Shopping campaigns are notoriously hard to maintain and can be difficult to get a good result from. However, when done correctly shopping ads can dramatically increase conversions and increase your ROI.
Shopping ads are usually focused around the later stages of the buyer’s journey at the final interaction point before a purchase. Therefore, perfecting and ensuring your shopping campaigns are as effective as possible is hugely important in order for consumers to convert.
The best way to do this is to optimise for the correct users and ensure your account is correctly optimised. Moreover, by following these steps you will ensure you don’t miss out on any important opportunities to show to the correct users.
Best Practices with Shopping Ads
There are a number of best practices you should use when creating effective shopping campaigns. These best practices will reduce the chances of your ads being disapproved and also help with the overall effectiveness of your campaigns.
Firstly, you should ensure your attributes are all set up correctly in the merchant centre. Attributes are vitally important to the success of your shopping campaigns as they help to optimise your ads for Google SERP’s and users. Further to this, if your attributes aren’t set up correctly Google is highly likely to disapprove your ads; meaning long-term consequences to your rankings but you will also miss out in showing your products to potential buyers for whatever period you were disapproved for.
Some of the most important attributes to ensure are set up correctly are as follows:
- Google Product Category
- Product ID
- Product Type
- Custom Labels
Secondly, campaign priorities can be a huge asset to any campaign as they allow you to ensure one campaign doesn’t get hidden behind another with a bigger budget. This could cause your ad to not show at all; as when two of the same products try to bid for the same space who have the same budget and MaxCPC Google will not show any of your ads. Google will only ever display one of your products and never two of the same.
One reason you might want to use campaign priorities is if you have a ‘footwear’ campaign running throughout the year and then a ‘summer sale’ campaign with some of the same products as your normal ‘footwear’ campaign, you may, therefore, want to prioritise the ‘summer sale’. Through utilising this feature, you can ensure the products in ‘summer sale’ will show until it either runs out of budget or ends.
In short, campaign priorities work in the following ways:
- The highest priority campaign will bid
- If the highest priority campaign runs out of budget, the lower priority campaign bids
- When multiple campaigns have the same priority, the campaign with the highest bid will be used
Catch all strategies can be a great practice to implement on all major themes. These campaigns will use low bids and a virtually no targeting options to allow your ads show to almost any relevant user. You will, therefore, be giving all your products the opportunity to have impressions if the user query is relevant.
Further to this, new products will get the opportunity to show before you create a specific strategy for them on Google Ads. Ensuring you are always marketing your whole shopping feed at any given point.
When using a catch-all strategy it’s important to bid extremely low, therefore, you should never do the same kind bidding as you would on the other more targeted campaigns; as your users’ intent is likely to be far worse.
How to Best Utilise Promotions
Promotions and discounts can be hugely valuable to businesses and can help drive traffic to your sites. They will often be the final factor leading to a purchase and what’s going to push a user into the decision-making stage of the buyer journey. However, Google can be a bit tricky when it comes to this sort of advertising.
In order to protect users and not support false advertising Google has strict guidelines regarding these kinds of merchant promotions:
- Free Gifts
- Free/Discounted Shipping
In general, in order for these to work correctly, you need to have your site fully optimised and relating to the same content or promotion in your advertisement throughout your site. Otherwise, your ads will be disapproved until you make the appropriate changes to comply with Google’s guidelines.
Reasons for Rejection
Some reasons for rejection and how to fix these are as follows:
Overly Restrictive Ads
To solve this rejection issue, you will need to revise the title, so it applies to more people, not just a small select group (otherwise you may alienate a proportion of the audience your targeting).
Ensure your long title adheres to the appropriate requirements i.e. spelling, grammar and punctuation and that you don’t have any acronyms. Moreover, you should always use the correct capitalisation and make sure there are no errors in the coupon code.
If a promotion requires a minimum purchase, your title is misleading, or the promotion is only applicable to certain products, this should be stated in the ad copy. Otherwise, your ad will be disapproved.
Minimum discount not stated
If there is a varying discount on your site, you need to describe a minimum discount or benefit. E.g. up to 50% off, shouldn’t be used. The following is how a discount should be displayed, e.g. 20-50% off.
Free Shipping without code
If Free shipping is already available on the site this cannot be used in a limited time promotion.
Invalid Coupon Code
When Google tests the promotion, if the code returned an error (didn’t work) it will be disapproved, therefore, you should verify the code is correct and resubmit to Google to fix.
No discount or lower discount
If there was no discount or a lower discount than what the promotion says on the site, you will need to make the appropriate changes to ensure it complies with what the ad is stating.
You can learn more about Google’s guidelines for shopping ads here.
Reasons for low traffic or no traffic on campaigns
If your campaign is showing very low traffic or no traffic at all, it’s likely down to some simple, easy to fix, mistakes. One of the most common mistakes is having too narrow an inventory filter. This will stop certain products from running, and therefore stop your ads showing in some circumstances.
Competing campaigns can also be a common issue for poor traffic on your campaigns. This is due to the fact an item can only serve in one campaign at once. Therefore, in order to avoid this happening, you need to set up priorities as discussed earlier in this article.
Another common mistake is through negative keywords that can be hugely important to optimising your shopping campaigns. However, there are some common mistakes people make on negative keywords. One of which is not reviewing your keywords often enough as in some instances, your negative keywords will change and if you have that keyword in your product title or description you could be stopping your ads from showing.
Remarketing Lists can be another reason your ads aren’t showing in the way you would expect. It’s often forgotten that for a remarketing list to work correctly you need at least 1000 users. These will be visitors to your website, and these will only start collecting users once you’ve activated your list. Therefore, it often means you will have to wait a few months to get enough collected visitors to use your list. This may be a longer or shorter time period depending on the volume of traffic you receive.
Final Tips and Takeaways
- Ensure your ads are eligible and will work within Google’s guidelines
- Ensure your accounts are linked correctly, including Google Analytics and Merchant Centre
- Ensure you check that your ad schedule isn’t stopping your ads from serving correctly
Shopping campaigns can be hugely time consuming and soul destroying if done incorrectly, however, hopefully by sticking to some of the best practices we’ve highlighted in this article and by listing some of the most common mistakes made in Google Ads you can learn from others’ mistakes and can create some successful shopping campaigns.
Innovation Visual a leading digital marketing consultancy, based in Surrey. If you would like to talk to one of the PPC experts about your business' paid search requirements, feel free to get in touch here.