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.

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?

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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.