How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability

Google Shopping has the potential to produce one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) of any of the available advertising methods for ecommerce retailers using the Google AdWords platform.  For those new to online marketing, that is a good thing, in fact, perhaps the most important thing!!! A high ROI means that the money that is invested in a marketing channel is generating a high return of sales for the investment.

ROI Calculation = (Gain from investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment

Time again, I have seen client’s campaigns attain a higher ROI from Google Shopping than that attained from either Google Search or Content (including retargeting) advertising making it an important part of Google advertising for ecommerce retailers. However, these results are sometimes only attainable when using advanced techniques such as segmenting Google Shopping campaigns, which this blog post is dedicated.

A Quick Review – How Google Shopping Works

Typically Google Shopping results are displayed either at the very top of the page before the organic listings or in the upper right quadrant (as seen in the example below).  Google Shopping results can also be viewed by clicking on the Shopping tab in the upper menu next to the default Web tab.

Google Shopping - What It Looks LikeGoogle uses a real time auction system just like search results to determine which products are listed.  Only products from retailers who have a feed sent to a Google merchant center account and have linked the feed to a Shopping campaign in AdWords are eligible to have their products display. For directions on how to get started with Google Shopping, see my blog post Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed.

Once connected, Google AdWords allows advertisers to optimize their listings based on populated fields contained in their data feed. For detailed information on what different fields Google supports, read this blog post – Top Tips To Optimize Google Shopping.

In addition, Google also allows advertisers to add promotions to their Google Shopping listings, which is another great way to increase click through rates (CTR).  Note, Google promotions are added through the merchant center account rather the AdWords account.  For those wanting to learn more, I have a blog post dedicated on properly creating Google promotions – Enhancing Google Shopping With Promotions.

However, even if you have a Google Shopping campaign that is being optimized and are running meaningful promotions, there remains a problem.  If all Shopping listings are contained within the same campaign, advertisers are restricted because they must have the same settings across the entire campaign.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings System

Let me explain. What this means for advertisers is that they can of course adjust bids on the campaign based on location, ad schedule and devices, but what if they want to change settings thus effecting bids on different products or a category of products? Of course, they cannot if all products are contained in one campaign

This is why segmenting Shopping campaigns is important for many retailers who wish to fully optimize their Google Shopping listings based on location, time of day or device. One of the most advanced techniques shared to date, segmenting Shopping campaigns can improve Shopping results dramatically and provide advertisers a distinct advantage over their competitors.

Creating Multiple Google Shopping Campaigns

The first step in creating a new Shopping campaign containing a subsection of the advertiser’s data feed product offerings is to create a brand new Shopping campaign. In order to do so, while in the Campaigns tab click on the red + Campaign button and select Shopping.

Google Shopping - Creating A New Shopping Campaign

Complete the settings as applicable.  For best-practices on initial settings, see the blog post – Proper Settings – The First Step of Successful Google Advertising.

Within this new Shopping campaign, there is an important setting that most likely was not used in a general Shopping campaign, but should be used when segmenting (given that the products being subdivided are important enough to segment).

Click on the +Shopping settings (advanced) and review the Campaign priority setting.

Google Shopping - Setting Campaign PriorityThe default on the Campaign priority setting is Low.  Best-practices would recommend that this setting be changed to either Medium or High since it contains a subset of the full product offering. This is a safe guard.  If a product is contained within multiple campaigns, the product will be shown depending on which campaign has the higher bid.  However, if a product is in multiple campaigns where there are different priority levels, the priority level is the determining factor for which campaign the product will be pulled.

Once settings have been saved, the next step is to determine the products that should be in the campaign.  By default when an advertiser creates a new campaign, Google brings in the entire product offering from the data feed that has been linked from the advertiser’s merchant center account.

However, the point of segmenting is to include a subset of products within the new campaign.  In order subdivide, click on the + symbol next to the All products.

Google Shopping - Starting With All ProductsA window will then pop-up allowing retailers to subdivide according to fields they have populated within the data feed being sent to their Google merchant center account.  (Again for a refresher on setting up a feed, review the blog post – Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed.

In the example below, I am looking at the feed subdivided by Custom_label 0, which for this particular feed contains the different categories as organized on the website.

In order to add a subsection, simply click on the double arrows to the right of the name and click save. Note, multiple categories can be selected if an advertiser wishes to use the same settings for all subsections that are to be included within the new campaign.

Google Shopping - Subdividing ProductsOnce a subsection has been added and saved, a campaign will show the subsection(s) along with another subsection named Everything else.  Since we are subdividing and the rest of the products are found within the main Shopping campaign, we will not want the rest of the products or ‘Everything else’ displaying within this campaign. Therefore, we need to exclude those products.

To exclude, simply click on the bid column next to the product group that should be excluded and select the radio button next to Excluded and save.

Google Shopping - Excluding ProductsOnce is has been saved properly, there should be the word in red ‘Excluded’ next to the Product Group that is no longer eligible to display within this campaign.

That is it, the new campaign has been created with the desired subsection of products. Settings can now be optimized based on the subsection of products rather than by all products that were originally contained in the main Shopping campaign.

A best-practices tip – although the priority level setting should prevent products being shown in the original main Shopping campaign, I always recommend excluding the newly created subsection in the main campaign.  In order to exclude those products, navigate to the main Shopping campaign and follow the same steps as above, only this time excluding the subsection that is now in the new Shopping campaign.

Important Settings To Optimize In A Google Shopping Campaign

Obviously the newly created campaign will not have historical data needed to optimize, but it will populate over time.  Once the data starts coming in, there are 3 ways to change bids based on data all which have the potential for impactful results in the new campaign. These 3 ways to optimize include: Locations, Ad Schedule and Devices.

In order to segment in the new campaign, click on the Settings tab and all 3 should be displayed.

Google Shopping - 3 Segmenting ToolsAlthough data is needed before optimization is possible, I recommend to immediately setup an ad schedule in order to have meaningful data start to accumulate.

One of my favorite ad schedules is by time of day.  I prefer to see all data in time of day ranges from Midnight to 7AM, 7AM – 7PM and 7PM to Midnight. Depending on the business that is being advertised this can be adjusted, but for the example below let’s concentrate on how to set up the ad schedule listed above.

First click on the Ad Schedule tab and then the red + AD SCHEDULE button.

Google Shopping - Using Ad SchedulingThen, the blue Create custom schedule link.

Google Shopping - Creating Custom Ad Scheduling LinkFor this example, leave the first column to All days and change the time to 12AM to 7AM and click Add.

Google Shopping - Creating A Custom Ad ScheduleRepeat this step for 7AM to 7PM and 7PM to 12AM and click on the blue Save button. Once saved, the campaign will display a full ad schedule like the one shown below. The ad schedule will of course have no data since it is a new campaign, but it will allow advertisers to optimize by time of day in the near future as data is collected.

Google Shopping - Completed Ad ScheduleT.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemSummary

Google AdWords has changed drastically over the last few years creating diverse methods of advertising within AdWords. What started as advertising text ads to those users searching on Google now includes Shopping, Content (including retargeting) and Search. Advertisers have the ability to now advertise their products in a variety of different ways.

When deciding which method of advertising is viable for an advertiser’s business goals, an advertiser must closely monitor results in terms of costs vs sales in order to optimize accounts that generate a profitable ROI.

Google Shopping is an effective tool for doing this, but it must be properly configured in order to fully optimize results.  Segmenting Shopping campaigns with the steps above is an advanced technique that can help to generate a profitable ROI, but like the setup of most campaigns it requires work and constant monitoring.  Perhaps this is why it has the ability to generate such dramatic results, because the vast amount of advertisers are not taking the effort to employ this tactic. Therefore those advertiser’s who do and use all the tools available in Google Adwords can create a decided advantage over their competitors.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!


Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.