As Google Product Listing Ads continue to grow in importance for retailers, it’s important that product feeds are as data-rich and accurate as possible to provide the best experience for customers as well as maximize ad performance.
With all the other competing priorities in managing a Google Shopping and broader PPC program, seemingly low-priority warnings and errors in the Google Merchant Center can potentially fall to the wayside as other more important and pressing matters take center stage. Those low-priority errors can sometimes remain unattended to, mostly because it has never been abundantly clear what the impact of certain warnings or errors had on actual ad performance for advertisers. That is, until now.
In an attempt to help advertisers diagnose and prioritize product feed issues, Google released a new Opportunities report in the Merchant Center three weeks ago after several months of closed Beta testing. The new tab details the impact on traffic that a given disapproval has, making it easier to prioritize which feed errors to tackle first.
As Google continues placing further emphasis on Google product identifiers (GTINs) and tightens restrictions on data-rich fields like product images, it’s important to know which Merchant Center issues are worth prioritizing. Using the Opportunities tab, you can get insight into exactly which disapproved or warned products are impacting performance and deserve attention.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
So how do we use it? The Opportunities offering lives under the Products tab in the Merchant Center, coexisting alongside the Diagnostics, Feeds, and List tabs. When a user clicks into the tab, they are greeted by curated suggestions (or “opportunities”) that correspond to the current errors in the Diagnostics tab. At first glance, Google displays the number of products that are affected by a given error, and the estimated weekly Shopping click impact that the error is causing.
When clicking into an opportunity, the user is directed to an expanded view of the top 25 products receiving the error, and the estimated weekly clicks missed by each product due to its disapproval. This is where the true value of the Opportunity beta shows.
If you are having trouble fighting back product errors and warnings, fixing the problems at hand can be daunting and sometimes seem to be more trouble than they are worth. This view allows us to prioritize products that drive meaningful levels of traffic, while working on a broader solution to cover the rest of the products.
This insight is especially helpful for those who manually edit their feed whenever a change is needed, because it establishes a list of priorities and expectations. But those with feed editing and optimization tools shouldn’t turn a blind eye here, either. Knowing the value and cost of leaving errors unresolved makes communicating necessary changes to clients much easier. That additional performance context may be the necessary push that’s needed to drive changes in the feed.
Okay, so it’s clear this tool will be a big help in prioritizing errors, but how is Google calculating weekly clicks for a product that’s not currently running ads? Well, there are several factors that Google is basing its estimation on.
How Does Google Calculate Estimated Weekly Clicks?
First, Google takes into account past performance of the affected item and base the estimation on historical data. In addition, Google looks at performance of similar items that are currently live in Shopping. According to Google, similarity is determined by a number of things, but most notably: titles, descriptions, GTINs, and Google Product Categories.
Google admits that, of course, seasonality, bid changes, and budget constraints are all less predictable, and could skew estimation. Keeping that in mind, the Opportunities tab is most valuable for insight into directional impact, rather than exact click share missed.
All that said, this additional context is extremely helpful for prioritizing pesky errors that can plague accounts. Whether you’re an agency analyst with vast feed editing capabilities, or manually editing your own feed at a small business, this update arms marketers with some of the most valuable stuff Google has to offer: more data!