Google Shopping Struggles? Three Tips For Profitability

Great placement on the page, product images, and easy-to-read product information – what’s not to love about Google Shopping Ads? If you have an e-commerce site and you’re not advertising your products on Google’s Shopping Network, you’re leaving money and visibility on the table.

Google’s shopping network is a great new opportunity for distribution but it is not without its shortcomings and intricacies. Google shopping ads came into existence twelve years after the launch of AdWords, so Google Shopping Ads are based in technology that is much more advanced than many of the other available AdWords campaign types.

Google has made it relatively simple to enter your products into the platform but less so to achieve a profitable return on your ad spend. Machine learning and automation drive Google’s shopping network but take away your control and ability to tailor your shopping ads to your business needs. This can lead to weak returns and frustration as you look to make improvements.

Take control of your Google Shopping Network efforts and drive profitability with these tips.

 

Segment Your Products

Segmentation is something that you are already doing in nearly every form of your business. You are grouping products together to increase their value or see some efficiency – products on the shopping network should be treated no differently.

Google’s most basic Shopping Campaign structure does not allow you to focus on any specific product or product category. As you can imagine, this can be problematic since your products all have their own specific needs based on the brand, price, use, style, profitability, or other detail.

Control where Google spends your money and tailor your bids by segmenting similar products onto their own campaigns or ad groups. The importance of segmentation depends on your products but ask yourself these questions before you assume that all of your products will play nicely together in the same campaign:

1. Are Your Products Seasonal?

If you have products that are suited for summer then you will want to make sure that these products serve more in the summer and less in the winter. Separate your summer and winter products into their own campaigns or you will spend advertising dollars for your Christmas cards in June.

2. Do Your Products Vary In Popularity?

If you sell Nike Running Shoes and ceramic turtles and place them in the same campaign, your ceramic turtles will never serve because of the huge amount of search volume that exists for Nike Running Shoes. If you want all of your products to serve on the shopping network, make sure to separate products with higher search volume from products with lower search volume.

3. Do Your Products Vary In Profitability?

If you have variation in your product profitability, you will want to control your bids to make sure that you can get a profitable return on investment for EACH product or category. Products with higher profit margins can spend more on Google’s Shopping Network and maintain a return on your ad spend.

4. Do Your Products Vary In Price?

You will find that some products are better suited for Google’s Shopping Network than others and one factor to keep in mind is the price. Shopping ads are prominent but the decision to click on them is quick and price is an important factor. If you have products that span multiple price ranges, separate your products by price. You will likely see certain price ranges will be more successful on Google’s Shopping Network.

 

Control Your Bids

When you think of your products appearing in front of people searching the web, what keywords do you think they use? If a large portion of your target audience is familiar with your brand then you may want to bid on keywords that are more broad, like Nike bidding on “shoes.”

Most of us are not Nike and so we have to be realistic with the level of knowledge that our target audience has with our brand or even product type. To allow both Nike and your brand to thrive on the shopping network, Google has structured the network so that bids control the searches that trigger your ads.

Higher bids will lead to broader searches triggering your products. For example, if you were selling Nike Running Shoes and were willing to pay $0.10 per click, Google may be likely to show your ads for “Nike Running Shoe” searches. If you were willing to double your bids to $0.20 per click, Google would be more likely to show your ads for “Nike Shoes.” If you continued to increase your bids, Google would eventually show your ads for searches like, “shoes.”

As you increase your bids on shopping ads, you also allow Google to show them to broader, less relevant searches that are not as likely to convert. If you are Nike, this may be worth it to you because you are betting on your brand but you will have the same luck if you are a new or small brand and your customers are not aware of your product or product type.

Keep your bids on the low side. If you see success, make small increases and expect your efficiency to decline at some rate. Increase or reduce your bids to attain your target return on ad spend based on your profitability and business needs.

 

Review Your Search Terms

As previously mentioned, higher bids will result in broader traffic for your shopping ads and a quick glance at your search terms report will show you whether your bids are too high. Before you painstakingly review your search terms report and add a long list of negative keywords, try working on your bids.

You can obviously still add negative keywords to clean up your traffic. Personally, I prefer to reduce my shopping campaign bids by 10-15% to see if the search terms that trigger my ads become more relevant.

More often than not, you will see that a reduction in bids will lead to more relevant traffic to your ads, a potential reduction in traffic and revenue, along with a higher conversion rate and return on your ad spend.

Before you add too many negative keywords, use your search term report to guide your bids to target your ideal return on ad spend. You may see faster improvements by adding negative keywords but you will limit your ability to scale your efforts on Google’s Shopping Network.

 

Final Thoughts

The Google Shopping Network is routed in new and complicated technology and requires a targeted, systematic approach to achieve success. Use the tips in this article as a foundation to develop your own plan based on your products and the needs of your business.

You will find that consistent and deliberate use of these tips will drive control and profitability on the Google Shopping Network. To see the greatest success, start slow, make small changes, and be patient while you monitor these changes.

If you are looking for any clarification or need any additional information, get in touch with Intuitive Digital. We are happy to answer any of your questions and make suggestions based on your business.