This year, marketers of large-scale ecommerce businesses have extensively adapted their digital promotion strategies, investing much more of their budget within Product Listing Ads (PLAs). In particular, this practice has become common for Fashion & Apparel, Consumer Electronics and Home & Garden retail categories in the US and the UK.
Not to make unsubstantiated statements, we would like to share some data from the Adthena Search Advertising Report, Q1 2018 with you. They say that despite the fact that text paid ads are still the predominant ad format, today, American businesses allocate 76.4% of retail’s total search budgets on Google Shopping Ads on average, and win more than 85% of clicks.
In turn, British businesses allocate 82%, winning almost 88% of clicks. That’s impressive.
As for mobile campaigns, retailers also follow the overall trend of investment of marketing dollars into Google Shopping Ads.
Now, when we assured that Google Shopping Ads is the main hero of the search marketing theatre this year, we would like to reveal 5 pieces of advice which can help you better optimise your PLA campaign and increase conversions.
1. Optimise your product titles
Please notice that usually, product titles which appear in SERPs are uploaded from the product page on your website, so the following recommendations are better to implement before you decide to launch a Google Shopping Ad campaign.
A title is one of the critical elements in feeds. Make sure you have included the most relevant and useful information there. There are many options for how to structure titles, but we chose the most efficient of these for you.
We would recommend to start with a brand name or a product type – depending on the frequency of queries within your target audience. Then mention a category, model, colour, and size. Don’t forget that only 3-5 words are visible on the SERP, especially if a product list is at the top. A few more words customers will see in product ads on the right-hand side of the search engine result page.
A product description is also uploaded from your website. This is why we would recommend to think over its content. Ideally, this must be the short, clear and useful information with characteristics, that users may not understand looking at photos. For example, you can mention the material, technical specifications, pattern, size parameters, the lining fabric or hidden pockets if you offer Fashion related products.
2. Divide your general feed into groups and keep track on bids
If you have ever launched the PLA campaign, you might know that at the beginning, you have the general feed. That means that all the products you want to promote via Google Shopping are contained within the one campaign. It would be ideal if you asked your developers to set the automatic update of the feed within the Merchant Center once a day to follow any website changes.
Herewith, you can create separate groups for each product category (or brand) and include these in different campaigns. In this case, you will be able to analyse the statistics of each category and change bids if any of these demonstrate better results.
Moreover, you can choose a different priority for each of the campaigns. For instance, a general feed is better to point out as a ‘low priority’ campaign, and a category campaign is better to adjust with a higher priority.
The campaign priority doesn’t affect how Google determines the relevancy of a product for a particular query. Instead, it tells Google which campaign to serve a relevant product from, if it’s among multiple campaigns.
3. Use Automated Bid Strategies
Automated bid strategies are aimed to simplify the work of a PPC team. They can improve the optimisation of advertising spend to reach your goals by using advanced machine learning.
In Google Shopping, you can use three types of automated strategies:
- Aimed at maximising clicks for the budget
- Aimed at increasing conversions while staying in control of the bids (semi-automated)
- Aimed at getting the most conversions or conversion value while meeting a Target return on ad spend (ROAS)
How do automated bidding strategies work? They monitor the performance of your shopping campaigns (search results statistics, time of activity and so on) and set the bids for each group according to their popularity and your fixed objective.
For instance, the system can indicate which category is high-demand among its users, and increase bids for this feed group. Or conversely, decrease bids for low-return categories. Therefore if you set your daily budget $30, this tool will estimate the most relevant audience for your campaign to get the maximum volume of sales.
In case you want to set up Target ROAS for your shopping campaign, be sure you enable conversion tracking and set the conversion value. Besides, this strategy is more successful if each of your product groups receives more than 200 clicks per week.
Unfortunately, the automated bid strategy is not a perfect solution for everyone. In some niches, this shows high results when in others, this is unprofitable. From the experience of our Promodo specialists, the higher your average bill is, the better performance the tool will be.
There is only one way to understand if an automated bid strategy suits you – test it!
4. Take Care Of Prices
When I asked our PPC specialist in what cases a Google Shopping Campaign was more likely to be successful, she replied that in case of low pricing. Price is more important than images for users, so if you examined your competitors and found that your products are cheaper than others in the market – be sure PLA is perfect for you.
Do not forget that you can point your price drops in the product card within the SERP, or mention that you have free shipping, rating or special offers. These features will catch the users’ eyes and enhance the likelihood they purchase this item from your store.
5. Do not forget about general rules
There are several options that Google requires for PLA campaigns:
- Be sure that customers can pay for the product on your website without contacting your managers or team members.
- Be sure that you included the detailed information about the conditions of a return. It is not enough to point out that a customer can return a product on standard terms.
- Be sure that you have door-to-door shipping.
- Be sure that there are no watermarks on your product images.
- Be sure that price and availability of your products on the SERP align with the information on your website. If the data is different, your Merchant account can be blocked.
A new Google feature is coming soon
Currently, Google is working on their Google Auctions tool which is aimed to help retailers to surface their products across Google Express, Google Search, and Google Assistant as well. Also, it should provide ecommerce owners with essential benefits as Pay-per-sale instead of Pay-per-click. But first and foremost, this service is expected to be useful for shoppers. They will have a universal shopping card with saves payment credentials for products from all stores among a shopping SERP. Google also wants to improve recommendations based on customer’s preferences, add one-click re-ordering feature and enhance the shipping process.
Today, this tool is available for selected retailers from the US only, but every ecommerce who would like to join can apply to participate here.
Let’s Sum It Up
Google Shopping Ads became the leader in search marketing for ecommerce this year. On average, American businesses spend more than 75% of their search marketing budget on this channel, British companies’ spend on PLA campaigns now amounts to 82% of retail spend.
This is the perfect tool especially for ecommerce businesses who have lower prices within the market. But by optimising your PLA campaign correctly, Google Shopping can be a profitable solution for any online store.
For this, try to group your general feed by categories. Prioritise these in accordance with their relevance or popularity. Ask your developers to set the automatic update of your feed in the Merchant Center at least once a day to follow all website updates.
Try to keep your titles and description clear and useful, and these are the only keywords available for PLA campaigns.
Try to use automated bid strategies which can help you optimise your bids and reach your specific goals.
Consider you meet all the Google requirements to avoid blocking of your Merchant account.
If you want to set or improve your Product List Advertising Campaign, contact our team who has a vast experience in this!