May 18, 2021 by Jason Pittock | 9 min reading time

Most eCommerce businesses are seeing an increase in sales, especially since the pandemic hit. If your business isn’t one of them, it might be because you’re not using Google Shopping Ads. If you’re using the platform, you may not be utilizing it to its fullest extent. 

In 2020, the total eCommerce sales were in the neighborhood of $791 billion, which was an increase of just over 32% from the year before. 

That’s a piece of the pie you want to get in on, and Google Shopping Ads can help you reach your business goals. True to Google, the platform does a lot of the work for you. At the same time, you might feel a bit lost as to how to optimize Google Shopping Ads. 

We’re taking the confusion out of the process as we walk you through the process of some tried-and-true techniques for Google Shopping Ads optimization. 

How to Optimize Google Shopping Ads 

It’s always important to monitor your ad campaigns closely to prevent going through your ad budget too quickly. While it appears that Google is in total control of your ad campaigns, there are plenty of things you can do to help Google Shopping Ads work smarter (i.e: to make them work for you and your business goals)

Read on for 11 strategies to optimize your Google Shopping Ads.

Optimize for Search Intent

Let’s define search intent. Simply put, it means optimizing your ads according to the searcher’s intent in addition to your keywords. You might also hear marketers refer to search intent as searcher intent, buyer intent, keyword intent, or commercial intent. The keywords someone uses can give you insight as to why a customer is looking for a particular product. 

While the length of the customer buying process varies, it tends to have the following pattern:

  1. Awareness – Aha! I think I need this product, but I’m not going to buy it yet.
  2. Interest – What does this product do? Maybe I need it more than I thought. 
  3. Intent – I’m getting ready to buy. What more do I want to know about it? 
  4. Consideration – Where can I get it?
  5. Purchase – It’s in my shopping cart and I’ve paid for it. 
Buyer's journey

The key here is to identify why someone wants your product and optimize your ads so other people with the same need or desire will find your ad. 

In addition to keyword optimization for search intent, it is also quite important to run an in-depth intent optimization process. Not to brag here, but ClickGUARD does an amazing job of this by allowing you to see all your data and perform intent optimization on each of your ads. Some examples of information you can extract for further ad optimization include:

  • Number of pages users access before converting into customers
  • Time spent on site before conversion
  • The IPs and geolocations they come from
  • Scrolls and engagement on page before they convert
  • Devices they use
  • What ad placements work best

In essence, all the data you collect during a post-click analysis/ click forensics process helps you optimize your ads to make sure you not only target audiences that are likely to convert but also truly speak to them.

Create Good Landing Pages

Your landing pages need to create value for your customers. Don’t post old or random content on your landing pages. They should be tailor-made for specific Google Shopping campaigns. 

Be aware that the Google Shopping platform requires you to match up your landing page to your product ads using the same exact image, price, and product that’s featured in your ad. 

Give your shoppers the benefit of a few options. Consumers like choices. If you display alternative items, browsers are likely to choose the original product or choose one of the displayed options. 

Create a good user experience by matching the feel and design of your product landing pages to your ads and be sure the product is the focal point.  

Optimize Your Product Feed

Google uses information from your product feed (a list of products you’re selling that tells Google about the inventory you have) to display your ads. They cross-reference the data with your bid information and the information on shoppers’ searches. Then, their algorithms make a decision about where to place your ads. 

Optimizing your product feed is important because it will make it easier for Google to digest information about your products and display your ads in front of your target audience. 

Here are some easy ways to optimize your product feed:

  • Use titles that are keyword-friendly
  • Format the price and currency correctly
  • Include high-quality images
  • Use high-volume keywords in descriptions
  • Leverage product reviews and ratings
  • Highlight promotions
optimize product feed Google Shopping Ads

Optimize Your Campaign Structure

A big key to your success in any Google Shopping Ads campaign is to create an optimized campaign structure. If you’re new to marketing, this can be a bit confusing to understand and be able to carry it out. 

Ultimately, you want to have as much control over your ads as you can muster. You’ll get the best results when you can bid for different products on their own accord. Some products will be more popular than others or have larger or smaller profit margins. Some will have better conversion rates than others. For these reasons, you can segment and organize your products in a Google Shopping campaign by dividing them into different groups. Group them according to things like the brand, category, product type, item number, and custom labels. 

Divide Your Products Into Ad Groups

When you create your first campaign, it’s considered an ad group. You can add ad groups and organize your products into different groups. 

For example, you could have an ad group for a brand like The Pioneer Woman. You could further subdivide that brand into groups for cookware, utensils, cookbooks, etc. This process also works in reverse. You could have ad groups for cookware products and then subdivide them according to each brand. 

As for a couple more tips, make sure your ads are as relevant as possible and try to put around the same number of products into each ad group. 

Use Promotions

Promotions in ad campaign optimization work much the same as a personalized coupon. Here are some ways to set them up:

  • A percentage off the regular price
  • Reduced or free shipping
  • Buy one, get one free

Make them interactive by popping up the details of the offer as customers mouse over the promotion. 

Promotions for Google Shopping campaigns won’t cost you anything either. 

Find Your Winners and Losers

Some products are winners and some are losers. Let’s drill down those definitions for the purpose of campaign optimization.

Winners — products or product groups that convert to sales.

Losers — products that get a lot of visits that don’t convert to sales or sales where the cost per conversion is higher than your profit. 

You’re paying for every click, so it makes sense to increase your bids for winners to increase sales while decreasing your cost per acquisition. 

Top vs. Other

Believe it or not, some products perform better at a lower search ranking. Here’s how to tell if you have products in this category:

  1. Go to "Segments," then to "Top vs. Other".
  2. Compare the conversion rate, cost per acquisition, and other metrics between "Top" and other positions. 

The point is, it doesn’t make sense to bid higher for a top position for a product that gets good results at a lower ranking in Shopping campaigns. Be aware that you can do this for ad groups, but not product groups. 

Limit Networks

Google has a reputation for setting unproductive defaults. Google Shopping campaigns are no exception when it comes to choosing networks to display your ads. 

As you set up your Shopping campaigns, Google sets defaults for Search partners, YouTube, and Discover on the Display Network.  

Just switch them off. In the beginning, you’ll want to get a baseline performance of your campaigns. Also, you don’t want your ads to appear on YouTube videos that aren’t related to your ads. 

Use Negative Keywords

To be sure your ads are showing up only for relevant sites, use negative keywords on your Google Shopping campaigns. Google won’t trigger your ads to be displayed for negative keywords. You can add them for each ad group or for your entire campaign. You can even subdivide them for greater control. 

Bid Adjustments

Some clicks bring you more conversions than others. Bid adjustments give you greater control as you work to improve campaign optimization. Here are 3 types of bid adjustments to try:

  1. Location — Control how frequently shoppers see your ad based on a geographical location. 
  2. Devices — Adjust bids based on the devices your customers prefer the most. 
  3. Schedule — Create an ad schedule and adjust your bids according to the most popular days of the week and times of the day. 

While we’ve just given you a bunch of new strategies for campaign optimization, don’t try them all at once. Small adjustments can have big results, so start small and track your results. Use A/B testing and let your ads ride for a week or two before analyzing results. We recommend not changing bids by more than 20% and only for product groups that bring in less than 20% of your traffic. 

As a final tip, gather data from click forensics to better understand how customers navigate your website and your ads. This is a goldmine of information for campaign optimization. Success comes with moving beyond standard marketing techniques. The tips we’ve provided here will give you lots of new things to try and test. Keep making adjustments and modifications to your strategies, and be sure to monitor your competition. 

Did you find this to be intriguing stuff? The ClickGUARD blog is the coolest resource for the most current info on Google Ads. Contact us at ClickGUARD for more tips on post-click optimization. 

Jason is a passionate data-driven specialist with extensive PPC & SEO experience. When not writing about SEM he can be found surfboarding the wildest ocean waves of the Argentinian coast.