Any good business strategy begins with thorough planning. For Google Shopping campaigns, you’ll want to focus on these four areas:
- Product segmentation
- Setting goals
- Keyword research
- Competitive analysis
Your products vary. By price, by margins, by inventory, by seasonality… And while these attributes might seem trivial on paper, they can help you create smarter campaigns (or hurt your campaigns if ignored).
Knowing how your products vary based on these attributes will allow you to segment the catalog you push to Google using custom labels. You can then use those custom labels to create optimized campaigns with bidding strategies tailored to each segment’s unique CPA.
We recommend a combination (or all) of these segmentations for new Google Shopping campaigns:
- Price points - This allows you to distribute bids so that you’re not bidding in the same range for a $10 product as you would for a $100 product.
- High ROI - Products with bigger margins give you greater freedom in bidding -- even for lower priced items.
- Seasonality - Season-specific segments let you raise bids when items are in season and decrease bids (often significantly) when they are less likely to sell.
- Clearance items - Here you have two options:
- If your goal is to get rid of low-selling items as fast as possible, raise bids to increase the chance of potential customers seeing them.
- If your goal is to minimize COS on reduced-priced items, lower bids to maintain a decent ROI.
- Best sellers - Product segments based on performance allow you to increase or decrease bids accordingly to get the best possible return on investment.
- Catch-all - This is a base campaign with all of your products. It is intended to catch any relevant product search queries that don’t match any of your other segments. This segment’s campaign priority should be set to low and the bid should be set to no more than a few cents.
For the purpose of Google Shopping campaigns, goals should always revolve around a target cost per acquisition (CPA). The reason for this is that you want to keep sales and costs in perspective at all times.
With that said, it’s important to note that not all acquisitions are created equal. Traditionally speaking, acquisitions in Google AdWords are synonymous with conversions, which are synonymous with sales. One sale = one conversion = one acquisition. But to find lasting success in Google Shopping, you’ll want to look beyond transactional acquisitions: Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is the ultimate measure of success.
We’ll look closer at creating and measuring CLTV in future emails.
Keywords can be as much about your customers as they are about your products. How are customers looking for your products? What phrases are they typing into Google to search? Are they just beginning to do research? How much do they know about the products they want to buy?
These are important questions because searches can tell you a lot about buying intent. Understanding what your customers are searching for can give you a big advantage when creating product titles and descriptions in Google Shopping.
To dig up useful search queries that match your products use these tools:
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool - You don’t need to have an active campaign but you do need to have an AdWords login to access this tool.
- SpyFu - This tool’s free search gives you your keyword’s top five variations along with search volume numbers for each. Investing in the paid version -- if only for the time you’re doing research -- might be worth the investment as it gives you unlimited searches and allows you to spy on your competitors’ keywords.
- Keyword.io - This keyword tool offers upwards of 1,000 free keyword variations per keyword search but the free version does not provide search volume. One nice feature of the free tool, however, is that you can export all of the keyword variation recommendations to a .csv file.
- Google.com - Even with all these tools at your disposal, we always recommend doing a Google search for each of your keywords. Take note of what keyword variations Google suggests and scope out competitors’ product listings that appear in the top results.
Next in the Google Shopping optimization series, we’ll get into the product data feed.