5 Ways to Improve Your Google Shopping Campaigns

January 21, 2016

News , PPC ,


With Google Shopping now accounting for over 50% of paid traffic for many online retailers, it is increasingly important to focus on performance, through strategy and optimisation, with the same rigor we would in our search campaigns.  I have seen many campaigns that have been set up when transitioned from PLAs in 2014 and left to run (or rot). Below are some ways you can get more from your Google Shopping Campaigns.

1 – Create a Google Taxonomy with bidding in mind

As the old adage goes; rubbish in, rubbish out.  Never was this more true than with Google Shopping when it comes to your feed. Often we will just make do with what we have, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

  • Start with a very granular Google taxonomy. You can think of these in the same way as a search campaign structure when setting it out remembering that the first 2 levels are the most important for structure. Most people will do the first level far too broad starting with for example; ‘Furniture’, however, starting with ‘Furniture – Tables’ as your first level will allow you to bid far more granularly at your second level for examples ‘Tables – Bistro’.
  • For products which have high search volumes you may wish to have a more granular taxonomy than those that are not as high volume, or less value to your business.

2 – Optimise your feed

So we have set up our feed and our shopping campaign.  This doesn’t mean we now just leave it! This is difficult if you aren’t using a Feed Management System as you would need to actually update the content on your site but if you are you can make changes without having to do this.

  • Include relevant keywords in your titles and description lines. Google Shopping is much more like natural search than PPC so the content of you titles and descriptions will decipher what queries you appear against.  Use your search query reports to add terms your customers are searching for as well as removing anything you see that you don’t want to appear against as well as adding negatives.
  • Format titles and descriptions in order of importance.
  • Optimise titles. Using a Feed Management solution like Products Up will allow you to amend your titles individually or in bulk without changing the feed itself.  This will allow you to run tests on your titles.
  • Avoid duplicate product IDs
  • Avoid duplicate headlines as this will affect your ‘Quality Score’ element
  • Adhere to Google’s title and description character limits. Really the titles should be much shorter especially if you have a high proportion of mobile traffic.
  • Avoid spaces and double spaces as this could lead to disapprovals.


3 – Optimise out of stock

  • Provide stock availability, not quality. Use data to interpret how fast stock may run out. For example if you have a high volume product and you upload your feed once a day at 7am if the actual level is 5 in stock you may want to put 5 as your out of stock level so you stop advertising at this point as you will likely sell out before the feed is updated.

4 – Brand only campaign

By creating a brand only campaign you can ensure you appear on all branded queries.  On the contrary if your strategy is to not appear on any branded queries adding your brand as a negative keyword will do the trick.

  • To create a brand campaign we would need to create a campaign/campaigns targeting all product groups and negative the brand terms from the standard campaigns.
  • This ensures that you appear on all branded shopping searches regardless of budget limitations.

5 – RLSA campaign strategy

Chances are your previous site visitors or basket abandoners are going to perform better than people who have never been to your site.  For that reason we would want to maximise traffic from people on the RLSA lists.

  • Split your shopping campaigns into RLSA and non-RLSA. By splitting these into separate campaigns you can assign more share of budget and higher bids to your RLSA campaigns.
  • Similar to search maybe you want to use less negatives on the RLSA campaigns to broaden your reach.
  • Could you have a different strategy for items with a longer purchase cycle?
  • Do you want to not advertise certain products in prospecting such as those which are low value?


In closing, do the analysis on what is working for you, and not, before you even think of restructuring. Create a project roadmap to break your re-structure into more manageable projects. Using a technology partner may help you future proof your Shopping activity as the likes of Facebook and Instagram up their game.  These improvements are not easy, but investing time and energy into a feed and structure that is successful is well worth it and you will reap the rewards.

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