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7 Shopping Campaign Features Advertisers Should Utilize This Holiday Season for Optimal Performance

With the launch of Shopping campaigns (previously known as Product Listing Ads), Google added additional features that are extremely helpful in a few different ways. Shopping campaigns have made it much easier to navigate the products and understand the data in detail with additions such as the ability to look at the product feed data within the user interface and item ID/SKU-level performance reporting. Every day counts when it comes to the holiday season, and this article explains how to best utilize these new Shopping campaign features to get optimal results:

1. Merchant Promotions 

Differentiate your ads from your competitors by using merchant promotions and providing users with a special offer. A product image, price, and special offer combined in one ad is a killer recipe for success, and the likelihood of users clicking on the Shopping ad is much higher in comparison to regular text ads or even organic results. A couple of ways you can measure the success of promotions are 1) by comparing the CTR (pre/post) and 2) creating a report segmented by click type in your AdWords account for “Product Listing Ads – Coupon” click type.

Merchant promotions through Google Shopping

2. Automatic Item Updates 

We all know how important it is to keep the feed up to date and avoid any disapproval, especially in the holiday season – this feature will help you do that. If there is a difference in price or availability in the product feed compared to the website, this will automatically update and reflect the correct price/availability (temporarily) on Google Shopping instead of disapproving your ad. You would, however, be required to have schema.org microdata implemented on your website and enable this feature from your Merchant Center account in order to get started. Note that this feature does not guarantee that your product will always be approved, so keeping the product feed fresh is still recommended and the best practice.

Automatic item updates through Google Shopping

3. Search Partners Network for Shopping

Extend your reach beyond Google with its Search Network and advertise your products on other websites. Similar to text ads, you have an option to display PLA ads on search partners’ websites and get additional exposure. This is the default setting when you create a new Shopping campaign, so if you prefer to only use Google Search and Shopping to advertise your products, then make sure to opt out by deselecting the “Include search partners” checkbox at the campaign level settings.

Search partners network for Google Shopping

4. Priority Setting 

Take advantage of the priority setting available in Shopping campaigns and prioritize campaigns based on your goals. Google previously relied solely on bids to decide which product ads to display, but with the new Shopping campaigns, you can decide which product(s) should take precedence over others with this setting. Here are a few different scenarios and the recommended practice for when to use it:

  • Low Priority: This is the default setting and most of your campaigns would fall under this category.
  • Medium Priority: Promotional campaign (Merchant Promotions), top sellers campaign, poor performers campaign, etc. will fall under this category. This setting will ensure that these campaigns will be served over campaigns with a low priority setting.
  • High Priority: Include campaigns for special promotions like Black Friday or Cyber Monday here.

Priority settings for Google Shopping

One of the biggest advantages of grouping these campaigns differently is to bid for them separately and be able to capture available impression share in the market wherever necessary. While serving an ad, Google will first look at the priority setting – higher priority will trump low and medium priority and medium will trump low priority. If the same product exists in multiple campaigns and both campaigns have the same priority level, then the campaign that has a higher bid is eligible to be served.

5. Benchmark CTR & CPC 

With Shopping campaigns, you can now see benchmark data at the product group level, which will allows you to see competitive metrics and understand how similar products are performing in comparison to your product group. Use this data to make changes to the product information on the feed (to gain higher CTR — if it’s significantly lower than the benchmark CTR) and make bid adjustments based on the benchmark CPC data (to capture higher/lower available impression share).

Benchmark click-through rates for Google Shopping

6. Impression Share Data

This data is also available at the product group level and will help you understand the available impression share on Google Shopping for similar products. This could be really helpful for some of your product groups for top performing campaigns where you would want to have as much available impression share as possible in that space.

7. Bid Simulator 

Similar to other search campaigns, this feature will provide you estimates about the impact on traffic (impressions, clicks, or costs) while increasing/decreasing your bids for product groups. One thing to note is that the bid simulator displays data based on projections of traffic for the last seven days and does not take seasonality into consideration.

Bid simulator for Google Shopping

In summary, use these shopping campaign features to better target your audience with exciting offers and understand where to make appropriate adjustments for top performance.

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