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How to Improve the Performance of Your Holiday Google Shopping Campaigns

On December 11th, 2014 Wiser co-hosted a webinar with Elite SEM. Our Head of Pricing and Analytics, Luke Lin, joined forces with Elite SEM’s Director of Marketing, Marc Weisinger to discuss the switch from Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to Google Shopping Campaigns. The topics included how to optimize your feed to improve shopping campaign performance, dynamic pricing, competitive insights for pricing and assortment, and more. There are over 1 billion products on Google Shopping that are available for purchase in 23 countries. If you aren’t already using Google Shopping campaigns, now is definitely the time to start.

PLAs Become Google Shopping Campaigns

The recent change from PLAs to Google Shopping campaigns is better for brands and retailers because now there is more focus on the products. Retailers can now bid on specific products and a number of factors impact how much you should bid, such as which ones are best sellers, business goals, season, margin, and more. To get a better idea of how much you should be spending, you can benchmark against competitors who sell similar products to see their click through rates, maximum cost per click, and impression share. Want to improve your metrics? Use this data as a starting point to determine where you should up your spend to be more competitive.

Why Product Data and Business Intelligence Matter

The updates to Google Shopping give retailers more control over their campaigns by providing the insight and power to act on what is doing well. Focus on keywords that perform well and segment them to capitalize on the success.

Feed Optimization

The title and product information that you give your products on Google Shopping have a big impact on your success because they determine whether they show up or not. The product title character limit was recently doubled to 150 to give retailers more space to put in the keywords that fit their products best. The product data that count on Google Shopping are descriptions and custom labels. Descriptions must be under 5,000 characters, leaving lots of room to fit in a little personality and mention all of the information that shoppers need in order to make an informed purchase. Custom labels are made up of price range, whether the item is on sale or clearance, profitability, and whether or not it’s a top seller. Use five custom labels to get the most out of the new Google Shopping enhancement.

In both your product data and custom labels you should be as unique and specific as possible to show up more often in search. Consider A/B testing your titles to determine what is most successful.

How Pricing Can Make a Difference

Pricing is one of the most important aspects of online retail, in fact, 84% of shoppers cite price as the largest influence on purchase. Competition is fierce and consumers are more demanding than ever. Competitors aren’t making life easy for retailers either, as 73.3% of retailers cite competitive pressure as one of the most important factors that impacts price changes.

If you are charging more than competitors, think about what you are offering that commands a price premium.

The Holiday Competitive Landscape

Retailers are changing prices… all the time. Here are the most important things retailers need to know for the remainder of the holiday season and beyond:

  • Amazon updates prices about 2.5 million times per day.
  • Big box retailers like Walmart and Best Buy implemented price matching programs this holiday season to stay relevant and to keep their sales from walking out the door to the nearest undercutter.
  • Free shipping has become the standard, as Target is offering free shipping on all holiday purchases placed by 12/20. And of course Amazon offers free shipping on some purchases over $35 and on all Amazon Prime purchases.
  • Many retailers are offering extended holiday promotions to target more customers and get them into shopping mode. For example, many retailers, such as eBay and Amazon hopped on the “Green Monday” bandwagon to offer more deals and another reason to shop just one week after Cyber Monday.

Competitive Monitoring and Repricing on Google Shopping

For pricing during the holidays and beyond, the way to optimize is test, analyze, then optimize over time to leverage that competitive intelligence. Google Shopping will soon push hourly updates and Wiser’s competitive intelligence can give retailers the insight they need to reprice confidently in real-time.

Brands aren’t left out of the action. Brands must police their products on Google Shopping to protect brand equity. After monitoring them, they must make a plan of action for enforcing minimum advertised price violations.

Angelica Valentine

Angelica Valentine is a Marketing Consultant with several years of expertise in the retail sector. Her work has appeared on VentureBeat, Business Insider, SAP, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

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