E-commerce: how to maximize your performance on Google Shopping
Last year, Google introduced a slew of new features for Google Shopping, which improve the shopping experience and make e-commerce ads more visible in search results. This trend should be confirmed in 2016 and it is therefore essential for e-merchants to integrate this channel into their acquisition strategies. This advertising platform is very powerful but it is complex to fully master. For e-merchants who are starting out on Google Shopping, it is in particular the establishment of the flow and the understanding of Google’s rules that can slow them down from the start in setting up this channel.
At Twenga Solutions, for example, we observed that nearly 85% of our new customers on our campaign management solution for Google Shopping did not have a product feed compatible with the platform. Once the first configuration step has been passed, the problem for e-commerce sites is the launch and management of the advertising campaigns themselves, which must be perfectly adjusted to take full advantage of all the platform’s functionalities.
A better user experience, especially on mobile
In recent months, Google has focused on improving the user experience through new features and improved presentation. Shopping ads have been enhanced on mobile, giving Internet users access to more information directly in search results. It is now possible to see product reviews and ratings directly.
Like other platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest, Google Shopping has launched a “Buy Now” button, which will allow Internet users to complete the transaction directly from their bank details stored in Google Wallet. Tested in the United States in 2015, this new button should make its arrival in Europe this year. These innovations should have a significant positive effect on conversion rates on mobile and help bring them closer to the performance of desktops. Optimize your campaigns depending on the device, it is also to define the “adjustment of bids for mobile” at its fair value according to the performance differential between desktop and mobile.
For e-merchants, integrating these innovations as soon as possible could provide a competitive advantage over merchants who do not adopt them. Displaying product reviews in Google Shopping ads, for example, can give a store more credibility and help it stand out when the user makes their choice. It is therefore possible to get closer to one of the third party review aggregators approved in France.
Local ads to promote multi-channel behavior
Thanks to this type of ad, the consumer will be able to see, directly on Google Shopping, the stores nearby where he can find the product he is looking for. This feature is particularly interesting for e-commerce sites that also have a physical store because they will be able to offer their customers to order the product online, or to go to the store. Noting the relevance of local ads (LIAs) compared to traditional ads (PLAs), Google has decided to give them privileged visibility in search results – in particular on mobile. This process is fully integrated with Google services, including Google My Business. To take advantage of this opportunity, it will be necessary to set up two additional product streams (products in store and inventory in store), specifying which products are available at a point of sale and their stock levels.
What’s new in the Google Shopping feed
Google updated the specifications for its product feed a few months ago. International “GTIN” article codes thus become mandatory for certain designated brands, allowing better identification of products.
Another important change in the flow concerns the classification of items with variants, such as clothing. The attributes relating to these products (color, size, material, etc.) have been grouped together in a section entitled “Detailed product attributes and item groupings”. Providing these attributes allows you to provide details on the product variants and will on the one hand improve the shopping experience but also the visibility on very precise long-tail searches of Internet users on these attributes.
More granular bidding and better targeting
One of the major issues in maximizing the profitability of Google Shopping campaigns lies in the adjustment of bids. To surpass its competitors, it is now necessary to exploit as much data as possible at an extremely granular level: what types of users visit an e-commerce site, what are their purchasing preferences, the pages visited, the products added to the basket… The data from the product catalog can also help to adjust the bids, for example by identifying the best sales and current trends.
The use of this data can then make it possible to define auctions at the fairest level and for each product. Combining this product knowledge with the audience targeting possibilities offered by the “RLSA” remarketing lists present in Google Shopping will significantly improve performance.
It might theoretically be possible to manually manage this auction granularity and product targeting, but in practice it is very complex and extremely time consuming. The use of automated campaign management solutions for Google Shopping will therefore be preferred for e-commerce sites that want to maximize their performance and profitability.
Herbert Knibiehly is VP Marketing at Twenga Solutions. An expert in e-commerce, he has worked in France and the United States on Product Management, marketing and international development positions on behalf of major players in the sector such as eBay. Twenga offers advanced AdWords and Google Shopping audience acquisition solutions, providing e-merchants with a drastic improvement in the ROI of their advertising spend.
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