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Key Advantages of Running Shopping Ads [Google and Bing]

Google shopping

Are you an eCommerce business owner and looking for some extra push on generating revenue? This article is for you.

E-commerce is a highly flourishing business off late where millions of customers across the globe are shopping via internet sites rather than hitting stores physically. With increasing demands, more and more numbers of e-commerce sites are being created and launched on the web. As per the research, eCommerce sales in US is expected to grow more than $400 billion by 2018. Forrester research estimating $414.0 billion and eMarketer is estimating $491.5 billion eCommerce sales in 2018.

ecommerce sales 2018(Source: eMarketer, Forrester Research)

Does your eCommece marketing strategy is ready to acquire this ever increasing sales? To acquire this growing market, it is very important to implement few basic yet effective and new marketing channels. Product listing ads is one of such channel having various key advantages over other marketing channels we will discuss in this article. Search engines like Google and Bing are few of the top places from where you can start promoting your products through shopping campaigns. As per Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q4 2015, Google PLA clicks has increased by 62% & Bing product ads clicks are increased by 91% Y/Y.

Paid search click data
While managing paid marketing campaigns of big brands and controlling around $4K daily budget, I found Shopping ads are more effective for an eCommerce brand as compare to other type of ads.

On an average, cost per conversion of shopping campaign is around 30% down as compare to search ads campaign.

Though running PLA ads might need some technical expertise on the part of the marketer, yet it is more effective for the business when ROI is considered. As I have already discussed more about PLA, in this article we mainly focuses on advantages and will share what expert has to say about product listing ads. Here we go!

Main Advantages of Running Shopping ads on Google or Bing

As we all knows, Google and Bing are the two most widely used search engines across the globe has over 85% market share combine. Keeping this fact in mind, initially we should focus on these two platforms. Each has its own advantages but here we will discuss few common advantages their shopping campaign offers:

#1 Multiple Campaign Management with Better Control

Managing shopping campaigns is an art as all products will be fetched in shopping campaign simultaneously. Here you can categorize products by adgroups and labels depending upon your requirement. Even you can create different campaigns for different set of products and control the campaign specific ad serving. When you are running a business campaign, you are doing the same with some purpose. Therefore it is obvious that with better control of the campaign, you can do better. With the Campaign Priority setting, which is available in Google as well as Bing, it is possible to set preferences as which campaign should precede the other. Ads from high priority campaigns will get priority during serving. With custom labels, tagging of products can be done in a structured manner.

How to set campaign priority in Google shopping campaign?

Adwords shopping campaign setting

Follow below steps to set priority for shopping campaign in Google adwords:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Go to the Settings tab of the campaign you want to edit.
  3. Select Shopping settings (advanced).
  4. Next to “Campaign priority,” click Edit.
  5. Select the priority setting you want: “Low” (this is the default), “Medium,” or “High.”
  6. Click Save.

Mostly the steps will be same for Bing shopping campaign too.

#2 Highly Optimized for Product Specific Marketing

With Google or Bing Shopping campaign, it is possible to have specific performance information on every product. When complete product inventory is provided directly in Google AdWords or Bing ads account, the campaigns can be structured as per categories and product groups (that can be managed while creating shopping feed file) so that marketers have higher control and focus on the bidding strategies. Great emphasis is laid on the products, which are categorized in different manners. Product groups can be created based on custom labels, brand, type of product, condition and so on. A single product group might have a Shopping Campaign running against it.

See below screenshot from Google adwords shopping campaign where product groups are devided based on Custom label 0. You can control negative keywords, bidding or even targeting for each adgroups that can be categorized by specified product groups you create.

select product group

#3 Better Access to Competitive Metrics

The main target of running Shopping Campaigns is not only to increase sales of the products, it is also helps to get a thorough insight into the competitive market. With Google and Bing shopping campaigns; marketers have clear insight into the competitive market and landscape. It is possible to understand competitive data like benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC, search impression share etc.

Here is the brief about each competitive metrics mentioned above:

Benchmark CTR: The benchmark clickthrough rate (CTR) tells you how other advertisers’ Product Listing Ads for similar products are performing based on how often people who see their ad end up clicking on it.
If your PLA ad CTR is much lower than benchmark CTR, you can work on optimizing title, description, image and other visible data to improve the CTR of your ads in Google search result.

Benchmark Max. CPC: The benchmark maximum cost-per-click (max. CPC) tells you how other advertisers are bidding on similar products.

Search Impression Share: Search impression share is the impressions you’ve received on the search network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.

Based on various data it displays, it is easier to create better strategies and take vital marketing decisions.

#4 Easy to Integrate with Your Adwords or Bing Shopping Campaign

Few years back when PLA was introduced, product extensions were needed so that the campaign could be linked duly with the product catalog from merchant account. But after implementation of Shopping Campaigns, there is no need of any kind of product extension. This is because in Shopping Campaign, the catalog is automatically linked as a part while the campaign is being set up. You can create separate shopping campaign (which is already available in both Adwords & Bing Ads account) and link your merchant account directly from there. Here is the brief information on setting up Google & Bing shopping campaign.

Bing Shopping Campaign:

Bing PLA setup

Official guide on setting up Bing shopping campaign: http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/33581/how-to-set-up-a-bing-shopping-campaign

Google Adwords Shopping Campaign:

Checkout below official video guide on setting up adwords shopping campaign.

#5 Advanced Reporting Capabilities

Performance data is the crucial part for any marketing strategies. Both the platforms provide nice reporting facility to view the performance of your campaign. You can view performance data by product attribute or directly the product depending upon your requirement. Performance metrics are generally associated with an individual item and not with a product group. It is possible to segment and filter data as per product attributes. These are inclusive of Google product type, product brand, product category, product condition, custom labels and product id.

Checkout below official video by Google adwords explaining advanced reporting feature of their shopping campaign:

If you found any product not performing well in shopping campaign then don’t panic, you can change that products bid individually too. Yes, it is possible for large catalog too. First identify and list out the products along with its product group which are not performing well. Later go to that product group and sub-group the products which are not performing well and increase or decrease bid depending upon your requirement.

product group Google adword

Apart from these, shopping ads also offers various advantages to sellers. To discuss this point in more details, I approached few experts from digital marketing industry having good experience in managing shopping campaigns for their clients or their own eCommerces business. Here are their views on shopping ads advantages:

Jane Dizon (Digital Marketer)

Jane Dizon is a digital marketer at RoadHolland.com and having vast experience in selling stylish cycling apparel and accessories online via Shopify.

One advise I’d like to give to vendors using shopify is using a manual feed instead of the Google Shopping app. The app, in fairness, is easy to use but has a lot of limitations especially to product variations. If you sell single items, you could give it a try, but if you sell products in varying colours and sizes, then stick to the manual feed. BUT if you’re dealing with thousands of products, then it wouldn’t be realistic managing that manually, so I recommend investing on a great data feed management service like GoDataFeed. Basically, one of the advantages of doing Products Listings Ads on GShopping is you’re exposing your products on users with the intent of purchasing. With the comprehensive attributions, the search results are tailor-made to what the user is looking for. You are targeting and catering the right audience for your products.

I sent few question to Jane and here is the feedback i received:

You mentioned about hurdle; according to you, which is the most challenging hurdle while setting up shopping campaign?
For me, it’s always the initial stage. When you start doing Google Shopping, you don’t see much results at first. That’s discouraging. You should be patient and keen to experiment on different strategies because it takes time before you see the results you want

We have seen, mobile bids adjustment is the crucial part to control ad spend. How do you manage mobile bid adjustment?
We follow a formula:

(Value per mobile click/Value per desktop and tablet click) – 1 * 100

Where value is total revenue per device/total number of clicks on that device.

Do you use any tools to manager and generate shopping feed? Which is your favorite tool?

Currently, we don’t use a tool since our product catalog is small and can be managed manually. But before, when I had a client that has thousands of products, we used GoDataFeed and it worked wonders.

According to Vipin who is digital marketing manager at Acodez, the key advantages of running shopping campaign are:

#1 Retail Centric Campaign Management

Shopping campaigns are retail centric that means you can place your top selling product in-front of online customer as we do in retail store. If you are using Google Shopping you can easily review and manage your own inventory. You can bid for specific product, sub categories or even categories. with Google Shopping campaign you can avoid highly manual process.

#2 More Advanced Reporting Capabilities

Shopping campaigns provide you highly accurate reporting capabilities, which you may not get through you store reporting. You can track how well your products are performing based upon size, sku, color, etc.

#3 Track Your Competitors at Every Turn

You can see benchmark data, CPC and CTR of other advertisers for similar products so you can make your own competitors analysis and act according to it.

#4 Analyze the Future

You can check out the bidding rates at which your ads will performs you can use Bid simulator to track your performance based on your bidding amount. By this you can get some extra clicks by applying a small amount of increase in your bidding.

#5 Re-marketing Campaign

Re-marketing is one of the best options for shopping campaigns; here you can re-target the person who has searched for a particular product with best available price for this same product and can display ads with similar product. This feature is known as dynamic Re-marketing.

For those who are not aware of re-targetting / remarketing can follow this step-by-step guide by Neil Patel.

I also got a chance to speak with Pamela Wagner, a former Googler and now owner of an agency. According to her, the key advantages of shopping campaign are:

  1. Easy to set up in Google AdWords
  2. Especially good for branding purposes: being seen counts almost more than being clicked on.
  3. Once you set it up and have crossed the first hurdle, it basically runs on its own. One only needs to adjust the negative keywords every now and then, and eventually work with the mobile and ad scheduling bid adjustment. So, this means there is very low maintenance if you have set up the right updating system for the feed.
  4. Great optimization opportunities in terms of ad groups and sorting products in many different ways: brands, types, custom label, etc.

Then I asked few specific questions to Pamela and here is her reply:

According to you, which is the most challenging hurdle while setting up shopping campaign?
Getting the feed right. A lot of people really struggle the feed and don’t know that Google actually offers a really good instruction on their support page.

Do you use any tools to manager and generate shopping feed? Which is your favorite tool?
My favorite is still a simple excel sheet. (Though I haven’t worked yet with too complex feeds)

As you can clearly understand from their reply, shopping ads offers great advantages for an eCommerce brand and one should definitely go for it. Before i complete the article, here is my conclusion i compiled based on my research and feedback received from experts.

Conclusion:

In the ever dynamic world of internet marketing, strategies keep on changing. Marketers also keep on implementing one strategy after another and check out which work best for the business. As per the research I shared at beginning of the post clearly revealed that among the different online marketing strategies, product listing ads played vital role in eCommerce business promotion and its click share continued to outpace search in January 2016, accounting for 52% of total clicks versus search at 48%. And this is because we should never ignore this opportunity that may change your business forever.

The implementation of Google and Bing shopping campaigns might seem little difficult in the beginning, but once you done with the set up; they are sure to bring exceptionally great results. The e-commerce platforms are sure to leverage the new marketing tactic to get best results.

For any help or assistance, you can always write me here by comment or contact with your query. I will get back to you withing 24 hours for sure!

About the author

Jignesh Gohel is an eCommerce marketing consultant with over decade of experience in digital marketing. He loves writing about eCommerce marketing and Google adwords. Connect with him at twitter @jigneshgohel or Linkedin at jigneshgohel

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