Google Shopping Ads, when done well, are the perfect way to boost sales, increase profit, and grow your audience. An effective strategy can bring an incredible return on investment and be well worth the budget put towards it.
The best way to get results from Shopping Ads (a Standard Shopping Campaign as opposed to Smart Shopping/Performance Max campaign) is to understand how they work and to use some of these easy ad strategies to supercharge your results.
Before you start, make sure you read my guides to the basics of Google Ads to understand how it all works:
Optimise your ads
Like your website, your ads can be optimised to help them perform better. You’ll find that many of the techniques you use in your SEO will be useful for Shopping Ads too, such as using good imagery, researching and utilising the best keywords, and tracking results. Optimise your ads as soon as you set them up, and continue tweaking and adjusting as you go along to find what’s most successful with your audiences.
Take a look at my full guide to optimising your Google Shopping Ads for the best results.
One Campaign, One Ad Group
There’s no need to overly complicate things. Keeping it simple can be a great ads strategy, particularly for beginners. If you have a basic understanding of Google Shopping Ads, you’ll know that they’re broken down into campaigns and ad groups. You can have more than one campaign, and each campaign can have one or more ad group.
If your products are reasonably similar, then sticking to one campaign and one ad group is a great strategy for keeping it simple and saving time. You can still get great results without having to deal with the complications of and the time required for running several ads.
If you’ve tinkered with Shopping Ads before, feel reasonably confident, and have a little more time to spend on them, then consider breaking down your ads into multiple campaigns.
At the campaign level, you can more easily target different types of audience based on where they are in the sales funnel.
Let’s imagine that you sell jewellery. A user searching for very specific types of jewellery based on colour, brand or style is closer to buying that someone looking for a very generic term such as necklaces.
While Google Shopping Ads, unlike text ads, doesn’t allow you to choose keywords, you can instead take advantage of negative keywords. These are keywords you don’t want your products to show up for.
If your campaign is targeting customers early on in the sales funnel, you can use negative keywords to remove, for example, brand names, or anything that’s not generic. These users only very vaguely know what they want (e.g. a necklace, with no idea of style or brand), so they won’t be searching with specific terms.
Another campaign might target people are on the verge of buying. These users know exactly what they want and have decided to buy, so you just need to encourage them to purchase off you. For this campaign, you want to use negative keywords to eliminate generic and low-performing search terms. You can also use retargeting audiences to capture those who have already been to your site and need to be guided back to finalise a purchase.
Granular Ad Groups and Categories
You can also include multiple ad groups within your campaigns. Dividing your campaigns in this way helps you get really specific in your targeting. If you know your audience well, this can really allow you to reach the right people and see an incredibly high return on investment.
If you are that online jewellery store, then you can include ad groups for rings, necklaces and bracelets. You can then split these further. For example, rings can be sub-divided into men’s rings, engagement rings, gold rings and diamond rings.
How exactly you split your ad groups will depend on your target users. If your ideal audience is very brand focused, you may first want to create ad groups based on brands, and then divide into categories such as rings and necklaces. Or dividing into product type (necklaces) first and then brand (Tiffany, Swarovski) secondly may work better for your audience.
The better you know the shopping and search habits of your customers, the more granular you can be with your ads.
The more granular you are, the more targeted your ads, and the more likely a user is to make a purchase.
On the flip side, granular advertising can work against you if you target too small an audience. If there aren’t enough people within the audience, you won’t make enough sales to pay for the advertising.
Knowing your market and audience is key for granular advertising.
Promotions help you stand out from your competitors.
If you’re both selling exactly the same products, but your product ad highlights free shipping, then a user is more likely to select your listing over your competitor’s. Research has shown that people are more inclined to purchase if shipping is free, even if they end up paying the exact same amount in total, or even a little more!
Other available promotions within Google Shopping Ads include discounts and free gifts.
Use Negative Keywords
Although you can’t select the keywords your Shopping Ads will show up for, you can use negative keywords. These do the opposite and let you select the words and phrases you don’t want your ads to display for.
If you’ve already been running ads for a while, you can see which keywords are triggering them. Go through these triggers and check for any you’d like to add to your negative keyword list. This could include irrelevant terms, or low-performing searches.
If you’re using multiple campaigns or ad groups, negative keywords can also help prevent your ads competing against one another (and therefore increasing your spend).
If one campaign, for example, is targeting brides-to-be, you will be happy with those ads showing up for the phrase wedding jewellery.
However, if you have a second campaign triggering for the same phrase, you’ll be competing against yourself. Include wedding jewellery as a negative keyword in your second campaign, and you’ll eliminate both reduce your spend and have better-targeted campaigns.
Negative keywords can be added both at campaign level and at individual ad group level.
Small adjustments can make a big impact on your Shopping Ads.
While drastic updates can help boost ads that are performing incredibly poorly, another strategy is to just make very tiny changes at a time. This will help you really drill down on what works for your audience and what doesn’t.
If an ad is performing poorly and you change the entire copy, the products, the targeting, and the priority, you won’t know what it was that wasn’t working. So you won’t be able to reflect that change in other ads.
However, if you change a word here, or make a small targeting adjustment there, you can more effectively see what make causes an improvement (or makes things worse). Something as simple as changing a word in your ad copy from “beautiful” to “spectacular” could make all the difference. And it gives you a better idea of the kind of language you should be using.
Remember that, whenever you make changes, you need to give the ads time to run with the adjustments to suitably analyse the results. You won’t see change in just a day or two and will want to allow at least a few weeks.
Once you’ve learned the basics of Google Shopping Ads and have perhaps run a few, start strategising. These Google Shopping Ads strategies will help boost click-through rates and sales, and help your advertising budget go further. They’re simple to implement and can often make a drastic difference.