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Product Listing Ads: New Ideas
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This marketing infographic is part of our 25 part series. Subscribe to our blog and enjoy more creative posts like this one.

If you sell products online, then there’s a really good chance you already know that product listing ads (PLAs) are the best performing ad types around.
Google Shopping has continued to make improvements to its ad platform, and eCommerce stores are quickly taking advantage of everything Google has to offer. With good reason.
Product listing ads have been shown to have a 21% higher click-through-rate compared to traditional text ads.

product ads vs text ads rkg merkle q3 2015

And the benefits don’t stop there – image source

That’s why we’ve partnered with Shopify Plus, to give you some new ideas on how you can continue to improve the performance of your product listing ads.



3 Different Levels of Search Intent

When you’re trying to create sales from people who are searching for your products, it’s important that you try to match your bids and product pages to the search term.
Since you can’t target keywords directly yet with shopping campaigns and product listing ads, the next best thing you can use are negative keywords – more specifically, three different types of negative keyword lists.
By creating at least three different shopping campaigns, you’re able to control the conversion intent between three different levels of search intent:

  • Generic searches like “sneakers”
  • Brand searches like “Nike sneakers”
  • Product searches like “Nike HyperDunk”

In your three negative keyword lists, your negative keyword list that’s attached to your generic campaign includes negatives that are related to brand and product searches.
Your negative keyword list that’s attached to your brand campaign includes negatives that are related to generic and product searches.
And finally, your negative keyword list that’s attached to your product campaign includes negatives that are related to generic and brand searches (without preventing your product searches from triggering your PLA).
If you don’t break out your product groups of campaigns in relation to generic, brand, and product searches, then you could be having a complex spider web of awkward bidding on your hands.
Not to mention the lack of control.
With this setup, you should find that your product campaigns have the highest conversion rates and lowest CPA (because it attracts visitors that have already done their homework on what specific product they’re looking for).
Your brand campaigns will be next up on the performance side with slightly lower conversion rates and higher CPAs compared to your product campaign.
And lastly, your generic campaign should have the lowest conversion rate and highest cost per conversion (this is because people are still in research mode and not sure exactly what they’d like to buy).
Your bidding setup would then look something like this:
Product campaign: Highest, most competitive bids
Brand campaign: Still competitive bids
Generic campaign: Lowest, not as competitive bids

Your Product Descriptions & Your Feed

Google’s taxonomy of how it categorizes your products is something you should pay close attention to.
The taxonomy of Google helps you keep your product feed (the information your Google Merchant Center account needs to show your PLA ads on Google) up to date.
This helps Google use the combination your product description and the product category/taxonomy to decide what searches your product should appear for.
Make a mistake and you could be losing out on valuable impressions.
Just take a look at the breakdown of active clothing that Google has as part of their taxonomy:

  • Active Dresses
  • Active Jackets
  • Active Leotards
  • Active Pants
  • Active Shirts
  • Active Shorts
  • Active Skirts
  • Active Tanks
  • Active Undergarments
  • Activewear Sets

For more info, you can see how the taxonomy structure works here.
Now when it comes to your product descriptions (the text that accompanies your product in your shopping feed), you have quite the character space to use, but you won’t need it all.
Use the product description to your advantage by sharing the features and highlights of the product. According to Shopify, these can include:

  • Front load the important information in the product description. Use the first two sentences to include the most important info for the product.
  • Use different keywords here without keyword stuffing. This will help Google know what you should show up for.
  • Since your text might get cut off, don’t write a novel. Keep your product description concise and try not to add in too many filler words that don’t pack a copywriting punch.


Smaller Product Groups FTW

It’s a universal truth that’s relevant outside of Google Shopping too.
The more things you have to juggle, the higher the chances that you’ll eventually drop the ball.
The same goes with your product groups that live inside the ad groups, inside your shopping campaign.
The more tight knit your product groups are, the easier it is to go in and adjust bids at the individual product level. It also helps you control the search term volumes that are coming through.
It ties back to why Single Keyword Ad Groups work so well for regular search, display, and social too.

Keeping That Margin/Profit Pulse

Since eCommerce advertising is extremely black and white when you have revenue tracking in place, it’s vital that you don’t try and optimize your AdWords account around a single cost per acquisition metric.
Instead, you should be focusing on your return on ad spend (ROAS) ratio by keeping your margins in mind as well.
A 2.0 ROAS might be great, but only if the cost per sale doesn’t dig too deep into your margins.
Below is an example of two columns you can create in your AdWords account once you have revenue/transaction tracking in place:
Total conv. value = total revenue generated from that campaign, ad group, product group.
All conv. value / cost = Your revenue generated divided by your ad spend cost (this is your ROAS/ROI).

conversion value and cost chart

Check conversion value data

As you can see, you’ll have different ROAS ratios depending on where you look in your account. You should focus on ways to improve that ROAS ratio over time.

Bring Back Those Lost Sales

You’ve probably already heard the stat that an average of only 2% of all your visitors actually convert on the first visit.
By using retargeting to your advantage, you’re able to automatically create ad sets that dynamically update the product that the visitor was on before they left your site.
Known as dynamic remarketing, you can help yourself stay top of mind as your visitors may be doing more research before they’re ready to buy.
Platforms like AdWords, Facebook, AdRoll, Perfect Audience (and many others) have native dynamic remarketing tools that make your life super simple.
By connecting to your product feed, the advertising channel of your choice will pull all the relevant info to create an ad with the goal of bringing back that lost sale.


Here’s how it works – image source

The great thing is that the cost per acquisition (CPA) of a dynamic retargeting campaign is usually less than a regular CPA if your audience is configured correctly.

Here’s To Your Increased Sales

As a retailer, advertising online can be a complex thing. But luckily, you don’t have to deal with things like lead quality and offline sales that are hard to attribute.
With a solid foundation and usage of the tips above, you’re able to get off to a strong start to continually grow your eCommerce adventures.
What’s your best kept eCommerce optimization secret?

Klientboost Blog Author <br>Johnathan Dane

Johnathan Dane


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