Has the performance of your Shopping campaigns ever changed suddenly with no obvious cause?
If it has, don’t worry. You’re not alone. As a campaign manager, you probably do multiple adjustments a day, many of which won’t show their whole impact for several days. So when something goes wrong, you might need to do a little digging into your performance to spot the mistake and solve the issue.
Here’s how to systematically check your account and find the problem:
Do you have a disapproved Shopping feed or products?
The first step when you see a big performance change in your Shopping campaigns is to log into your MerChant center and use the diagnostics tab. Check to see if there are any disapproved accounts, feeds or items and make sure that all your products are included in the feed and ready to serve.
Are there wrong negatives attached?
If there is a massive change in the overall amount of impressions your account is receiving or if you see search terms in product groups where they shouldn’t be, you may have the wrong negatives in place.
In any case, it’s good practice to review your negatives regularly to ensure you don’t have seasonal negatives place or have excluded profitable search terms.
Do you have the right priorities in place?
If you use our query-level campaign segmentation method to filter your traffic into the right campaign for the right bid, you should check that your traffic split is working. Google always serves the highest priority first, so getting this right is essential.
Check change history for major changes
If your performance change is based on settings and not linked to disapprovals, check the change history for the timeframe when the performance change occurred. Using this information, you can investigate which change might have caused your issue.
You also can compare the performance on an hourly basis to pinpoint exactly where things may have gone awry. Go into the dimension tab and chose the view “Hour of the day” compared to the day before. You’re looking for bids that have been decreased or increased heavily or some other setting change like an added/removed RLSA bid modifier, Device modifier, etc.
Is there an external factor?
Performance changes aren’t always due to something going wrong within your AdWords account. External factors can also have a big impact.
- A competitor starts offering the same product at a cheaper price or is running a special sale that includes this product.
- A top selling product runs out of stock and you can’t serve your performance driver.
- Something in the market changes and there was a decrease in requests for the corresponding product.
- Google releases an update or changed the format.
This illustration demonstrates the internal and external effects that can influence your account`s performance.
Avoiding problems before they happen
To avoid poor performance, you should check your Merchant Center at least once a day to check for disapproved ads. We also recommend you setup email alerts within the AdWords interface to be instantly informed about big performance changes.
To preserve your sanity, don’t do any intense bid management tasks on Friday or before you go on vacation – you don’t want to be tracking the impact of your changes at the weekend!
Last but not least, in order to accurately attribute performance changes to the right factor, it’s important that you don’t make too many changes at once.
What other factors do you think contribute to campaign performance problems? Let us know in the comments below!