As always, the world of Google Ads and paid search is moving quickly. With new functionality and features, and changes in the way Google is delivering campaigns across Search and Shopping, it’s important to keep up to date to make sure your campaigns are being managed effectively.
Here are some of the key announcements and updates from Google Ads in February 2020.
#1 – Google Expanding Shopping Ads to Gmail
Shopping ads on the Google Ads platform will soon be available to be shown across Gmail as early as March 2020. This covers both Product Shopping ads and Showcase Shopping ads.
This follows their roll-out of Search ads on the Gmail platform, but now allows for more ecommerce retailers to take advantage of the functionality.
To opt-in to this display, retailers should opt-in to “YouTube, Gmail and Discover” display under Networks, in Settings.
#2 – Easier Remarketing Ads Management with Shared Remarketing Lists
Google shares that “with a manager account, you can share audience lists across accounts – but it requires multiple steps to set up. To make it easier to quickly share your audience lists, you can now enable continuous audience sharing in your manager accounts.”
These shared lists make the management of remarketing campaigns much easier, and allows retailers to easily remarket to their existing visitors and customers through Google Ads.
#3 – All Google Ads Campaigns Will Use Standard Delivery
Retailers now have a comprehensive price comparison benchmarking report at the store, brand, product type and product level. All retailers have to do is ust opt the account into the program and the data is instantly available.
This can be very useful for retailers who want to evaluate their performance at both a holistic level and a product level. As more data becomes available, the easier both retailers and agencies can measure success.
#5 – Grouped Products in ‘Shopping’ Tab of Search Results
We’ve also recently been made aware that in the ‘Shopping’ tab of search results, products are being grouped together if closely related, even if not associated by something like an Item Group ID.
There isn’t usually a huge volume of traffic that comes from that tab compared to standard search results. However, it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’re cautious over your product merchandising and curation.
Keep Up to Date
If you want to discuss anything in this update with our expert PPC team or are looking for support with your paid search campaigns, then get in touch.
Throughout 2019, we saw some big changes come from Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising with Google continuing to shift its focus to automation, leading advertisers to take more of a curator role over that of practitioner.
As a fleeting overview of 2019 the following changes happened in the Google Ads sphere:
Seasonal segments added for In-Market audiences and other brand new audience types
Launch of the audience expansion tool
Changes made to how phrase and broad match behave, in relation to synonyms and paraphrases
Retirement of accelerated delivery as a delivery option
Introduction of the lead form ad extension
Videos in responsive display ads
Sunsetting of Average Position as a metric
Now that 2019 is out of the way, let’s move on to 2020 and run through the salient releases and announcements in January 2020 so far.
On the back of some pretty big changes throughout 2019, Google have started 2020 with some new and exciting changes and announcements to their advertising platform and ads.
#1 – Ads Label
Out of the gate, Google has flip flopped with how it deals with Google ads labelling in search results on desktop. In May 2019 Google rolled out the sleek, more organic looking ads label changing it from its predecessor and has since trialled the same look on desktop.
Much to the dismay of Google, there’s been a bit of a fuss kicked up about the change in desktop ads labels in which they’ve reverted the change and are now running tests on different variations. In my opinion, Google Ads have never looked more like organic results than they do now and I understand the kickback they have got over changing the ad label.
Whilst not a huge change, parallel tracking can be useful in speeding up load time on site as it deals with tracking the click measurement in the background during site load instead of sending them via the tracking URL first, all in all a nice step forward.
With Google pushing strategies other than manual strategies over the last couple of years, this is a great step change for advertisers to gauge the potential performance impact of bid or budget adjustments especially when the strategy is to spend your budget (looking at you ‘Maximise Conversion and Clicks’). I must note that you should take the projections with a pinch of salt, like everything to do with the bid and budget simulators, as future performance does differ from Google Ads projections.
The change came at the start of the year with Google announcing it late 2019. A bit of an annoying change but one I do understand. I’d suggest going through your Account Manager or ringing the support line if you have access to the Dublin team. Failing that, try to go through the online or phone services.
Unlike Google, Microsoft have started off the year with some larger changes and announcements which do mirror some changes made on Google in 2019.
#5 – Responsive Search Ads
Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) are now out of beta and available for all advertisers across all territories in both the online UI and editor. RSAs came out over a year ago but the shift towards them suggests days are numbered for expanded text ads sadly, with another platform taking away control from the manager and pushing them into a more curator position.
My suggestion would be to run both RSAs and ETAs alongside each other for now and test to see if you do get better performance running with the new ad type.
This is a push back from their former tentative date which was scheduled for the end of 2019. If you’re still running accounts with STAs (why?!), make sure to add in an Expanded Text Ad variant with similar messaging if you’re worried about performance and whilst you’re at it, why not add in an RSA to test too.
#7 – In Market Audience
My personal favourite and by far the biggest update for Microsoft is the addition of in-market audiences which are now available (as of the 28th of January) in UK, Canada and Australia territories.
In-market audience splits out your customer base by purchase intent signals within certain categories, allowing you to bid or observe how each audience type perform in relation to your campaigns. In-market audiences are another good step forward for Microsoft, allowing advertisers to bid more effectively using multi-layered targeting options.
Overall January to date has had some interesting updates and announcements from both platforms with Microsoft forever playing catchup and Google leading the way with new and exciting ways to measure and implement advertising campaigns.
Choosing the right PPC agency has become growingly difficult with a number of options to choose from, coming in a variety of different sizes and specialisms. So how do you pick the right PPC agency for your brand? The PPC market is at an all time high with what seems like a new agency opening its doors everyday across the UK.
The PPC landscape has changed dramatically in the last five years with the relationship between agency and client dramatically changing, becoming much more client centric.
Here are some key considerations we’d recommend making when it comes to choosing the right PPC agency for your brand.
#1 – Defining Your Goals & What You Want To Achieve
Before you even start delving into the agency landscape, you need to understand your own business needs and really understand what you are trying to achieve and the services you need to get to your end goal. It’s worth creating a list of questions to ask your potential agency to see if they fit your needs.
#2 – Look for Agency Specialisms
As the agency landscape becomes more crowded, specialist agencies are popping up, specialising in multiple spheres, from pharmaceuticals to fashion. You may also want to consider if you want an agency that deals with more than one service in the same place. Do you want an agency that can handle the development or your site or deal with your Amazon marketplaces alongside your PPC accounts.
#3 – Look for Case Studies & Evidence
An experienced agency should be able to provide you with case studies demonstrating the quality of their work. They may not divulge all the details to protect the privacy of the clients, but they should clearly show how their methodology drives success and what results were achieved.
Look for case studies where the client is in your vertical or has a similar challenge that you have.
#4 – Understand the Pricing Structure Options
Pricing models change from agency to agency with some charging on ad spend and others modelling their management fee on revenue. You need to find what best fits your business model. You may find that you also may be able to strike up a deal on fixed fee per month dependent on ad spend/revenue.
#5 – Look for Culture Fit
One of the most important factors of choosing an agency is down to culture fit as you need to enjoy working with the agency and the people within. Do you strike a good rapport with the people within the agency and can you see yourself working with them long term, nurturing a healthy long term relationship?
Finding the Right Agency
Finding the right agency can be a minefield but if you make sure to start with a clear direction on what your business goals are and match agency specialisms to your specific sector, you’re heading in the right direction to choosing the right agency for you. Once you’ve found a handful of agencies that fit your needs make sure you get all the relevant evidence, this can either be in the form of case studies or a tailored proposal. This should whittle down the agencies you want to work with. Culture fit should be your next port of call to ensure you can nurture a long lasting relationship with your agency and the people you’re going to be working with.
If you’re want to discuss your options for PPC and are interested in how we approach our campaigns, get in touch with our expert team.
Google’s forever changing ad landscape has posed many implications to the ways in which advertisers are able to communicate their messages to users. A look into the way they’ve developed their ad formats over the years shows encouraging signs for advertisers who are looking to utilise the various ad formats to their fullest potential.
After Google have continued to develop a variety of ad types, advertisers now have a range of formats to utilise across both traditional text ads and shopping ads. Here’s an overview of each ad’s purpose and how to maximise their success.
#1 – Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)
When Google introduced Expanded Text Ads in 2016 and started to phase out Standard Text Ads from January 2017, it allowed advertisers to engage and connect with their audience more effectively. By expanding the space in which advertisers were allowed to utilise by 50%, this reportedly drove CTRs up by an average of 20%.
From a technical format perspective we saw a change in character limit from 25-35-35 under the old Standard Text Ads format up to a much more generous 30-30-80 under the newer Expanded Text Ad format. From an advertising perspective this gave advertisers the ability to tailor their messaging more effectively, whilst also conveying the brand messaging more distinctively. In addition to this, the SERP (search engine results page) real estate expansion gave advertisers a larger space to convey their messaging across, making the ads more prominent to searchers.
#2 – Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)
Just as ETAs replaced their predecessor, Responsive Search Ads are predicted to replace ETAs after presenting another dimension of adaptability. In early 2018, Responsive Search Ads were made widely available in beta with Google encouraging advertisers to adopt the new ad format. And for very good reason.
The transition from ETA to RSA is arguably the most explorative change which Google has made across search ad formats, and marks their commitment towards increased automation and AI learning. There are two key changes which have changed the search ad landscape for advertisers which are:
The ability to create up to 15 different headlines and 4 different description lines; throwing in a description character limit expansion from 80 to 90 for good measure.
Rotating headlines and description lines automatically in order to show the most relevant variation to the initial search query.
With Google’s push towards automation, it comes as no surprise that they’ve integrated machine learning into their new ad format. With advertisers experiencing mixed performances from other automotive features, we can understand why there may be a level of skepticism around the new formats. However with Google’s algorithms becoming more reliable, especially once they’ve gathered a reasonable amount of data, the ability for ads to adapt to queries based on data signals will outshadow non-responsive ads and give a competitive edge to those who have adopted them.
From an ad format perspective, the release of Responsive Search Ads was also met with a description character limit expansion from 80 to 90 and a change to ad delivery which sporadically includes a third headline and second description line when showing ads. After we saw the improved CTRs after developing from Standard Text Ads to ETAs, this gives advertisers further space to utilise when communicating with their audience.
The character expansion and ad delivery change was also rolled-out across ETAs in August 2019 for the purpose of display format consistency.
#3 – Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)
One other search ad format which is often pushed aside is the Dynamic Search Ad. Unlike the other ad formats, DSAs can only be applied to specific DSA campaigns which crawl websites for relevant search terms and automatically match towards these search terms. Despite the inability to apply these ads across all campaigns, they should certainly not be ignored and present a different dynamic to advertisers.
In some regards, Dynamic Search Ads have pathed the way for RSAs and are a pseudo-hybrid of the AI mechanics behind RSA combined with traditional static messaging. DSAs consist of a dynamic headline one, a dynamic URL as headline two, two static description lines, and adopt the final URL from the landing page where the original query matched to. So essentially, DSAs will dynamically adapt towards the user’s search query but the messaging within both description line one and two will remain static.
Best Practices Across Text Ads
Each ad group should be equipped with 1 RSA and 2 ETAs. Google currently favours RSAs over ETAs meaning the majority of ads shown will be RSAs, but it’s recommended to have backups in place. RSAs are likely to replace ETAs at some stage in 2020 so preparation in advance is advised.
RSAs give advertisers the option to ‘pin’ specific headlines and descriptions to specific positions. It’s advised to pin headline 1 to position 1 with the keyword as the text, whilst it can also be beneficial to pin headlines and descriptions across sale periods where certain messages need to be shown every time.
DSAs should not be ignored. It’s still useful to use this ad and campaign format in order to mine new keywords, and the dynamic changing headline and URL means that relevancy will always be reasonably strong. It is not recommended to solely use DSAs where the lack of tailoring across all other headlines can hinder relevancy.
#4 – Standard Shopping
The Google shopping service has been the core Google advertising service for many ecommerce retailers, allowing users to be matched directly to products from within advertisers’ product inventories which have relevance with the search query.
In contrast to search, the developments across the core offering of shopping have remained fairly solidified over time, with the simplistic product + price + retailer format remaining static. Of course, advertisers can utilise extensions such as the product rating extensions which will pull in to the ads along with the ability to advertise promos and discounts too.
The most significant change to the appearance of shopping ads over the last few years has been the introduction of many Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) with the likes of Kelkoo and Productcaster being listed at the bottom of shopping advertisements. The introduction of third party shopping comparison services increased across 2019 after Google was fined for favouring its own shopping service over competitors,
#5 – Showcase Shopping
The biggest development across shopping has been the introduction of the new Showcase Shopping ad format which is exclusively shown across both mobile and tablet devices. This latest ad format allows users to engage with a brand more effectively with a variety of products being shown from a specific advertisers’ inventory. This format gives advertisers the ability to ‘showcase’ a number of products which may be relative to the user query.
In addition to improving user engagement with the brand and displaying a variety of products, it can also be an effective tool for mining new keywords which are relevant to specific product ranges.
Best Practices Across Shopping Ads
Traditional shopping ads are still as effective as they’ve always been, linking users directly to products sat within your inventory. Most agencies have considered using Comparison Shopping Services, although having the CSS listed within the ad doesn’t seem to have any implications on CTR.
Showcase ads are a great opportunity to show users multiple products at once whilst enforcing your brand too. Consider implementing showcase ads, segmenting by products which sit within common categories.
Maximising Success on Google
Google is often introducing new ad types whilst also making alterations to current formats. This is centered around improving their ad service for users, and connecting users with products and services using a variety of ad formats. With Google introducing these new formats so often it’s important that advertisers keep up to date with the latest releases and keep testing new ad formats.
PPC is constantly evolving. We are ecommerce growth experts and will use our expertise and experience to deliver award-winning Google Ads campaigns that deliver results. If you need help with your PPC strategy, get in touch with our expert team.
PPC can be transformative in driving sales and order volume for any high-growth ecommerce retailer during Black Friday weekend. However, competition is high. You want to make sure that your PPC campaigns are spot on to make sure you stand out in the crowd.
However, as we approach the peak trading period, the marketer’s task list grows and grows. It can be easy to overlook minor tasks as your workload grows, but these smaller tasks could be crucial to the success of any digital advertising strategy. Do you have a checklist for managing your PPC campaigns during the infamous BFCM weekend?
Here is a rundown of everything you need to look over when researching, planning and launching PPC campaigns for the BFCM period to maximise your success.
Early – Mid October
Gather historical data of previous Black Friday performance Identify shifts in trading patterns, search queries, competitor activity using auction insights, and insights into the best times of day or days of the weekend.
Use Google Search Trends and Keyword Planner for extra insights Can you find any unique opportunities for potential keywords containing ‘black friday + product’ or ‘black friday offers + product category’?
Check your site tracking is working correctly with Google Tag Manager This is crucial to make sure you can measure and monitor the success of your campaigns during one of the busiest trading periods in your PPC calendar.
Plan your PPC strategy and agree on budgets, audience and focus Start planning your PPC strategy for the sale period, agree on budgets and ensure audiences are built out for any prospecting customers, or remarketing such as cross channel audiences to recapture them with Google.
Create an internal matrix for all adjustments needed for your campaigns Build out a planning matrix for changes needed in ad copy, bid adjustments, Google Merchant Centre promotions, promotion extensions, and any other changes you may be exploring for your PPC campaigns.
Submit briefs for your PPC creative Make sure any creative agencies or teams have received their briefs for the creative you need for display ads, banners and remarketing creative. Make sure the brief contains all of the necessary ad specifications and dimensions.
Mid – Late October
Finalise your design and creative Complete all the designs needed for your digital assets for your PPC campaigns.
Submit all products to your Merchant Centre for Google Shopping Make sure all the products are approved and troubleshoot any issues to Google to make sure there any no delays in your campaign launches.
Build your PPC campaigns in advance ready for launch Start building out any new Black Friday campaigns and use your matrix to ensure everything is covered. These should be created in advance to prevent delays. Review your matrix to make sure that you’ve completed all of the actions needed.
Prepare your ad copy for BFCM campaigns Refresh your ad copy to align with Black Friday and Cyber Monday content, highlighting the promotions in the ads across both headline and description. Make sure the promotions are pinned so they’re always showing and ready for launch.
Approve your design and creative Make sure your digital assets are all approved by any senior teams if needed and ready for the campaign launch. Ensure display banners are signed off and create your display campaigns for prospecting and remarketing customers.
Review your Google Shopping feed Whether you’re running a blanket promotion or product-specific, plan ahead by ensuring any SKUs with different promotions are mapped out correctly in the feed.
Schedule in all ad changes and extensions Once all your campaigns have been created and approved, schedule all your ads to run during the whole period. Preview your automated rules and double check the days and times that your ads will be running.
Set up your promotional extensions and schedule Set up the promotion extension and schedule these in advance to run over the BFCM period. If you have any alternating promotions for each day of the period, or different promotions running on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure these are all scheduled in advance.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Weekend
Launch your campaigns Make sure your campaigns are launched with your schedule and ensure they are live.
Double check your Merchant Centre feed Monitor your Merchant Centre to ensure all products are approved in the feed and are running correctly. This is a quick check but if products aren’t running correctly, there will be significant harm to your campaign performance so this is crucial.
Monitor your performance Monitor the performance of your campaigns during the period and prepare to make any last-minute changes if there are unexpected increases or decreases in performance for any specific products or campaigns. Make adjustments to bids and use auction insights to engage with competitors’ impression share.
Plan Ahead for Black Friday
It’s likely that you will see the majority of your ecommerce sales in Q4, and so you need to make sure that your BFCM strategy is planned in advance. Opportunities are everywhere during this period for retailers, but only if you have a smart and well-prepared strategy for your digital advertising and PPC.
PPC is a strategy used by many retailers to boost sales and drive traffic to their online store, especially for those in the fashion industry. Paid search with Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising can support high-growth retailers and help online brands achieve ecommerce success.
Paid search can empower brands with extra visibility, can help online stores compete with larger retailers and can increase brand interest.
So why is it that fashion ecommerce and PPC is a perfect combination for growth?
#1 – Promote your Fashion Promotions
Whether you want to promote a specific range, or you want to run a one-off or seasonal promotion, paid search can support your marketing efforts by boosting the visibility of your latest offers and sale events.
Promotion Extensions was a new feature released with Google Ads over two years ago, and allows you to highlight your promotional event within your ads, proving more details about the offer on your search campaigns.
Your promotional strategy, with the support of paid search, can help to ensure you remain competitive within a crowded fashion market.
#2 – Show Off Imagery with Showcase Shopping
Google Ads also have new Showcase Shopping ads which display multiple products in an ad with extra imagery, similar to Facebook’s Carousel ads.
Fashion retailers naturally have many visual assets, across product imagery and lifestyle imagery. However, it has historically been difficult to take advantage of these when exploring digital advertising – search has predominantly been text-only and social ads in their infancy were limited in imagery. Now, advertising platforms are offering many alternative visual ads which fashion retailers can use to sell their products.
Showcase Shopping ads, and similar visual ads, can be beneficial for fashion retailers with ‘window shoppers’ who are browsing broadly.
#3 – Remarketing
Digital advertising and paid search allows you to develop a strategy through all stages of the purchasing funnel, through various different ad types and audience lists, including a comprehensive remarketing strategy.
This will ensure you can constantly reengage with new customers, site visitors and loyal shoppers, encouraging them to purchase frequently.
You can engage remarketing lists with video, responsive display, search and shopping ads at each touchpoint of their journey, providing an effective and engaging customer experience.
#4 – The Perfect Partner to Social
Digital advertising helps to drive traffic and sales from other platforms too, with remarketing. When a customer views and clicks from a social ad, visits the site and leaves, you can promote ads to them once again with paid search and remarketing – the perfect partner to social.
You can re-engage with potential shoppers through granular audience targeting, ensuring bids are more competitive for those who are more likely to convert.
#5 – Complete the Conversion Funnel
Paid search can further the reach of your products and can even aid in completing the full conversion journey. For any retailer, customers will engage with your brand across many digital touchpoints and these can be taken advantage of with PPC, through the use of display ads, search ads, remarketing ads etc.
Holding this ad space can be beneficial as you then reduce the risk of competitors disrupting this customer journey, and will keep you front of mind.
#6 – Brand Protection
We always recommend that retailers have branded campaigns to make sure ads appear when customers search for your brand. Creating a PPC campaign for your brand terms will ensure you’re protected from competitors or resellers gaining market share for bidding on your brand terms.
Make an Impact with PPC
Fashion is a crowded market and it is only set to grow and become more challenging. Ecommerce Managers and Marketing Managers need to use all of the platforms in their armoury in order to make a mark and take their products to market, including PPC.
If you’re interested in how we can help you promote your fashion brand using Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising, get in touch.
Since its release in 2002 Google Shopping has become a Google flagship product for ecommerce brands taking the lion’s share of revenue generated with paid search. How can you make the most of the strategy and supercharge your Google Shopping feed?
Google Shopping has risen in importance and should be the first place that online retailers look in putting their ad spend (outside of Amazon) with a significant ad spend going through Shopping every year. The Merkle report on Q2 2019 digital growth trends saw YoY ad spend via Google Shopping grow by 41% in Q1 and 38% in Q2 – even with Yahoo dropping Google’s ads in favour of Bing Product Ads. On the flipside of this, the Merkle report shows Google Search following the continual yearly decrease YoY from Q4 2018.
We all know the inherent importance of product data and its relationship to successful Google Shopping campaigns so why do so many retailers not optimise their product data ready for shopping?
How can you get your product data up to spec and optimise your products to improve visibility and performance across your listings on Google Shopping?
#1: Know Your Product Title & Treat It Well
It goes without saying that your title means a lot in the world of Google Shopping so why not optimise it and ensure it’s supercharged. Product titles help Google match product to search and vice versa. Much like other unique identifying attributes, product titles are incredibly important for indexing but also have the added benefit of bringing your site and advertising content together.
As product titles can sometimes be truncated in Shopping results, make sure you get the important information in first to ensure you’re showing the most relevant product information to your potential customers. If you’re a fashion brand we’d recommend ensuring your brand and product type are front ended, for example “Lacoste Mens Polo Shirt”.
Google’s own recommendation is to keep your titles to 70 characters or less but you can have up to 150 characters in your title, including space.
As a general rule, the below title structures are a great place to start for the following product sectors:
Consumables: Brand + Product Type + Attributes
Seasonal: Occasion + Product Type + Attributes
Electronics: Brand + Attributes + Product Type + Model No
Apparel: Brand + Gender + Product Type + Attributes
#2: Populating All Non-Specific Product Attributes
A general best practice we carry out on all our clients feeds when we first start working with them is to add all relevant extra attributes to future-proof the feed on the chance that Google changes what it deems as important product information.
For example, if you’re a fashion retailer we’d strongly recommend making sure you have the following information:
By improving the depth of your product data, you’re giving more information for Google’s algorithm to work off when matching your products to the right searches.
#3: Selecting the Right Image
As a product, Google Shopping is an incredibly visual platform with images taking up a considerable amount of retail space on the shopping carousel and shopping results, coming in a variety of formats including Showcase and standard Product Ads.
With the importance of images for Shopping campaign success, it’s worth putting time into optimising your image content before they even land in your Merchant Centre.
Great product images make for a universal great experience and help engage your audience across all touch points. Fantastic images help your advertising, online store and can even service other platforms such as Amazon.
It’s important to follow Google’s best practices here:
Keep your images clear and use the correct lighting
Use a correct scale that shows the size of your product so it’s not too big or too small
The product advertised should be between 75 – 90% of the full image
Use solid, light-coloured backgrounds, white & grey are always a good call
Keep the image to be only of the product sold, you don’t want to create ambiguity in your image or get your ad disapproved
Another really important factor to consider is your robots.txt file. If Google’s bots can’t crawl your images, your ads will never make it past the review stage and ultimately won’t be advertised on Shopping. To ensure that Google can crawl your images, add the following permission to your robots.txt file as shown below:
Lastly, if you do have any other image assets you’d like to send in your product data to Merchant Centre just add them using the additional images attribute but ensure you get your main product image right first.
#4: Stand Out With Merchant Promotions & Sales
If you’re running promotions or sales on your site, you really should be running them on your Google Shopping campaigns too. If you’re running promotions on select items, you need to get your feed in the right shape to allow you to add promotions to products that are applicable for promotions.
Promotions are a fantastic way to get ahead of your competitors, as your products will show with a special offer message. This will encourage your shoppers to visit your site over someone else’s when your products are similar, or the same…
Make sure you’ve got a strong promo strategy in place for your site and your marketing platforms, especially around key events in your product calendar (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Chinese New Year, etc.) and set these up months in advance so your promotions run smoothly and seamlessly.
When setting up your product data for promotions we’d recommend adding data to your promotion ID attribute so you can target your different promotions on each individual product range. There are multiple ways of implementing product ID, but we would suggest that this is included in your product data before it is sent over to Merchant Centre.
#5: Custom Labels
Google has some great ways to categorise products in your Shopping Campaigns, and our favourite is the use of the four custom label attributes to segment your products into separate campaigns and ad groups.
Per their title, custom labels are custom and you can use them however you wish. We’d strongly recommend using them to categorise your products into pockets based on buyer behaviour or how the products are categorised on site.
The way you split your products for shopping is very much dictated with the maturity of your ads account. If you’re new to Google Shopping, you’re best running off your site index until you have enough data but if you do have a plethora of converting search terms you should be using them as a guide.
Robust Product Data Is Key
There’s plenty to be getting on with to optimise and bring your product data up to best practice, whether that is improving images, correcting titles or making sure you’re using your custom attributes to their full extent. Robust & optimised product data should always be where you start when looking at Google Shopping hygiene as your campaigns will only ever be as good as the product data you use.
Soon to be gone are the days of entering unique product identifiers to fulfil Google policy. Commencing 20th September, filling in your GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers), Brand names and MPNs (Manufacturer Part Numbers) to ensure your products are ready and approved to show on Google Shopping is no longer going to be required.
Google has told all of its agency partners:
“Items missing required UPIs will no longer be disapproved. These items will now be eligible to serve in Shopping ads. However, similar items with correct UPIs will receive higher priority than items that do not have correct UPIs. All items will continue to serve, but the performance of items without correct UPIs may be limited. Make sure that you provide the correct UPIs to maximise the performance of your items.”
If you want the full information of what Google has shared and are interested in finding out how your campaigns may be affected, then get in touch.
What Are Unique Product Identifiers?
Here is a rundown of the different unique product identifiers and their uses:
GTIN – Global Trade Item Numbers are used to identify trade items globally and can vary depending where the product is sold or the type of product sold. For example, in Europe the GTIN attribute is satisfied by filling it in with an EAN code which consists of 13 digits, but for a North American Market you’d need to provide the UPC code which is 12 digits long. GTINs are really useful as they’re another way Google can help match your products to the correct searches on Google and partner sites. Outside of Google the GTIN value is useful on other stores such as Amazon and Ebay.
MPN – or Manufacturer Product Number is an alphanumeric value that used by manufacturers to identify a product amongst other items from the same manufacturer. MPNs are really useful when advertising multiple products that are similar in nature but have varying price points or features, such as electronics, car parts and tools. Including MPNs makes sure you’re level with the competition on Google and may sometimes give you a leg up if your competitors leave it out of their product data, leading to your products showing over their listing.
Brand – This one is self explanatory but a Brand for all products you want to advertise on Google Shopping is a crucial part of your product data that should never be missed out.
Changes to Unique Product Identifiers
Historically, Google’s policy for unique product identifiers has been that merchants have to provide two out of the three unique identifiers attributes. So, if you don’t have an MPN you better have Brand and GTIN to fulfill Google’s policy. There are a few exceptions to this rule though which only come into play if your products are custom made, one-of-a-kind or produced before GTINs were introduced. In any of the above cases, you just set the ‘identifier exist’ attribute to false.
This update seems to be a continuation from earlier changes in rules with Google slackening up on required fields. Earlier in 2019, Google Product Category became a non-mandatory attribute. This trend seems to be a nod towards Google favouring other attributes to match product to search with the rise in importance of product type, title and description attributes.
UPI’s becoming non-mandatory is a pretty big deal and will subsequently help retailers get their products up and running on Google Shopping faster and easier with less overall required product data being needed. Even though Google has loosened its UPI requirements, they have stipulated that it will reward retailers and prioritise products that do have the correct information, which ultimately means correct and quality product data is still king in matching your products to the most relevant searches.
Accurate Product Data Is Still Key
The takeaway? Correct product data is still a cornerstone of running effective shopping campaigns but Google has loosened the shackles around unique product identifiers and the need for them as a required set of attributes.
Continuing product data optimisation to get your product data up to spec and optimised is still paramount to shopping and ecommerce success. Even though optimised product data is still a key pillar of successful Google Shopping campaigns Google seems to be transitioning the importance of certain attributes in favour for others. We’re looking at you product type…
Microsoft Advertising, previously known as Bing Ads, is a huge opportunity for digital advertising. It might not have the reach and sheer size of Google Ads, but when it comes to effectiveness and results, it can definitely compete.
Myth #1 – Nobody uses Bing
Whilst Google definitely dominates the market, it’s not true that nobody uses Bing. In fact, there is a substantial percentage of traffic that uses Bing as a key search engine.
Myth #2 – Microsoft Advertising is only a supplementary strategy
Many retailers see Google Ads as the core advertising strategy, with Microsoft Advertising supporting this with a simpler strategy to just capture any remaining opportunity.
Whilst this is a valid strategy depending on your aims and objectives, it’s not the only approach to take.
In fact, Microsoft Advertising can be a powerhouse strategy for some brands. In our experience, we have seen this work incredibly well for B2B brands and retailers with an average customer base over the age of 35.
Myth #3 – It’s not profitable to advertise with Microsoft Advertising
Because Google is usually the go-to search engine for digital advertising, many retailers expect that as a result, Microsoft Advertising just isn’t going to be profitable and they are going to see a lower ROI.
However, due to the fact there is less competition from other retailers, Microsoft Advertising can sometimes be cheaper than Google Ads. This of course depends on your industry, your average basket value, your conversion rate etc.
We can’t say whether you’ll definitely see better results on Bing than Google, but we’d definitely recommend exploring it. We help retailers achieve success on both platforms and it all depends on the brand.
But, until recently, it wasn’t quite so clear whether your Google Ads campaign was working for you without an in depth look at the metrics. Fortunately, Google has stepped in to make things better. They’ve rolled out four new metrics to provide a clear insight into where your ads are featuring.
Knowing where you stand
It’s important to know where your ads are appearing on Google search results pages, so you can make informed decisions about budgets, bids and whether your ads need more optimisation.
Let’s say your ad is most often displayed at the top of the page. If you aren’t getting the right clickthrough rates in this position, there could be a problem with the ad itself, meaning you need to work on headlines and descriptions rather than amending bids and budgets. It could also indicate that you’re targeting the wrong key phrases altogether.
Despite this, users haven’t always been given a detailed overview of their ad position. Instead, they got an ‘average position’ of where their ad was displayed in relation to others ads. So, an ad position of ‘1’ simply meant their ad was the first displayed on a page, with no clarification of where on the page the ad appeared. It doesn’t necessarily mean the ad was displayed at the top of the page.
Introducing new metrics
To clear things up and give users a better idea of their ads’ performance, Google is introducing four new metrics. Unlike average position, these new metrics provide a clear insight on the positioning and received impressions:
Impressions (Absolute Top) % – The percentage of ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
Impressions(Top) % – The percentage of ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
Search (Absolute Top) IS – The number of impressions you’ve received in the absolute top position, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in this location.
Search (Top) IS – The number of impressions you’ve received in any top position above the organic search results, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in this location.
Using the new metrics
It’s one thing knowing about the four new metrics. But it’s another challenge knowing how to use them and why they’re so useful…
According to Google, the first two metrics (Impr. Absolute Top & Impr. Top) are great metrics to use to determine when and where your ads are being displayed above the organic search results.
The other two metrics (Search Absolute Top IS & Search Top IS) are the best metrics to determine the availability and opportunity of displaying ads in more prominent positions. If your main goal is to bid on page location, these metrics are great to see how likely it is that you’ll appear at the top, and how well your ads are doing in certain positions.
How can we help?
It’s not always easy to get your head around the introduction of new metrics. Fortunately, Fluid Digital is here to help. We’re experts in Google Ads, offering a comprehensive pay-per-click (PPC) management service to ecommerce businesses like yours.
Our team works alongside a Google Premier Partner, creating and optimising Google Ads campaigns to make sure your brand appears in all the right places. Any questions? Be sure to get in touch with our friendly team for more information.
Kickstart your project with us today. Let’s have a chat about how we can help you with your Magento or Shopify project, PPC campaigns or Amazon strategy.