According to a recent user article in the AdWords forum, Q4 2013 showed a 65% YoY increase in traffic, and an 84% increase in revenue for Google Shopping campaigns. This is an impressive number once you think about it. 2014 Shopping numbers aren’t out yet, but it’s easy to predict the number is still growing. If you are new to these campaigns, use the google shopping optimization tips below to jump on the revenue train and grow your retail business on Google.

1. Optimize Your Product Feed Titles and Descriptions

Even though an advertiser doesn’t target keywords directly in a Shopping campaign, keywords are still important for getting your product found. That’s why it’s important to make sure your titles and descriptions for each product are optimized with target keywords. Some content management systems can automatically create feeds from on-page content. Making sure your landing page content is optimized is just as important. Just like you would test an ad in the Search Network, A/B testing titles and descriptions is an easy way to boost performance with simple changes.

AdWords requires you to submit a new product feed every 30 days. If your company’s inventory availability changes frequently or new products are available all of the time, you will most likely want to submit a new feed very often. Updating your feed will not only lower the odds of your feed getting disapproved, but it will also help keep your product descriptions optimized and up to date. This applies to automatic or manual feed updates.

2. Break Out Higher Performing Products

We have Google Analytics. We have the Product groups and Dimensions tab in AdWords. What I’m saying here is that Google gives us a lot of information we need to see which product breakouts are working and which ones are not. In November of 2014, Google released a blog titled, “New ways to rev up your Shopping campaigns.” This gave advertisers more information to make educated decisions on optimizing their Shopping campaigns.

Just like you might break out certain keywords in a Search Network campaign, you can break out your products into more specific categories. Since Shopping campaigns are becoming more competitive, it’s becoming necessary to make these granular segments to make sure you are bidding properly on well-performing products.

3. Make Your Images Stand Out

It’s very common for online retailers to use product stock images on their website as well as their data feeds. While it may not hurt your performance, it could hinder your ads’ full potential. Here’s an example of what I mean when searching for “rawlings hall of fame baseballs.”

google shopping image optimization

The four results shown for what I searched for are all the same. Nothing really catches my attention. I couldn’t tell you which one I would want to click on right away because there isn’t one. Now take a look at the Shopping results for this search of “nasco rain jacket.”

pla image optimization

The first product that catches your eye is the one image from Grainger in the bottom row that is completely different than the other results shown. Be sure to stay within Google Shopping image guidelines for Shopping campaigns or risk lots of headaches when your feed isn’t approved. Changing your image (like the example above) will help you stand out from your competitors, but might not help boost your CTRs if you don’t confirm the next tip.

4. Verify That Your Prices Are Competitive

Grainger did a great job catching my attention with a new image. However the next thing I’m going to look at when shopping is the price. And out of the eight results that showed up, the Grainger ad was by far the product with the highest cost. Now if I truly intended to buy one of these jackets, my clicks would have gone elsewhere.

Yes it’s true that the Grainger jacket isn’t the same model as the other seven shown. But it’s up to the advertiser to use ad performance reports, search query research and negative keyword implementation to make sure your Shopping ad is relevant to what the user is searching for.  Let’s change the scenario and say the Grainger jacket was the same as the other results shown. If you saw your product was priced much higher than your competition, you’d most likely consider changing the cost or removing it from your feed completely. These are the types of scenarios that you may run in to when performing competitor research.

5. Become a Google Trusted Store

I’ve already discussed the benefits of signing up to be a Google Trusted Store. It’s another way for users to not only have their ads stand out from others, but build trust with the users once they are on your website. When a member, Google will give you code to have the Trusted Store logo at the bottom right corner of every page of your site. Once a user clicks on that they will see information regarding your customer service, shipping averages and return policies.

trusted-stores-review

Becoming a Google Trusted Store will help your ad CTRs, but the main benefit will be helping the user convert once they get to your site. Trusted Stores help users feel confident that they can make a purchase. Boost your conversion rates and decrease your cost per conversions by signing up.

These are just a few simple tips your company can use to increase the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns. Just like any AdWords campaign, Google Shopping is not something you can just “set and forget.” I’d easily argue that Shopping campaigns require much more work and attention. Follow the steps above for easy gains that can lead to big improvements.