The Role of Shopping Campaigns
Shopping campaigns are notoriously misunderstood. There’s an expectation for them to be a “set-up & go” kind of campaign to run. As an advertiser you don’t have to define keywords to target, you don’t even have to create any ads. In fact, a Standard Shopping Campaign can be set-up in as little as 6 clicks of your mouse. An advertiser’s dream, right? Wrong…
Shopping campaigns can indeed be an advertiser’s dream, but there is a lot of graft that goes into creating an efficient, effective, and profitable shopping campaign. Most of this hard work is done way before you even log into Google Ads, but before we into the nitty gritty of how to optimise a shopping campaign before it’s even a campaign, I think it’s crucial to understand the role these campaigns can have in your overall paid media strategy and wider digital strategy.
A well-run shopping campaign can be your greatest ally when it comes to your advertising account. It’s the most versatile of all the campaigns that Google offers (with the exception of some of the smart campaigns but we’ll explain why these aren’t included in this comparison later*).
A good shopping campaign can be:
- A “keyword mine” for you
- It can push people down the conversion funnel all by itself
- Direct people to your brand (paid or organic),
- Non-branded searches (paid or organic)
- It can make people associate your company with the major players in online retail
- If you are a major player, ensure that you are the first company that a consumer sees.
We are looking at the Swiss Army Knife of online advertising here, and a lot of people just keep pulling out that tool for getting stones out of horses shoes and wondering why it’s not working to cut their apple at a picnic!
Shopping ads appear in multiple placements, but when on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) they are always eye catching. Whether they are in the carousel at the top of the page or in a grid on the right-hand side, people’s eyes are always drawn to them. This is because they are VERY different to everything else on the SERPs – they have an image! You actually get to see if this is the product you want before clicking through to the website, this is a luxury on the SERPs. Historically consumers would have to rely on the text of the listings to see if it described what they wanted; with shopping they can clearly see. This can deter “curiosity clicks” – wasting your money on low intent consumers.
Along with the product image, Shopping ads also clearly show the price of the product in question. While this isn’t unique to shopping – it can be written into Google Ads headlines or descriptions, or even into meta information for organic listings. However, with Shopping Ads this doesn’t take up characters from a very limited character count like it does with Search Ads. If we combine the image with the price, we have got a lot of the information a consumer may need to make their purchasing their decision, and you haven’t even paid to get them to your site yet.
Next, we come to the product information – for this section we will focus on the Product Title but the product description in the shopping feed also pulls weight here (along with many other factors**). Here we can demonstrate how shopping can be used all through the conversion funnel, from Awareness to Consideration, and Consideration to Intent.
Awareness (Watch the JD Sports Ad)
At this stage of the funnel, we are looking to appear for generic searches. The type of searches that will make people associate your brand with the types of products that they are looking for. People at this stage are unlikely to know exactly what they want but they know what they are in the market for. It is important therefore, that these generic searches are included in the product titles. As Google matches the consumer’s search term to your product title (among other elements of the shopping feed) to decide which products are shown – this is pretty key! From an awareness point of view, this can be great as you can put your brand and your products in front of mind when people are at this crucial stage of the conversion journey.
Consideration (JD Sports Ad Again…)
At this stage, we follow people through the consideration phase. By this stage the consumer is likely to have made the next decision in their purchase journey – in this case they have decided on the brand they would like to see more products from. Again, as an advertiser you would need to ensure that the brand is included in the feed, in both the product title and in the “Brand” field of the feed itself as a minimum. Where in this case it is a brand the consumer has decided on, but it could equally be a colour or material that the user wants. Usually at this stage the consumer is looking to compare different versions of a product that are more similar, compared to what they want than at the awareness stage. Making sure these elements are in the feed helps to make sure that your ad will be seen at this next stage of the funnel.
Intent (You Know Where to Look…)
Here there is high intent – just look at that search term! They’ve decided on the brand, the product and the size they want. Here we are looking at the search term of a consumer who has likely decided on what they want to purchase. If you make sure that your Product Titles have the relevant long tail searches that people may be looking for then you can cover all areas of the conversion funnel. Keeping your brand front of mind throughout the purchase journey can be key to getting the purchase. And in theory this can be done without paying for a single click until the final stage (or not at all if they then search for your brand and click on your organic listing!)
The Bits That I Said I’d Mention Later…They Get Mentioned Now
*The reason this blog is based around Standard Shopping campaigns is that the alternative, Smart Shopping campaigns, incorporate display into the campaign. While this in itself is not a problem, it does mean that it’s more versatile…in where it places. However, with these types of campaigns it is not possible to review the Search Terms and these should be the basis of any optimisations of product titles, descriptions etc. that are the key element of optimising shopping ads to appear for all areas of conversion funnel.
**There are so many fields to a shopping feed (over 60 in fact) and they all impact whether your ad gets shown and for what consumer search. However, there are some that are more important than others. Optimising Product Titles, Descriptions, Google Product Categories & Product Types is a good start.
Please keep an eye out for our top tips for optimising and maintaining a healthy shopping feed. Contact Us if you’d like any personalised advice around Shopping and how to use it to benefit your eCommerce Revenue.