How to squeeze every last drop of performance from your Google Shopping campaigns

- Andreas Reiffen
Get even more performance from your Google Shopping campaigns

You know your way around a Google Shopping campaign. You’ve uploaded your product feed and you’re optimizing your bids regularly. But, like the dedicated Search Marketer you are, instead of sitting back and sipping on a margarita, you’re wondering what else you can do to improve your KPIs and reach those ambitious targets.

Well, when you’ve covered all the obvious bases, the next step is to compare your Google Shopping campaign performance to that of your Paid Search (Text Ad) campaigns.

True, Text Ads don’t work the same as Shopping Ads. However, if one brand or product category is killing it in your Text campaign, while the corresponding products are bombing in your Shopping campaigns, there’s likely something wrong. These unusual differences are called anomalies, and they’re likely costing you valuable traffic.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, once you’ve identified the issue, it’s usually really easy to fix. The even better news? If you use camato, you can do it 10x as faster – and get back to that margarita.

Either way, we’ll show you how to identify these pesky anomalies, solve the underlying issue and have your Google Shopping campaigns raking in the extra traffic!

Comparing Shopping to Search

In order to find the anomalies, you need a benchmark for how well you expect your Google Shopping campaigns to perform. That means you need to pull similar data from your Google Shopping and Keyword campaigns.

Fire up your Google AdWords and start aggregating performance for each type of campaign by different ‘Semantic Attributes’. A Semantic Attribute can be anything used to describe a product: its category (shoes, sandals), ‘designer’ (Nike, Adidas), gender (men, women, girls, …), material (e.g. leather) – we could go on, but you get the idea.

The camato way

Camato pulls search queries and related performance metrics through the AdWords API. Then it uses a Semantic Ontology to tag all search queries with the Semantic Attributes (category, designer, gender, etc) you want to compare with the keywords from a TextAd. This way, out of unstructured data, you get a rich, structured data set which helps to generate actionable insights. Every keyword or search query is clustered into buckets of very similar siblings with similar characteristics.

Visualizing your data in a chart is also a great way to quickly spot where the results don’t match up between Search and Shopping campaigns.


Fixing the problem

Once you’ve identified the anomaly, fixing the associated problem is generally quick and easy. There’s really only a couple of reasons why you might see a huge difference in performance between your Text and Shopping campaigns.

Product Feed errors

There could be an error in your Product Feed. Occasionally products get disapproved in Google Shopping due to price discrepancies or URL issues. Have a look at the Merchant Center to make sure nothing has been disapproved. If there are loads of disapproved products, start from the best performing (in Text Ads) and work backward to ensure you get the best returns for your effort.

Vague Product Feed Titles

If your Feed Titles are too generic, Google might not be choosing to show them as often as you would like – or it could be showing them for the wrong query. Double check all your products to make sure their Product Titles are in line with the relevant keywords you are targeting and that they actually describe the product you are selling. A good rule of thumb when naming your products is to use Product Titles that contain the same exact phrasing as the most common keyword searches.

The camato way

Even without an anomaly issue, having the right Product Titles has a big impact on performance – in many cases, it can more than double your Click Through Rate (CTR). To help streamline the tedious process of checking each product name against the corresponding popular keyword searches by hand, we created a Feed Title Optimization (FTO) feature within camato. Based on our semantic technology, FTO matches real user queries with products and automatically suggests title adjustments for those products.

Product bids are too low

Sometimes your product bids can be reduced automatically by your Bid Management Tool. This is pretty common with seasonal products (ie. winter/summer related terms), but it’s not the only reason. Unfortunately for you, automatically reducing bids on these products can harm your performance once the season returns.

You should periodically go through any bids that are very low to see if there are any that you think should be performing well. Then re-set the bids for those products to test if it revives traffic.

Product price is too high

If one of your products isn’t performing well in Google Shopping, and none of the other issues we’ve highlighted seem relevant, try simply searching for it in Google and check how it compares to its competitors. Our research has shown that products which are priced lower than the competition receive significantly more impressions at lower Cost Per Click (CPC) and higher Click Through Rates (CTR).

Of course, it is impossible to always have cheaper prices than your competitors, and that’s okay – you still have to pay the bills at the end of the day. Instead of slashing all your prices, try putting more resources into advertising the products that are more competitive on price.

After all, only 34% of people actually purchase the product they clicked on, most go on to buy something completely different. So even if you’re attracting traffic through your less expensive products, you’ll still likely increase your conversions overall.

The camato way

At camato, we are developing a pricing intelligence feature that combines competitor landscapes on Google Shopping with your product feed and AdWords performance data. This system can give you real-time price recommendations tailored to your Search Marketing goals.

Never stop optimizing

When you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope and done everything you can possibly do to optimize your Google Shopping campaigns using the common methods, fear not! There is always more optimization that can be done.

Using the process we’ve just talked about, will help you pick up those extra clicks that manage to fall through the cracks when something goes a little awry on one of your campaigns.

Searching for anomalies is the sort of thing you should aim to do at least once a month. Of course doing all that by hand is massively time-consuming. That’s why we created camato – to automate the boring bits and get you to the actionable insights faster (and with less hair pulling out).

If camato sounds like your thing, great! We’d love to show you more about how it works!


Andreas Reiffen is the founder and CEO of crealytics and data-driven online marketing strategist with his focus concentrating on online retailers.

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