Google shopping can be extremely daunting at times.
Regardless of whether you’re just adding Google ads to your arsenal of advertising platforms for your eCommerce brand or if you’re already scaling to the moon, there are a few things you might not be aware about.
After all, setting up a shopping campaign does not end when you click on ‘Save’ or ‘Done’. There is a lot to monitor, analyze, and optimize to ensure that you reap the maximum benefits from your ad campaigns.
It also doesn’t help that shopping campaigns are getting more competitive than ever.
They have taken the world of digital marketing by a storm in recent times and have grown 41% more than text ads within a span of a single year.
So when things are so fast-paced, it’s natural to be on the lookout for any hacks and secrets that can give your campaigns a boost.
See How My Agency Can 10x Your Brand's Sales With Google Ads
Google Ads – effective targeting and scaling methods for ROI.
Bing Ads – dominating the market of a fairly untouched platform.
Facebook Ads (Retargeting) – helping stop the leaks from all sides of the bucket, especially with retargeting.
Our team sat down and came up with a list of 12 insane tips and tactics which helped us generate over 7 figures with Google ads consistently in just a few years.
Lets get started!
1. Perfect Your Landing Page
The first step for mastering Google shopping ads is to realize that your success with them starts from your product page.
In fact, perfecting your landing page is one of the most major shopping ads hacks out there.
A common mistake that eCommerce business owners make is they often put all their focus only on their PLAs and completely disregard their landing pages.
Your product landing page serves as an essential link between when a user clicks on your shopping ad and when they actually make a purchase.
After all, a click on your PLA does not guarantee a purchase. Instead, it’s only an indication of the user’s interest in the product.
What the user discovers on the landing page is what ultimately influences their buying decision.
A key piece of information to remember when crafting an effective landing page is to abide by Google’s guidelines.
Google is very strict when it comes to the information displayed on a PLA’s landing page— all information on the landing page must match with the information in your product data feed on the Google Merchant Center.
Any discrepancies can immediately get your product disapproved. For more details on Google’s policies and guidelines, we recommend you watch this video:
Another important point to keep in mind when crafting your landing page is to make it diverse.
Consumers love variety— so why should you restrict your landing page to only one product?
The best way to maximize your chances of a sale is to display related products on the page as well or different variants of the same product.
This does not mean that you should not include the actual product displayed in the PLA. In fact, it does not even mean that the actual product should not be the focus.
However, making sure there are related products (upsells) up on the landing page gives the user a chance to browse through the variety you have to offer.
And who knows – there’s a good chance they might end up purchasing something completely different.
2. Secure Customer Reviews
A product landing page can never be complete without one of the main factors: reviews.
Did you know that customer reviews influence buying decisions for 93% of consumers?
In fact, studies have also found that most transactions occur for products that have 4 to 5 stars rating:
And that does make sense. A higher number of positive customer reviews suggest greater satisfaction from the product.
In simple terms, good reviews build trust.
But there is more to customer reviews than what meets the idea. What if we told you that having customer reviews could save you money?
That’s right— having positive customer reviews that reflect a high star rating can actually lower your CPC!
This means that you can secure the same ad spot as your competitor while spending a lower amount of budget than them.
The logic is pretty simple:
- More reviews build greater trust in your audience and causes them to click on your ads more
- This increases your CTR, which directly impacts the quality score of your PLAs
- A higher quality score means lower CPCs since Google recognizes that you are effectively meeting your target audience’s needs
More Reviews → Higher CTR → Better Quality Score → Lower CPC
But how do you ensure that your customer reviews are displayed under your product?
The answer is pretty simple— you need to impress Google.
Customer reviews appear under PLAs due to an automatic extension called Google Seller Ratings, which only becomes available to users when certain conditions are met.
One of the most important criteria that you meet is that your eCommerce brand has a minimum of 50 reviews in total available for import. We recommend having a healthy mix of positive and negative reviews in general.
Still feeling lost? This video does a pretty good job going over how to set up review stars, especially for your Shopify store:
3. Automate Your Processes
Your Google shopping campaigns will thank you for the reviews that you added earlier as that should definitely increase your overall sales. Now, it’s time to make your own life easy.
Simply put, running Google ads for your eCommerce brand should be done in a personalized way. With your own personal touch in terms of ad copy and style.
But this does not mean that you cannot use the benefits of automation to your advantage.
It’s true— not everything can be automated. Many eCommerce store owners believe that a manual bidding strategy is the way to go with shopping campaigns as that provides the most control.
However, this often leads brands to a total loss in terms of profitability.
There are many reasons as to why this may happen but the number one cause of this is the bid. It’s extremely difficult to choose the correct bid manually and most eCommerce store owners end up taking a wild guess.
In a lot of my videos, I recommend sticking to a general bid range of $0.40 – $0.55 depending on the product, niche, margins, etc. but even this is too broad of a range for many brands.
One easy way to completely take the guess work out and to increase sales with Google shopping ads is to utlize google’s ultra-powerful algorithm and run smart shopping campaigns.
Google Smart shopping campaigns are a step up from your traditional shopping ads to simplify your targeting. They make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to complement aspects of your campaign building process.
Some of their features include automated product feed optimization, automatic bidding, automatic keyword handling, and seamless integration.
And I know for a fact that smart shopping campaigns have changed the entire direction of major brands I’ve worked with under my Google ads agency, Yoru Marketing, and my own brands.
When you have data, they work like a well oiled machine.
Anyone who has their Google Merchant Center set up should definitely start implementing more smart shopping and performance max campaigns.
But everything’s worth a test, which brings us to our next point.
4. Conduct A/B Testing
Testing forms the backbone of all marketing efforts.
So it is definitely surprising that so many eCommerce business owners seem to forget about it for their PLAs.
When it comes to marketing, there are several variables that can affect your results. A/B testing or split testing is simply about trying out two different versions of your marketing efforts to see what works for you.
Marketers often carry it out for landing pages, Facebook ads, and email campaigns. Why should shopping ads be any different?
When split testing your shopping ads, you can experiment with a number of variables to see what will give you the best results. This can be a product’s title, description, price, image, or something else.
The most important point to keep in mind is that you only test one variable at a time.
For example, if you are testing a product’s price point, you need to create two different versions of the product page that are completely identical in every aspect apart from the pricing.
This ensures that pricing remains the only factor influencing the difference in results given by the two versions.
Tweaking multiple variables at any given time will make you lose track since you will not be able to identify which factor is improving or impairing your shopping ads.
For a more detailed guide on how to split test with shopping ads, we recommend this video where we go over the A/B testing step-by-step:
5. Run Google Merchant Center Promotions For Your Products
Everyone loves a juicy discount, right?
Or maybe you are a fan of coupon codes that cut back on your checkout amount.
Regardless of what you prefer, promotions and offers are one of the best ways to appeal to your target audience.
You can use a variety of promotions and offers to make your ideal buyer feel special. These include (but are not limited to):
- Free shipping
- Discount coupons
- Buy one and get one free
- Free add-ons with purchases
- And much more!
When you include a special offer in your PLA, you set yourself apart from competitors by appealing to the user’s need to attain Value for Money.
These special offers show up as additional information or additional links in your shopping ads. Clicking on the link opens a pop-up with instructions on how you can use the opportunity.
You can include promotions and offers in your PLAs using Merchant Promotions. Creating these promotions is very easy and Google provides several options to go about it.
If you are in the US, the easiest way to create your promotions is through your Google Merchant Center account.
On the left side, open the ‘Marketing’ menu and click ‘Promotions’ from the dropdown. You can directly create a promotion here.
Apart from this, another option would be to use Content APIs for your promotions. Again, this option is only available for eCommerce business owners in the US or Canada.
For others, there are still two options left— by using the Promotion Builder or through creating a Promotion Feed.
To use the Promotion Builder, follow these steps:
- Sign into your Merchant Center account.
- Go to the Marketing tab.
- Click on Promotions.
- Click on the Plus button.
- Select shopping ads as your destination.
- Select the Promotion Category that is applicable to your offer.
- Click on Save.
If you have a variety of promos and offers running at the same time, creating a Promotion Feed might be your best option.
This involves creating a spreadsheet with all information about your offers. Simply click on Promotion Feeds on the upper right corner of your Promotions tab and add all the relevant data.
But don’t just stop with promotions.
6. Harness showcase shopping ads
When you think of Google shopping ads, you think of bottom-of-the-funnel users who are looking for a particular type of product.
This is definitely true for a large number of cases.
A majority of shopping ads users are people who know what they’re looking for and have the intention of making a purchase.
But this does not mean that you cannot target top-of-the-funnel users too.
This is where Google showcase shopping ads come in.
With showcase shopping ads, the focus shifts from targeting specific keywords to going for generic ones.
One way of understanding this would be by targeting a keyword such as “jeans” instead of “red high waist jeans for women”.
The most distinct advantage of showcase shopping ads is that they improve your brand’s visibility.
With these ads, you can pop up for generic keywords and leave an impression on their mind when they least expect it.
It also gives the user an insight into the kind of products you offer since there are multiple products up on display in a showcase shopping Ad.
At this point, you must be wondering— what about the monetary investment?
The good news is that showcase shopping ads do not follow a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model!
Instead, they are based on a Pay-Per-Engagement (PPE) model.
This means that your first click is always free. You will be charged only if a user clicks on one of the Product Ads within the expanded showcase shopping Ad.
Apart from this, the click is charged if a user spends more than 10 seconds browsing the showcase shopping Ad.
7. Use Geo-Targeting Modifiers
2013 was a game-changing year for Google AdWords with the introduction of enhanced campaigns.
By July 22, all campaigns were updated to the enhanced status automatically. This introduced the geo-targeting modifier feature that allowed business owners to adopt a granular approach towards location-based targeting.
Look at it this way— your target audience is not one large group of people consolidated in a single area. Instead, they are several smaller fractions scattered across the country, or possibly, even the globe.
When the situation is so complex, how can the solution be any simpler?
With geo-targeting modifiers, you can refine your Google shopping strategy to take the minute details into account and adopt a much more meticulous approach. This includes getting down to the level of cities and zip codes, including and excluding certain areas, and modifying your maximum bids depending on the region.
Setting up these modifiers is quite simple:
- Go into your desired Google ads campaign
- On the left side within the menu, click on Locations
- Click the blue pen button on the left side of the page that pops up
- Enter the location of your choice by typing it into the search bar.
- You can Add a location you want to target, Exclude a location you want to avoid, or even click on Nearby for viewing nearby locations.
- When you select a location of your choice, a map will open up showing all the locations you have selected for a proper overview of your location settings.
- For more advanced targeting, you can also use the Radius option to select locations within a particular radius.
- With the Bulk Locations tab, you can add multiple locations at once.
8. Know Your Industry KPIs Well
A rookie mistake that many eCommerce business owners make is they often neglect their industry’s KPIs.
While it’s true that you should focus on improving your performance, it is not the only aspect for attaining true success.
When you are running shopping ads to make sales, the sole purpose is not to get more customers; it is to also compete against similar brands in the industry so that you can maximize your business revenue.
When eCommerce business owners evaluate their shopping ad performance solely based on their previous results, they are adopting a very narrow point of view.
Comparing your performance with industry KPIs and using them to set goals is a valuable way of scaling your shopping campaigns.
It allows you to keep up and even beat your competitor’s progress. It also gives you an insight into the trends within the industry so that you can make appropriate deductions and forecasts regarding your own performance.
While there are a number of benchmarks you can consider, here are a couple of important ones you should keep in mind:
8.1 Pricing Benchmark
This is a benchmark provided by Google itself.
Your pricing benchmark gives you an idea about the prices your competitors are offering for products similar to yours. This is based on averaging out the number of clicks a product gets at different price points.
With your pricing benchmark, you can get a general idea of how you should price your product and whether your bids need adjustment.
8.2 Average CPC
Another important benchmark to take a look at is CPC.
Your average cost-per-click matters because it provides an estimate of your investment into shopping ads.
While a higher CPC does not necessarily mean a bad thing, making sure that you make mindful investments is essential for maximizing your ROI.
Knowing the industry’s average CPC can go a long way in optimizing your campaigns by improving your Quality Score. It can also help you in adopting a more strategic approach towards keyword targeting.
But at the end of the day, CPCs are going to vary heavily based on what you sell.
8.3 Average Conversion Rate
In addition to CPCs, your industry’s average conversion rate is an important parameter that can greatly help you in assessing your campaign’s success.
Some industries have a higher conversion rate on average while others have it much lower. Always compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
But keep in mind that these things can only be improved based on the execution you do within your brand. And while you aren’t tweaking your Google shopping campaigns here, these improvements directly impact them.
9. Look Into Remarketing Audiences
One shopping ad trick almost ALL eCommerce store owners fail to implement is their remarketing audiences.
And this might simply be because they don’t realize that you can actually make a shopping campaign target both cold traffic and warm traffic.
And it works like a charm.
For as long as I can remember, remarketing audiences have been able to add AT LEAST a 2x in overall ROAS to the shopping campaign. Sometimes, this is enough to turn the campaign from a total failure into a break even venture.
The main benefit these audiences provide to the campaign is they actually help it become smarter. This is done through Google’s crazy smart algorithm which tries to also match members from these audiences to the cold traffic audiences.
10. Use Similar Audiences
Along with adding remarketing audiences for your shopping ads, Google actually also gives you the ability to create similar audiences to your customers.
This is similar to the lookalike audiences Facebook offers.
Google Similar Audiences is an excellent feature to help you tap into internet shoppers who are similar to your repeating users. This means that you can expand the scope of your targeting efforts and reach out to new people.
Creating your Similar Audiences is quite simple— Google automatically creates Similar Audiences data for every Remarketing List with over 500 cookies.
Since Google owns YouTube and Gmail, uploading first-party data is also an efficient way of building your Similar Audiences list. Based on the information you provide, Google can use the cookies of these platforms to tap into the users who fall in your list.
Once your Similar Audiences list has accrued enough data, you can start using it to reach out to more people. The first step to doing this is to ensure that your Remarketing Tag has been added.
To add your Similar Audiences to a campaign or Product Group using Google Ads, follow these steps:
- Choose the desired campaign (make sure it’s not a smart or performance max campaign)
- From the left menu, click on Audiences
- From the page that pops up, click on Edit Audience Segments on the right side
- Make sure that Observation is chosen at the top with the circles
- On the bottom, choose Browse
- Choose How they have interacted with your business
- Choose the desired similar audience segments here
- Click Save once done
Start with some major similar audiences such as similar to customers or similar to those who added to cart.
11. Make the Best of Customer Match
Along with similar audiences, you can also make use of certain emails.
Google Customer Match is one Adwords feature that can be a game-changer for your shopping campaigns.
It is especially useful for businesses that have a growing email list and want to harness it to supercharge their shopping campaigns.
Customer Match uses the data you upload to AdWords via its API to match it with Google users and anonymize it. This means that you can start targeting your shopping campaigns using first-party data too.
The most important benefit of Customer Data is the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell.
You can target existing customers with better or complementary products from your eCommerce store that can fulfill their needs further.
You can also target buyers who shop from your eCommerce store frequently so that you retain them as repeat customers and build your trust and authority as a brand.
12. Use A Google Ads Agency
Last, but not the least, is a Google shopping hack you weren’t expecting— using a Google Ads agency!
Let’s admit it— marketing using the internet is no piece of cake.
The trends are constantly changing, your target audience can be very fickle about their preferences, and there are a ton of variables you need to take care of.
Even worse, there are big players out there who have shopping ads fully mastered. We are talking about people who have devoted months, and even years, trying, experimenting, failing, and ruling their shopping campaigns.
With such insane competition out there and the stakes so high, are you sure you can devote enough of your energy to catch up?
Adding “shopping ads mastery” to your to-do list could be biting off more than you can possibly chew.
This is why a Google Ads agency might be the best Google shopping hack you could use.
With a reliable agency, you can outsource all the tasks related to your Google shopping campaigns and reduce your workload considerably. A trusted agency acts like a close friend, an experienced mentor, and a faithful supporter, all rolled into one, to fetch you the best results possible.
In fact, this is the model we adopt at Yoru Marketing too!
Our work process and SOPs supply clients with a hands-on, result-oriented strategy that focuses on maximizing ROAS using key techniques learnt through years of experimenting and learning.
So if you are considering implementing this shopping Ad hack, it’s just a click away.
In A Nutshell
At the end of the day, Google shopping ads are just like any other digital marketing channel out there.
Mastering their fundamentals to run a basic campaign is very easy. In fact, their higher conversion rates can even mislead you about the actual results you are obtaining.
But extracting true value from your shopping campaigns involves experimenting with a variety of advanced techniques and strategies to discover what works best for you.
This list of tips, tricks, hacks, and secrets does not end right here. There are innumerable strategies you can adopt to scale your shopping campaigns.
But for an eCommerce business owner looking to dominate with Google shopping ads, they are a good place to begin with!