10 Google Shopping best practices to start doing in 2017

- Nadine Steiger
10 Google Shopping best practices

A New Year means a new chance… to get the best performance out of your Google Shopping ads.

2016 was the year Google Shopping overtook traditional Text Ads in terms of ad spend. In 2017 you can expect Google to invest heavily in Google Shopping. That means bigger, more prominent Shopping Ads and the sunsetting of Standard Text Ads.

So, if you haven’t optimized your Shopping Campaigns yet, now is the time to start! Make 2017 the year you increase efficiency and start reaping the benefits of Google Shopping.

To help you, we collected the top 10 areas that have the biggest potential to boost your Google Shopping performance.

Related: 6 Things you should do to give your Paid Campaigns a fresh start for 2017

1. Avoid Disapprovals and get all products live

The most important place to start with Shopping campaign optimization is the Merchant Center. It’s absolutely essential that you avoid product disapprovals. You want all your products live so they can attract shoppers!

What to do: Make sure your Product Feed meets all the requirements for your targeted countries to get all your products live. It’s important to remember that come February 14th, a valid GTIN is required for all products that have one in all available countries (New for Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey).

2. Optimize your campaigns with testing

As any good digital marketer knows, testing is the key to success. One important area for testing in Google Shopping is definitely your Product Titles. A well-optimized Product Title can double or even triple your click-through rate.

What to do: Start by making sure you’ve includes all the important information in the Title like Designer or Brand names and specifics about the product like Size, Color, and Material. Frontload your Product Title so that more interesting information is at the beginning of the Title to make it appear first on Mobile devices. Whenever you are optimizing your Feed Titles you should also check your search terms and see if you can increase the CTR by using them as part of the Product Title.

Related: Speak your customer’s language with killer Product Titles

A second area that’s ripe for optimization and testing is your Product Image. Image testing within Google Shopping is still very new, but since the image is the first thing the customer sees and the largest part of the ad, it’s very important to get it right.

What to do: The best way to test which type of image works best, is to change all images in one category and measure the difference in performance from a control category.

We’re looking into extensive image testing at the moment, so stay tuned to see what we find!

3. Use Ad Extension to push promotions

Ad extensions are a great way to entice more people to interact with your ad. Google promises advertisers that these extensions will highlight the USP or benefits of a product or distributor, draw attention, and boost the CTR. Help your ads can stand out from the rest by including some special offers or extend your ad format by showing the percentage price drop or product ratings.

What to do: Increase the visibility of your products by including Merchant Promotions, Products Ratings or Local Inventory Ads if you also have an Offline store. For Local Inventory Ads, you can also offer to search a particular store’s inventory and allow Google to show an in-store card with closing hours, sales and more.

Related: How to set up Google Local Inventory Ads the smart way

4. Manage your inventory through Google Shopping

Yield Management helps you organize your inventory, so you know when to promote certain products and when to pull back. To take advantage of this method, you need to calculate your yield value for your product. The yield value equals the effective value of incremental sales through paid advertising. Some products might sell out without your help anyway due to the stock level or low price or seasonality. In contrast, high price products (compared to competitor prices) or high stock products may need some additional advertising pushes.

What to do: Use Custom labels to manage your inventory and give certain products a push. I would recommend not to up-price the CPC for cheap products or products which are almost sold out, but instead use it to push those products you want sell off or you have a surplus of.

Related: Can you manage your inventory with Google Shopping

5. Optimize your campaign structure

Because Google Shopping has done away with the keyword auction, it’s easy to waste ad spend on generic search terms that have a low chance of converting to a sale. When you increase your bids, you show up for more generic terms; normally the first term you show up for will be very specific; Of course, you also don’t want to bid too low, otherwise you won’t catch all the specific enough terms.

To mirror the effect of the keyword option, you need to structure your campaign in a smart way so that you can have higher bids on more valuable search terms. This will help you not to waste your budget on search terms which are more research phase terms and less likely to lead to a conversion.

What to do: You should adjust your campaign structure so that you can have a traffic split between the incoming search terms. Within the traffic split you should have higher bids on the keywords which are more important for your shop (for example designer related search terms, or gender/color-related terms). To achieve the traffic split, use different priority settings for different campaigns and attach negative lists to them.


Related: 3 Google Shopping challenges and how to overcome them

6. Double Check your prices

Product prices – and how they compare to competitor products – have a huge influence on your ad’s impression volume, and might be the reason for a poor performance. In order to generate additional revenue, you should regularly compare your product’s price to the average product price for that particular product from time to time.

What to do: Compare your prices with the prices for the same product from your competitors. A $0.01 difference in price could be the difference between Google choosing your product automatically or needing to invest more in your CPC’s.

7. Check your negatives

In addition to allowing you to exclude some search terms from your campaigns, negatives also help you with your campaign structure (see image above). You can add them on campaign level or on adgroup level.

What to do: Check whether or not you’ve already attached negatives on campaign and ad group level and review them regularly. If you’re using negatives to save money by not appearing for products you usually sell but don’t have in stock, make sure you remove the negative keywords when those products are back in stock. You should also check your search terms to see if you might have missed a good negative keyword.

8. Prepare for Mobile and Image Listings

Device Bid Modifiers allow you to push each device differently by adjusting the CPC’s. At the moment, Mobile is likely your best chance to pick up extra traffic, as it has continued to grow in leaps and bounds over the last year. Modifiers are a good area to save some money by pushing traffic to your best performing device.

You can also set your products to appear in Google’s Image search results. Image search is considered part of the Google Search Network, so if your Shopping campaign is opted-in to Search partners, your ads will automatically be eligible to show in image search results. Google also adjusted the ad format for Shopping ads on smartphones to show full product titles and extensions, making mobile even more appealing to retailers.

What to do: Opt in to Search Partners if you want to show your products within the image listings.

Furthermore, have a look at the actual bid modifiers on the campaign or adgroup level and re-adjust them if you can see any unusual performance for some devices within some campaigns/adgroup.

9. Add remarketing lists

With the use of Remarketing lists, you can have different CPC’s for different groups of users. For example, you could bid more to show your ad to someone who has visited your site before. You also can restrict your advertising or push to a special group of people who might be more valuable for you.

What to do: Review the RLSA performance from time to time and adjust the bid modifier. You can also set up some new RLSA lists or use Google’s Customer Match to strengthen performance.

Related: Google Customer Match: 4 strategies for success

10. Use dayparting

Dayparting allows you to adjust your CPC’s during the day/week. You can increase your CPC’s for good performing time ranges or decrease your CPC’s if you want to save money during underperforming times.

What to do: Analyze your campaign performance by Hour-of-Day or Day-of-the-Week and adjust your scheduling in order to make your budget last until the end of the day. This allows you to spend more during the valuable times.

Check the performance and the outcome

After you’ve overhauled your campaigns and prepared your settings for 2017, make sure you keep an eye on the performance and adjust some settings if needed. If you prepare your campaigns right in the beginning of the year, you can save time later on and get the best performance out of them.

Let us know if you have more tips!


Nadine is an online marketing enthusiast. She’s managing and implementing online marketing campaigns for luxury markets in the UK. Nadine is one of crealytics` Google Shopping experts.


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