Drive Results With Google Shopping Keyword Segmentation

By Tinuiti Team

In Q2 Shopping ads accounted for 59% of all Google’s paid clicks and 82% of Google’s non-brand paid clicks. As more and more dollars shift towards Shopping ads and the competition continues to climb, retailers need to adopt a more advanced approach to their Shopping strategy in order to stay ahead.

Different Intent Disrupts Google Shopping Product Bidding

Before Google Shopping ads (B.G.S), Google Text ads controlled the majority of retailer’s advertising dollars. This was due to the fact that Google Text ads are on a keyword-based bidding model. Retailers easily understood a consumer’s window of intent just by the way they searched and were able to optimize accordingly.

An example of this would be ‘crossbody bag’ vs ‘mini black leather crossbody bag’ vs ‘Rebecca Minkoff black mini mac crossbody bag’, the first keyword suggests the consumer is in the earlier stages of their purchase journey versus the last keyword suggests the consumer knows exactly the brand, type, and color of bag they want.

Due to the higher chance of conversion a retailer may bid more aggressively on the consumer further along in their journey.

Unfortunately, Google Shopping ads don’t allow you to bid on keywords, it was created around a product-based bidding model which means Google’s auction selects what products show up for a specific search result.

This model takes away an important aspect of optimization and bid control because retailers are not able to bid differently on a consumer who searches ‘crossbody bag’ vs ‘mini black leather crossbody bag’ vs ‘Rebecca Minkoff black mini mac crossbody bag’.

The Solution: Google Shopping Keyword Segmentation

While this can be disheartening it doesn’t have to be! Elite SEM’s Shopping & Feed team has a solution to the product bidding disadvantage, and that’s keyword segmentation.

Through the Google Shopping setting, campaign priority, we are able to control how much we bid for different types of queries.

How do campaign priorities work? When you have the same product in multiple Shopping campaigns, you can determine which campaign should participate in the auction for that product with the campaign priority; high, medium or low. The highest priority campaign will always enter the auction first, regardless of how much you are bidding.

To create a Shopping keyword segmentation structure retailers must start by building 3 campaigns of the same product, or group of products, each with a different priority setting – high, medium, and low. The priority settings will act as a funnel, filtering down more specific keywords via negatives.

The first campaign will be targeting generic non-brand queries and will be set to high priority. This campaign will include negative keywords like ‘Rebecca Minkoff’ and ‘black leather crossbody bag’. The bids on this campaign will be low, due to the high volume, low conversion nature of these terms.

The second campaign will be targeting long-tail non-brand queries, as well as generic brand queries and will be set to medium priority. This campaign will include negative keywords like ‘Rebecca Minkoff black leather mini mac crossbody bag’.

Lastly, the third campaign will be targeting very specific product based queries and will be set to low priority. This campaign will not have any negative keywords because of the granularity of the queries that it will be targeting. The bids on this campaign will be very aggressive, due to the high likelihood of conversions.

Below is a table to highlight how the Shopping keyword segmentation structure works.

Search Terms Campaign Priority Negative Keywords Bid
Generic non-brand queries (‘crossbody bag’) High Brand, long-tail non-brand, and product-based keywords Low
Long-tail non-brand queries and generic brand queries (‘black leather crossbody bag’, ‘Rebecca Minkoff crossbody’) Medium Product-based keywords Medium
Product-based queries (‘Rebecca Minkoff black leather mini mac crossbody bag’) Low High

Benefits of Google Shopping Keyword Segmentation


Own the SERP on branded terms

As a best practice retailers should own the SERP on all branded queries to ensure clicks are going to their site and not the wholesalers. By bucketing branded keywords into one Google Shopping ad campaign retailers are able to bid more aggressively pushing out the competition and capturing high converting volume.

Optimize bids based on non-brand performance

When looking at a last click attribution model, short-tail non-brand searches typically are high volume but have lower CVRs whereas more specific long-tail non-brand keywords have lower search volume, but higher CVRs. Through keyword segmentation retailers are able to control how each advertising dollar is spent and can optimize bids toward their Google Shopping goals.

Control what products to advertise at different stages of the purchase journey

By bucketing a keyword or group of keywords into different campaigns, we are now also able to choose what products to advertise to each set of consumers to ensure the highest CTR and CVR. If a retailer has products that range in prices, a strategy here may be to show consumers who search short-tail non-brand keywords, products on the cheaper end versus long-tail non-brand keywords, a retailer may show products more in the mid to high range.

Drive Sales, Cut Spend

Shopping keyword segmentation is a worthwhile approach to ensure you are driving sales on high intent queries and cutting spend on inefficient head terms. However this is not a set it and forget it approach, we recommend assessing query performance at least once a month.

With smart segmentation and continual evaluation, this setup for your shopping campaigns can improve performance tenfold. For a real-life example, Click here to learn how we used a keyword segmentation strategy to help our client, Big 5, increase store visits 231%.

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