What's What With Google Shopping in 2018
What’s Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is a powerful way for retail businesses to reach new customers and drive online sales. You’ve probably seen products occasionally turn up in your Google search results with a product title, price, image and brief description. These are Google shopping ads, which usually display either at the top of your search results or along the right hand column.
What Can It Do for Your Business?
Google Shopping is a digital advertising method with enormous potential to increase sales for your retail business. And for most retailers who integrated Google Shopping into their PPC efforts last year, Google shopping ads accounted for 52% of click share, while non-branded search terms, like ‘running shoes’ accounted for 75% of all clicks!
Because clicks on Google Shopping ads tend to come from consumers who have more intent to buy, conversion rates for Google Shopping ads are usually much higher than text ads. And given that Google Shopping ads convey so much product information, you end up with site visitors who already know your product’s price and appearance, and they’re still interested in knowing more. Pretty great, hey?
How Much Do Google Shopping Ads Cost?
One major reason why retailers love Google Shopping ads is their comparatively low cost. While you might expect to pay $1 or more for text ads on competitive search queries, Google Shopping ads are still sitting around the $0.40 per click range. In one study by CPC Strategy, the 2017 campaigns of 527 retailers generated an average return on ad spend of 836%. Amazing.
But while you could spend limitless amounts of money on a Google Shopping campaign, it’s important to think about what’s feasible for your business. There are three things that should determine your bids;
- The price of your product – the biggest mistake you can make when setting up your Google Shopping campaign is setting the same bid for all your products. Which means you’d be spending the same amount to advertise a $10 shoe cleaner as you would for a $300 pair of shoes. No thanks. Make sure you’re bidding more on higher product price brackets.
- Your conversion rate – If you’ve been running an AdWords campaign, use the conversion rate from here as a starting point. Or look at industry-wide conversion rates for Google Shopping campaigns in your particular industry.
- Your profit margin – to keep this simple, as you’ll just need a rough number for the sake of figuring out an ad bid, look at product prices versus cost of goods sold.
Once you have your profit margin and your conversion rate, multiply these numbers to figure out what your maximum bid should be. We’d recommend bidding for most products at about half of your maximum bid to start out with. You can increase bids as you go (especially for expensive products). Shopify gets right into the details of enacting a Google Shopping bidding strategy.
Setting Up Google Shopping
To set up a Google Shopping campaign, you’ll need to set up a Google Merchant account. This is the home of your Google Shopping campaign, where your product data and general campaign updates will be stored. The general process involves:
- Creating an account with your business information
- Verifying and claiming your URL
- Making sure your website complies to merchant guidelines
- Uploading your product data
- Creating a shopping campaign within Google AdWords
Optimising Your Google Shopping Campaign in 2018
While there are endless ways of fine tuning and tweaking your campaign to increase its effectiveness, none of us have more than 24 hours in a day. So, here are some proven methods of keeping costs low and conversion rates high for Google Shopping in 2018.
Optimise Product Titles
A thorough study by Search Engine Land showed that spending time improving the product descriptions and categories of Google Shopping ads has virtually no effect on their success. However, optimising product titles results in a 10x improvement in traffic.
We could write an entire blog article on this but basically, they looked at search queries that often resulted in sales, such as ‘party dresses’ and included these search queries at the start of all relevant products. So instead of ‘Lipsy Lace Panel Body-Conscious Dress – Navy’ the title would be ‘Party Dresses Navy Blue Lipsy Lace Body-Conscious’. While it might seem counter-intuitive to repeat the search query in the product title, Google places a lot of emphasis on the first few words of a title in their results, so this is a great way to make sure your ads are being shown to the right people.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the traditionally recommended title format of <brand> <category> <colour> or <brand> <product type> <model number> rarely suits all businesses. If you’re a newly established retailer selling Nike shoes, it makes a lot more sense to have the Nike name at the start of your product title and to move your own brand name to the end.
Segment Your Campaigns by Specificity of Search Query
This strategy is based on the logic that someone typing in the search query ‘running shoes’ is not as likely to make a purchase as someone who types in ‘Nike Air Max 90 men’s white’. So, Search Engine Land came up with the ingenious idea of segmenting campaigns by specificity of search queries.
They were able to bid higher on specific queries that were more likely to convert, and save money on low-quality queries from consumers who weren’t ready to purchase. The only downfall of this strategy is that it takes time. So you may want to reserve this one for your most popular product categories if you’re time-poor.
Google explains RLSAs as ‘a feature that lets you customise your search ads campaign for people who have previously visited your site, and tailor your bids and ads to these visitors when they're searching on Google and search partner sites.’
So if somebody looked at a pair of shoes on your site but left without buying anything, you could set up your campaign so that if this person searches for similar items again, your ads will display to them. People aren’t always ready to purchase after the first time they browse products, but with remarketing, you can target these consumers when they’re ready to spend.
Google explains that the two most common remarketing strategies are:
- Optimising bids on existing keywords for visitors on your remarketing lists. For example, you can increase your bid by 25% for those who visited your website in the last 30 days.
- Bid on keywords that you don't normally bid on just for people who have recently visited your site, or have converted on your site in the past. This can help you increase sales. For example, you could bid on broader keywords for people who have previously purchased from your site, given that they already know and trust you.
See instructions on setting up a remarketing list from Google.
Need More Help?
While setting up a Google Shopping campaign is definitely worth the time and effort for your business, we get that it can be confusing. Get in touch with our digital experts at Lance Montana to find out how we can help you set up an effective, sales-driven campaign.