Author: Anthony Capetola
Successful Google Shopping campaigns are heavily reliant on the capabilities of the advertiser behind the machine. The fact still remains that even with all those yummy metrics straight from AdWords it can be beyond difficult to take a campaigns from zero to profit (or even more so) from loss to profit. If it’s the merchant/store owner then you could probably chock it up to inexperience and lack of knowledge. In the end though, the agency account manager or private contractor is going to be blamed or even worse, harassed by a client. What did you miss? You had all the data from Clicks to Impressions all the way to Conversions and Click-Through-Rate. What went wrong? Chances are it was more than just one thing however all of that could have been prevented before a campaign even started.
The most important aspect of any technology or software is the human behind the machine. This goes double if not triple for Google Shopping and managing campaigns. Though campaign health and profitability is dictated by numerous qualities and metrics, it is the human aspect of use and implementation that can make or break Google Shopping success. At every single level of eCommerce development and marketing there is a pitfall into which both merchants and advertisers can easily fall.
The primary levels of eCommerce success with Google Shopping lie at the:
– Store Level
– Setup Level
– Data or Feed Level
– Campaign Level
Beyond those levels it is all about adaptation and evolution. It is about following trends, measuring data, and understanding the competitive landscape. To avoid any wasted advertising dollars, specific attention must be paid at each level listed above. Let’s say that campaigns have been running but not performing up to standard. Chances are someone missed something somewhere. There are the distinct common issues that can be addressed to alleviate such a situation:
This is the age of the mobile device and everyone, even kids below the age of 10 have cell phones. Over the past few years the major emphasis has been all about mobile optimization of a website and how important it is for driving both organic and paid traffic. Google released a report before the holidays stating that 34% of paid traffic stemmed from mobile devices last year and 2014 could see numbers close to 45%. If mobile ads are a big focus for one’s Google Shopping campaigns then it is crucial that:
A website is more than just “mobile-friendly.” One’s website must not only display properly on a cell phone but it must also SELL properly on a cell phone. Broken links or invalid redirects will do nothing but drive the consumer to a competitor’s site that can actually complete a sale. For both mobile and desktop the conversion funnel of an eCommerce store must be clear and direct.
Product data accounts for over 75% of the issues experienced with Google Shopping. Bad data can lead to getting disapproved from Merchant Center. If a campaign has been running but is not bringing in the sales one thinks it should then there could be something fishy in the data feed water. The great thing is that there is a pretty distinct way to find ill-performing product ads with regular AdWords metrics. Understanding the relationship between low Impressions (Number of Times Ad Served) and low Conversions (Actions Taken After the Click) is the easiest way to spot bad product data. If an ad isn’t even showing up for the queries being asked then it can be a clear indication that said ad’s Title, Description or even Product Image may need some more attention. A great example to use would be anything apparel or accessories. These two categories require more product attributes than most others in Google Shopping campaigns. In the case of Product Images – Product images illicit a chemical response in the brain of the consumer from the emotional center. Higher quality product images can easily drive a 25% increase in sales (even in higher priced items).
There once was a time that Google Shopping (then known as Froogle) campaigns could be built, structured and simply sent out to graze in the meadows alongside the information superhighway. Since those days are gone the #1 reason for Google Shopping campaigns to fail revolves around the “Set It & Forget It” mentality and how it relates to overbidding on products or “whitewash” bidding on entire product groups.
Overbidding can wreak havoc upon campaigns both small and large. Often the subdivision of products within a campaign is the first reason why overbidding even occurs. Just because one product sells does not necessarily mean that every subsequent similar product will do the same. Bidding higher on products that generally don’t perform well or as well as others will not guarantee a sale. Often this leads to Ad Waste whereas focusing on the products that DO SELL and sell extremely well and weeding out ill-performing product ads can put more money back into the budget. “Whitewash” Bidding is a phrase that refers to bidding the same amount on every single product. This happens more commonly with newer campaigns that have just been launched. Fact is that if those products were simply left to run chances are that the majority of the budget would go straight to Ad Waste just like in overbidding. An appropriate bid must be given to each individual ad so as to avoid budget issues and help re-allocate dollars when the data comes through.
The number one reason why Google Shopping campaigns either fail or perform poorly is the human behind the machine. It takes extreme, granular control over a campaign to squeeze the most juice and adapt to bring about either positive change or exceed any original expectations. Dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s at each individual level will ensure profitability with Google Shopping. To sum it all up it takes (to name a few):
– Domain/Website Quality and Function
– High Quality Product Data & Images
– Proper Budgeting and Spend Allocation