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Google Shopping is a key tool in any retailer’s arsenal; offering several opportunities to capture users at a key point when they want to buy your product in a highly cost-effective way in terms of driving revenue. It’s developed a lot over the years, so I want to highlight the key areas digital marketers need to get right to get the most out of it.

The feed

At the crux of every successful Google Shopping strategy is a well optimised feed. The content of a shopping feed should be thought of in the same way as building out keywords in a search campaign, the content submitted here is crucial in allowing your products to find the right audiences.

Think about how customers actually search for your products, ensuring you use their language in the feed itself. The feed is at the core of any shopping strategy and integral to the success of your campaigns. Remember that your overarching strategy is redundant without a keyword-rich product feed.

Accuracy

Some of the most common pitfalls in shopping stem from an out of date feed containing inaccurate pricing and stock levels. One way to combat this would be to automate stock and pricing fluctuations to ensure that the feed is being fetched and processed through the Google Merchandise store at the same time each day in order to keep the feed healthy.

Custom labels

Label up your feed so you can group products by priority and category in your shopping campaigns and, to manage performance, it’s best practice to distribute your budget to increase efficiencies and return on investment (ROI). Custom labels can be used to segment your products in whatever way makes sense for your business, but you may want to consider top-sellers, margin, sale items and price competitiveness for starters.

Campaign management

  • Build: Let your custom labels guide your campaign setup. Think about the goal for your campaign and break out product groups based on your labelling system and set different levels of priority.
  • Automation: Use machine learning to break out product groups by performance and campaigns by location and audience, then apply bid strategies with your business goals in mind.

Bid strategies work hand-in-hand with Google Shopping and, with some retailers having thousands of products to manage, automation is the best way to oversee this as effectively as possible. A simple bid strategy can react a lot faster to manually calculate effective bid multipliers.

It’s important to ensure your KPIs are aligned with your bidding strategy, with the aim of maximising your return on ad spend (ROAS) targets by focusing on your best performing devices and campaigns. Be aware that your strategy could pull down bids and reduce traffic on a device that isn’t delivering on your target.

Having a bigger ad presence will help to ensure potential customers visit your site over competitors; you can use machine learning and audiences to capture higher purchase intent traffic and be visible when it really matters. This will ensure you have a better understanding of how users interact with your campaigns and allow you to maximise efficiencies, stretch your budget and shape your strategy.

It’s also important to think mobile, as it’s the main source of traffic in Google Shopping and is due to make up over 60% of overall searches.

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy in their shopping habits, it’s likely they’ll see various ads from a variety of different channels and follow different paths to ultimately complete a purchase. This means that looking at your campaign purely from a last-click basis will show the true value of your shopping activity. When doing so, take into consideration cross-channel and cross-device metrics, and consider adjusting your KPIs to improve attribution.

Recap

Ultimately, none of this is possible without a healthy product feed. Identify any problems, resolve them as a top priority, then look to build your strategy from the foundation of a strong product feed. Once you have a robust and relevant feed in place, ensure you manage it to keep the details accurate. Get the right campaign set up in place to service this feed and you’ll see all your hard work pay dividends.

Andy Hunt, paid media manager, Greenlight Digital