Get your feed working harder

Optimising Google Shopping starts with your Google Shopping feed. A Google Shopping feed is essentially just a stream of product data that is sent to Google. And this data is then used to generate ads for products whenever relevant keywords are searched and the bid is set high enough for an ad to be displayed.

Optimising your Google Shopping feed is important, and means improving its structure and data quality so that ads are relevant, convert better, and can be more managed effectively on the campaign side.

This is all with the goal of better speaking your customers’ language. An optimised, relevant feed results in greater impressions and lower CPAs. And when data quality is improved, website traffic and conversion rates also improve. Not only this, but you will be able to optimise your expenditure towards groups of products more successfully.

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the important steps to optimise Google Shopping feeds.

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Step 1: Structure your content and keep it up to date

Selecting the correct ‘product type’ for each and every item is essential, and because Google does not officially use your product type field for anything, you can use whatever you like.

However, the complexity begins when you pick more than one category, and don’t specify a main one. Take yoga mats as an example. As well as putting them into the category of yoga mats, you may also want to tag them in training mats and training accessories. Makes sense, right?

But if you don’t select a main category and your store’s Feed tool doesn’t select that main category as the product type, you’ll end up with random, unknown products within your range of product types.

While cleaning up your product types won’t have a direct impact on performance, it is advantageous when you report on campaigns and set your bidding strategy.

So, how do you go about it? There are two schools of thought here. Some believe you should assess each individual product to determine profitability, while others believe you should group all products together for a combined performance. Both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks – it’s about figuring out what’s right for you.

To summarise, here are the steps you should take when optimising your product types:

  1. Clean up your product types and combine any duplicate types into one.
  2. Nest your product types. You may have to go through everything one by one, but it will be worth it.
  3. Create product types from scratch. Sometimes this is the only option if your feed is in need of a complete overhaul.

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Step 2: Optimise your product titles

The next step in Google Shopping optimisation concerns your titles. To catch relevant search traffic, it’s vital to create titles that are informative and clear. You should include product and brand names, as well as details such as colour, to capture attention and encourage a conversion.

You’ll need to spend some time experimenting and testing until you get this right due to restrictions on title length. Assess your past title results too to get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Here are some of the different tactics you can use when constructing a product title:

  • Add the brand and category to the product title.
  • Add specific product info, for example, the material or size.
  • Rewrite the title manually (this is needed from time to time!)

When rewriting your titles, make sure you don’t end up with a messy sentence that’s hard to read. This can happen easily when you’re trying to fit in keywords and product details. So always remember that your title should be written for real people.

Step 3: Manage keyword use in your titles and descriptions

Start by finding out what keywords your items are already ranking for. Once you’ve done that, open up Google Ads, and run a Search Terms report, which will show you your top-performing queries.

To finalise your keywords, you should ask yourself:

  • Do your product descriptions or titles contain these keywords?
  • What is your current campaign spend on these keywords?
  • Does at least one of your items show up when you run this search?
  • When running a manual search, do PLAs show up for this keyword?

This isn’t a one-time process. You need to continually address your keywords, always making sure titles and descriptions are up to date.

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Step 4: Ensure categories and GTINs are used correctly

Google constantly assesses Merchant Centre data feeds, and approval is key. Ads that don’t get approved waste time and money without capturing customer demand. This ultimately results in lost clicks, and consequently, lost sales – which no one wants.

So, how can you stack the approval odds in your favour? One option is to make sure that all of your listed products have a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). This can increase your conversion rate by as much as 20 per cent when compared to ads without GTINs.

Aside from GTINs, you also need to use categories correctly too. You can use the Google Product Taxonomy to find the official Google Shopping product categories, and then make sure yours align with them.

After you’ve used the taxonomy to match up your items, it’s vital to get more focused by leveraging the ‘product types’ section of your datasheet. The more details you supply, the easier you’re going to find it to alter bids on a granular level and get visibility.

Step 5: Use Google’s promotions and product extensions toolkits

Google has built-in promotions and product extensions toolkits, which you’ll find in the Merchant Centre.

Some examples of the best-performing promotions include:

  • Brand-specific rebates
  • Tiered percentage discounts
  • Buy one, get one free
  • Free shipping
  • Lowering the free shipping threshold

You should also use product extensions to amplify your ads. When a search query is conducted, any items that are related will show up under your ad in a plus box formation, which is generated using the product feed from your Google Merchant Centre account.

Step 6: Use custom labels for reporting

The final piece of the puzzle is custom labels. These are important because they give you the capability to run more detailed reports, which can then impact your strategies for bidding.

Some of the different uses for labels are:

  • Tracking the success of a new collection
  • Tagging best-selling products
  • Grouping similar products to measure demand and the effect of variables like pricing and colour

Of course, you’re not limited to these categories – it all depends on the type of products you sell. To determine what labels you should use, ask yourself what sort of reports you would like to see and what is most relevant to your product.

Optimising Google Shopping feeds is key with Performance Max

Google Shopping is always being updated and added to, with Performance Max the biggest and most impactful recent addition. Its added emphasis on data makes an optimised feed vital to ensuring that your ads are more relevant, result in greater impressions, and convert better.

With purpose-built eCommerce software, it’s far easier for retailers to optimise their data and make the most of Performance Max’s functionality. This type of retail technology automates the feed management and mapping process, giving eCommerce teams the opportunity to achieve higher-quality scores and improve their KPIs, while also getting more time to focus on the strategic and human-driven elements of their campaigns.

Retail-specific eCommerce software like Upp. takes Google Shopping optimisation further than most. Upp.’s AI and advanced algorithms make thousands of micro-optimsations everyday – not just to your Google Shopping feed but also to your campaign grouping and bid management.. This allows you to make more informed decisions and creative choices, rather than filling in spreadsheets.

Giving yourself the best tools for the job and following the tips in this article will simplify Google Shopping optimisation for your feed, and more importantly, give your products the best chance to stand out.

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