The Google Ads feed is one of the strongest support systems of a profitable Google ads account yet most eCommerce store owners fail to properly use it to its full potential.
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When we compare our eCommerce brand to a skyscraper, we can think of the feed as the foundation that holds up the skyscraper. Have a strong foundation and the skyscraper will last decades but what happens if it’s weak?
Now, just a disclaimer.
I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.
I’ve had my entire brand crumble and fall down due to an unoptimized Google ads feed and I’ve also run extremely successful eCom brands that brought the exact customer I wanted through the door.
And doing just a simple Google search for just about any ‘buying intent’ keyword shows us what the mass majority of brands are doing. An easy way to check on this is by searching the main keyword for one of the products you sell.
What do you see?
If your brand is like most, you probably see a pool of different competitors with different styles of titles and images. Competitors that range from the ultra powerful like Amazon to ones you’ve never heard of before until now.
Regardless, here’s what you need to understand; those appearing more towards the front (spot #1 – #5) did much more than just start Google shopping ads campaigns.
In reality, the easy part is launching that specific campaign for the products. The harder part, and often most important, is the optimization of the backend. The part where we furnish our products and get them prepared for massive success.
Not surprisingly, this is the main part that separates those eCommerce brands currently ranking #1 – #5 for your main keyword(s) compared to those at the very end. Those brands appearing in the front invested a lot of resources and energy into optimizing their product feed.
But exactly how is it done properly to ensure it ends up profitable at the end?
Before we get into the juicy strategy, lets start off with the basics.
The Basics Of Google Ads Product Feed Optimization For Ecommerce
I keep mentioning product feed or Google ads feed but on a fundamental level, what exactly does it mean?
The Google ads feed is defined as the list of products you currently sell on your store. These products get all hashed up together with their corresponding information and submitted to Google’s system via the Google Merchant Center.
And all of the information within this feed lets Google understand exactly what the product is and who the best audience type for it is. In essence, this eliminates all of the guess work Google needs to go through before pinpointing your target customer.
Having a product feed is much more important with Google ads compared to other advertising platforms like Facebook ads or Tik Tok ads.
These other platforms give users the ability to directly choose an interest to target. With Google ads, we all know there is no way for us to directly choose our audience.
And that’s exactly why things like proper search engine optimization (SEO) with the products becomes extremely crucial. These strategies are all designed to make Google’s life easier so that we can reach our desired market with ease.
Building A Strategy Around The Feed
So far, it should have become clear that just running Google ads campaigns is only part of the process. The real work begins with the backend.
But exactly how do we build a strong strategy around the feed to ensure our campaigns are impacted positively and not negatively?
Building a strong foundation with the feed requires a lot of internal analysis within the business itself. Some key questions you need to ask yourself include:
- What is the main target persona we’re trying to target?
- How does the main customer live their daily life and interact within the niche?
- Do they use any special slang words?
- What motivates the main customer to purchase a product?
The key things we’re trying to figure out from this list of questions is the main thought process of our ideal customer and why they are even interested in this niche in the first place.
And all these things may seem completely irrelevant to building a strong feed but they’re actually extremely important in figuring out your audience and how they search online. Once we figure out how they search online, we can then use the keywords to insert into our titles and description, building one of the pillars of a strong feed.
The next pillar that you’ll need to build on for this strategy to work is the product attributes pillar. This includes sections such as the Google Product Category, Custom Attributes, and Detailed Product Characteristics.
Depending on which product feed management application you’re using, they may be worded differently but all do one major task; help Google understand your product.
With this portion of feed optimization, your main strategy should be to provide as relevant information as possible that can help Google pinpoint your target audience. And when you combine pilar #1 with pillar #2, you get a holistic approach with the feed.
And the net result is a much more organized and directed product database that can begin lowering your advertising costs with Google.
Feed Strategy Execution
Regardless of what kind of eCommerce brand you run, there are different levels to the feed execution strategy. They include:
- Keyword research
- Strategy Monitoring
- Strategy Optimization
- Strategy Scaling
And you’ll soon come to find out that optimizing the feed involves the use of many external factors. Your first goal is to get in front of the right audience members.
And as we covered earlier, there’s no interest targeting available with Google ads; you need to find an alternative.
That alternative when it comes to the feed is keyword research.
Proper keyword research is conducted using the Google keyword planner tool. But before we begin using the tool, we should already have answers to the key questions mentioned above.
The first step is to search up the main keyword(s) that clearly identify the product we’re trying to sell. Ideally, this word should be no more than three words combined.
Some examples that we can search within the keyword planner include “3D printer” or “woven basket” or “cnc router”. Any of these work because they’re short and direct. The more keywords you jumble up before searching, the lower the search results that’ll show up.
Once we’re getting keywords showing up, the next step is to actually identify what keyword most closely resembles our product. It’s extremely important to have relevancy because being irrelevant is one of the deadly sins that negatively impacts the quality score.
Once you have your list of keywords, it’s time to further optimize the feed.
Whether you change up the title on the product page side of things or just within the feed is entirely up to you but I personally prefer to have a professional title on the landing page and a SEO title within the feed.
On a strategic level, changing up the title is as simple as incorporating some of the highly relevant and searched for keywords more towards the front. But keep in mind, real humans are the real readers.
This means while the title must be search engine optimized, it must also flow well and actually make sense. This is one area most eCommerce store owners completely miss.
As for the feed optimization process with descriptions, it’s as simple as incorporating one major keyword per sentence while ensuring it makes sense. What I personally do is sprinkle one keyword in per sentence.
But keep in mind, if you have too many keywords, your description can go on forever and ever. Keep it to 10 – 15 heavily searched keywords for this part.
Hurray. Give yourself a nice pat on the back.
We’re done with the keyword optimization when it comes to the feed. The next part involves optimizing the product data information on the back end of the feed.
Things such as the Google product category, custom attributes, detailed product characteristics, and more. The main building blocks of a powerful shopping feed.
From a strategic viewpoint, submitting all of the information required here lets Google’s algorithm get a better understanding of what the product really is. It provides a framework for Google to work off of.
Without getting into the actual nitty gritty details, the simple way to set all of this up is to provide as specific information as possible. Lets assume for a moment that we’re trying to sell baby crib bumpers.
Just doing a simple search for “baby crib” within the ‘Google Product Category’ section leads us to multiple sections we can choose from. While all are ideal on a broad level, there is only one that’s narrow enough.
In this case, the correct one to choose would be the last one, which says “Furniture > Baby & Toddler Furniture > Crib & Toddler Bed Accessories > Crib Bumpers & Liners”. And the same is true for all the other sections mentioned.
With custom attributes or detailed product characteristics, it’s extremely important to enter information that is as relevant as possible. Not doing so would result in an extremely broad audience getting targeted, which is always an eCommerce store owner’s worst nightmare.
We’ve completely optimized the feed as needed and provided Google’s algorithm the information it needs to go out and shine. But our work has just begun.
Making the changes is the easy part; monitoring and optimizing based on the results is much harder to accomplish.
In any situation, we let about 14 to 21 days go by after conducting the feed optimizations to actually begin thinking about optimizing. Within this period, however, we’re constantly monitoring things and analyzing.
One thing to always keep in mind during the monitoring phase is that results are king. If the results decline for whatever reason after the optimizations and stay low for an extended period of time, that should be an indicator the feed optimization was unsuccessful.
On the contrary, if the results stay the same or slowly begin to improve, things are performing as intended. At this point, it’s a matter of just letting the 14 to 21 days go by to really see the big impact on the products.
At this point, at least 14 to 21 days should have gone by. And with that, our monitoring period gets concluded.
It’s time to get our hands dirty and begin further optimization.
Because if your eCommerce brand is like any other, there are still most likely many other things you can do to make it better and more optimized. The hard part is figuring out what needs to further be changed.
But after the time period has passed, you should have a clear idea of whether the feed optimization worked or if it didn’t.
If it did, all the stats, ranging from impressions to clicks to CTR and (hopefully) conversions started to increase. Keep in mind, the major stats like conversions increase gradually as the algorithm becomes aware of your new ad quality.
On the other hand, if the optimization wasn’t accurate, this is when the stats mentioned above might have stayed the same or actually decreased.
If your brand is part of the first pool, congratulations. You now need to take smaller leaps to prevent ads from deoptimizing.
Some things you can slowly begin optimizing on the feed side of the things include the description, title, and product tags.
For the description and title, the strategy mentioned above should be used to make further changes. In fact, if you’re running standard shopping campaigns, you can actually look within the “keywords” section to figure out what keywords got sales and what didn’t.
At that point, it’s as simple as deleting the keywords that didn’t get sales from your description and then replacing it with another unused keyword. We recommend starting from the description as title changes are considered “massive changes” and can destroy performance if not done correctly.
Once any change is made, it’s a matter of taking the product through the corresponding phases. Over and over and over.
The cycle never ends, even for optimized products. One key tip; once a product shows good results, it’s important to increase that monitoring time period from 14 – 21 days to 30 – 90 days.
Too many changes are also not ideal with Google ads.
If your eCommerce brand is part of the second pool of members where the optimization didn’t have an impact or it actually lowered performance, it’s time to revert back.
The strategy here is simple; revert back to the original layout, wait 14 – 21 days for performance to stabilize, and make new changes different from the previous. And the cycle gets repeated here as well until things just work.
By the time your eCom brand enters the scaling phase in terms of feed optimization, the changes you made earlier should already be showing good signs. The main things I tend to look at include:
- Conversions trend
- Impressions growth
- CTR change
- Avg CPC decline
While there are multiple metrics I tend to look at to determine results, the main one that does the job is conversions. At the end of the day, sales increasing is what matters the most.
After ensuring things are moving in the positive direction, we fully enter the scaling phase.
With the feed, scaling isn’t done in the general sense. In fact, there are only two distinct ways to scale the feed optimizations.
The first way is to scale by applying the ‘winning’ optimizations to similar products and the second is to scale by differentiating.
Lets start off with the first; the easiest one.
Once you have optimized a product’s data feed and found some results with it, there’s no reason why other similar products shouldn’t have the same configuration. Getting results with one type is a direct indicator that something’s working.
Mass applying the winning feed optimization techniques signals to Google ads that all these products have one major audience type. As a result, the algorithm becomes much smarter for these products as well as all future ones.
The second strategic method to scale works a bit differently than the first.
With this method, our main goal is to scale the original feed by creating a duplicate of the “winning” product and implementing newer feed techniques with it.
Essentially, we’re redoing all of the steps mentioned above to try different keywords, image creatives, SEO styles, and more for further scaling. The reality is, there can always be better combinations used when it comes to Google ads.
Bringing It All Together
The glue that holds our Google ads accounts and the products on our store is the feed. Thus, it makes sense to ensure the glue is as sticky as possible.
While feed optimization is a rigorous process, it’s essential to continue the growth and scale of your eCommerce brand. In fact, feed optimization is a never ending process.
A normal eCommerce brand can have thousands upon thousands of SKUs so it really doesn’t make sense to go through these steps individually.
What we’ve found the most success with when it comes to eCommerce is to optimize the feed for only winning products. Products that have shown positive growth and scale in the recent time periods.
The key here is to not just do it once and then forget about it. It’s to consistently execute the proven framework and monitor things before scalig them further.
Lets do a quick recap of what we learned.
- A well optimized feed with Google ads is like a well oiled engine that keeps the machine working. You can’t expect optimal performance without taking care of the engine itself.
- Proper keyword research is the basic foundation of a strong feed.
- The more information you provide to the feed, the better it’ll be able to pinpoint your ideal audience.
- Once things work, there are two different ways to scale the feed. We recommend doing both at any given time.
- While optimizing the feed is essential, consistency is even more important.
A smart, strategic approach towards feed optimization can never hurt as the feed is the major building block of a successful Google ads campaign strategy.
You can be like the majority of eCommerce store owners who try strategy after strategy hoping something just works or focus on a strong feed that can make everything easy.
Long Term Growth
While a powerful Google ads feed is pivotal to the growth and success of an eCommerce brand, it’s only part of the equation. It’s also just as true that all other PPC strategies need to work in order for sales to flow in.
And it can get pretty difficult managing the feed and doing ads while running an actual business – especially if you’re the CEO.
There are far better ways that time could be spent that could yield greater growth for the brand. The reality is, making a wrong move with the feed or ad campaign can put performance back a couple of weeks.
If your main goal is to grow and scale with Google ads long term, you’ll probably want a strategic Google ads agency partner that can do all of these things and more for your brand.
Things ranging from feed optimization to campaign launches to campaign optimization and more.
The main areas that help scale an eCommerce brand.
Fulfilling all the tasks needed for a successful Google ads strategy isn’t a one-man job; it can equate to 2 – 3 team members working on it full time to ensure things are flowing. But at the same time, it shouldn’t be breaking the bank.
Most of our eCommerce partners only end up spending about one in-house team member’s salary for multiple team members we bring on.
As one of the best eCommerce Google Ads agencies in the US, we normally partner up with brands already doing $30,000 or more per month to help scale to the next level. And if you’re already at this level, there are 3 major reasons why you should consider outsourcing Google ads:
- Expertise: While most of the Google ads agencies out there are testing strategies on their client’s dime, we have in-house projects that we work on to grow our skills. In fact, as the CEO of Yoru Marketing, I still run my own eCom brands to ensure I’m on top of the game.
- Time Cost: You might already have a team handling Google ads for your brand or you might be doing it all on your own. How much time does it take to micromanage your team members or those campaigns? Often times, there’s a big tradeoff with time, the one resource we can never get back.
- Scale: Your eCommerce brand might already be in the scaling phase but has it really reached its full potential? With proven strategies and implementations, sales can often be improved even further.
So if you’re wanting to take things to the next level with your eCommerce brand and scale to whole new levels, lets hop on a free strategy call and see how we can work together to scale with Google ads.