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Google Shopping Campaigns Guide Overview

Google Shopping lets you reach customers at the moment that they’re researching and shopping for products online. You can set up your campaigns to show your ads based on keywords like blue yoga pants, 3D TVs, or any other item in your feed that matches these criteria. As a result, users searching for similar items are more likely to see your ad—and click on it.

Google’s Merchant Center:

Google Merchant Center is actually where a lot of the magic happens in Shopping Campaigns. Google Product ads will go through Google Merchant Centers which is where Google will pull product data as long as it’s been feed to Google merchant center. Google recommends that feeds be updated daily for accurate results but you can do it weekly or monthly, just be aware of what day Google merchant center picks up the data and then schedule your ads to run based on this date so everything in your account matches Google’s feed.

Tips for Maintaining Your Product Feed

Make sure you’re putting in product titles, product descriptions, product IDs, prices and product type. This is just a basic list of items for your product feed but Google also wants images so this can make your product feed pretty huge if all the details are not included. On top of that every product will need different fields added depending on what the product is.

Be thorough when you’re going through all of these items as having a well defined product feed will play into how often your ads show up to users and how relevant they look to who sees them. You can’t expect results from using Google Shopping unless you put in the effort and time to define everything about each product (on top of that they want updated daily or weekly minimum).

Google product feed best practices:

– Product titles should be 50 characters or less and product descriptions should be 150 characters or less

– Google product categories can only have 100,000 total products in them so you need to prioritize product categories that you want your product listings to show up for

– Product ID is important as it’s what makes your feed unique and if you’re selling a product type that has a lot of competitors. For example, if you’re selling yoga pants then the product ID could be the brand name plus the style number (think Nike Flex Supreme TR 5) so you can be sure no one else gets into your feed with those same keywords.

Creating Shopping Campaigns:

– Shopping campaigns will only show up on Google.com so that’s the sales country you’ll need to choose in your shopping settings

– Shopping vs search: shopping allows you to run product ads and target people who are shopping for specific things whereas search is more broad where people are looking for a variety of items but they may not know exactly what they want

– Shopping campaign structure: if you’re doing paid placements then it can be anywhere from 10 to 500+ products per ad group (these can all be same or different types of products) but if you’re doing broad matched then your ad groups should have at least 50,000 total products in them so your feed doesn’t get cut off by Google.

– Shopping campaign bids: shopping campaigns have a max CPC bid which must be set above any other bid in the account in order to show product ads. You can use enhanced cost per click (which are enabled by default) in shopping campaigns if you want to control your own bids but this is just another way of saying manual bidding so you’ll want to disable that feature for all settings where shopping campaigns will run

Google Shopping Campaign & Product Listing Ad Tips

– Make sure you’re doing ad extensions! Google has done away with traditional text ads and now it’s all about shopping, location and sitelinks

– Only products with at least 1 image will show up in shopping results which can also help boost your CTR or conversion rate on your shopping ads

– If you want to test shopping ads vs search with the same keywords then add those keywords into the shopping campaign and use a negative keyword of -shopping in your search settings

– Shopping campaigns have more options for reporting, alerts, ad group level bidding and account level setting so be sure to check out all of these features when you create a new campaign!

Google’s toolkit: https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout (this is Google’s product feed service which can help you get started on organizing your data)

Shopping Campaign Bidding

– Create product groups that are similar enough so you can manage them together in shopping campaign settings (for example: separate product groups for men and women as well as shoes vs clothing)

– Google shopping campaigns were originally created to make feed management easier but I’ve also heard of people creating shopping campaigns just as a way to bid more control on particular products vs everything else in the account. That being said, this is not the most efficient way of running shopping ads at all because it does not allow for smart pricing which means you’ll have lower bids than your competitors.

– Shopping campaigns have flexible bid strategies which can be managed on the ad group level

– You can put a max CPC bid into shopping campaigns to control your product bids above everything else in AdWords but if you’re doing manual bidding then remember that shopping campaigns won’t show up in search so you’ll need to manage your shopping settings separately from any other accounts that might use shopping campaigns.

How to Organize Your Product Groups:

Always try to make groups of fewer than 50,000 total products so your feed doesn’t get cut off by Google. If you can’t do that then scale it up in small chunks (10k at a time). You’ll want to organize keywords not just into smaller keywords or phrase match but actual keywords like “flip flop” with the same bidding, targeting and budgets. This allows you to actually set bids on keywords instead of having everything one big mess where you’re competing for keywords based on who has more money as opposed to who is actually targeting keywords that are more likely to convert.

How does this impact mobile vs desktop bidding?

So if you set a manual product keyword bid at the ad group or campaign level then that is going to affect both mobile bids and desktop bids. If you’re running mobile only campaigns in AdWords (which is now allowed!) then your product keywords will not be responsible for any of those mobile bids so think about what keywords might perform better on each device and separate them accordingly. Lastly, when you have multiple keywords bidding against the same product feed data Google can get overwhelmed because they don’t know which keywords to show ads for so it’s best to keep products separated by similar keywords and audiences rather than creating several different groups for very similar products.

– Keywords used to manage negative keywords for product feeds are not the same keywords you target for shopping campaigns so it’s best to separate these keywords out into their own groups.

Numbers of Products:

If you have a very small feed (what we call under 200 products) then your only option is going to be the item ID but this will make your life harder because you’ll need to add in all bids, targeting and budgets for each individual product which makes reporting much less helpful. If you have over 500 products Google will cut off your feed and give you an error message saying that they can’t process any more data. This has never been true because I’ve had feeds with thousands of products go through and if this does happen just email your account representative and they’ll fix it. If you have a very large feed (over 80,000 products) then you can split them up by store location but this will get extremely problematic with reporting and geo-targeting keywords because the keywords will not be able to see the stores specifically speaking so bids for keywords or product groups in certain locations might become too high if they are all bidding against one specific product group.