With the closure of all non essential businesses and the nation quarantined at home we assumed we would see a significant increase in click traffic and sessions. When we turned to the data to get a better understanding we found that non brand traffic, for one of our large online retailers, had increased by as much as 115% in the space of a week.
One of the key factors for this increase in traffic was shopping campaigns. They have seen a significant surge in traffic in the latter half of March. We want to highlight some of the key optimisations marketers can implement so they too can better serve online customers and improve their shopping campaigns performance.
Optimizing Your Merchant Centre Feed
Unlike standard search campaigns there is no direct way to target keywords through the merchant centre feed, none too obvious anyway. Marketers can however optimize their product titles to contain keywords relevant to their product i.e following the format of, Brand name > Product Description > size. This will allow sufficient room to insert your keywords. Google uses this product title as its primary source of information regarding your product i.e what search queries your AD should be shown for.
Next the product description, we would recommend ensuring this too has been optimized, its often overlooked when creating the feed so it can become an advantage if you take the time to fill it out that is. Google crawls this for relevant keywords and it does have an influence on getting your AD to show
Don’t Forget to add product taxonomies, google has an extensive list of its product category taxonomies listed for which your ads can show. It is a list of categories used by google to help categorize products. Its tedious work, but gives Google a clearer understanding of where and when your product should be shown. The full list can be found here.
For those who use an XML product feed, now is the ideal time to optimize your products on page SEO. XML product feeds crawl product landing pages, gather all the information regarding your product and convert this into Schema. This Schema includes product titles, descriptions, price, stock levels etc. The schema then automatically generates a feed which is used by Google merchant centre to create a feed.
Through optimizing your H1s, product descriptions, images as well as adding reviews on your landing page google merchant centre building a strong picture of your product thus ensuring you stand out in the auction. By making said on page improvements not only does your shopping campaigns improve but your SEO benefits too.
This XML product feed info is readily available for CMS such as Shoppify, Magento & Woocommerce. Typically this feature is readily available but may in some instances require a plugin so its worth speaking with your developers to find out.
For those who haven’t yet made the switch to the XML product feed we highly recommend doing so. Manually updating product information, prices, sale start/end dates, stock levels to name but a few is incredibly time consuming and tedious, it’s a worthwhile investment making the switch.
We no longer group products together based on Brand, category or price, we made the decision to look at revenue and profit margin when it came to structuring our campaigns. Why? It allows us to be more competitive when it comes to bidding in auctions by simply having room to spend more.
Having products where the margin is low grouped in with items where the margin inhibits our ability to increase spend, CPC bids and thus be more competitive in the auction. Were willing to have a higher CPC in scenarios where revenue and margin is high but now when they revenue and profit margin is low. Grouping all your products together, in one campaign does exactly that, its inefficient by not allowing us to increase spend at a profitable rate.
We now take a 3 tier approach.
- High Revenue High CPA – Our target ROAS in this campaign is set higher that others,
simply because we have more room to increase our CPCs whilst remaining profitable.
- High Revenue Low CPA – Our target ROAS is more convervtive as whilst items produce higher amounts of revenue there not necessarily that profitable.
- Medium Revenue Low CPA – Our target ROAS is restricted, we typically have a very conservtive bid on these products to keep the cost per click and CPA low.
Campaign Type and Bidding
Smart shopping Campaigns, my favourite update google has made in recent years to Adwords. They enable us, through machine learning to show the right message to the right user at the opportune time, they also adjust their bidding to account for seasonal periods such as Black Friday & Christmas.
They also managed to combine remarketing, standard shopping and smart bidding into one campaign, this drastically reduced the amount of campaign management and that made myself and my fellow ppc colleagues happy.
We run these campaigns in combination with a Target ROAS bidding strategy. Target ROAS allows us to set our desired return on ad spend, google then uses data collected through google adwords conversion tracking including number of conversions and revenue and uses it to set bids that work within our ROAS target. Once we have spent time calculating our desired ROAS per campaign, google does the rest of the heavy lifting i.e bidding.
Landing page Optimisations
Images – are crucial, dont settle for low resolution product pictures that don’t entice. Ensure you use various different angles of the product. Ensure you don’t overlay the image with branding or messaging as these will be disapproved in the merchant centre.
With that said, ensure the file size resolution is 72 or less in terms of resolution, we don’t want to slow the landing page down.
Reviews – Ensure you include them on your landing page. one study revealed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, they’re a huge conversion influencer and should be implemented as a priority.
Product Descriptions & Specifications – We recommend you spend additional time ensuring product descriptions have been properly filled out. the aim should be to become a go to source of information and value regarding the product you’re selling, doing so helps your user experience, product feed and SEO.
Hopefully the above suggestions bring you some value during this tough period, thanks for reading.