look for “Time (Day) of the week”.  

viii. Track the changes you make and finetune your optimization process.

As a brand owner, you need to understand the impact every change you make has on the business. Tracking changes is equally important as making them. It helps in figuring areas that can improve and support the overall optimization efforts. 

When you track performance, maintain an inventory of the current and previous results. The previous results can be as much as 14 to 21 days. Then, you need to have metrics that can help you decide if a change was fruitful or not. Many times, changes could have done harm, especially when they are paired with multiple decisions. 

In such situations, you need to figure out which decision caused a negative impact on your online presence. To be certain about the adjustments made, navigate to “History”. This tab in your Google Campaign account holds huge volumes of information. They need to be analyzed with utmost care and concern. 

Conclusion

On the whole, optimizing your google shopping ads is extremely important. It is a process that involves serious analysis, and evaluation of your current methods. 

The strategies discussed in this post can make a big difference in your Google Shopping Ads experience. It will improve your existing processes, and promise better-qualified leads, improved sales, and a reduced CPC value.

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Helps Shopify stores to easily set up their Google Merchant Center & Create Google Shopping Feed with a few clicks & without any errors & run Google Ads.