With Google having removed the right-hand AdWords ad space, maybe it’s time to have a second look at a shopping campaign if you have products to sell.

What’s a Shopping Campaign?

We’ve all seen them, and a good portion of us have clicked on these ads to buy things. Now it makes even more sense to utilize these campaign types.  In addition to a picture of your product, Google provides the user with the most pertinent data: A picture of the product, Product Name (complete with a short description), price and who’s selling it (with a hotlink to your website) so they can go right to your site to buy the item at the advertised price.

And while there, hopefully they’ll buy some other items from you. This too can be helped along with letting them know about similar items.

Google makes shopping retail simple by helping you organize the products listed in the Google Merchant Center. These ads are then displayed on relevant Google Partner Websites.

Creating Shopping Campaigns

Creating Shopping Campaigns in AdWords is pretty simple. Once you create your campaign, you’ll have to think about how you want to organize your Ad Groups. Ad Groups in shopping campaigns are really for organizational purposes only:

  • Companies with very small product data feeds typically create just one ad group.
  • Companies with larger product data feeds sometimes split ad groups by brand or category.

Here’s a step by step guide to setting up your shopping campaign by our very own Zach Mandelblatt.

Now it’s time to Sub-Divide

You wouldn’t want to pay the same for all items you’re selling.  Just like the cost to manufacture each of them is different, so too would be your return. You might sell only one or two $10,000 bags but you’ll also make a lot more off of them, so why bid the same amount for that bag as you would the $75 bag you’ll sell a lot more of, and make less on. 

For this reason, we want to sub-divide your products. Once your products are uploaded, you’ll want to click on the pencil to see your options in how your items can be listed. If you don’t have thousands of items, you may want to go with listing by item ID.

Something else you should consider is as your shopping campaign matures, consider separating your “Best Sellers” into their own campaigns or ad groups – this will help you keep a closer eye on the products that are making you the most money!

You should also know that the way you organize your product groups has ZERO bearing on whether or not Google considers your product relevant to a search query. Product groups are strictly used to set bids.

More Product Group Bidding Tips

Once you have your product groups organized, you are ready to set bids on those groups. Here’s some great advice to get you started:

  • Set your bids lower than you typically would for the search network – start at $.50 – $1 and keep a close eye on them as you start to get data. Tweaking a bid can have a fairly immediate effect on performance.
  • Set bids in your “Everything Else” product groups lower than the specific named groups – this will help ensure all traffic and data for products in the feed are sent to that specific product and not the catch-all parts.
  • Use geographic bid modifiers to bid up in high-traffic/high-value regions and bid down in low-traffic/low-value regions.
  • Start with mobile PPC enabled but keep a close eye on it. With technology improving, you will get a lot of impulse clickers from mobile, but not necessarily buyers.

If you’re not sure what to bid: The Shopping Campaign benchmarks are good starting points but don’t view these as must be bid pricing – Cost per Conversion is generally the best metric to optimize toward.

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