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12 Tips On How To Get Traction On Your Shopping Campaigns

Shopping campaigns are notoriously hard to maintain and can be difficult to get a good result from. However, when planned, created and managed 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. With that in mind, perfecting and optimising your shopping campaigns is hugely important in order to manage that last stage of the journey and channeling those potential customers to convert.

The best way to do this is to ensure that your campaigns are properly targeted at the right audience, using the content that is most likely to attract them. Here is an outline guide to help you though setting up your shopping campaigns to best effect. 

Best Practices with Shopping Ads

There are a number of best practices you should consider when creating effective shopping campaigns. These best practices, identified over years of trials and tests, will reduce the chances of your ads being disapproved and also help with the overall effectiveness of your campaigns.


Attributes are essentially key pieces of information about the product you are advertising.  Attributes are vitally important to the success of your shopping campaigns as they help to optimise your ads for Google SERP’s and users, so it is crucial that your attributes are correct and complete. If your attributes aren’t set up correctly, Google is highly likely to disapprove your ads; meaning long-term consequences to your rankings but also that you will miss out in showing your products to potential buyers for whatever period you are disapproved for.

Some of the most important attributes to focus on are:

  1. Google Product Category
  2. Brand
  3. Product ID
  4. Product Type
  5. Condition
  6. Custom Labels

Campaign Priorities

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, potentially causing your ad to not show at all. This is because, when two of the same products try to bid for the same space with 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.

There are some clear benefits to using campaign priorities. For example, imagine you have a ‘footwear’ campaign that is running throughout the year and then you choose to launch a ‘summer sale’ campaign that includes some of the same products as your normal ‘footwear’ campaign. You may prefer to prioritise the ‘summer sale’. Campaign priorities allow you to ensure the products in ‘summer sale’ will show first for searches relevant to both campaigns until the 'summer sale' campaign either runs out of budget or ends, then your normal footwear campaign takes over.

In short, campaign priorities work in the following ways:

  • The highest priority campaign for the search term will bid
  • You can set rules that filter searches to different ads int eh priority chain. For example, a brand name search might bypass the high and mid priority campaigns and be fed straight to the low priority campaign that has a higher CPC. 
  • If the highest priority campaign runs out of budget, the lower priority campaigns bid in order
  • When multiple campaigns have the same priority, the campaign with the highest bid will be used

You can read more about campaign priorities and more in our article - Advanced Google Shopping Optimisation Tips & Techniques.

Catch-All Strategies

Bird catching fishCatch-all strategies can be a great practice to implement  because they 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. Not using them risks losing out on search queries that have not otherwise been mapped to an existing target. This function is essentially the 'Miscellaneous Mop-Up' function in Google Ads.

This strategy is also very useful to allow new products 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 set bids extremely low because users’ intent is likely to be far less focused that is would be for your other, targeted campaigns.

How to Best Utilise Promotions

Promotions and discounts can be hugely valuable to businesses and are invaluable for driving traffic to websites and apps. 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 types of merchant promotions:

  • Discounts
  • 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. If it is not it is likely that your ads will be disapproved until you make the appropriate changes to comply with Google’s guidelines.

Reasons for Rejection

If your ads do get disapproved there's usually something you can do to fix it. Some of the most common 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 you are targeting).

Editorial Issues

Ensure your long title adheres to the appropriate requirements i.e. spelling, grammar and punctuation and that there are no acronyms. Moreover, you should always use the correct capitalisation and make sure there are no errors in the coupon code.

Inconsistent Applicability

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' is not accurate enough, rather present the discount as '20-50% off'.

Free Shipping without code

If free shipping is already available on the site it 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.

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 claims.

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 or no traffic at all, it’s likely down to some simple, easy to fix, errors. One of the most common mistakes advertisers make 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. This is because an item can only be served in one campaign at a time. Luckily, judicious use of campaign priorities can stop this happening.

Another common mistake relates to negative keywords. Users tend not to review them frequently enough. If negative keyword lists aren't managed properly it is very easy for keywords to be included, and remain included that feature in a later product titles or descriptions and so those ads will be stopped 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, it needs at least 1,000 users. These users are visitors to your website, but will only start accruing once you’ve activated your list. Therefore, it often means you will have to wait a while to get enough collected visitors to use your list. The delay depends on the volume of traffic the website commonly receives.

Final Tips and Takeaways

Dog holding paper bag

  1. Ensure your ads are eligible and will work within Google’s guidelines
  2. Ensure your accounts are linked correctly, including Google Analytics and Merchant Centre
  3. Ensure you check that your ad schedule isn’t stopping your ads from serving correctly

Shopping campaigns can be hugely time consuming and complex to manage properly. However, with a little experience and by sticking to some of the best practice pointers we’ve highlighted in this article you can be confident in creating some successful shopping campaigns. If you think maybe it's best left to the experts then sure, we'd love to help. Why not get in touch and we can talk about the best approach. 

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.