There’s a vital difference between normal Google ads and Google Shopping ads that makes your Google Product Feed so important. That’s the fact that Google Shopping campaigns don’t function the same way as ordinary Google search ads.
As opposed to ordinary search campaigns where advertisers bid on keywords and have pretty firm control over when/where their ads show, shopping ads take some of the control out of their hands.
Instead of ordinary bid systems, Google crawls sites and product feeds of different brands. This info supplies the user with the most relevant items in response to his/her search query.
This means that the data you include in your Google Product Feed is going to directly impact where your shopping ads are showing and how well they’re performing.
Making sure you’ve properly optimized them is more than worth your time. Especially in the eCommerce game, when conversions mean sales and missed conversions means lost revenue.
So keep reading if you’re interested in boosting your impression share and paying less for your clicks. We’re here to maximize your shopping campaign performance, sales revenue, and – ultimately – ROI.
Get To Know The Google Merchant Center
The first thing you’re going to have to do is get to know the Google Merchant Center.
Now, the GMC is quite a big topic to tackle. You can check out our in-depth guide if you’re looking for a thorough walkthrough of the Google Merchant Center.
After you’ve read up on our GMC guide, you can check out the Google product feed optimization checklist below. Then you can start applying these tips in the GMC yourself.
Components Of Google Product Specifications
Below are the five basic components of each product within your Google product feed. These are the data points you need to specify and optimize in your spreadsheets and/or product feed management tool.
The more product information you include, and the more specific it is, the better set up you’ll be for prime Google shopping performance.
- Product Title (GMC Help Guidelines)
- Product Type (GMC Help Guidelines)
- Description (GMC Help Guidelines)
- Product Category (GMC Help Guidelines)
- GTIN (GMC Help Guidelines)
Optimizing Your Google Product Feed (Broad Vs Individual)
Now that you know what you’re working with it’s important to know what kind of work you’ll be doing.
For starters, there are two basic approaches to optimizing your Google Product Feed (that is excluding budget optimization which we could categorize as unrelated to your actual product info).
First, there is broad level optimization. This focuses on organizing your product categories and types.
This type of GMC optimization also includes some keyword research into which product types, product categories, and product subcategories you should be trying to list your products in.
Secondly, you can dive into optimizing the actual product specific information. This way, you can better tailor each of your products’ descriptions (and more) to their ideal audience and customer.
As we’ll cover in the sections below, optimizing these details in your product spreadsheets ahead of time (pre-upload) will help with organization and campaign optimization. Also, you’ll be primed for scaling later on.
Google Product Feed Optimization Checklist
Below you can find the 17 point checklist to run through for every Google product addition and every product launch of your eCommerce ad campaigns to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
Checking each of these boxes will help optimize your Google Product Feed for maximum visibility and sales to boost your ROAS for ultimate Google Shopping Ads success.
1) Include Extra Info In Your Product Title
You obviously want your product title to be as informative as possible for your potential customers. But this goes beyond just making it catchy and telling your audience the basic information (the what) of your sale.
To optimize your product information for maximum visibility, it’s best to give Google as much information as possible. This even includes adding your brand name to product titles to help distinguish your products from others on the keyword listing.
You can check out a before/after example in the screenshots below:
This also can help with campaign organization, especially if you’re managing multiple brands in your campaigns. You can split up your ad group level hierarchies by brand name.
If you haven’t noticed by reading other bits of KlientBoost content, we’re big fans of segmentation and cleanly organized campaigns.
2) Specify Additional Product Info When Possible
If you’re optimizing your product data in spreadsheets outside of your actual Google Product Feed that means you’ll have complete customizability of your spreadsheet columns.
So, while you’re in there, you should include all the possible information that you might want to supply your potential customers with.
Things like the list below, just for starters:
- age range
- gender (if applicable)
There are even some instants where including this information in the product title, along with an authoritative brand name, can help boost your CTR and more. So don’t be afraid to play around with the information.
3) Take The Time To Manually Write Your Ads
Take the time to manually write your ads. It’s a simple enough tactic, and doesn’t really need too much explanation.
Taking the human approach never killed anyone when it comes to optimizing the engagement, CTRs, and conversion rates of their ad copy.
And even if you can lean on automation and coded rules for generating product titles based on spreadsheet cell data, doesn’t mean that a clever, personable, title can’t beat it out in actual CTR and sales.
4) Keep Your Product Titles Understandable
We all know that the average search engine user isn’t known for his/her attention span. This is why we continually stress fitting so much of the pertinent information into the product titles. That’s the only thing the majority of your viewers are going to read.
But that doesn’t mean that you want to cram every valuable selling point you can into your product titles. Keep them simple and understandable. At the end of the day, you want your audience to know exactly what they’re looking at and how it’s a perfect/unique solution to their search query.
5) Optimize Product Images For Quality
It’s hard to find a blog post that is discussing Google Product Feed optimization that doesn’t at least mention the importance of optimizing your product’s images as well. And I think the “why” behind this tactic is fairly straight forward.
Google values quality and so do your customers. The better resolution images that display your products in the best view should have the best chance at converting – like a retail shop with the best window display.
Optimizing your PLA images also includes optimizing their compressed image size as well though, which you can learn more about here.
6) Include Dynamic Product Views
If you’re selling anything beyond two-dimensional artwork, you’re probably going to want to at least consider using dynamic product views.
These are more in-depth and interactive views of your product that display the item/tool in different angles and uses. Or, in the case of clothing, it often includes zoom features and 360-degree rotating views for a more complete picture of the outfit.
Including dynamic product views for those products that require it. Ya know – show off your best cars on a rotating display in the middle of the showroom floor.
Adding in 360-degree views and interactive zoom features on your product images can not only improve your customer’s view of the product but also improve their sense of your overall brand worth.
7) Choose Your Product Categories Wisely
The category in which you choose to place your Google products can make or break the success of your advertising campaigns. Just like with ordinary search marketing, targeting is everything.
You aren’t bound to see much success with campaigns that are aimed entirely at the wrong target. And you aren’t likely to see very many sales of your products if you have them placed in the entirely wrong categories.
To borrow from another real-world analogy: If you place all the chips in the gardening section of the supermarket, you can’t be surprised when they don’t sell very quickly…
But besides that, I’ll leave the picking and choosing to you.
8) Match Google product Types With Categories
Just as we preach top-to-bottom, hierarchical organization of our campaigns with our famously branded Single Keyword Ad Groups, the same goes for our eCommerce advertising tips.
Aligning your product types with your product categories in the most streamlined way will help make your campaigns very granular and easy to manage.
This will make them easier to optimize later on down the road (especially once you start playing with the budget at the same granular scale).
But don’t worry, each tactic and tip in due time, you’ll have to keep reading if you want to learn about any budget tips we have in store for you.
9) Rely On Customizable Spreadsheets For Help
I’ve already mentioned this several times throughout the post, so hopefully you’ve already picked up on the hint. But, no harm if you haven’t.
Just remember that using customizable spreadsheets like Excel and Google Docs will allow you to have 100% control over your product feed data. You’ll also have the ability to clean up and optimize said data before you even upload it into your product feed management tool.
This can save you loads of time and make things a lot more comfortable for you – the advertiser – as some tools aren’t as intuitive as they seem and can rely on clunky interfaces to “organize” your product feeds.
10) Track & Report With Painstaking Accuracy
This tactic is a widespread best practice for all digital advertising campaigns. However, for tactics later on in this post, you’ll understand the vital importance of having intricate tracking setup for eCommerce campaigns specifically.
Keeping a granular eye on which of your PLA campaigns is outperforming its counterparts (even by a hair) will help prioritize your optimization and budgetary decisions.
If you’re looking for a scalable and computerized helping hand, there are plenty of Product Feed Management tools out there. Any of them can help manage, audit, and adjust your Google Shopping campaigns.
You can check out a few industry leaders in the chart below:
Regardless of what tool or tracking method you use, the important thing is keeping a watchful eye of your campaigns.
11) Clean Up Your Spreadsheet Data Pre-Import
In the ninth tactic above, I mentioned how using customizable spreadsheets allow you to be more flexible with your product data management and editing.
While this is true, it can also make things a bit messy if you don’t have completely uniform product catalogs.
So, it’s strongly suggested that you clean up your spreadsheets before uploading them into the Google Merchant Center by eliminating any empty cells. Also, make sure that you don’t have any filler text populating the user-facing side of your ads.
Doing so prior to upload will help save time and be far easier than trying to do so within the GMC itself.
Don’t overlook how valuable the “Command-F” function truly can be.
12) Live For Sub-Categories
If you’ve done everything else right thus far you should be primed for some pretty solid Google Shopping performance.
Keeping that granularity continuously present throughout every aspect of your campaigns is the next step in the optimization of your Google Shopping Feed.
As is the case in most Google advertising situations, the more refined you can make your audience of potential customers, the more successful your ads will be.
By using subcategories you can further organize your Google Shopping ads beyond just product types, categories, and keywords to reach niche interests in your target demographic. This is where you should start seeing some real boosts in sales rates – from true artisan aficionados.
Leaning on subcategories will also help set up your campaign optimization for the next tactic:
13) Remember: Google Likes Hierarchies
Google likes hierarchies and its ability to neatly organize massive amounts of information. So, when it comes to cleaning up your mountains of product feed data, a hierarchal system of types, categories, subcategories, and so on, could very well be the way to go.
And this makes Google’s eyes go all big and heart-shaped like in the old ACME cartoons.
Take advantage of this clean and easy trick. Keep your product feed easily manageable, optimized, and scaled. Google will be equally impressed as you breathe a sigh of relief.
14) Plan For An Adjustable Budget (The Gold Pan Technique)
I’ve mentioned the importance of tracking which specific PLAs are performing best and which could possibly benefit from a little extra optimization and testing. That’s because of tactics such as these.
The Gold Pan Technique relies on a flexible budget to test the right weighted amounts of budget to put behind certain products. It takes some fine-tuning, but once you get it down you can finely filter your ad traffic to truly only show your shopping ads to the audience that is most likely to convert/buy – those real golden nugget users.
Embracing the Gold Pan Technique can take time. Thankfully, our own eCommerce mastermind here at KlientBoost has written up this helpful master guide on the Gold Pan Technique to help guide you along the rapids.
15) Say Hello To SPAGs
This is a tactic and a benefit of properly executing another tactic on this list.
The better you organize and clean up your spreadsheets before uploading them to the Google Merchant Center, the easier it will be to scale your product feed later on.
But that’s just our opinion, biased towards scaling as it may be.
16) Optimize Quick Wins With eComm Budget Prioritization
Double down on wins and back off from your losses. The logic couldn’t be more straightforward.
Yet, when you apply it to your Google Shopping Campaigns budget management, it becomes the almighty key to unlocking ROAS maximization.
Identify which of your products are your best sellers and which are your weakest links. Then you can adjust your advertising budgets accordingly to maximize the bids and visibility of your most successful products.
And, more importantly, you can minimize the visibility of your less popular products while you work on split testing different ad copy or product details to improve your CTRs and sales rates.
It may seem like a small and straightforward tactic. But subtle shifts such as these are what separate truly masterfully managed Google Shopping campaigns from the average Joes.
17) Be Sure To Include Your GTINs
The GTIN, or Global Trade Item Number, is a unique number that helps Google identify and distinguish your individual products.
You can usually locate the GTIN on the barcode of the product.
If you can’t locate the GTIN of your products, you should probably reach out to the manufacturer to nail down your GTIN. You’ll inevitably start to see some errors pop up in your Google Merchant Center account if you aren’t using GTINs to distinguish your individual products.
According to Google, the GTIN is required for all Google Shopping products. So checking this box is one last step to getting your Google shopping campaigns started on the right foot.
Conclusion: Give Nosy Nancy What She Wants (Everything)
Imagine you’re the manager of a small, brick-and-mortar retail shop selling locally sourced, environmentally-friendly clothing.
If a customer walks in and happens to be the definition of a nosy-nancy, nitpicking every little detail of your clothing selection, you need to be able to answer every question for him/her if you want to close the sale.
The same goes for your eCommerce campaigns. And it all starts with your Google Product Feed.
Take the time to include every little detail of your products in your spreadsheets. Set yourself up for easy, scalable campaign management by being organized from the beginning. That’s how you keep Nosy Nancy (and Google) happy.