A Guide to Optimizing Your Google Shopping Ads Campaigns

Jan 13, 2021

gogle shopping adsIf you have an online store and want to attract highly qualified and relevant traffic fast, then Google Shopping Ads is the most efficient advertising platform.  It can also be a relatively expensive platform, so it is important to know how to optimize your shopping ads campaigns.

Setting up your Google Shopping Ads campaign is pretty straightforward, but it is a long process. You need to create a Google Merchant Center account, and a Google Ads account to get started. You will need to link the two accounts and then use a plugin, an API, a Google Sheet, or authorize a ‘crawl’ to import your products’ inventory.

Like many advertising platforms, you can lose a lot of money if you use all the standard settings and enable campaigns without diligent monitoring and testing. It would be the same on another platform like Facebook. If you just put up a single generic ad and started a campaign with the default settings, chances are it will fail. The secret to success is gathering as many tips as possible by doing lots of research and then testing all of your strategies to find which ones work and discard those that don’t.

Choose Products Without a Saturated Market

AliExpress
Image: AliExpress

In general, when populating your eCommerce site, choose products that have a high search volume and a high-profit margin. Choosing profitable products seems obvious, but people tend to start shops based on their interests rather than researching items that will sell with a decent profit margin.

AliExpress is an excellent place to start and use SEMRush or Google’s Keyword Planner to look at the search volume. If you are stocking the products yourself, then look into the cost to ship the items too.

Negative Keywords

A very effective way of optimizing your Shopping ads is by weeding out the keywords or “search terms” that aren’t converting or are converting at a very high cost. These terms are words or phrases that are entirely irrelevant but may also be competitors’ terms and very generic or vague terms.

To find the search terms report go to your Google Ads account; near the left-hand side, find the “keywords” tab and click on it. Once you have clicked on “keywords” near the top, you should see “search terms.” Click on “Impr.” – this will sort the table of search terms by impressions.

Please note that the layout can be different on different devices; sometimes, you have to click “keywords.” Clicking on “keywords” will expand a menu with the option of “search terms” – click on this rather than a tab.

Go through the list, and if you find any irrelevant search terms, click the box to the left and then from the top select “negative keywords.” Slight variations in products, colors, etc., are typical irrelevant search terms – if you don’t sell a product – add it as a negative keyword.

Generic search terms may convert occasionally, but they tend to cost a lot more. So whether or not you want to cut these out will depend on your profit margin.

Be Specific with Your Ads

A big mistake that many beginners commit is to advertise every single product with the same settings. Just focus on the most profitable products to begin with, and expand your campaign from there.

Once you have your main products setup and running profitable advertising campaigns, bring in some more products but always adjust the settings and experiment with bids, bidding type, etc.

Rather than list individual products, you can also sub-divide them into specific categories. To see how to do this, watch this great video from Store Growers.

Optimize Your Landing Pages / Product Pages

Landing pages are so important, but many advertisers fail to optimize them. The term “landing page” means the page that your advert takes a user to once they click on it.

Sending potential customers to a generic homepage is a bad idea with Google Shopping Ads. Ensure that the page is as specific as possible – with Google Shopping Ads that will mean sending users to the specific product page.

Building trust is important once a user arrives on your website. Make sure that the landing page has testimonials on it, if possible. If you are so inclined, you can pay even someone around $10 to create a testimonial video for you on Fiverr.com. You can send your product to some of the freelancers on Fiverr, and they will unbox it and review it for you to create a testimonial that looks completely legitimate. As well as testimonials, it would help if you also had reviews, ideally a TrustPilot review or widget embedded in the landing page, along with some reviews generated on your website by happy customers.

Another good tip is to make your “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” buttons a different color to the rest of your page. You do not want your Call to Action (CTA) button to blend in; you want it to stand out and look like a clickable button.

Another way to get users to trust your website and your brand is to have a clear contact and about us page. Having a business address or a high street address and a landline telephone number will help a lot instead of a home address and a mobile phone number. You can use a virtual office address and a virtual receptionist or a phone answering service for this if you don’t want your mum or another family member answering your landline and your business calls! An FAQ page can also be beneficial. If you are not sure what to include in your FAQ, look at your Facebook comments and look at competitor products on Amazon. Look at what the feedback and the questions relate to. Any recurring feedback or questions should be addressed in the FAQ.

Choose “Standard Shopping Campaign”

Most PPC consultants will tell you to choose a standard campaign when setting up your account and not the “Smart shopping campaign.” You will have much more control with a standard campaign. Unfortunately, Google is playing the short term game with its users at the moment and likes to encourage people to spend as much as possible, even if it’s proved to be a bad user experience.

Again, most PPC consultants’ recommendation would be to keep the bidding strategy on “Manual” and uncheck the box to use “Enhanced CPC”. This is especially true when you start with your first campaign. Monitor everything closely for the first week and be ready to tweak and make adjustments.

I would also recommend NOT including “search partners” or Youtube, discover and Display. Target people in or regularly in your target locations and people in your excluded locations.

Do Keyword Research For Ad Titles

As mentioned previously, you can do keyword research to decide which products to stock in the first place. However, you can also do additional research at this stage, to help name and add titles to your ads.

Digital marketing expert Charlie Brandt recommends structuring your ad titles with your most search for keyword first, second most searched for placed second, and so on, until each title contains around 5 keywords back to back.

He also recommends having a negative keyword list right from the beginning. Negative keywords might include terms such as “amazon”, “Walmart” and “free”.