Published on EcommerceNation June 05, 2017 (Jason Barnard)
In this article, I will address the issue of successfully optimizing your Google Merchant feed. Product specifications are here. A note on the quality of the landing page: the quality of this page is vital. If you are present and relevant on Google Shopping and you are attracting users who are looking for what you sell, but if your page is not convincing, you are wasting your time.
You are reading this because you want to optimize your campaigns, so you already know that Google Shopping offers:
- very strong presence in Google results pages
- very finely-tuned keyword targeting
- a relatively low CPC
- a relatively low CPA
- relatively simple campaign housekeeping (once the feed is setup)
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GOOGLE SHOPPING CAMPAIGNS
In this article I will tell you the 6 things you should concentrate your efforts on in order to get the most out of your Google Shopping campaigns. These are listed in order of impact on the performance and profitability of your campaigns.
Each of these 6 key points serves one of two purposes :
- Getting your ad in front of the right person at the right time
- Once there, standing out from the competition
THE 6 KEY POINTS EVERY GREAT GOOGLE SHOPPING CAMPAIGN NEEDS
1. SPEND TIME ON YOUR TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
Having an SEO approach will help you here. The tactics are a little different, but your SEO knowledge will help you win this battle.
Title: You have 150 characters. It must contain the most searched-for keywords for the product. The name and type of product at the beginning of the title, followed by the most important aspects for your customers.
Here is the formula: product type + brand + gender + color + material + other specificities
Description: You have 5000 characters. In SEO, you have much fewer (about 160). Although in SEO Google will look in the texts of your whole page for phrases that are relevant to the search of the internet user, in Shopping it will only look in the description you have provided in your feed. So, be informative with several sentences describing all of the different aspects and advantages of the product. And include your SEO keywords (as always, without overdoing it)
The more precise the title and description, the more likely the right person will see your ad.
Here is the advice from Google : title and description
Here is a good way to find the keywords that your current clients are using.
2. MAKE YOUR IMAGES STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
The images must make the user want to click on the ad. Images take up more than half the space…. and a lot of sellers use the same or similar images, so a photo that stands out will make a BIG difference in many cases.
You must (of course) follow the Google Shopping rules – if an image does not conform to Google Shopping rules, the ad will not be accepted.
Basically, use good quality images showing only the product mentioned in the ad (the right color, type etc) on a light background. Plus, if you sell a product or you are going to be in direct competition for the same product (Nike shoes, for example), everyone will have the same photo provided by Nike.
It may seem like a small detail, but having a unique picture is a considerable advantage. Take photos in-house (pay attention to the rules outlined above) and do a test on some of your flagship products. Measure the improvements in performance / profitability of these ads. Then, if the photos have improved the profitability of those ads, take photos for all the products. You don’t have to do them all at once; do a few every week.
The filename of the image should be the product name with the words separated by dashes : nike-air-zoom-pegasus-blue.jpg
Here are Google’s guidelines : images
3. GROUP THE ADS BY PRODUCT TYPE AND PROFITABILITY
Group similar products with the same level of profitability. By organizing your products by profitability and type, your group bid adjustments will be consistent with the return on investment of the products. In addition, you can better allocate your time, focusing on the product groups that bring you the most profits.
The categorization of products for Google and your customers is something else (see below)
4. GET PRODUCT REVIEWS FROM CLIENTS
The stars under your products are a very effective way to attract the attention of the user. With a good score, you will increase the click through rate, which will increase your impression share on Google Shopping. PLUS, those stars and reviews will almost certainly increase your conversion rate since the customer will be reassured about the quality of the product.
If your CMS offers the ability to collect customer reviews, that can be enough. However, an independent third-party platform is better because it it is more credible to Google and gives you additional credibility vis-à-vis your clients. Using a third party review platform will also help you in your SEO efforts as these review platforms provide you with a range of simple tools to help you optimise your site for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even Facebook!
Recommended UK Platforms : Trustpilot, Verified Reviews, Feefo
Recommended US platforms : Reseller Ratings, Trustpilot
5. INTEGRATE SPECIAL OFFERS
You can add special offers to your feed – discounted prices, holiday sales, free shipping. This will help you in two ways … it will help your products stand out from the crowd, and will give the client an incentive to act now.
THE CONCEPT OF AISLE END-CAPS
Managing your special offers in combination with the ad groups mentioned above (remember, you grouped products by return on investment) allows you to run your Google Shopping in a similar manner to aisle end-caps in a supermarket. This is an incredibly powerful tactic.
Note that to set up a special offer campaign you must use the application form provided by the Google team. You have two ways of putting them in place:
- Make specific special-offer products, with the official special offer attribute indicated, that you can integrate into the normal feed
- Make a separate special offer feed to be loaded into the Merchant Center, allowing finer management of the sets of products on special offer.
Don’t try to save time by just simply including “on sale” or “special offer” wording in the titles and descriptions of standard products. This is not the accepted procedure. It forces you to change the product title and description before and after the special offer, and Google may even exclude the product from the feed.
6. USE THE MOST SPECIFIC PRODUCT CATEGORIES AVAILABLE
It is vital to choose the right category. Categories are imposed by Google. Take the time to choose the most specific category possible. Google is a machine and an explicit categorization is the best way to allow it to classify each product quickly, efficiently, and with certainty. Specifying the very broad « shoes » category for a Nike sports shoe leaves too much room for error in the machine’s understanding.
Here is the complete list of Google’s categories
It’s a big job, but it will pay big dividends. Meticulous, intelligent application of the above 6 points over several months will bring you significant improvements in the profitability of your campaigns.
The 6 points above will allow you to provide Google with a feed that allows it to make an attractive presentation of your products to the right people at the right time. Don’t forget to optimise AdWords too. Optimising AdWords is critical to the success of your Google Shopping campaigns.