The architecture of your Google Shopping campaign is the cornerstone of your strategy & have a significant impact on performance.
In the first part of the Google shopping optimization guide, we’re going to show you how to structure your way to success. Even if there’s no such thing as a perfect campaign structure, and they vary from retailer to retailer, this advice is based on our diverse experience with a big range of e-commerce clients. We tried out dozens of different structures, saw what works best & used it to further optimize campaigns.
Here are the steps to structure & organize your Google Shopping campaigns for performance:
- Build well named Ad groups
- Group your products smartly
- Segment your shopping campaign to a granular account structure setup
- Add & update product groups
- Use Campaign & Ad group naming conventions
- Build a proper landing page
Build well named Ad groups
Sometimes optimizations doesn’t involved advance tips – just pure organization, something many take for granted. Never losing time on not knowing where everything is will allow you to simplify account management, avoid routine tasks, and give you more time to do implement real optimization techniques.
This is why you should spend more time in account creation and build out a well named, well organized account that will help you moving forward in optimizing your account. Your well named Ad Groups will show you at a glance the context of what is in there.
Types of shopping ads structures & Adwords account organization
As opposed to keyword based campaigns, in Shopping Ads products can be organized into 3 different types of structures:
- Ad groups
- Product groups
Here is a quick refresher on Adwords account organization:
- A campaign can contain multiple ad groups
- An Ad group can contain multiple Product groups
- A Product group can contain one or more products (depending on how you decide to subdivide your inventory).
Google designed the campaign set up experience with the small business owner in mind.
They recognized that this person is juggling multiple things at once so they made the campaign creation process dead simple:
That’s right, the default method for starting out is to put all your products in a single product group. It’s definitely the least time consuming; however, this will make effective campaign management impossible.
The key to optimizing your Shopping ads is to have a granular structure that will allow you to refine bids and better control the queries which trigger your product ads.
Group your products smartly
Since Shopping Campaigns don’t have keywords to bid on, Google uses the products themselves. By choosing your bid per product or per Product Group, you maintain a lot of control over your ad spend.
New advertisers make the mistake of grouping all of their products together, which doesn’t make much sense since each product has a different profit margin. If you sold office supplies, you may happily pay a $3 fee to sell a big office desk, but $3 would cost you money to sell a mouse pad.
Google lets you divide your feed of products into groups based on their attributes. You can then segment each group into further groups as much as you like. When you place a rule on a smaller group, it overrides the rule placed on the parent.
Anytime you create a tier of groups, but don’t insert certain products, Google creates a catch-all group so nothing is forgotten. Make sure you are excluding these catch-all groups, otherwise you’ll lose control over which product gets shown. You also might want to have a separate campaign that targets all products, otherwise if some of them are modified and no longer fit into a Product Group, they won’t be shown if a bid isn’t prepared.
If you have a small data feed, you can drill your Product Groups right down to each product. This will give you perfect control over your bidding. If you have thousands of products, however, this isn’t practical, so create groups relating to profit margin.
Keep in mind that Product Groups are only used for bidding purposes. They do not have any relevance to when or in what order Google displays your products in their listings.
Segment your shopping campaign to a granular account structure setup
The most common ways online retailers segment their shopping campaigns are:
- By Brand
- By Google Product Category
- By Product Type
- By Custom Labels
If you’re short on time and want a basic setup, then use the common methods specified above. You will gain more control over your ads versus than lumping all your inventory into a single product group.
Your ad group strategy may vary – to determine the level of granularity, use traffic and performance data – this will help you group your products by how likely they’ll perform similarly to reach specific objective targets. The more traffic there is in each product group, the better it will be. Avoid product groups that have a small number of clicks.
Depending on the size of your inventory and the amount of time you’re prepared to invest in managing your shopping campaigns we recommend the following:
A good shopping campaign layout shouldn’t be confusing – everything should be clear at a first glance.
Here is what a typical segmentation might look like for a golf retailer:
This relational structure will also help you in monitoring new product additions to your inventory without having to create new groups.
If you want to go “all in” on Google Shopping we suggest splitting your product groups by product id.
This way you will be able to bid differently on top-performing products and weed out underperformers.
This product level campaign architecture will come in extremely useful down the line as you’re going to want to optimize your campaigns. Here are some of the PROs and cons of the different strategies of organizing your shopping campaign structure.
In the above table, we took an example of segmenting shopping campaigns by brand, but the information also applies to segmentations by Category, Type or even Custom Labels.
Organizing your campaign this way will bring benefits such as:
- Provide total bid coverage by capturing your entire inventory
- Give your bidding system more ad/product group data to inform bid optimizations
- Create better visibility into performance reporting
- Prevent wasted investment on item IDs or small ad/product groups that have little to no activity and warrant little to no changes to their bids.
Add & update product groups
If you’re going with a basic product group segmentation such as brand, type, category or custom labels and you’re not planning on subdividing down to the product id level, the best way to create your shopping hierarchy is from the Adwords interface.
If you want to one product per product group segmentation and you have more than 50 products, you will have to resort to automation.
We don’t recommend this option unless you have technical expertise as it can cause unwanted effects in your account. You can find some resources for managing Shopping Ads using Adwords scripts here and here.
Pro tip: you have to make sure to exclude the “everything else” subdivision from your product groups. If you don’t do this all your inventory can still show up in a product group, even if you intended to only target one product or one Brand!
Use Campaign & Ad group naming conventions
Often overlooked by many, the names of your campaigns and ad groups plays an important role in the optimization and reporting aspects of Shopping campaigns.
If you’re creating one campaign for each brand for example, your campaign names should include the brand name for each campaign
Ad group names are also very important. If you have one ad group per item you have to make sure that you include the item id along with some other relevant information such as: product type, brand or short description.
So there you have it. Four ways you can structure your Shopping campaigns that can help you get the most out of them.
Build a proper landing page
Your landing page is the page the user arrives at when they click your Google Shopping link.
For most sellers, this is your product’s “buy now” page on your website (after passing through any redirects). The title, images, and description may differ, but it must refer to the same product.
According to Google’s requirements, the page should work properly and the information should be identical to the listing, regardless of the user’s location, device, browser, cookies, or anything else.
Here are some other important requirements for a quality landing page.
- Your page cannot be “under construction” or link to an error page.
- Your product offer (the product that was clicked) must be the most prominent element on the page. So make those “related items” smaller than the main item.
- Your page must be an actual page, not a file, application, or email address.
- The product’s variant (size, color, style, etc.) that is pre-selected on the landing page should match the product listing.
- The “key elements” (title, description, image, currency, price, stock, purchase button, etc.) should be clearly visible and unobstructed.
While most of these are Google requirements, they’re also important ways to improve the user’s experience and increase conversions. They will help you maximize your campaign’s return on investment.
This type of campaign segmentation is a successful long-term strategy tactic: even if it takes time (and thus budget) to gather data, they will pay dividend in further optimization decisions.
Your campaign structure is the foundation for driving your objectives, so the best time to restructure your account is now.
>>> In the next chapter, you’ll learn how to align keyword bid strategy to your campaign structure & combine them to drive your results!
Author: Bogdan Chertes
Bogdan has helped dozens of ecommerce businesses grow sales and acquire more customers by using data driven PPC marketing strategies.
At Adfix, he leads a team of top class PPC and Social Media experts that help clients maximize ROI from their campaigns.