We’ve been tracking prices on Google Shopping for a long time and have seen it grow to become an increasingly important source of traffic and sales for our clients. But mastering Goggle Shopping campaigns requires more than just a few minutes each day adjusting bids and product feeds. Creating a winning Google Shopping strategy requires a solid understanding of how your potential customers search for products and an understanding on how Google Shopping ranks you and your ads.

Though not an extensive or comprehensive guide, here are some pointers and priorities you might want to consider when reviewing your Google Shopping strategy.

1. Product Focus

If you are fortunate enough to sell niche products that are not generally available – lucky you!. Most sellers will be competing with many retailers, including Amazon. This mean you’ll have to take a more strategic approach to how you market your products. Focus your campaigns on products where you are most competitive and where there are fewer sellers. Also consider creating product bundles that offer value and some level of differentiation / exclusivity. Use price tracking tools like InSiteTrack to uncover the less competitive products and to track your price ranking on Google Shopping.

2. Segment your campaigns

One of the keys to a winning Google Shopping strategy is creating product groups. Many retailers don’t segment their campaigns, it’s the most common and costly mistake you can make. With shopping campaigns there are no keywords to bid on. You bid on the actual products you are selling, this gives you a huge amount of control. You can bid on individual products or groups of products. If you’re selling 1,000s of products it’s probably not practical to bid on individual products, so you’ll need to create product groups. Product groups are groups of products that contain similar attributes. For example, if you sell golf equipment you could group products by brand or perhaps by category e.g. Golf Balls, Golf Bags, Golf Shoes etc.

The key to organising your products into groups is Return on Investment, i.e. how much can you afford spend on an ad. For products with high margins you can afford to spend more to get the sale.

3. Optimise your Product Feed

As previously mentioned, shopping campaigns don’t use keywords to determine relevancy, they rely on the content of your product feed. Your product titles are one of the most important factors Google uses to identify whether your ad is relevant to the search made. Make sure your product titles use ‘natural’ language that is more likely to match the way a user enters their search query. Take advantage of the Google key word research tool when reviewing your titles.

4. Don’t bid too much – the law of diminishing returns

Bidding on Google Shopping works differently from traditional PPC bidding. Simply increasing your cost per click isn’t necessarily going to get you more traffic. You need to bid a minimum amount to get into the game but the traffic to bid curve is s-shaped. This means small increases in bid price can have a large impact on traffic. However at the top of the s-curve there’s a plateau where higher bids result in only a marginal increase. Not understanding this dynamic often leads to companies spending too much money on ads without seeing any additional return. This is also another good reason to ensure you segment your campaigns effectively.

5. Keep an eye on your competitor prices

If you sell the same products and brands as your competitors, you’ll need to monitor your competitor prices and price position on Google Shopping. There’s some interesting research from Crealytics that discovered that price differences on Google Shopping have a dramatic impact on traffic. The research found that products that were cheaper than the market average tend to generate the majority share of traffic in any given product feed. The research goes on to say

“We might expect cheaper products to generate a higher click-through rate, explaining a higher traffic share, but the difference in impressions is clear proof that the Google Shopping algorithm favors products with lower prices and therefore serves those product ads for a higher number of relevant searches.”

So price has a big impact on how often your product ad is likely to be shown.

This suggests you need to optimise your prices in addition to optimising your bids. Bidding high for noncompetitive products makes no sense. Using competitor price tracking tools like ours can help you avoid bidding too high on noncompetitive products.

A winning Google Shopping Strategy

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to develop a successful Google Shopping strategy. Start with small steps and aim to build a solid foundation by getting the fundamentals right. If your time and resources are limited, consider using technology to do the heavy lifting. InSiteTrack provides software tools that allow you to track competitor prices and price ranking on Google and other online markets such as Amazon. Our price intelligence tools can save you time and save you money by automating the price monitoring and price management process.

You’ll no doubt have limited time and resources to manage this often complex part of your business. Balancing your marketing activities, product pricing and return on advertising spend is a real challenge. Your business needs to generate profitable sales as a priority, so don’t make the mistake of pushing it down your list of priorities because you don’t have the time. Find an good agency and leverage price management tools that automate the process.

It will be worth the effort, creating a winning Google Shopping strategy will save you cost, increase traffic and maximise your return on advertising spend.