Piling On Using Bid Adjustments With Google Shopping

In my recently released book, Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping, I dive into detail on the most effective ways to optimize product bids based on historical data.

Within the book, I have dedicated different chapters to optimizing bids based on each of the following: optimizing based on mobile device; based on customer location; based on when your customers shop and based on defined audiences.

With all these options, a well-optimized campaign will rarely adjust bids exclusively at the product level or even at the campaign or ad group level.

Not to say that it is unimportant to adjust bids at the product level, in fact, adjusting bids at the product level is one of my fundamental strategies for effectively optimizing Shopping campaigns.

You can read about the complete strategy in this article – Effectively Optimize Google Shopping Based on Your Past History, Nothing More.

This article revels not only how to adjust bids on the product level, but how to create and implementing my proprietary Google Profitability. Through this report advertisers can naturally increase bids for items selling at above average profitability levels and decrease bids for items not selling at profitable levels.

However, as good as the results are for optimizing solely at the product level based on history, many times it is necessary (especially with accounts with large product offerings) to make sweeping bid adjustments based on either the device, location, ad schedule (time of day/day of week) or audience.

In fact, many times a well optimized account will be utilizing multiple bid adjustments within various campaigns.

What Happens When You Are Changing Bids Using Multiple Adjustments?

When you are using bid adjustments at multiple levels, your bids can quickly become drastically larger or smaller than the product bid you have initially set at either the product level, ad group level or campaign level.

This article examines what might happen when advertisers make multiple bid adjustments to understand why and how it will affect final bids.

Note, these are examples based on fictional numbers and are not meant to be replicated within your own account.

For this example, to make it easy, let us assume all our product bids are set at $1.

Now, let us assume that we reviewed our devices and have determined that traffic comes through mobile devices has a conversion rate of 1% while traffic coming from desktop devices has a conversion rate of 5% (not entirely uncommon).

Given that data, it would be wise to do a bid adjustment such as decreased bids by 40% on mobile devices (-40%) and increasing bids on desktop devices by 15% (+15%).

If you are interested in how this is done, here is an article that discusses your mobile bidding strategy – Mobile Equality – It Almost Is Never Fair, Nor Should It Be So.

Next, let us assume that we after reviewing our account’s User Location Report and there are several states as an example California, Texas and New York that have very high conversion rates and profitability levels while there a few states such as Alaska and Hawaii that have very poor conversion rates.

In this case, it would be wise to increase the bids based on location of California, Texas and New York say 25% and decrease bids in Hawaii and Alaska say -25%.

If you are interested in the full location bidding strategy, here is the article – Increase Your Conversions By Knowing Your Customer’s Location

Next, for my private clients, I am also constantly reviewing the time of day and day of week that conversions are more profitable through the use of Ad Schedules.

In our ongoing example, we will assume that there are higher conversion rates during the week/during the workday (9-5) than they are during the weekends, evenings or early mornings.

In that case, it may be prudent to increase your bids Monday through Friday during working hours (say increase 25%) and decrease bids during evening hours or weekends (say decrease 25%).

Again, I have an article dedicated on exactly how to setup ad schedules and optimized on the data discovered that you can review here – Increase Your Conversions By Knowing When Your Customers Shop

Finally, as you may well be aware, users who have previously purchased from your website or those that have previously visited your website are generally much more likely to purchase.

With that fact in mind, it is typically an effective strategy to create audiences to target these groups and adjust bids to ensure higher ad rank when either previous purchasers or previous visitors are searching for a product you offer.

For private clients, I typically will setup a couple of difference audiences that include Past Customers and increase bids 100% (because it is typically well worth that increase) and Past Browsers and increase those bids by 33%.

There are more audiences you can create, but for this example, we will stick with those two. If interested in details on how to create audiences, you can read more details here – Using Audiences to Increase Conversions

Now We Do The Math –

Based on the assumptions laid out above, it is time to practice some quick math to determine our product bids for different scenarios.

First, we will calculate how much the product bid would be for a user doing a desktop search, during the workday, located in California and oh yeah, they have also purchased from us in the past.

Here is the math as I figure it.

$1 (original bid) x 115% (device bid adjustment = $1.15
$1.15 x 125% (location bid adjustment) = $1.44
$1.44 x 125% (ad schedule bid adjustment) = $1.80
$1.80 x 200% (audience bid adjustment) = $3.60
The final bid adjustment, one would expect would be around $3.60!

See how it adds up!

Alternatively, here is the other extreme:

The product bid for a user doing a search using a mobile device during the evening in Hawaii who has never purchased or visited from our website in the past.

$1 (original bid) x 60% (device bid adjustment = $0.60
$0.60 x 75% (location bid adjustment) = $0.45
$0.45 x 75% (ad schedule bid adjustment) = $0.34
$0.34 x 1 (no audience bid adjustment) = $0.34
The final bid adjustment, one would expect would be around $0.34!

As the great marketer, Frank Kern, often says: ‘Math is not an exact science’. He makes that statement to be funny, but for us it is kind of true.

Since Google does not reveal the order of how they calculate layering bid adjustments, actual bids can fluctuate slightly depending on what order priority is given.

However, what is important to know is that if you are making adjustments based on sound historical data, your bids should be well optimized based on different scenarios. However, it is important to realize why your bids could be substantially higher or lower that your original bid!

How Do You Even Know If Bids Are Highly Inflated?

One of the most effective ways to increase profitability in a Shopping campaign is by regularly reviewing your Search Terms Report. When reviewing your search terms for unwanted terms it is also important to review the Average Cost Per Click.

This is were some puzzlement may come into play.

Back to our example where we are bidding $1 for all products, it may be discovered within the Search Terms Report items with Average Cost Per Click over $3 or under $0.35.

This would typically happen where there are only a handful of clicks (1 to 3), but yet these highly inflated or deflated bids may be common if you are using multiple bid adjustments at different levels.

Final Word

The price you are paying Google per click can be important in terms of budget (especially tight budgets); however, with ecommerce companies there are much more important metrics to measure when it comes to calculating profitability.

Key metrics such as ROAS (return on ad spend) and ROI (return on investment) are going to be far better indicators of the overall health of your online marketing opposed to your average cost per click.

Afterall, for most savvy advertisers only profitability can determine your ad budgets and how much it is prudent to spend per click, per campaign and per account.

In order to maximize your profitability, adjusting bids based on historical data at the product level or at the device, location, time or by audience are effective ways to ensure you are increasing your position within Google for customers more likely to purchase.

Just know that if you are changing bids at multiple levels that it may continue to pile on to your final product bid based on the criteria of the final users Google search.

Remember to stay safe and stay healthy!

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of the Make Each Click Count book series.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Adjusting Google Shopping Bids For Individual Products {updated 2/6/20}

Even though an individual campaign may be showing overall profitable results, if you dig into a campaign you most likely will find products that are converting well below your average cost per acquisition and some that are converting well above (the 80/20 rule).

However, and this is assuming you have already segmented your Google Shopping campaigns. Given that you have, how do you optimize individual product bids for Google Shopping ads?

First, your campaigns must have enough historical data to be relevant in your decisions. Google provides several competitive metrics advertisers can use when deciding whether to raise or lower bids for individual products appearing within Google Shopping. These competitive metrics include Benchmark CTR, Benchmark Max CTR, Search Imp Share, Search Lost IS (rank) and Click share.

In order to enable various competitive metrics to display while in the Campaigns view, click on the ‘Columns’ button and select ‘Modify columns’.

Once the modify columns window opens, an advertiser needs to select ‘Competitive metrics’ under the ‘Select metrics’ columns and add the each competitive metric that they wish to view.

Here are the more important metrics to view when decided whether to raise or lower an individual product bid:

Search Imp Share – The impressions your products have received divided by the estimate number of impressions your products were eligible to receive (available for both the product group and the individual item level).

Search abs. top IS – Short for ‘Search absolute top impression share’ this is the percentage of your Search ad impressions that are shown in the most prominent Search position.

Search Lost IS (rank) – Short for ‘Search lost impressions share’ this is the percentage of impressions your ads did not receive due to poor Ad Rank or insufficient bidding (available for both the product group and the individual item level).

Click Share – The clicks you received on Google’s Search Network divided by the maximum number of clicks that you could have received (available for both the product group and the individual item level).

For optimizing an individual product bid, I prefer to look at the Search Impr. Share in conjunction with Cost, Avg. CPC and Conversions.

Below are some examples of how I use these metrics to determine when to raise, lower or keep current Shopping bids for individual products:

When to Raise a Product Bid

When there is sufficient historical data, Google will add a small graph next to an individual product’s Max. CPC column that when accessed will display how many impressions and clicks and advertiser can expect to receive by adjusting their bid for any product. 

When optimizing products in Google Shopping manually, I tend to look for products with conversions that have a relatively low Avg. CPC where the Search Impr. share is below 50%.

Below, the product ‘a1010blem’ has a bid of $0.59, with 6 conversion in the last 2 weeks and a Search Impr. share of under 50%.  In addition, the 6 conversions have generated a total of $2,112.25 in total sales on a spend of $23.26 for a ROAS of a whopping 89.18.

This historical data makes this product an excellent candidate to investigate whether raising the product bid is viable.

By clicking on the small graph icon, Google opens a Bid Simulator window that shows what clicks, costs and impressions this item can expect if the bid is changed to one of the bid options listed. This is where experience comes into play.  I typically will raise the bid to a level that makes sense based on past experience managing similar products within the account. 

Here, by raising the bid from $0.59 to $1.10 we will see our search impression share increase to 78.10% and our click share increase to 81.52%.

Quick note, raising bids is a great way to bring more traffic to a product that has historically done well in terms of conversions, but it will also increase your spend and may result in products being displayed for a broader range of search terms.  It is highly recommended to continually monitor changes (especially when raising bids) to maintain levels of profitability.

When to Lower a Product Bid

Conversely, sometimes it is necessary to lower a specific product bid that is receiving clicks, but zero or few conversions. 

Below, is an item ‘ckcc1216s7x-black’, where the bid is at $1.25, the search impression share is 89.38% and the average CPC is $0.60.  This product has received 131 clicks and incurred a cost of $79.21 over the last two weeks. 

After checking to ensure there are no issues on the website or in the Merchant Center account thus ensuring that there is no issue with the product, I decide to lower the bid. 

By again clicking on the small graph icon located next to the Max. CPC field, I can view Google recommendations of how many clicks, impressions and costs I can expect the item to incur by lowering the bid.

In this instance, I am going to lower the bid from $1.25 to $0.94.  This will still allow this product to still receive some clicks and impressions; however, the product will be shown less often allowing other products in this subsegment to appear more often for the same keyword searches. I will continue to monitor and review the bid once additional historical data is available based on the newly adjusted bid.

When to Not Adjust a Product Bid

For advertisers, just as important as raising and lowering individual bids is determining when to NOT adjust a bid for a particular product.

Below, the product ‘cpcc1216s7x-maroon’ has a bid of $1.25, with 2 conversion in the last 2 week; $47.33 in spend and revenue generated of $239.90. This calculates to a ROAS of 5.07.

With all the criteria I use to raise a bid, I would like to view how many additional impressions, clicks and costs Google expects this product to receive if I raise the bid.  Therefore, again I click on the graph icon next to the Max. CPC field.

For this item, even if I increase the bid approximately 50% from the current $1.25 to $1.74 it would only add about 150 more impressions, but would double spend from $16.10 to $32.10 (almost 100%). 

Also, keep in mind that this is raising the Max CPC.  When looking at historical data, I can realize that this product has been actually incurring an average CPC of $0.83 per click.  With this information available, I decide that raising the bid is not a good value and that it does NOT make sense to raise the bid and will leave the bid at $1.25.

Profitability Report

The process of manually adjusting bids works great if you need to optimize a handful of products, but what if you have hundreds or even thousands of products that you want to optimize for profitability?

For accounts with large offerings, I use a self-created process that I have aptly named my ‘Profitability Report’.

Automated rules are not available for Google Shopping items.  Therefore, the purpose of the profitability report is to naturally raise product bids for items that convert, while lowering bids for items that are not converting using a systematic form.

Creating The Profitability Report

  1. Click on reports icon in top tool bar.
  2. Select Predefined Reports > Shopping > Shopping – Item ID.
  3. This should populate the following key performance indicators (KPIs): Item ID, Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Avg CPC, Costs, Cost/Conv and Conv. Rate.
  4. You will then want to add Conversion Value, Campaign and Ad Group.  Note, adding a column is done by dragging the desired field from the left menu to the table. It may be necessary to click on the 3 horizontal lines to display all options.
  5. Save As ‘Profitability Report’
  6. Note, once the report is saved you can schedule the created report to automatically run so next time the report will be available in advance.

Using The Profitability Report 

  1. Click on reports icon in top tool bar.
  2. Download the profitability report for the desired date range (suggestion is weekly or bi-weekly).
  3. Create a new column for rate on ad spend (ROAS) – conversion value/costs.
  4. This is where some discretion comes as far as optimizing and campaign goals including the overall profitability you are trying to achieve. For the accounts that I privately manage, if the ROAS is between 2 -5, I raise by 20%; if between 5-10 I raise 35%; if over 10 I raise 50%. Most of my accounts, I use a $5 threshold for costs; however, this can be adjusted depending on the accounts volume.
  5. To make it easier, I add a comment field with the action to on the item and highlight with a color – example green for all items that need to be raised.
  6. Next I sort by poor performing item ids. To do this sort by cost from largest to smallest.
  7. Set your criteria. For example, in the accounts I manage I lower bids by 25% on any item that spends over $10 with $0 sales and lower bids by 10% on any item that spends over $5 with $0 sales. Again, I color code the items that need to be decreased in order to easily determine.
  8. I then sort the excel sheet by Notes and then Ad Group.
  9. You now have an easy to read file where you can make actionable changes.

Final Word

Optimizing bids for individual products can be a labor-intensive process.  However, it also can be a rewarding process in gaining the highest return on advertising (ROAS) available for your dollars.  In addition, there are other factors to consider before raising or lowering a product bid such as: is the product in stock, is the product a seasonal seller and are there other factors that can account for increase/decrease sales such as a competitor discounting.

However, by taking advantage of Google’s competitive metrics, advertisers can optimize their Shopping Campaigns at the product level. Quick warning, for this strategy to be the most effective, advertisers should ensure they have previously segmented their Shopping Campaigns. For a review on segmenting, refer to my article – How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability {updated 1/28/20}

Google Shopping has the potential to produce one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) for ecommerce retailers advertising online. 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

Over the last few years, I have consistently seen client’s Google Shopping campaigns attain a higher ROI than that attained from either Google Search or Display (retargeting) advertising making it an important part of Google advertising for ecommerce retailers. However, being able to achieve a really high ROI can typically only be attained by using advanced techniques such as segmenting Google Shopping campaigns, which this article is dedicated.

A Quick Review – How Google Shopping Works

Google Shopping results are displayed at the very top of the page before the organic listings (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 ‘All’ link.

Google uses a real time auction system just like search results to list products in Google Shopping. In order for products to appear, they must be included within a merchant’s approved  Google Merchant Center Account. The Merchant Center account must also be actively linked to an active Shopping campaign within the Google Ads interface. For directions on how to get started with Google Shopping, see my article Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed.

Once connected to a Google Merchant Center account containing approved products, Google Ads allows advertisers to optimize their listings based on populated fields contained within their submitted products. For detailed information on what different fields Google supports, read this article – 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 as well and not within the Google Ads interface.  For those wanting to learn more about promotions, I have an article dedicated to Google promotions as well – Enhancing Google Shopping With Promotions.

However, even if you have a Google Shopping campaign that is being optimized and you 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.

What this means for advertisers is that they can of course adjust bids on the campaign as a whole based on location, ad schedule, 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 of their products are contained within a single campaign

This is why segmenting Shopping campaigns is essential for many retailers if they wish to fully optimize their Google Shopping listings based on location, time of day or devices. One of the more advanced techniques for those just starting to use Google Shopping, segmenting Shopping campaigns can improve Shopping results 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 sub-section of a feed’s product offerings is to create a new Shopping campaign. In order to do so while in the Campaigns view click on the blue plus button and select New Campaign.

Next, you will select the campaign’s goal. For Shopping campaigns, you will select ‘Sales’ and the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Then, you will need to select the new campaign type. For Shopping campaigns, you will want to select Shopping and the blue ‘Continue’ button.

You will then need to select which Merchant Center account you wish to link your campaign; select the country where products are being sold and whether you want to run a Google Smart Shopping campaign or a Standard Shopping campaign. (Note, this selection cannot be changed once a campaign is created).

For my private clients, I manage Standard Shopping campaigns as it gives you more control over where and at what costs your Shopping ads will appear. However, be careful because Google defaults your option to the newly released Smart Shopping campaign.

For information on Smart Shopping campaigns, see my article – New Google Smart Shopping Campaigns – What You Need to Realize.

Google will then prompt you to name your new campaign; set your budget; select your bidding strategy and decide if you would like to use Google’s Enhanced CPC to automatically raise your maximum bid if a click seems likely to lead to a conversion.

Next, is a setting named Campaign priority. You will find this setting useful when segmenting your products within campaigns.

The default on Campaign priority is Low.  Best-practices would recommend that this setting be changed to either Medium or High since is contains a sub-set of the full product offering.

This setting is a safeguard. 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.

Finally, you will want to specify which Networks you want your products to eligible to display. This is a fairly new option. Until recently, Google Shopping ads would only display within the Search Network. Now, the default is to have Shopping ads appear within the YouTube and Discover Network as well. This is a great option for increased exposure, but I have found these placements do not generate near the ROI of having products appear only within the Search Network.

For additional information on having Shopping ads appear within these networks, read my article – New Changes to Google Shopping Could Cost You Big Time!

Finally, select which location to serve your ads, the start and end dates of your campaign and click on the blue ‘Save and Continue’ button.

You will then be asked to select some settings for your first Ad Group including the Ad Group Type, Ad Group Name and your initial bid.

Note, the Ad Group Type – Product Shopping is the standard Shopping Ad and what I recommend for private clients.

Finally, we are ready to start determining which products should be in the campaign.  By default when an advertiser creates a new campaign, Google brings in the entire product offering in the data feed 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.

A window will then pop-up allowing retailers to subdivide according to fields they have populated within their products that are currently approved within Google Merchant Center Account. (Again for a refresher on setting up a feed, review my article – 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 seen on the website.

In order to add a subsection, simply click the box adding a checkmark to the right of the name and click ‘Continue To Edit Bids’. 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.

Once a subsection has been added, advertisers can adjust their bid on the entire product group.

Once the subsection is 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.

Once you have saved properly, there should be the word in Excluded grayed out 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 and settings can now be optimized based on these products rather than by all products that were originally in the main Shopping campaign.

A best-practices tip here – although setting a high priority level setting should prevent products being shown in other campaigns, I always recommend excluding the newly created subsection in other campaigns that you do not wish for those items to be shown.  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.

Final Word

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 results all which have the potential for impactful results in the new campaign. These 3 ways to optimize include: Locations, Ad Schedule and Devices.

If you have taken time to have a plan when mapping out your data, you will most likely find that the way you want to optimize these areas of bidding along with the negative keywords that you add will be different between campaigns. Being different is one of the ways why it makes sense to segment product data into different campaigns. For those with a substantial number of product offerings, just like classic search campaigns, segmenting your product offerings will greatly outperform a non-segmented campaign.  

With Shopping ads, Display ads (particularly retargeting) along with Search ads, advertisers have the ability to advertise their product offerings 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 the most 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 an ROI, but like the setup of most campaigns requires work and constant monitoring.  Perhaps this is why it has the ability to generate such great results, because the vast amount of advertisers are not taking the effort to employ this tactic. Thus, leaving opportunity for those who are willing to put in the effort to fully market their products using all the tools available in Google’s every changing Ads platform.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Enhancing Google Shopping Using Promotions {updated 3/18/20}

Google changed their Google Shopping model to a Pay Per Click model in October 2012.  Since that change, Google has been extremely focused on providing their users an effective shopping portal that allows consumers to compare prices for the same product among multiple retailers.  

Google has added numerous tools that allow advertisers to more effectively market their products and create while helping advertisers differentiate themselves from others selling the same products.

One of the most effective tools for eCommerce advertisers wanting to differentiate from the competition is the ability to add promotions to their products listing on Google Shopping.

Once an advertiser has properly implemented their feed in a Google Merchant Center account and linked the feed to their Google Ads campaigns (see my article Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed), the advertiser has the ability to add promotions to their products.

Getting Started With Google Promotions

Before advertisers can add a promotion to their products in Google Shopping they need to request authorization from Google.  In order to be approved, advertisers need to complete the Google Merchant Promotions Interest Form.  This form requires advertisers to enter their promotions target country, merchant center account number, name, URL homepage and contact information.  Once submitted it usually takes Google approximately 24 hours to review and approve the request.  Google will send the contact email confirmation once and if the approval has been granted.

Adding Promotions Once Approved

Once an advertiser has been approved a new promotions link will appear in the left dashboard of the Google Merchant Center account below the Marketing link. By selecting the Promotions link, advertisers are able to add a variety of promotions to enhance their Google Shopping listings.

To add a promotion, navigate to the Promotion section and select the blue + button and enter a promotion. 

You will be prompted to enter your country/language; destination and promotion category (amount off, percentage off, free gift or free shipping).

Next, you will be prompted to enter a promotion title (describes promotion – shown to customers); a promotion id (used for internal tracking – NOT shown to customers), designate which products are eligible for the promotion; enter the promo code (if needed) and your start and end dates.

Once you click on the CREATE PROMOTION button you are set.

Google will review the promotion, which includes both a policy review as well as a validation review. 

If the promotion complies with Google guidelines, the promotion should be approved and will become active for product ads in either Google Shopping, Shopping Actions or both (depending on which was selected while creating the promotion). In general, the approval process takes less than 24 hours and the advertiser will receive an email notification once approval has or has not been granted.

Google Restrictions For Promotions

The following are the current Google requirements for having a promotion approved.

  1. The title of the promotion must contain the value of the promotion and the text may not exceed 60 characters.
  2. The title cannot be misleading.  It must specifically and clearly state the promotion.  Example of a valid promotion: Save 10% On Entire Order. Example of an invalid promotion, Save Up To 10%.
  3. If there is a maximum discount threshold, it must be clearly stated.  Example, Save 10% On Entire Order (max discount $30).
  4. Title cannot include expiration dates.  Example, Save 10% On Entire Order – Ends 3/31/20.  Don’t worry, there is a field to enter when the promotion begins and ends when creating the promotion.
  5. Promotion title must be concise and cannot contain extra text.  Example of what is not allowed includes a promotion such as: See Why We Can’t Be Beat – Save 10%.
  6. Promotions must have proper formatting.  Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation are required in order for a promotion to be approved.
  7. Finally, the promotion must use a coupon that is not currently found on your website.  For example, if a merchant offers free shipping on orders over $49 automatically in their shopping cart, they cannot simply run a promotion for it.  The promotion must be unique and require a coupon code.

What It Looks Like

Below is an example of an eCommerce retailer, Epic Sports, using a Google Shopping promotion. Notice the tag with the Special offer next to it?  That is a Google shopping promotion live.

If a user clicks on the ‘Special offer’ link a window is displayed showing the full promotion.

The promotion displays the name of the company, the offer, when it expires and how to redeem.  In this case, the promotion expires in 13 days and to redeem a user would enter the coupon code listed during checkout.

Note, a retailer is not charged when the promotion is displayed.  Only if the item URL is clicked or the CONTINUE TO STORE button is clicked after the promotion is opened then will an advertiser incur their normal charge for the click.

In this example, the retailer is offering a free gift with purchase of a free VKM Dry-Fit Moisture Wicking T-shirt. Offering a free gift with purchase are just one of the options when offering a promotion.

It also doesn’t mean that a customer automatically gets the free gift, but they would have to add it to their cart and then apply the promotional code provided. By just having the promotion, this retailer’s ad is highlighting their product and thus most likely improving their CTR (click through rates).

Final Word

Typically, Google Shopping typically provides a better ROI and CPA compared to traditional search ads.  However, as more and more merchants come to discover this fact it is essential for advertisers to find ways to have their products stand out from their competitors. A Google promotion allows just that. By adding a promotion that is cost effective, an advertiser can capture more clicks, leading to a higher quality score resulting in a lower average cost per click and the ability to drive more profitable traffic.

A well-run promotion helps to boost click-through rates (CTR); highlight Shopping ads and increase conversions by giving customers a reason to buy now.

Will a promotion work for your company?  It depends on the promotion and on the company, but it is a tool definitely worth testing as we all strive to fully optimizing our Google Ads campaigns.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Top Tips To Optimize Google Shopping

A great tool for ecommerce companies currently using Google is implementing an effective Google shopping campaign.  Assuming you have already opened your Google Merchant Center account, uploaded your data feed and have linked to a Google shopping campaign inside your AdWords account, how do you optimize your rate on investment (ROI) or simply how do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

How Google’s Fee Structure Works

Google charges your account for shopping clicks the same way they charge for clicks coming from search.  Advertisers enter an initial maximum cost per click they are willing to pay and this amount is assigned across the account.  When a Google user is shown an advertiser’s product and clicks on it they are directed to the advertiser’s website, the advertiser is then charged.  An advertiser will never be charged more than their maximum bid amount and just like in Google search and display results are open to a real-time auction system in determining the price an advertiser pays and whether or not their products will be shown. Generally the bid is less than the maximum bid amount, but it depends on other advertisers and what they are bidding.  Note, the maximum bid amount can be changed at any time for either the entire ad group or sub-sections of the ad group.

Splitting A Campaign Into Subsections

Splitting an advertiser’s campaign into subsections takes work on the comma delimited (csv) feed that is sent to the Google Merchant Center account.  Google supports approximately 20 fields, see my post Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed, for a complete list. However, in terms of subdividing your feed Google currently uses the following fields: Category, Brand, Item ID, Condition, Product type, Custom label 0, Custom label 1, Custom label 2, Custom label 3, Custom label 4, Channel and Channel exclusivity.

By having data in these different fields, an advertiser can subdivide their campaign based on attributes listed in those fields as granular as 8 times. 

Review-and-Ratings-SystemHow To Subdivide A Google Shopping Campaign

When products are initially listed there will be a single field under product groups listed as all products with a small gray plus symbol to the right.  Click on the plus symbol.  A subdivide window will open with a drop down menu of what fields are eligible to subdivide a feed.  Select which attribute you would like to subdivide and a list of options available will populate the window.  Advertisers are either allowed to add selections individually by clicking on the double arrow to the right of the individual listing or add all items in the group by clicking on the plus symbol near the top.

SubdividingBy subdividing, advertisers can view where sales and costs are being generated allowing the strategic raising or lowering of bids on a subcategory level in order to maximize costs and minimize spend. Note, for sales/conversions to appear the Google AdWords tracking script must be enabled.

Subdividing the product feed is an essential part of optimizing a Google shopping feed. Without subdividing advertisers are bidding blindly and not able to track what categories/sections/items are generating sales and which are eating marketing budget.

Quick Tip

One of my favorite ways to optimize a Google shopping campaign is using a tiered bidding system based on price.  I use one of Google’s custom labels to enter a price range of the products.  First, I subdivide by brand and then subdivide by the field I use to store the pricing data, usually Custom label 0.  Once this is done, I can use the price of the item to raise the bid for higher priced products and lower the bid for lower priced items.

Here is a quick example of a tiered bidding system.

Items Priced $0-20 – Bid $0.10
Items Priced $21-39 – Bid $0.20
Items Priced $40-65 – Bid $0.30
Items Priced $65-99 – Bid $0.40
Items Priced $99-199 – Bid $0.50

Changing Bids

Once a campaign has been subdivided, changing the bids is relatively easy. Next to any campaign that has been subdivided, there will appear a light gray arrow. Once the arrow is clicked, a drop down with the categories that are available will appear. Simply enter the new maximum CPC (Max. CPC) and save. Note, here advertisers can also exclude an entire subset of products from being included in Google shopping by selecting the radio button next to Exclude and saving.

By no means is this the end of optimizing a Shopping campaign, but it is a good start to see where your sales are being generated.  It also allows advertisers to grab a larger search impression share on higher priced items while not blowing up their AdWords budget on lesser priced, lesser profitable items.

Adding Negative Keywords

When negative keywords are created it restricts an advertiser’s product from being shown. An important piece of optimizing Google search campaigns, negative keywords can also be used in Google shopping to avoid products from showing for non-related terms thus saving budget.

The first step is to determine what keywords are currently triggering your products to display in Google shopping.  It is important to have enough data for Google to display results, so I would suggest changing your date range to at least the past 30 days. Then, select the keywords tab and under Details click on the down arrow and select All.

Seeing-KeywordsA list of keywords will be displayed that have triggered products to be shown within the date range selected. Use the Columns tool to customize the view to see a wide range of useful statistics including costs, clicks, impressions, conversions and many more.  For negative keywords, look for words that do not belong and that you wish your products not to be displayed in the future.

Once you have this list, click on the Keywords tab and scroll down to the Negative keywords link. Under campaign level, click on the Add button and select Add keywords.  Add the keywords that you DO NOT wish to have trigger products to show and save.  That’s it, you’ve just saved marketing budget.

Adding-Negative-KeywordsSubdividing categories and adding negative keywords is by no means the end of fully optimizing a Google shopping campaign, but it is a great start.  Some of the other tools available include adding promotions, altering bids based on the users search device, changing bid by time or geographical region and a few others, but the two techniques described above if implemented properly will go a long way in making sure that you are driving more profitable traffic from Google shopping.

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

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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.

Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed {updated 12/19/19}

Google Shopping is by far the largest Comparison Shopping Engine aka CSE on the Internet. CSEs are used exclusively by ecommerce advertisers, not professional services advertisers. This is because Comparison Shopping Engines allow customers to compare the same product or type of products from multiple stores simultaneously.

Although there are other Comparison Shopping Engines, many of these companies have gone by the wayside as Google Shopping has captured the vast majority of the market share.

Companies such as PriceGrabber, Nextag, BizRate, Shopzilla, Pronto and Shopping.com have been outpaced and left behind by Google and the opportunities that Google brings to its advertisers.

Make Each Click Count - T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

In order to have your products eligible to appear inside the Google Shopping platform, advertisers must first open a Google Merchant Center account and then upload their products into the Merchant Center platform.

Typically for retailers with a substantial number of products, a data feed is formatted in either a csv or txt format. Although there are other ways including API connections most advertisers use the formatted feed method to upload their products.

The ability for merchants to upload their products to Google Merchant Center has given rise to quite a few data optimization companies. Some will also manage your feed (we can get into that later), but for the most part their services exist to make an advertiser’s life easier when it comes to getting their products approved and ready to advertise on the Google Shopping platform.

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at the history of how Google Shopping came to dominate the comparison shopping space.

Google Shopping was a free service until October 2012 called Froogle. In October 2012, Google went to a cost per click model similar to Google text ads where advertisers would pay each time one of their product ads was clicked. Although it was free to list prior to October 2012, the reporting abilities and customer support from Google was almost non-existent. 

When Google changed to a CPC model they made their Google Shopping system much more user friendly, allowing advertisers to manage their Shopping campaign inside their Google Ads console, allowing different bidding options and adding full customer support. Google has also made Google Shopping more prominent in how they display it to their users.

What Google Shopping Looks Like

There have been many variations over the years of where Google Shopping ads appear on Google as Google continues to experiment with the best-placement for these high performing ads.

Currently, Google Shopping ads are seen either in an expandable carousel at the top of the page above both text ads and organic placements or in a limited view on the right side typically which occurs for branded term searches.

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at search results for ‘baseball gloves’ vs. ‘Wilson baseball gloves’

Non-Branded Search Results For ‘Baseball Gloves’
Branded Search Results For ‘Wilson Gloves’

As you can see the generic search results for ‘baseball gloves’ yields 5 Shopping ads located above the search ads and the organic listings. In this case, JustGloves has every shopping listing shown as well as the Search Text ad. What a great job they are doing with their Google marketing!

If you click on the arrow, more results for Shopping ads are shown. In addition, users can find more Shopping ads inside the ‘Shopping’ tab where shoppers can compare the same item from multiple sellers on the same listing. Shoppers are also able to sort their searches by price, brand and other criteria such as fielding position in this example.

For branded searches such as ‘Wilson gloves’ you can see in the image above that Shopping ads are not shown on top. Instead, there is a Search text ad. The Shopping ads, again for JustGloves, are shown on the right side of the organic results along with information about the searched brand.

How To Implement Google Shopping

For advertisers to participate in Google Shopping, they must have an active Google Ads account as well as a Google Merchant Center account with approved products.

The Google Merchant Center account is where advertisers upload their products typically through a data feed. This data feed must contain their current product listing that they wish to make eligible for inclusion within the Google shopping database. To open a Google Merchant Center account, visit https://www.google.com/merchants/.

The Google Ads account is where advertisers can create a Shopping campaign and where merchants will link their Shopping campaign in order to control bids and their Shopping ads placement.

It sounds much more complicated than it is. Once an advertiser opens a Google Merchant Center account and uploads a feed and verifies that they own the website in Merchant Center, they can quickly link to their Ads account simply by sending an invitation from Merchant Center to their ads account.

Here is how to link your Merchant Center account to your Google Ads account.

  1. In Merchant Center, click on the wrench icon in the upper right corner.
  2. Click on ‘Linked accounts’ under Settings.
  3. Click on ‘LINK ACCOUNT’ and enter your Google Ads customer ID and ‘Send Link Request’.
  4. Then, open your Google Ads account.
  5. Click on the wrench icon in the upper right corner and select ‘Linked accounts’ under SETUP.
  6. There you should see an invitation to link to your merchant account.
  7. Accept the request and you are done.

Easy, right?

The part that is a little more involved is setting up the csv file for the Google merchant feed. Google supports a variety of different attributes for each product.  Attributes currently supported include: id, title, description, google merchant category, product type, link, mobile link, image link, additional image link, condition, availability, availability date, price, sale price, brand, gtin, mpn, identifier exists, gender, age group, size type, color, size, material, pattern, shipping, shipping weight, excluded destination, expiration date, product applicability, promotion id, product review average, product review count and five custom labels.

The purpose of so many attributes is to allow Google to serve the most refined results to their users performing Google searches. It may sound a bit overwhelming, but the good news is that there are many services that help merchants convert their products into the correct formats that are accepted by Google.

However, most of these services do not work right out of the box and may need some customization in order to correctly populate as many fields as possible.

This is where using a 3rd party Google data optimization company is extremely helpful especially for merchants with a large number of product offerings.

It is in the best-interest of advertisers to populate as many of these fields as are relevant to their product listings. Populating fields correctly will help advertiser’s products appear more often and appear more relevant to searches performed. It will also allow advertiser’s products to be accurately grouped with other merchants retailing the same product which will allow for your product ad in a Google Shopping campaign to be displayed.

Therefore, when selecting a feed provider double-check that the provider has the capabilities to both deliver Google a correctly formatted feed as well as the ability to convert existing data from your website to the appropriate Google field attributes.

Final Word

Google Shopping generally delivers a better ROI (rate on investment) and generally higher conversion rates compared to using straight text ads. This is due to how they appear.  Google Shopping ads show customers an image of an item along with the price.  In contrast, Google text ads show provide only a text description.  Even the most detailed description may not convey what is in the customer’s mind and therefore the customer may click on an ad (costing the advertiser money) and not be taken to the product or products that they expected thus leaving.

Advertisers not using Google Shopping ads will not appear in the Google Shopping results either in the Shopping carousel or withing the Shopping section of Google.

As simple as that sounds, I’ve spoken to retailers before that have said to me, “Hey Andy, I’m advertising on Google, why are my products not being shown under Google Shopping?” 

And the answer is: only products in the Google Shopping database as submitted to Google Merchant Center are eligible to show on Google Shopping and an advertiser needs to set up their products using the processes described above in order for their products to be eligible to appear.

Once an advertiser has their products appearing in Google Shopping the work has just begun.  Just like search campaigns, a Google Shopping campaign must be fully optimized in order to produce the best possible results and the ‘biggest bang for the buck’. 

For more information on optimizing your Google Shopping listings, check out these articles:

Keyword Search Terms – Unlocking The AdWords Puzzle
Effectively Optimize Google Shopping Based on Past History Nothing More
How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability

The bottom line is that Google Shopping ads are far outpacing other Google Ads including search in terms of profitability for retailers.

If you are an ecommerce merchant, then selling your products inside Google Shopping is an absolute must if you want to substantially grow your online sales.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read the full story in his article – The Full Story of The Academy of Internet Marketing.