Sneak Peak – Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies

Below is a sneak peak into my soon to be released book Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies.

Introduction

Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies is your guide to unlocking profits inside Google Shopping and magnifying those profits using the latest techniques and strategies typically applied by the only the top Google Ad agencies.

The fact is that Google Search ads have continued to become more competitive as more and more businesses advertise their products and services using this original Google ad type.

Although opportunity still exists using Google Search ads, most eCommerce advertisers tend to achieve substantially higher profits and generate a substantially higher volume of sales using Google Shopping.

There are two main reasons that overall sales and profitability both are typically higher for companies advertising with Google Shopping ads compared to Google Search ads – how they work and how they are setup.

First – How Google Shopping Ads Work

When Google Shopping ads are displayed, users are shown the product image, price, product name and the name of the merchant before they even click on an ad. In addition, when they do click an ad, users are ALWAYS directed to the product page EVERY time. There is never any confusion on the shopper/user side.

For Google Search ads on the other hand, even with the best well-written ad copy some shoppers may be expecting something different when the click on your ad then when they land on your website.   

This confusion and surprise will lead to the customer quickly returning to Google (called a bounce). However, even when shoppers bounce you, the advertiser, are still charged for the visit.

Second – How Google Shopping Ads Are Setup

For Google Search ads, advertisers go into their Google Ads account, create a list of keywords, create an ad and typically the ad is live within a few hours.

This simplicity of setting up an ad is the main reason that especially Google Search has become more and more competitive.

In order to run a Google Shopping campaign, advertisers first must open and format their Google Merchant Center account. Upload their products into that account and link their Merchant Center account to their Google Ads account.

In order to run a well-optimized Google Shopping campaign, advertisers must then segment their products into different campaigns and adjust their bidding on products, device, location, etc.

Being a bit more complicated is a good thing for the advertisers willing to discover what is available in Google Shopping as being more complicated weeds out the competition that is either too lazy or too distracted to take full advantage of what is available using Google Shopping.

With so many moving pieces to optimize with Google Shopping, it is no wonder that automation such as Google Smart Shopping campaigns are becoming more popular (we will dive into these more in the chapter – Is Using Google Smart Shopping Campaigns Smart for Retailers?).

For now, know that what is laid out in this book is the current best-practices for quickly increasing your profits and sales using Google Shopping.

Won’t This Book Become Outdated?

The short answer is YES. 

It is hard to believe that it has been almost 5 years since I published my first book – Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

In the 5 years since that book was published, the Google interface has changed multiple times. Some of the terminology has changed. Heck, even the name has changed (Google AdWords is now Google Ads).

However, the strategies and underlying system for my original book has not changed.

Likewise, with this book, I can promise with absolute certainty that in a year or less (maybe even by the time this book is published) some of Google Ads interface will have changed.

That is just the nature of Google AdWords (excuse me, I meant to say Google Ads).

However, what won’t change are the advanced strategies on how to segment your account and how to use the historical data to optimize your account to predict future success.

What Does This Book Contain?

This book has been divided into 5 main sections.

  • Laying The Groundwork – Here Google Shopping is explained including the history, what it has now become and what it looks like.
  • Optimizing Google Merchant Center – Properly optimizing Merchant Center with complete data is essential for success using Google Shopping campaigns. This section focuses on the importance of Merchant Center as well as best-practices and common techniques for creating a fully optimized Merchant Center account.
  • Basic Optimizations Inside Google Ads – This section convers in detail the strategies and best-practices for optimizing Shopping campaigns inside the Google Ads interface. Discover how to best optimize your campaigns using historical data to predict future success in relations to keywords, adjusting product bids, adjusting mobile bids, adjusting location bids and more.
  • Automating Google – The fourth section goes into detail on automated features of Google Shopping including the new Google Smart Shopping campaigns, different automated bid strategies and merchant participating in Google Shopping Actions.
  • Advanced Techniques – Written for those wishing to dive even deeper into Google Shopping, this section looks at advanced techniques such as using the Google Ads editor; using supplemental feeds and using positive keywords to control search terms.

How Should You Read This Book?

How to read this book is going to depend on you and what you want to take from the book. Reading the book in order, cover-to-cover will lead to some great insights in a perspective you have never thought about – even for the most experienced advertiser and provide a full look at advanced techniques and strategies.

For the advertiser just starting with Google Shopping, this book will lead them through a journey from inception to completion with a step-by-step guide to create and maintain successful Google Shopping campaigns.

If you are pressed for time, start reading the chapter that details where you currently need help in your account. However, make sure you return to read the full book!

Why Did I Write This Book?

My name is Andy Splichal and I have been managing Google Ads campaigns for almost twenty years!  Since 2001, I’ve managed hundreds of thousands of dollars for my clients.

Since 2014, I have managed Google Ads for private clients through True Online Presence, where I’m the founder and CEO.

True Online Presence is a partnered Google Ads agency that continually strives to provide profits through best-practices and cutting-edge proprietary strategies for our private clients using Search, Shopping and Display ads.

Since publishing my first book in 2015 – Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google Shopping, the opportunity for profitability has shifted to Google Shopping ad types.

And although the original book included a section on Google Shopping, there was not enough specific step-by-step detail for someone to create a successful Shopping campaign TODAY.

That is why I released this book, to demonstrate how we are optimizing Shopping accounts with great success for our private clients and invite those willing to put in the work to not only read this book, but to apply the techniques taught in order to enjoy the same level of success!

I hope you enjoy the book.

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.

Segmenting Product Data – Develop Your Plan With Custom Labels

Pretend that you are a new advertiser and have decided to start advertising using Google Shopping. You have successfully uploaded your products into Google Merchant Center and you have completed your basic settings. Google has approved all of your products and you have linked your Merchant Center account to your Google Ads account.

So, you are done, right?

The fact is that although you may be now able to advertise using Google Shopping ads you are far from done if you wish to run successful Google Shopping campaigns.

Many accounts I have reviewed over the years unfortunately stop after the initial setup is complete leaving a merchant’s entire line of products to linger in a single Google Shopping campaign. Running a single Google Shopping Campaign is difficult to optimize and almost impossible to use in order to be able to generate profitable sales.

This article is written for advertisers wishing to squeeze all possible sales and profits out of Google Shopping advertising and discusses why failing to segment their product feed is such a costly mistake.

Why Should You Segment

When advertising Shopping ads inside of AdWords, similar to Search ads, advertisers will typically see the best results by segmenting their products into smaller groups of similar products using different Shopping campaigns.

The reason to segment your products is that segmenting allows you to more easily optimize your bidding and control your keywords based on past results. Although these are more advanced concepts, for now we just need to know that we want to be able to segment our data feed.

For those wanting to skip ahead in the process to discover the cool stuff like how we are going to optimize bidding and control keywords, you can read these past articles:

Positive Keywords – A Better Way to Control Unwanted Searches

Effectively Optimize Google Shopping Based on Your Past History, Nothing More

However, before we can delve into advanced strategies, we need to first set the basics with the best ways to segment your data inside of your Merchant Center feed. Once we have successfully segmented our data, we will have everything we need to fully optimize our advertising inside of the Google Ads interface.

Segmenting – Having A Plan

Let’s first again quickly review how Google Shopping works:

It Starts With A ‘User Query’
– Google matches –
eligible products in Google Shopping campaigns using
Keywords – Taken from the title and description
then they use a
Real time auction

This formula determines the ad rank or order in which products appear within Google Shopping.

First and foremost, your products need to be eligible to appear. This means having some minimum required data within your data feed including item name, price, image, product id, URL, brand, condition, shipping, tax, gtin or mpn and description.

These are the current basic fields Google requires for non-apparel items. For apparel items, there are even more additional fields including color, gender and age group that are needed.

In addition, to all these required fields, Google has another 40 or so fields they use in order to help match products in user queries along with allowing users to filter data in the Google Shopping tab. The more data you submit inside your feed the more likely your products will appear for relevant searches and will increase when they also appear if users are filtering products within Google Shopping.

Populating data into required fields and into suggested fields is a great start; however, our goal as advertisers is not to be able to just advertise it is to be able to advertise and make a profit.

Inside of a product ad group within a Shopping campaign inside the Google Ads interface, advertisers are allowed to subdivide their products by the following fields – Category, Brand, Item ID, Condition, Product Type, Channel, Channel exclusivity or Custom Label 0, Custom Label 1, Custom Label 2, Custom Label 3 or Custom Label 4.

While most data fields are used by Google to match relevant products with users’ queries the only purpose of custom labels is to allow advertisers to add the data, they wish to use in order to be able to subdivide their feed inside of Google Ads.

For step by step instructions on how to subdivide product ads, you can read my article How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability.

For now, we need to have plan for deciding what data our custom labels should contain where it will make sense for us to segment.

For my private clients, I typically use custom label 0 and 1 to further identify the item either by name or item type.

For custom label 2 I use as a pricing tier – $0-10; $10-$25; $25-50, etc. This will allow me to implement a tiered bidding strategy.

Finally, for custom labels 3 and 4 I typically use to identify either new items or best-sellers.

Here is a look at mapped data file for one of my private clients. Pay attention to the custom labels.

Remember the purpose of adding custom labels are so you can easily segment in order to adjust bids based on sales or spend.

Although your custom labels may vary, this template should serve you as a pretty good roadmap.

Final Word

Being able to control the data in your Google Merchant Center feed is essential to the success of your Google Shopping campaigns. And although implementing advanced strategies such as Positive Keywords, The Adding of Negative Keywords and other optimizations based historical data is much more glamourous and can even be quite fun; first you need to have your data feed properly optimized.

Given this fact it is important that get under the hood so to speak and before you start advertising you first fully understand how Google Shopping ads work.

Second, you must have complete control on your data feed.

Don’t worry there are many great data optimization companies that can help format your data feed and that provide the tools to easily map the feed from data within your website.

However, the strategy of what data to use to populate the custom labels is going to determine how you advertise using Google Shopping and that is something where the strategy should come from you!

Like any strategy, it shouldn’t happen on the fly. Instead it should be measured and calculated in order to provide the most optimal results. This of how it makes sense to segment your data and then add the custom labels to make segmenting possible.

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 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 on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com

Is Using Google Smart Shopping Campaigns Smart for Retailers?

Google has introduced a new way for advertisers to manage their Shopping campaigns aptly named ‘Smart Shopping campaign’.  However, who are Smart Shopping campaigns designed for and what advertisers would benefit from implementing “Smart” shopping campaigns opposed to Standard Shopping campaigns?

So, what is Google’s Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Google’s promotes their Smart Shopping campaigns as a way for advertisers to simplify their campaign management while maximizing conversion values and expanding their reach.

Campaigns that use the Smart Shopping setting are eligible to appear across

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

Google’s Search Network, Display Network, YouTube and Gmail.

A Smart Shopping campaign will take priority over Standard Shopping campaigns. This means that if a product is listed in a Smart Shopping campaign as well as a Standard Shopping campaign, the Smart Shopping campaign is the campaign that Google will use to serve a retailer’s ads.

How do Smart Shopping campaigns work?

Google uses an advertiser’s existing product feed as submitted to Google Merchant Center and combines eligible products with Google’s machine learning to serve ads across their list of networks – Google’s Search Network, Display Network, YouTube and Gmail.

A merchant determines their budget and Google automatically tests ads for different combinations of products and keyword searches promising to deliver retailers the maximum amount of conversion value for their ad spend.

What is required for Google Smart campaigns?

Before an advertiser can setup Smart Shopping campaign, they will need to make sure they comply with some initial setup procedures that include:

  1. Conversion tracking will need to be configured along with transaction-specific values.
  2. The website will also need to add a global site tag to the website and have a remarketing list with a minimum of 100 active users.
  3. Finally, advertisers will need to meet all requirements for Google Shopping campaigns as well as follow the standard Google Shopping ad policies.

How can you tell if Google Smart campaign is working?

If an advertiser wants to test using a Google Smart shopping campaign, it is advisable to allow the campaign at least 2-3 weeks for Google algorithm to work.  Don’t turn off the new campaign within a day or two, give Google time to test their Smart Shopping algorithm to see if Google is providing desired results before evaluating performance.

Second, advertisers will want to make sure the budget and products are comparable to historic data from past Standard Shopping campaigns when evaluating.

Note, if using a ROAS goal, initially advertisers may see a decline in the number of clicks and impressions they are receiving. This is normal as Google tries to deliver conversions within the settings of the campaign’s profitability goals.

So, what is the upside of using Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns?

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

Using Smart Shopping campaigns can provide retailers with extended reach beyond the Google Search Network. With Smart Shopping campaigns also delivering ads to the Display Network, YouTube and Gmail, retailers may find additional sales beyond the Google Search Network.

Also, for retailers with limited-time or knowledge to properly manage their campaigns, Google Smart Shopping campaigns are an ideal way to simply define what profitability they would like to achieve without the time-consuming task of optimizing for negative keywords, bids, device bidding and the many other factors that go into running a successful Google Shopping campaign.

What is the downside of using Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns?

Advertisers do not have control over where or how many times their product ads are appearing across different networks. Google DOES NOT provide data on what networks or keywords are driving conversions. 

Google’s Smart Shopping algorithm supposedly works by providing maximum conversion value, but Google does not provide specifics on the how, where, what and why. Instead they ask for retailers to give Google the blind trust that Google will spend the advertiser’s money efficiently.

This is kind of like putting the fox in charge of the hen house as Google charges again based on the bids that they are creating for the advertiser’s product listings without the advertiser having any control over specific bids or even being able to review where ads or showing or at what bids.

Additionally, advertisers are not allowed to opt out of certain networks making Google Smart campaigns and all or nothing proposition as far as where ads are eligible for display.

So, what is the bottom line?

Advertisers, especially those with limited-time or knowledge of how Google Shopping works may want to test to see if running Smart Shopping campaigns are more profitable than running Standard Shopping campaigns.

Being able to show ads across different networks, may be profitable for advertisers. However, be aware that you are giving up quite a bit of control and trusting that Google will be providing ‘maximum conversion value’ beyond what can be achieved running Standard Shopping campaigns.

Last bit of advice

For my private clients, I would advise that typically a well-run Standard Shopping campaign should deliver results and insights into their business that are not available with Smart Shopping campaigns.

With the proper use of negative keywords and the ongoing optimization of past results, the upside of being able to control where product ads are eligible to appear outweighs the promises of letting Google handle your account and letting Google control your bids and placements while trying to maximize your profits.

However, like anything there is no or at least, if you keep budgets low, little harm in testing.  I have seen results vary based on product line and there is the possibility of an upside with increased exposure across all Google networks.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com) for exclusive video training, online courses, step-by-step instructions and exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Author2.jpg

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, Vegas & Dumb Money!

Google gives advertisers a tremendous opportunity to reach millions of potential buyers and even some training on how to properly use Google if you do the research.  However, Google will take practically anyone’s money that is willing to spend it with them. In Las Vegas, this is called dumb money.  It is what makes Vegas rich, hell it is what makes Google rich.  But, there is a better way.

Back to my Las Vegas example – one of their most popular games is blackjack.  A relatively simple game, blackjack can be played by anyone over the age of 21.  You start with two cards and try to get closer to 21 than the person representing the casino does without going over.  If you do that, you win.  Easy right!Make Each Click Count - T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

Similar to Google, anyone can sit down and start to play as long as they are willing to part with their money. However, some people who wish to play the game first would like to get more educated on rules and strategies to increase their chance of success.  There are books on blackjack strategy that if learned will increase your odds.  There are similar books regarding Google advertising that can increase your odds of success, I should know, I wrote one!

So what to do, where to start especially if you are busy store owner with a thousand things pulling you in a million different directions?

Well from talking to hundreds of store owners, I have found that there are four specific routes taken and here they are:

Do Absolutely Nothing – This is the easiest option for you. You decide not to sell on Google, maybe electing to advertise on Amazon or a different marketing channel.  For store owners, especially online ecommerce store owners this can be turning your back on the potential for huge number of sales.  Plus, if you rely on purely Amazon, you are at Amazon’s whim in addition to paying Amazon a steep commission and not even owning the customer.

Do It Yourself – Taking your lumps as you learn. Just like the person who walks into the casino the first time, you are welcome to jump right in and play.  Typically those players lose, but who knows, we’ve all heard of beginners luck right?

Hire An Agency – Let a SEM agency that you select handle everything for you. Again, maybe they know what they are doing, maybe not.  If you are small to medium sized business, typically large SEM agencies have a great sales person; however, once you sign on, your account typically goes over to a junior marketer, maybe right out of college.  They may very well also take their lumps; however, they get to do it with your money. And, if you don’t know the basic best-practices, then how will you even know?

Educate Yourself – At least with basic best-practices in advertising on Google AdWords and Google Shopping. Just the like the blackjack newbie It can be daunting and it will take some time. However, if you don’t learn at least some fundamental best-practices, it can be disastrous for your marketing budget. 

With this in mind, I have created numerous tools to help Google advertisers intelligently advertise using Google.

Recently, I release a case study and bonus training video showing the #1 Secret to optimizing your Google Shopping Campaigns.

[Click Here For Immediate Access]

Google Search Ads are difficult enough.  You have keywords, keyword types, device adjustments, writing ads, creating ad extensions; the list goes on and on.

With Google Shopping, now you take out the keywords and replace with submitting a product feed to Google Merchant Center.  Optimizing that feed and linking eligible products into your AdWords account it can be overwhelming. However, once you have your data feed set up, I have found one way that produces faster results then all others and we call it the #1 Secret To Substantially Increasing Your Sales While Reducing Ad Spend In Google Shopping.

We recently released an in-depth case study documenting the #1 Secret To Substantially Increasing Your Sales Using Google Shopping along with a bonus training video that you can now access by clicking on the link below.

[REQUEST THE CASE STUDY & ACCESS THE TRAINING VIDEO]

This case study details two Google AdWords accounts for two different websites owned by the same company that both contain the same products.  For one account we applied the #1 secret for increasing sales and decreasing wasteful spend, while the other account we did not.  By applying the #1 secret to the account, the first account nearly tripled sales while generating a lower CPA.   

One of my favorite movies is the 1998 movie Rounders with Matt Damon and there is one line I always remember, which is this: ‘If you don’t see the sucker in the room, then you are the sucker’.

Don’t be the sucker! I encourage you to request the case study and watch the corresponding training video.  Your marketing budget will thank you for it.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

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.

What I Was Asked At Last Month’s Yahoo Small Business’ Marketing Conference

Last month, I traveled to Chicago to attend the 2016 Internet Retailer Conference and present on a marketing panel at the Yahoo Small Business Roadshow that preceded the conference.  The IRCE event is filled with over 10,000 visitors and hundreds of exhibitors retailing various solutions for small businesses. The Roadshow is a smaller group of successful e-commerce merchants held the day before.  

Make Each Click CountThe Yahoo Small Business Roadshow is a relatively new event.  Yahoo Small Business formerly held a Yahoo Summit at their campus in Northern California, but the last couple of years they shifted to doing smaller one day events throughout the country. For this event, Yahoo Small Business group now renamed Aabaco asked me to take part in a marketing panel along with four other industry experts.  During the panel, my exclusive focus was Google Shopping and how small business owners can increase profits by properly optimizing.

During the panel, I was asked the following questions:

  1. In my experience, how does Google Shopping typically perform versus Search?
  1. How does the shift to now having the majority of searches being done with mobile devices affect Google ads?
  1. What impact does Google removing their right side text ads have on advertisers?

Here is how I answered:

The first question of Google Shopping vs. Google Search is a question that not only I was asked at the seminar, but also have been asked often by numerous potential and current clients so it was a great question to start with.

Although all verticals are slightly different in their results, typically I have found that most companies can achieve higher profits when properly optimizing Google Shopping compared to Google Search. 

The reason for this is two-fold.  First, Google Shopping takes more to properly optimize than Search.  From properly configuring a Google Merchant Center account to optimizing the data feed to linking an AdWords account to determining a bidding strategy that works, far fewer accounts are properly optimizing for Shopping leaving a great opportunity for those that are able to implement solid techniques.  Second, the price per click for Shopping tends to average about half of the CPC for Search.  Again, this is likely due to less merchants properly optimizing thus less competition for those potential visitors. I could have gone on with many more reasons this holds true, but I was restricted by time.  Fortunately, for those reading this post I am not and have written many articles on properly optimizing shopping in the Google Shopping section of this blog.

The second question was how has the fact that the majority of searches are now being done with mobile devices affect Google ads?

Before I answer, let me confirm that last year for the first time the number of Google searches done from mobile devices did indeed surpass those done from traditional desktop devices and here is what that shift in behavior means for advertisers:

First, it is important for merchants to know what percentage of their visitors are coming from mobile devices and the conversion rates for both organic as well as conversion rates from paid search.  It is important for a company to initially address if using paid ads to attract mobile visitors is profitable before determining a strategy for capturing mobile visitors.  Second, once it is determined that advertising for mobile users is profitable it is equally important to determine what level of profitability can be achieved through mobile devices. 

Google provides tools such as device bid adjustments and the ability to service mobile optimized ads that are essential and require ongoing testing in order to provide profitable results. Therefore, the question of how the increase in mobile searches effects e-commerce merchants is going to depend on the merchant and if they are optimizing their website and advertising for specifically for mobile advertisers.  If they are, the shift will lead to greater opportunity for those advertisers using best-practices for mobile.

For more information on optimizing ads for mobile and how to decide whether to use Google AdWords to advertise to mobile users review my blog post, Optimizing Google Ads For Mobile.

The final question I was asked was regarding Google’s recent change to their results interface in their decision to remove right hand side text ads.

As hopefully you are aware if you are currently running Google ads, Google stopped showing right side text ads in February of this year.  In addition to removing right side text ads, Google increased the potential number of ads that appear above the organic results from three to four.

Make Each Click CountFor Google advertisers, it is important to know the ramifications of this change and how it may affect their advertising.  Because of this change, it is even more essential that advertisers use highly targeted keywords in order to get the most from their advertising.  To do so, advertisers need to know their quality score, have a strategy when determining which keyword match types they are using within their campaigns and make sure that they are fully utilizing all of  Google’s ad extensions that are applicable.

In addition, Google’s removing text ads from the right side has made Google Shopping ads even more prominent as they are now alone on the right side creating much more focus.  In addition, Google has recently been testing showing up to 16 Shopping/PLA ads so it may soon become even more important.

The bottom line with Google’s removal of the right side text ads is that for advertisers currently using best-practices it most likely will end up being a very good thing and quite possibly will help advertising with Google become even more profitable.  For those who were not using best-practices and fail to implement, good luck! For those souls, Google advertising will most likely become more expensive and less profitable.

If you are interested in learning more about why Google made the decision to remove right side text ads as well some more detailed information on how advertisers can take advantage for this change, read my post – What Google’s Removing Right Side Text Ads Means For Advertisers.

Summary –

I was honored to be included on the sole marketing panel for the Yahoo Small Business Roadshow.  It was a great event and I was able to meet many merchants who are successfully running e-commerce websites.  These owners have been able to continue to succeed, some for decades, despite changes from outside competition including Amazon and ongoing changes in marketing platforms they use as well as those they don’t.

The one constant that I found between the successful store owners was that all of them were able to consistently provide their customers with a great experience.  If a store owner can do that, then driving traffic to their website whether using Google Shopping, Google Search or other marketing platforms becomes more profitable. However, those that don’t continue to keep updated and implement best-practices when driving web traffic can find their profit margins shrink and will continue to lose business to competitors that successfully implement.

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.

Good Luck & 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.

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.