Google shopping is not a new kind of beast in the world of advertising but the rules that govern its performance to vendors is un-paralleled. Like most google products success comes with experience and heart ache trying to figure out what makes it tick. The rules of success are quite simple, but the implementation is a nuanced art that must be executed with care and detail orientation.
WARNING: Do not attempt google shopping without the 4 following things:
1. The right high quality data
Google spells this out pretty clearly over a 40 page set of recommended items. If you’re familiar with standard SEO principals, then you have the basics in hand. Things that are specific to google shopping are Brand in title, large images and make sure your google structured data is filled out correctly. I can’t count how many times I’ve come across multi million dollar operations who couldn’t follow the basics set forth by google. The fields transmitted in the feed must match specifications, the more data you fill out in the feed the closer you will be to perfect. Make sure to follow the data guidelines for each field and FILL OUT ALL OF THEM ON EVERY PRODUCT.
examples of description problems:
- IF you have description is shorter than 300 words or 1000 characters in length
- IF your description does not include any part of your title
- IF your description does not start with a grammatically correct first sentence
The consequences shall be dire
Google is the only company on the planet that tells you up front how to avoid the spikes in its shopping platform because the genuinely want it to work for you and so you’ll keep paying them. GOOGLE gives you the map to success! Go left 2 squares, jump forward 1 follow the WALL, don’t step on the squares with red X’s. No one ever listens. In this case the pit of spikes comes at the cost of higher costs per click, poor rankings and you might not see any sales AT ALL or the worst alternative. You could end up making sales, at 3x the cost that you could be paying if you had taken the time to follow the rules. There are huge billion dollar retailers who can’t follow the basics. Try shopping for Kate spade purses. Kate Spade over pays consistently because they can’t get their structured data and descriptions done correctly.
It gets worse.
Let’s say you’ve gone back and done it the right way after spending a few thousand dollars on products that don’t convert. Well Google says, any new data or performance is averaged against your old data. What that means is if you spent 5000 dollars, got 500 clicks, and no sales then you fixed the product data and you should have been getting 1000 clicks for 5000 dollars. You would only get 750 clicks overage the range as the data averaged out. So now you’re stuck paying another huge amount of money just to see the performance creep towards what it would have been if you did it right in the first place. Deep in those documents it says if you were doing it wrong for a long time you would be better off changing your product ID’s and starting fresh.
2. Get the Google Trusted Stores Badge
There’s some data out there in the Google Sphere that states that brands that carry the Google Trusted store badge out perform ones that do not by 2 to 1. The requirements are pretty simple, get a few hundred sales while in the Google Trusted Stores review process with the code already on your site and have a few hundred reviews. If you want your ads to succeed at the cheapest cost you should do this before you start Google Shopping. It takes almost a month but its completely worth the wait.
3. Get some product reviews
Product reviews in google shopping really help you stand apart from your competitors. No matter what your product is you need to have a process to gain and show product reviews on the product page. Its simply too valuable to ignore, its big its bright its pretty and it make MONEY! In some cases marketers use the promotional text in the mean time to share things like Free shipping. Google has tested this to death and on most products, 4.5 stars and above yields more clicks than a free shipping message.
4. Re-use your negative keywords
Chances are if you’re going into Google Shopping advertising you’ve built out a text ad or two. Well it turns out there’s a lot of overlap in the negative keywords that you use in your standard text ads. Use those negative you’ve already built out in your existing campaigns to boot strap your success in google shopping with shared lists. All of the time you’ve spent scrubbing the dimensions tab, optimizing your text ads, have finally come full circle to pay you dividends up front.