This blog post is a follow up to a talk I gave at Online Seller UK in Manchester. It has a wide array of E-Commerce professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs attend. Most sell on platforms such as Amazon and eBay, but a few are now starting to branch out and set up their own online stores. This post highlights 5 Google Shopping strategies that should be utilised more by these e-commerce startups.
- Merchant Promotions
The first example I gave highlights how much more likely a user is to click a retailer that is displaying a merchant promotion.
The below image shows why:
A simple search for solar lights brings up five results, of which one utilises merchant promotions. As you can see, it makes the retailer stand out much more, and thus make them much more likely to acquire the click and the potential conversion.
When clicked upon you can see the promotion they have available:
A simple free delivery over £15 spend code. You’re telling me more retailers couldn’t do mini offers like this in the run up to Christmas!?
Below are a few steps to quickly get rolling with Merchant Promotions:
- Ensure you have completed the Merchant Promotions Interest Form
- Create A Promotion - Free Delivery, Save X When You Spend X, or Simply % off offers tend to work best.
- Choose the products for your promotion. Google allows you to either apply the discount to the whole batch of your inventory or specific products. This is good if you are offering a % off discount, and either have low margin product or low stock product which you may want to avoid lowering the price of.
- Finally, you will have to upload a promotions feed. Google has a set list of specifications you will have to follow, but once up and running it should be a case of swapping the promotion code and any additional info.
As a note you will also have to ‘Map’ products to your main feed with the promotion id. If you use a plugin extension, there is normally capabilities available for this.
- Increasing Product Approval %
The next area of the talk I gave highlighted the need to ensure you are always checking your product approval %. This shows whether there are any issues present within your feed that need sorting. Once sorted, it often means an increase in traffic.
Below is a screenshot of a product approval %:
As we can see above, this particular campaign has a total of 31 products approved out of 45. What does this mean!? Simply put it means there are around 14 products not showing on Google Shopping due to various reasons. By navigating to the products tab and adding in product status, we can clearly see the disapproval reason.
This particular product identified, has invalid or missing identifiers. If we click on the little icon on the right, we can see the specific reason:
As we can see above, the disapproval reason is due to this product not having a valid brand name or a missing GTIN. This can now be easily fixed by going into the feed, and adding in any required info.
- Utilising Feed Rules
If you have a good quality feed, or one that is easy to update, then feed rules may not be too much use. However, if you have a feed that is hard to change, has a lot of issues that need quick fixes, or you simply want to quickly apply custom labels then they can be of use.
Using feed rules to set custom labels is a very quick way to review data in a different way. In the example below, custom labels have been applied via feed rules to allow the advertiser to split the feed via Gender, Title or Price:
The above is a very simplistic example, but does highlight one way to quickly apply feed rules. As a note I would never use feed rules as a backup for a good quality feed. If you have lots of issues with your feed, they should be sorted from the root cause, rather than relying on feed rules.
- Audience Bidding
There are a few notable benefits to audience bidding. These are:
- Ability to bid higher on segments more likely to convert.
- Can negative out (remove) segments that massively underperform.
The ability to actively bid more for users that are more likely to convert cannot be understated. Even with a higher bid, users who have shown more engagement or taken key actions on the website are much more likely to be profitable.
Below are a few examples of segments you should consider setting up:
- All Site Visitors
- Converted Users
- Basket Abandoners
- Checkout Abandoners
- Engagers (High Time On Site & High Page Views)
Below are some segments you should consider adding as negatives. This is because these users have shown low engagement or interest in your product or services.
- High Bounce Rate
- Low Time On Site
- Low Pages/Session
You can find what lists you have in place by clicking on the audience’s tab (older interface):
: Google will start utilising your list only once it’s hit the 1,000 mark. So try not to create lists that are too granular, especially if you have low levels of traffic.
- Search Term Checks
Running frequent search term checks (also known as search query reports) is another underutilised tool in the Google Shopping advertiser’s arsenal. There are two key benefits to this task:
- The potential to reduce spend from terms that are irrelevant.
- Ability to spot opportunities to optimise your feed.
To do this effectively you will need to know the businesses value proposition very well.
Above we can see three different types of terms coming through.
- A Competitor Term - Argos is a competitor who has pricing and brand advantages. If a user is searching for Argos, then clicks on your shopping result, chances are they are going to price compare you to Argos. In most instances a national retailer is going to outcompete yourself…. (unless you’re a national retailer also 😊)
- Location Based Term – If you don’t ship to Northern Ireland then you are definitely wasting money. Always double check any location terms, as that could save you money quickly by removing them.
- Review Based Term – Reviews tend to pop up frequently on Google Shopping. Sometimes they work quite well, other times not so much. If you’re a retailer that doesn’t have many reviews, you’re not able to give the user what they’re looking for, and thus likely to be losing money. However, if you have built up a good reputation on your website, and have many different reviews, this could work well. Always be sure to check the performance.
Hopefully the above has highlighted a few areas your business can work on come the new year. Google shopping is constantly changing, and requires much more time and effort that in the past. If you have any questions on the above, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org