Google Shopping Campaigns: Costly Mistakes to Avoid

Costly mistakes to avoid: Google Shopping Campaigns

Google Shopping Ads appear in their own box and above or to the right-hand side of text ads and organic results. Similar to text ads, Google Shopping Ads work on a cost-per-click basis. This means you’re only charged when a user clicks onto your advert and lands on your product page.

Shopping ads appeal to users because they show rich information such as a product image, pricing, product name, your business name, promotional text, special offers and your seller rating. Having all this stuff in one place makes the purchase process simpler and faster.

We know clients can find setting up Google Shopping campaigns for the first time a bit daunting. I mean, there’s a lot in Google Merchant Centre.

You do need to be careful. Mistakes made during set up and management can be performance-limiting and costly.

Setting up and managing Google Shopping campaigns is everyday work for our Paid Marketing team. We know Google Merchant Centre inside out, so we thought we’d share some of our expertise to help you avoid five of the most common, and costly, mistakes. Here’s what you need to know…

Mistake #1 – Forgetting to check the search terms report and add negative keywords

While Google Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords like other search campaigns, you still need to use the search terms report to check terms that match your products. Why? This is your chance to check whether your ads have been showing at the right moments.

Let the data guide your campaign structure changes and help you add negative keywords to your product groups, so you’re not losing out to irrelevant and unprofitable search terms.

This, in turn, will help reduce your overall costs and increase your return on investment.

Mistake #2 – Forgetting to optimise product titles and descriptions

When Google matches a search query and decides on ad position, the first keywords in the product title and description carry the most weight. Google scans your product title from left to right. The most important keywords or the highest converting terms should be listed to the left of the product title. An example of a typical format for a clothing product would be ‘Brand, Gender, Product, Size, Colour’.

Leading with the brand name is a common mistake when the brand name is not the best performing keyword for your business.

TIP: Check your search terms report to identify how users search for your products and arrange your keywords in a similar way.

Mistake #3 – Neglecting Google Merchant Centre special promotions

Merchant Centre special promotions allow you to add a ‘special offer’ tag beneath your ad listing. This makes your product look limited and even more appealing to potential customers. Special offer tags can greatly improve campaign performance, helping you to further optimise click-through rate and cost per clicks.

If you’ve got a discount or delivery offer available – it is definitely worth shouting about.

TIP: It can take a couple of days for Google to review and approve merchant promotions, so make sure you submit your feed as early as possible to avoid missing out on increased seasonal and topical interest in products.

Mistake 4# – Poor segmentation and no custom labels

Our experience shows that for a successful shopping campaign you need to segment and organise your products into logical, well thought out product groups. These groups should be aligned with your business goals.

You can manually add Google Ads labels into your product feeds, giving you customised segmentation that’s unique for your business. For example, you could label your products based on bestsellers, low sellers, products on sale, profit margins, seasonality or price buckets.

An organised and well-defined campaign structure, that is unique to your business, will give you more control and greater flexibility in bid budget management. It will also improve your data analysis for analysis, so you can identify trends for specific groups of products.

TIP: Don’t get carried away with segmentation and create more product groups than you can handle. Each product group bid needs to be managed manually, which becomes time-consuming when you have hundreds of product groups to manage daily.

Mistake #5 – Not using the ‘campaign priority’ feature for campaign segmentation

The campaign priority feature is one of the Merchant Centre’s most powerful tools when used correctly. Google Shopping campaigns can be set up with high, low or medium priority. So, if the same product appears in more than one campaign, the highest priority campaign wins, regardless of the CPC bids.

As Google Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords, the only way to control search queries is by using negative keywords to block irrelevant searches. By combining campaign priority with negative keywords, you can achieve a thoroughly segmented shopping campaign structure.

You could segment brand, generic and product-specific searches into three separate campaigns. The set-up gives achieve granularity, control, and improved analysis.

TIP: Remember to use a shared budget. This will prevent traffic from being diverted to an alternative campaign if one campaign reaches its daily budget faster than another.

An example of segmentation outcome: Ray-Ban sunglasses:

This is just one example of how incredibly useful campaign priority settings are. For a less advanced structure, try segmenting brand and generic searches. The same principle applies, but create two campaigns instead of three and use only high and low priority settings.

The truth is that a successful campaign is about a lot more than having an optimised product feed. It’s also about being creative with campaign features to achieve a well-defined and organised campaign structure aligned with your business goals. By making clever use of the priority feature, negative keywords, different bids per campaign and a shared budget, you can really grow your ROI through Google Shopping campaigns.

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