Since Google updated Google Adwords Shopping Campaigns in August we have seen changes in the way Google Shopping has performed for our clients. In some cases traffic has increased dramatically but conversions have not kept pace. We've also found that estimated bid prices are much lower in some cases than they were with the old PLA accounts.
These trends, along with the increasingly competitive marketplace of Google Shopping, mean that you won't get away with turning your PLAs on and leaving them running. The good news is that the new functionality that Google has added makes it much easier to optimise the Shopping ad performance.
Here's our pick of the easiest, and most effective, optimisation techniques:
Pick the right Google Product Category - The feed will run without Google Product Categories but by adding the right Google Product Category you will make it much easier for Google to show your products to a relevant audience. You can download the Product Category taxonomy here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/160081?hl=en-GB
Look at device performance - Google Shopping won't necessarily work across all devices. We have seen some clients where adverts have been shown on mobile as much as on desktop, but without any conversions. In this instance we've paused mobile bidding and saved valuable pounds.
Use Impression share and bid price estimates to work out bids - The new Shopping campaigns give competitor data like Benchmark CTR and CPC, as well as impression share. Use these to work out how much to spend on your clicks.
Add negative keywords - Use the Search Term report to see which keywords are sending traffic to your site via Shopping. Exclude any keywords that are don't cost in.
Optimise headings for keywords - Unlike normal Adwords, Google decides which searches your adverts should appear for. You can increase the relevance of these searches by optimising your headings and descriptions for well qualified keywords.
Split Out Campaigns Using Custom Labels - Custom labels, which you can add to your feed, make it much easier to split out your campaigns by product type or category. This increased granularity is absolutely crucial to good campaign performance.
Use the Dimensions Report - Use the Dimensions tab to identify poorly performing products and exclude them from your feed.