How to Boost Home and Garden Ecommerce Sales with PPC

The home and garden industry has seen recent significant growth and many retailers are looking for ways to maximise growth even further. 

Home and garden products lend themselves well to PPC efforts, whether this is across Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising or other channels. Some of these strategies are visual and showcase furniture products effectively, whilst some are detail-driven and efficiently advertise the specifications of home and garden products.

How can home and garden retailers boost their ecommerce sales with PPC strategies?

#1 – Detail-driven paid search

For home and garden products, customers tend to be specific with their search intent. Either they are searching for a specific colour to match their style, or they are looking for a specific dimension to fit their room. For example: ‘black leather sofa’ or ‘five shelf small bookcase’. 

This traffic can be easily driven to your site with granular search campaigns to target specific colours, sizes, styles etc. 

Other verticals don’t have this benefit and so this is one area where home and garden retailers have a growth advantage. 

#2 – Expanded Text Ads for more detail

Google introduced Expanded Text Ads in 2016 and now allows for retailers to add more detail into their paid search ads. This gives retailers more opportunity to showcase their messaging and engage with customers effectively.

This is key for home and garden retailers whose products tend to have multiple USPs – whether it’s the material, the history, the function, the color or style. Home and garden retailers can use paid search and Expanded Text Ads to showcase more detail quickly and effectively.

#3 – Responsive Search Ads for automation

Similarly, because of the tendency for home and garden retailers to have multiple elements to their product (size, colour, material etc.), Responsive Search Ads can be effective. 

With Responsive Search Ads, retailers have 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.

Headlines and description lines are rotated automatically in order to show the most relevant variation to the initial search query.

This gives home and garden retailers the opportunity to showcase a specific detail in each ad, and let Google’s machine learning do the rest – showing the most effective message to customers.

#4 – Showcase Shopping Ads for more variety

Home and garden retailers can also take advantage of Showcase Shopping ads to really strategically drive traffic to their online store.

This format gives advertisers the ability to ‘showcase’ a number of products which may be relative to the user query.

This means that home and garden retailers aren’t tied to showcasing only one product for a search query. If you have multiple products that are relevant, for example others in a collection or others in a similar colour, then these can be promoted too. 

#5 – Use promotional extensions in your ads

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 allow you to highlight your promotional event within your ads, providing 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.

#6 – Remarket your products to non-buyers and customers

PPC strategies allow 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 across Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook and Instagram.

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.

Home and garden retailers can use PPC effectively

Many retailers argue that PPC doesn’t work for them or that it is a waste of ad spend, but the truth is that their campaigns have not been managed effectively or they haven’t taken advantage of modern extensions and ad types to really maximise growth.

Home and garden retailers can benefit massively from PPC because of the flexibility of the ad types you can use. We work with many home and garden retailers including Moda Furnishings and OnlyHome.co.uk with great success.


If you’re interested in how we could help you maximise growth with PPC, then get in touch.

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 has announced that you can now easily share remarketing lists across manager and sub-manager accounts.

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

Google has also announced that, starting in April 2020, Standard delivery will be the only ad delivery method available for new Display, Video, App and Hotel campaigns. This follows their migration to Standard delivery that was started last year with Search and Shopping campaigns.

Google states that “Standard delivery takes into account expected ad performance throughout the day, making it more effective at maximizing performance within your daily budget.”

 

#4 – Comprehensive Price Comparison Benchmarking Reporting

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.

 

Google Ads

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.

 

Google Search Ad Label

 

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.

 

#2 – Parallel Tracking for Video

Google have announced that parallel tracking for video is going to be mandatory from March 31st, with the option to manually switch it on in the Google Ads interface already.

 

Google Video Parallel Tracking

 

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.

 

#3 – Bid & Budget Simulator

Earlier this month, Google rolled out their bid and budget simulators to more bid strategies allowing advertisers to use the bid simulator for ‘Target ROAS’ and the budget simulator for ‘Maximise Clicks and Conversions’.

 

Google Ads Budget & Bid Planner

 

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.

 

#4 – Google Support

On a slightly different note, Google Ads support ended supporting advertisers via social media and will no longer give media support on Twitter and Facebook. This leaves the ways to get in touch with Google narrower.

 

Google Support Social Announcement

 

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.

 

Microsoft Advertising

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.

 

Microsoft Advertising Responsive Search Ads

 

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.

 

#6 – Standard Text Ads Extended

On the back of expanding responsive search ads to all advertisers, Microsoft have also announced that they will be extending the lift of Standard Text Ads for another three months, meaning you can still serve STAs until March 31st.

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.

 

Microsoft Advertising In-Market Audiences

 

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.

 

#8 – Average Position

Lastly, Microsoft has announced it will be depreciating average position in April 2020 following the footsteps of Google’s move last year. Although average position is leaving, Microsoft gave advertisers a number of other (arguably better) metrics to measure within the Impression Share family of metrics.

 

Interesting Updates & Announcements

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.

If you need any help with your Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising strategy and campaign management, then get in touch.

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%.

Expanded Text Ads

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.

Dynamic Search Ads

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.

Showcase Shopping

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.

 

Early November

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.

If you need any advice or support during the BFCM period, then get in touch with our PPC team to explore how you can maximise your sales.

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.

Promotion Extensions

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.

Shopping Showcase

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.

Google Spending by Ad Format

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:

  • Colour
  • Material
  • Size
  • Size Type
  • Gender
  • Age

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.

Google Shopping Product Images

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.

26% of UK internet searchers use Bing and 82% of the world’s computers use Windows, with Bing as a default search engine built-in to the system. This is a large amount of traffic that can’t really be ignored if you want to achieve ecommerce success. When visualised as a total, Bing Ads reach 63 million searchers that aren’t reached with Google Ads.

This is a big opportunity.

 

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.

Almost 75% of Bing users are over 35 and so if this fits with your target market, it could be the core strategy to explore.

 

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.

Bing Ads see an average 33.5% cheaper CPC than Google Ads, and often sees better ad positions too.

 

Microsoft Advertising isn’t to be overlooked

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.

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