If you sell on Google, you have less than 7 days to transition your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to Google Shopping Campaigns, the new campaign structure. Tune in to listen to Google expert Jeff Coleman, who’s been working with Shopping Campaigns since their inception, to ensure your campaign is set up to convert effectively.
Learn How To:
- Maintain conversion rate and performance with Shopping Campaigns
- Format your inventory for Google Shopping Campaigns
- Optimize Shopping Campaigns Structure
- Increase ad quality and conversion rate on Google Shopping
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View The Webinar Slides:
5 Google Changes You Need To Make
Mary: Welcome again, everybody, to today’s webinar on The 5 Changes You Need to Make in Less Than 25 Days, for the switch from product listing ads or PLAs to Google shopping campaigns. I just want to personally thank everybody for tuning in. Remember throughout, if you have any questions, you can direct them at me, at Jeff, or using the hashtag, #CPCwebinar.
Today’s webinar is going to focus on not only the transition from product listing ads, in other words, the steps that you need to make to switch from PLAs to Google shopping campaigns, but kind of a bigger picture. Why are you making the switch? And what are some bigger changes that you can make to really get the most juice out of your campaigns, increase sales, and really be successful on Google shopping?
About CPC Strategy
A little bit about CPC Strategy. We’re your hosts today. We’ll be running this webinar. So we are focused on making the match between consumer intent and advertiser’s products. It’s the marriage between what consumers are looking for and that sweet spot between that and what advertisers are actually putting out there. You don’t want to ram products down consumers’ throats.
You want to meet them where they’re actually looking for things that are what you’re selling, right in that beautiful sweet spot. We call this retail search intent. That’s really what we’re all about, doing that across search channels, specifically Google, to make sure that advertisers are really getting the most sales and the most viable customers for their product and for their online store.
So I’m Mary. I’m your driver today, and I would ask that you kindly keep all of your hands and legs inside the vehicle at all times during this ride. I had to throw a little corny joke in there. So if you have any questions during this webinar, feel free to reach out to me. I will be on social and also be answering questions using the chat box. We’ll also be answering those questions following the webinar. If you have any questions that we are unable to answer, following the webinar during the Q&A session, you can feel free to reach out to me additionally.
Exclusive of this webinar, if you have any questions, I’m happy to have a conversation with you about e-commerce or anything like that and discuss. So feel free to do that. Just also as a general reminder, we do record all of our webinars, and those will be sent to everyone who’s registered. So if you’re listening now, you will get a recording, and that should come in the next week or so.
Additionally, if an email goes to your spam box, you can’t find it, we do host that on our blog as well. If you can’t find it on our blog, you can feel free to reach out to me again and say, “Hey. I can’t find the recording. Would really love to share,” or, “Just want to listen again.” I will be happy to share that with you.
Our speaker today is Jeff Coleman, who is the director of retail search here. I’ve known Jeff for a couple years now, and he knows more about Google than anyone I know. So I’m highly confident that you will definitely get a lot out of today’s presentation and learn a lot about Google shopping. So a little bit more about Jeff.
Jeff and I have been working with Google shopping for years, since before Google was paid. Jeff has been working with PBC and Google for a long, long time. He is an expert in Google Analytics and Google AdWords, so much so that we entrust him to run the entire department and oversee all of the Google shopping strategy in-house for CPC Strategy here.
This is a fun new fact. Jeff is also a new dad. He has an adorable little girl, who’s so sweet. We’re very proud of him. So if you have any questions for Jeff or you want to reach out to him, you can feel free to use his Twitter handle he will be using, following the presentation in just a second. Bear with me for just a second, guys.
Jeff Coleman: Cool. All right. So sorry about the little bit of a delay there. Mary, thank you again for the introduction. Just a quick overview of what we’re going to be going over today. We’ve got five sections. Obviously the webinar is titled “Five Things You Need to Do“. So we broke it up into five sections.
So first thing we’re going to touch on is how to create a new campaign. I know a lot of you have already started the transition process and have started to create your campaigns. So you can use this just as a check to make sure you did that properly. We’ll then head into feed updates. We’ll look at some things that you might need to change about your feed for the new shopping campaign, but also some optimizations that you can take another look at, since you’re going to be starting a new campaign. It’s a good time to check on those.
We put together a PLA to Google shopping transition checklist for you. So we have a section dedicated just to that. So if you take nothing else out of the presentation, you can just kind of jot down the checklist of notes. If you follow that, then you’ll be good to go, come August when Google officially turns off the PLA campaigns.
We’ll go into some bid modifications that you can set up. Lastly, we’ll touch on some campaign optimization tips, which are going to be good for people who are just starting out or people who have already set up their campaigns but aren’t sure what the next step is. So those are the five things we’ll be going over.
Jeff Coleman: Like I said, those are going to be the five things we’re going to be going over. Also, just one quick clarification note. We often refer to PLA and shopping as the same thing, or PLA and Google shopping as the same thing. Officially Google shopping refers to this new shopping campaign type, whereas PLAs, or product listing ads, refers to the old way of doing things. So if you hear us refer to PLA, we’re talking about the old campaign type. Shopping is the new campaign type. You can still kind of use the terms interchangeably, but just so you’re aware of what the terminology is. That’s what they mean.
Setting Up The New Google Shopping Campaigns
So anyways, first we’ll go through how to actually set up the new Google shopping campaigns. There are some new settings available with the new shopping campaign type. I’ll take you through those before we get into how to structure one of these new campaigns. To start out, when you create your new shopping campaign, you’re going to go to your AdWords account, create a new campaign just like you would for any other AdWords campaign currently, and you should see the new shopping campaign, which I’ve highlighted at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the screenshot here.
If you have more than one PLA campaign set up, you’ll want to continue using multiple shopping campaigns. Make sure that you set the priority level of each campaign appropriately. Most likely, your general campaign is going to have a low priority, and the rest of your campaign is going to have a medium or high priority. If you’re not using more than one campaign, don’t worry about it. In my experience, most retailers don’t need more than one campaign. We’ll get into the pros and cons of having multiple campaigns a little bit later in the presentation. But for now, this is how you would set that priority.
Also, if you’ve been accepted into the Google Local Availability program, you’ll need to check the “local” box in the shopping channels section. If you already have an existing PLA campaign set up, when you create your new campaign, you’ll want to set a priority of medium or high. That’s because the old PLA campaigns have a default priority of low, and you want your new campaign to take precedence over that. If you don’t have an old PLA campaign set up, then you don’t need to worry about priority or anything like that.
So head over to the next slide. First thing you’re going to want to do when you set up your new campaign is actually pause it. It sounds a little counterintuitive because I know you’re probably rearing to go with your new campaign. But if you enable the new campaign, it’s going to go live within a couple hours. Google is pretty good about putting ads live and spending your money. So to avoid any sort of cannibalization of traffic and to avoid competing campaigns or to avoid the campaign going live before you’re really ready for it to go live, go ahead and pause it right off the bat. Then you can work on building it out, structuring it the way you want, setting the initial bid that you want. You can get all that done. Then when you’re ready, you can go ahead and enable it. Make sure you pause it right off the bat.
So let’s talk about how to add some product groups. Also, before I get into this section, one additional point of clarification. The new Google shopping campaign type uses product groups, not necessarily ad groups. So when you create your campaign, you’re going to see the ad group set up. What you want to do is you’re going to dive into that ad group, and here you’ll have the option to actually set up product groupings. This is a product-based campaign. So you’re setting up product groups. You can do all that within the ad group view.
Initially when you first set up your campaign, you’re going to have one product group, and it’s going to be your all-products group. This is going to target every single product in the feed that you’re sending to the merchant center. Obviously you don’t want to have one bid across your entire feed. You want to get more granular than that. You can do that by clicking that “plus” box.
Before we get into that, I’ll just touch on kind of the max CPC bid. The max CPC is your bid for that particular product group. As you get more granular, and you’ll see this in the following slide, as you get more granular, whatever bid you set at this level will carry over to all the product groups you create underneath this. So as we create more product groups, they’re going to get that 10-cent default bid. You do have the option to adjust that, but just something to be aware of that this bid will carry over to any new product groups by default.
So let’s go ahead and click that “plus” box and start creating some product groups. Currently there are ten usable fields. Category corresponds to the Google product category column, whereas product type corresponds to, well, the product type column, but it tends to be the retailer’s categorization, which is usually a bit more detailed. Google’s categorization has to follow a certain template, whereas the retailers . . . Obviously you guys have the ability to categorize things however you want. So the product types tend to be a little bit more relevant, which is why that’s how I’ll typically start out, either with product type or with brand, depending on the inventory.
The first product group that you select, whether it’s product type or brand, should correspond to the primary way in which you group products on your site. So if when a customer gets to your site, they’re primarily looking for a particular brand or a couple of brands or what have you, then you should start by grouping products by brand. If when a customer gets to your site, they’re looking for a type of product, then group by product type. That’s how you can start out.
Also, one thing to note is that there will never be any crossover between any of these product groups. One product will never apply to more than one product group, which is different than the way that the old PLA campaigns used to work. That’ll become clear a little bit further on in the presentation.
So I’ll run through a quick example of how we can set up some of these product groups. I started out with this example, by building out by product type. We can select. So we’ve selected product type from the drop-down menu. Here, I’ll see a list of all available product types that I have to build out. So when I select brand or when I select product type, Google will automatically show me every single option I have. This data is taken directly from the feed.
So what we know is that in the feed that we’re sending to the merchant center for this retailer, there are three product types. There are small appliances, kitchen, and health and beauty. We also see the number of products that are in each product type. So that health and beauty product type has 1137 products. You don’t really have the option to customize things here, but that’s because Google is already telling you, these are all the product types that are in the feed. If you don’t see a product type here, it means it’s not in the feed. You need to go to the feed to address that issue. Potentially there are products that you’re not including for some reason.
If you want to add one, you just click on the little arrow button next to the product type. It moves it over to the right-hand side. Once it does, it’s created, and it’s as simple as that. All you have to do is just hit “save” at the bottom.
So I went ahead, and I added my three product groups for each of these three product types. You’ll see that the 10-cent bid carried over to all of my new product groups, except for the health and beauty one, which I manually changed. So by default, the health and beauty, the kitchen, the small appliances, and the everything else and all products product groups all have that 10-cent bid, but I decided that I wanted to increase my bid on health and beauty products. So I went and clicked on the bid there, increased it to 25 cents. You obviously always have the option to change whatever bids you want, regardless of what the default bid is for each one.
If you want to add new product groups or delete them or remove them from bidding, all you got to do is click on the little pencil icon next to “All products”. That will give you the same views that we saw before, where you have all your product types listed there, and you can add and remove at will, whenever you want.
Also, you’ll notice that now all of my new product groups have their own “plus” box next to them. That’s because we have the option to segment those even further. So I can go within health and beauty and add in a few brand product groups if I wanted to, which is a perfect segue for my next slide.
So within that health and beauty product group, you can see I’ve added three additional brand product groups under that, one for Conair, one for Oster, and one for Wahl. Because I set my health and beauty bid at 25 cents, that 25-cent bid carried through to all of the brand subgroups I created below that, including the everything else and health and beauty subgroup. So that bid is going to carry over.
One thing to note here. Well, a couple things to note here, but the first thing to note here is that any Conair products or any products within any of these brands are only going to be health and beauty products. So let’s say Conair also makes kitchen products. They also make small appliances. The kitchen and small appliances products are not going to be within this health and beauty Conair product group. Because first and foremost, this is a health and beauty product group. So I’m only taking Conair products that are within health and beauty. If I wanted to also bid on Conair products within kitchen, I would have to go into the kitchen group, add a product group for Conair. Then I could bid on that separately.
Also, the second thing to note is that there could be 100 brands within this health and beauty product group, and I’ve only chosen to break out three. Any brands that are not included here will go into everything else and health and beauty. Obviously you want to continue to leave those live, and Google knows that you don’t want to necessarily build out every single brand within every single product type. So if you don’t build out everything, everything else will go into the everything else product group. That will automatically get created. You don’t have to do anything to create that. It’s always there.
Adding A Second Attribute
So let’s go into adding a second attribute. So previously, in a previous slide, we added Conair, Oster, and Wahl subgroups within health and beauty, but let’s say I wanted to bid on the rest of the Conair products that weren’t in health and beauty or that maybe aren’t in kitchen or aren’t in small appliances. Conair has a ton of products in a ton of categories. Let’s say I want to bid on the ones that aren’t in the product types that I created earlier.
Well, if you remember, everything within health and beauty, if it wasn’t segmented into those three brands, so into the everything else in health and beauty product group, same thing happens on a macro level. So we initially built out health and beauty, small appliances, and kitchen as our first three product types. Any product that isn’t included in those three product types just goes into our regular everything else and all products group. Here, we have the option to bid on the rest of those products. So we can continue to subdivide the everything else and get a little more granular there.
This is just a quick aside. One of the more common things that we see a lot of retailers not doing is they’ll break out their inventory initially, using product type, using brand, what have you, but they’ll ignore their everything else group. A lot of the time, the everything else group might not convert as well, but there’s still orders to be had there. You don’t want one bid applying to the entire everything else group. So if you guys have already built out your shopping campaign, I encourage you to take another look at that everything else group. See if there’s some room there to segment that even further.
So in this example, we’re going to segment everything else by brand. Previously, our first layer was focused on [inaudible 00:19:32]. Here, we’re going to focus on brand when we build out everything else. So far, I said earlier in the presentation how there would never be any crossover with any of the product groups. Well, you might be thinking [inaudible 00:19:49] Conair product group, the Conair product group down here. Where do the Conair products go? That would be an excellent question. So give yourself a pat on the back for asking that.
Well, the short answer is that any Conair products that are also in beauty product type go into the health and beauty Conair product group. Everything else goes into the everything else Conair product group. So essentially my new everything else Conair product group contains every Conair product that isn’t in the health and beauty product type. That’s true of any other product group I add under everything else.
Since I already have a product group for all my health and beauty products, all health and beauty products will be excluded from additional product groups I create. If I want to bid on health and beauty products, I have to do it within my health and beauty product group.
Exclusions [inaudible 00:20:50]. One of the new features with shopping is that you have the ability to exclude subgroups you might not want to bid on. So in this [inaudible 00:21:09], instead of bidding on Conair, I’ll actually exclude it from my health and beauty group. To do this, you have to create the product subgroup. So within health and beauty, I have to click on that pencil, click [inaudible 00:21:26], select [inaudible:00:21:30]. You actually delete it.
One of the reasons that you might do that is . . . Lets say you wanted to separate out all Conair products, and you wanted to build a separate campaign or add groups specifically targeting Conair. Well, if you wanted to do that, you would want to make sure your main campaign, your main ad group, doesn’t target those products. So you come into your campaign, select Conair campaign, exclude it, and then you wouldn’t be bidding on that within your primary campaign. That’s how you would do there.
One thing is that when you exclude products, they move out of the ad group, but they stay within the campaign. So the product is still included in the feed. It’s not removing it from the feed at all. It’s still included in the campaign, but it’s just not included in the ad group that you might be looking at.
Cool. So what we’re going to cover next . . . We’ll move onto the next one. We’re going to go into feed updates. So let’s take a look at some custom labels. By and large, your feed can remain as is. You don’t actually have to change anything. Google can take your existing feed. All the fields stay pretty much the same with one important exception, and that exception is the AdWords labels column.
AdWords labels were used for the old PLA campaign. You could put as many labels as you wanted in one column. With the new PLA . . . Excuse me. With the new shopping campaign, you can have five labels, custom labels, zero, one, two, three, and four. You can include one value per column. If you’re doing the math, then that adds up to five labels you can add.
So if you aren’t including AdWords labels and you haven’t yet, you want to make sure to add custom label columns to your feed, so that you can build out the new shopping campaign in accordance with the labels that you had built out. If you weren’t using labels before, then don’t worry about it. You don’t need to create some new labels out of thin air. This is only if you were using AdWords labels.
This is also a good time to revisit feed optimizations in general. Even if you don’t have to go back and add in custom labels or change around your AdWords, old AdWords groupings, it’s still a good time to go back in and take a look at your feed. You’re preparing a brand new shopping campaign. You’re also getting ready for Q4. Like I said, it’s just a good time to go back in and see if your feed is as optimized as it could be.
A couple things to keep in mind are the title and description character limits. You get 150 characters for the title. You get 5000 for the description. Make sure you’re using all of that. Don’t go back in and just stuff the descriptions and titles full of random keywords that may or may not be relevant. Google is going to flag that, could actually potentially penalize you for keyword stuffing. So don’t just throw random stuff in there. But if there are relevant terms or product descriptors that customers might use or might search to find that product, throw those in there. The title and description are the heaviest weighted fields in the feed when it comes to determining how a product will naturally rank for a given search.
The bid obviously plays a role as well. But in terms of just natural organic ranking, the title and description weight the heaviest. So make sure those are optimized.
Also, depending on the category, there are a number of optional or recommended columns, as Google calls them. What I always tell our clients and other retailers is that those columns are optional if you don’t want to rank well. Your competitors are probably doing everything they can to add as much data as possible to the feed. If they’re not, that’s an opportunity for you to build out that data and rank ahead of them without really having to increase your bids. Just by providing additional data, you’ll get a boost in the rankings.
So definitely make sure that if there are any optional or recommended columns that you’re including those. Like I said, they’re going to vary by vertical. So for apparel, for example, you might want to add in the material, the color, things like that. For electronics, you might want to add in if it’s an accessory, what type of electronics the accessory is compatible with. If you’re selling cables, how long is the cable? Is it HDMI? Things like that. So find the optional columns that you can add in, and throw those in there. The more data that you can provide to Google, the better off you’re going to be.
So along those lines, let’s take a look at some examples of a bad title. So I was touching on it earlier that title and description are the two most important columns that you can send. What does an optimized title look like? We get a lot of data from a lot of retailers, and you’d be surprised at how simple or how basic some of the titles might be.
So here’s an example of a bad title. For this search, I did the search “Nike running shoes,” and I had to scroll back to find some bad ones. I went towards the back of the results and found this one. We can see that the brand name is included, which is good. You want to include the brand name. Although, it’s doubled up, which could actually be seen as keyword stuffing and might lead to a penalty in the rankings. So you won’t actually rank as high because you’re listed as keyword stuffing.
This retailer has the style name, Air Max One Premium, which is good as well. You want to include that. Notice there’s nothing else about the product here, just the brand name that’s doubled up and potentially keyword stuffed and the style name, which is great, but the entire universe of searches is not limited to just the brand and the style. There are so many other searches, like the product type, the color, the size, who this is for, that are going to be relevant to this particular product that we’re not capturing with such a simple title.
To contrast that, let’s take a look at the good title. We have the brand. We have the gender, which is men’s. We have the style. We have the product type, which is running shoes. We have size. We have color. We have all the things that a customer would need to know about the product in order to say whether or not this is a product that they want. These are all highly relevant terms. So we’re not keyword stuffing here. They cover a pretty wide range of possible searches, and all of them help describe the product. So you’re never going to get a keyword stuffing penalty if you’re throwing in terms that describe the product. That’s ultimately what Google wants. They want titles that clearly and concisely describe the product.
A good rule of thumb is that the customer should be able to purchase the product just by looking at the title alone. I can do that with a good title example here. I see exactly what shoe it is. I see that it’s a men’s shoe. I see the size. I see the color, and obviously I see the price because it’s a PLA listing. I could actually buy this shoe just based on the title.
In the one above it, I see that it’s a Nike Air Max One Premium, but what I don’t know is is this a running shoe, is it a men’s shoe, a women’s shoe, a kid’s shoe. How many colors does it come in? What size am I looking at? There’s a lot of information that I don’t have about this listing that I need to click through just to find out. That’s potentially a wasted click because now I’m clicking on the listing just to figure out what it is that I’m looking at, as opposed to seeing a product, knowing what I’m looking at, and clicking through because I want it.
New Google Shopping Transition Checklist
The next thing we’re going to get into is a checklist, if you will, that you would need to complete in order to complete your transition over to the new shopping campaign. You can use this as a guide when you’re switching over. If you complete everything on this checklist, you’ll be done transitioning campaigns, and you’ll be good to go.
First step: Create your shopping campaign. That’s a no-brainer. Right? That’s the easy part. You want to make sure that you pause it right away after you finish setting it up. The reason is that by default, shopping campaigns will take priority over the old PLA campaigns or over the old shopping campaigns that you were using previously. What I like to do is give myself a little time to build it out. So I’ll pause it. I’ll build it out. I’ll make sure everything is structured the way I want. If it is, after I put in the bids, I make sure that the feed is processing. All of that it taken care of. Then I can enable it.
We’ll go through the rest of the steps on the checklist as well, but it’s a good rule of thumb to pause it early. That way, if you need to take an extra few days to make sure everything is done right, you don’t have to worry about shifting traffic over to this campaign that isn’t even built out yet.
Next, make sure you copy over all your settings, your budget, your bid adjustments, your ad scheduling. All of those should be left the same. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go back in and optimize them and let the data dictate how you adjust your bids according to each area. But initially, I like to keep everything the same, as much as possible. Because if something does go wrong, I want to be able to identify where it went wrong. If I go in, and I create my new campaign, and I change everything, if my performance is different, I’m not going to know what change triggered that change in performance. It’s going to be very hard to hunt that down.
So by keeping everything the same, we’re eliminating variables that could potentially negatively affect performance once the campaign launches. Once it’s all set up, and you ensure that it’s launched properly and everything is going well, or at least going the same as it was before, then you can go in and start changing some things around.
Copy your AdWords labels over. So we touched on this a little bit earlier. The AdWords labels need to be transitioned over to a new custom label column. Google allows you to have five custom label columns, but you can only put one value in each column. With the old AdWords labels columns, you could have multiple values in one column, but you cannot do that with the custom label columns. So if you have multiple AdWords labels, make sure to copy each one into its own custom label column.
In this example, you can see our product had two AdWords labels for the old PLA campaign. In the new shopping campaign, those two labels need to be put into their own custom label columns. Now, you’re ready to build it out and start creating some product groups.
I won’t get into too much detail here, since we already touched on this. But the general rule of thumb is that you should try and maintain the same structure here that you had with your old PLA campaign, unless that old PLA campaign was not performing well at all, and you really just want to start from scratch and rebuild it. But in general, if in your old PLA campaign you primarily focused on a set of brands, start by building out brand product groups.
If you primarily focused on a set of categories, start with product type or Google product category. In general, try to keep the same structure, as that will help make the transition go a lot smoother, and it’ll help you pinpoint any problem areas, just in case something gets overlooked in the transition or something goes wrong. Like I said earlier, the reason why I try and keep things the same, at least initially, is that if anything does change or performance does change, the fewer things that I’ve adjusted in the campaign, the easier it is to track down what caused that change of performance if anything happens.
Once you get your product groups created, it’s time to copy your bids. This can be the most tedious part, depending on how detailed your old PLA campaign was. However, you can set bids en masse by clicking the “Edit” drop-down menu above your product group list. So if you have a bunch of product groups that should all have the same bid, you can set them all at once. So you don’t have to go one by one.
If the feed is processed properly, you’ll see all your brands, categories, and labels in the window that appears when you build out new product groups, along with the number of products in each brand, category, label, et cetera. If that product count looks correct, then you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, then potentially there was an issue actually processing the feed, and you would want to go to the merchant center to check out what might have happened there.
Turn it on. This is an exciting day. You finally get to launch your campaign. Remember to leave your old campaign on for a couple days, just in case you made a mistake when building out your new campaign. Yes, I said leave your old campaign turned on. Don’t pause it immediately when you turn on your new campaign.
The reason for this is that let’s say you got almost everything right in your new campaign buildout but forgot one minor detail, and that one minor detail would have caused traffic to fall off the cliff, and you start losing all your traffic and all your orders. If you leave your old campaign on, your old campaign will still be running and collecting traffic while your new campaign takes a nosedive, which is not ideal obviously, but better safe than sorry. This way, at least you have that safety measure. So leave your old campaign on.
My rule of thumb is that if everything is good for a day or two, maybe three, just in case, if you are really concerned about it, then you can go ahead and turn off your old campaign. But like I said, leave your old one on for now.
Then if everything looks good, then go back and pause it. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to have two competing campaigns. We just left our old one on as a safety measure for a couple days, but you don’t want to do that on a long-term basis.
Next, we’ll get into some of the bid modifiers that you can implement for Google shopping. So what is a bid modifier? Well, it’s not a new bid. It’s a percentage change on a product group bid. For example, earlier in the presentation, I had a default bid of 10 cents. A bid modifier of plus-50% increases the bid by 50% or by 5 cents on the product group, which gives me a 15-cent bid. So notice how it’s not a new bid. It’s a percentage change on an existing bid.
There’s a few different examples of some bid modifiers that we’ll go over here. Those are the mobile bid modifier, the location bid modifier, and the ad schedule bid modifier. So let’s get into it.
We’ve seen pretty huge increases in mobile traffic across all verticals so far this year, but conversion rates on mobile traffic are notoriously low, even if you have a mobile optimize site. Having a mobile optimize site can improve your conversion rates here. So I encourage you all to invest in one, especially with Q4 coming up. With so much mobile traffic coming in these days, you’re bound to get some sales from it. But again, conversion rates and ROI do tend to be lower than what we see on desktops or tablets, even if you have that mobile optimize site. So bid accordingly.
I usually recommend starting off with a negative bid of between 25% and 50%. You can always adjust from there, depending on performance. On the next slide, I’ve got a quick video to show you how to set a mobile bid. So here’s how you set that bid.
We’re going to navigate to our settings tab, select the devices tab, and then we’re going to click on the bid adjustment next to mobile devices. You can either increase or decrease your bid there. Again, typically we recommend starting off with a negative bid of 25% to 50% to start out, depending on budget and goals. If you had a stricter budget or maybe stricter ROI goals, start off with that 50% modifier. If you’re willing to spend a little more, your ROI goals aren’t as strict, you can start off with a smaller modifier of 20% or 30%.
Once you have around 30 days of conversion data, then you can start to adjust your bid based on the performance you’re seeing. I usually start with 5% to 10% changes to avoid large swings in performance. But again, your goals and your budget can dictate and your current performance can dictate how large of an adjustment you make and how quickly you make that adjustment.
You can also set bids according to the geographic location of the customer, and I’ll walk you through how to set those bids in the next slide. Inevitably, you’re going to see some states perform better than others. So this can be useful just from an ROI perspective. However, this can also be useful for retailers with brick and mortar stores. Consider increasing your PLA bids in the cities or areas where your stores are located to help build your brand presence in that area and potentially drive more customers into the physical stores.
You could also use this section to exclude areas you don’t ship to. So for example, if you can only ship to the contiguous 48 states, you probably should not be buying traffic in Alaska or Hawaii. So you can use a bid location modifier for that type of adjustment.
Here, we’ll be looking at a quick video of how to set up a location modifier. To start, select the settings tab in your campaign. Then click on the locations tab. If you scroll down, you’ll see a bright red button that says “Plus locations” on it. Once you click that, you’ll get the option to start adding the states, cities, or areas you want to bid on.
Just as consumer habits can vary by device and location, behavior also varies based on time of day. Not all shopping hours are created equally, and you don’t want to waste money on times that don’t convert. Typically we see buying patterns follow a bell curve throughout the day, with orders starting to pick up in the mid morning hours, peaking around the early afternoon, and then falling off again later in the evening. You want to monitor those patterns for your own store, but you should be bidding down during your poorer converting times of the day, bidding up during your higher converting times of the day.
Typically in my experience, you want at least 60 to 90 days of data before making larger scale adjustments or adjustments on times of day. The reason is that if you think about it, there’s only obviously one day during the week for each day. So if you’re only looking at two weeks’ worth of data, you’re only looking at two Mondays or two Tuesdays or two Wednesdays. That’s a pretty small sample size. You might have just had a bad Monday on one of the days, and it might not be an indication that Mondays are a bad day. It’s just that you happened to have had a bad day on that particular Monday.
What we want to do is try and get enough of a sample size, so that we can isolate performance to a particular day, so that it’s not as highly influenced by just one bad day. So if you’re looking at two, three months, you get a larger sample size. You can start to make a more informed decision on where to set your bid.
On the next slide, again, we have a quick video on where you can go to set those bids. So to set up an ad schedule, we’re going to go back to our trustee settings tab, and we’re going to select the ad schedule tab. Then you can scroll down. You’ll see a bright red button that says “Plus ad schedule”. Once you click that button, you’ll have the option of setting different bids for different times of the day. I won’t take you through actually going through each individual time segment. It’s going to vary by store, but it also just . . . In the interest of time, I don’t want to include that because it can take a few minutes to actually set that up.
Last part of the presentation, we’re going to cover some campaign optimizations. So next, we’ll go over some of the new features. First one I want to discuss is the impression share. Just a quick overview, for those of you who aren’t as familiar with all the different AdWords terminology, impression share is the percentage of times your ads are shown for relevant searches. So if you think about that, you want your high converting products and product groups to have a high impression share because that means they’re showing up a high percentage of times for relevant searches.
You’re going to want to monitor the ROI too. You don’t want to just increase traffic for the sake of getting more traffic, unless you’re just really after a land grab, and you don’t necessarily care about cost or ROI. Most retailers, that’s not the case. So you don’t want to just increase impression share for the sake of increasing it. You want to increase the impression share on the products and product groups that are doing well and get more visibility on them.
On the other hand, a high impression share might mean that you actually have room to lower the bid and get more efficient without losing much visibility. Let’s say you’re at a 90% impression share, but you’re also bidding $5 a click. If you can save a dollar per click and cut 20% off your cost, and you’re only dropping to 80% or 85% impression share, you’re still getting a lot of impressions and a lot of that traffic and cutting out a pretty decent amount of cost. So there’s some pretty decent cost savings and not a lot of impression decreases. So you want to monitor the product groups that have a high impression share as well.
Next one is the bid simulator. This can help you estimate the traffic or cost levels at different bid levels, and it’s really good for projecting the impact of a particular bid change. It’s never going to be 100% accurate. It’s basically Google’s attempt to predict how many impressions they’re going to give you at a particular bid level. They’re pretty accurate. They’re pretty good at determining when your ad is going to show and how frequently your ad is going to show.
What they can’t determine is how other retailers are going to react to this. So let’s say you change your bid. Another retailer sees their listings drop, and they increase their bid as a result. That’s not really something Google can predict in the bid simulator. So that’s part of the reason why these aren’t going to be 100% accurate. So just something to keep in mind, that this doesn’t take into account your competitors’ behavior.
But again, it is good for estimating the impact of a bid change. It’s really useful to use in conjunction with the impression share metric. So if you have a really high impression share on something, and it’s got a poor ROI, and you want to cut cost, you can see through the bid simulator. Hey, if I lower my bid by a dollar, what’s my new expected level of impressions? It doesn’t change that much. Then cut that bid because you’re not losing very many impressions by cutting your cost.
The last one is not necessarily a competitive metric, per se, but is a new reporting feature that they’ve added with the new shopping campaign type and that skew level reporting. Obviously, this is a product marketing campaign. It needs product level reporting. Pretty straight forward, but didn’t used to be there. So I’ll kind of take you through how to get that.
We have a quick video playing on this slide, showing you how to add impression share metric to your campaign. First, you’re just going to click the customize columns button, find the competitive metrics, and there you can add impression share, benchmark CTR or click-through rate, and the benchmark CPC, which is the average CPC rate that your competitors are paying for similar products or that your competitors are bidding, I should say, for similar products.
In shopping campaigns, you cannot get impression share on an ad group level. You have to go into each ad group and get it on a product group level. And again, the impression share metric tells you the percentage of times that your product ad is being displayed for relevant searches. So in general, you want your best converting products to have a high impression share.
Let’s take a look at the bid simulator. So we have another quick video on the slide, showing you how to add or how to use the bid simulator. As we can see, when you open this up or when you pop this out, you’re going to see a number of different bid levels and the associated impressions along with that, as well as the projected clicks and cost that are going to be associated with that bid level. You’ll see the graph on the right will change and highlight kind of where you’re at on that graph as your bid moves up.
This is a fairly typical graph. This is also useful to highlight the fact that when you’re at a really low bid, the impact of a bid increase is going to be fairly significant on your impressions and traffic, because you’re just kind of moving up into the auction, essentially. If you’re at like a one-cent bid, you’re really not competitive for anything. If you move up to a dollar, you’re all of a sudden not super competitive, but fairly competitive, a lot more than you were so before.
Conversely, going from $2 to $3 is the same absolute increase. It’s still a $1 increase, but you can see that we’re going from about 1100 impressions to 1400 impressions or 1100 clicks to 1400 clicks, about a 300-click increase. We’re increasing spend by $1100 to do that, so a fairly significant increase in cost, not a huge increase in impressions or clicks.
Just to reiterate that, if we look on the far right-hand side, going from zero to $1.15 takes us to . . . Lets wait for the video to reload . . . takes us to 16,000 impressions. So we get a 16,000-impression increase. Going from $2.15 to $3 gives us less than a 10,000-impression increase. So you can see the diminishing returns to scale there.
Skew Level Reporting
Last thing, let’s take a look at some skew level reporting. You can run these reports on the campaign-wide level, or you can drill down into a specific ad group and run them on the ad group level. Just to narrate the video a bit, to get this, you’re going to navigate to the dimensions tab. You’re going to click on the view drop-down menu and select shopping. Then select the item ID.
You can download the report by clicking on the square button with the down arrow next to it. This is probably one of the most important slides in the presentation. So if you don’t pay attention to anything else, pay attention to this. The reason I say that is that when we take over campaigns from other retailers or other agencies that were running them previously for our clients, this is the most underutilized section. We can tell that because retailers aren’t or other agencies aren’t taking advantage of the data that they’re getting on this tab.
You can get product-level data all the way down to the individual skew. You can slice and dice the data in a number of different ways, not just by product, but by brand or by product type. Or if you have other custom labels, you can slice them up that way as well.
These reports are great for identifying top-performing skews that you want to bid up on or potentially poor-performing skews that you want to bid down on. This is definitely the section that our analysts are using most when they’re optimizing campaigns. If you think about it, in order to manage a product advertising campaign effectively, you need to know how individual products are performing.
So definitely don’t ignore this tab, especially heading into Q4. You’re going to want to stay on top of what your top performers are, what products are just shooting up the rankings and generating a ton of cost. Because there, you have some pretty clear efficiency gains to be made just by down-bidding those.