Spring is a magical time of year. If you do ecommerce, you may be looking for shiny new ways to spend your holiday budget, and experimenting with new ad tools and platforms, such as Google Shopping Ads (also known as Product Listing Ads, or PLAs).
Learning a new advertising tool or system can be fraught with trials and tribulations. What’s more, you’re probably feeling the crunch of getting everything up and running in time for the holiday shopping season.
You’re not alone. Most people who are building their first Google Shopping campaign run up against the same hurdles. Below, we provide our solutions for the four most most common challenges faced by advertisers rolling out their first PLA campaign.
1. Creating your datafeed (when you’re not a data wizard)
If you don’t have a datafeed specialist on your team, turning your product list into a Google Shopping feed can be the hardest part of setting up a Google Shopping campaign
Maybe you’re listing only a few products. Then you can create a feed manually… All the copy-and-pasting can be painstaking, but building your feed by hand may also help you avoid errors that can occur during the feed extraction process. We recommend that you closely follow Google’s sample feed and product data specifications to keep everything on track.
If you are creating a feed with dozens, hundreds or thousands of products, you can rely on a tool that pulls product data from your site and correctly formats it. For ecommerce platform such as Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce, there are tons of extensions that will do this for you. Other useful tools for creating and managing Google Shopping feeds include taggr, Productsup and Optmyzr.
Remember: When you build your feed, don’t automatically use the product titles and descriptions from your website (unless they’re already remarkably well optimized). Use the Google Keyword Planner to find highly searched and relevant keywords to include in your titles and descriptions. Need inspiration? Study the competition to see which keywords they’re using, and which benefits they’re playing up in product descriptions.
2. Errors in your feed
Your feed is ready. You upload it. Everything looks good… but Google comes back to you with errors. Nothing is more discouraging than being told your carefully crafted feed is problematic.
Begin by downloading a CSV file from your account that outlines the errors that need to be fixed. When the report is ready, it will be available to download on your feed summary page, next to the “Download file” button. Take note that this file is only available for 14 days after you upload your initial Google Shopping feed.
Don’t sweat. Carefully examine the report, error by error, and make the needed repairs. We find it helpful to refer to the original specifications and to use Google’s sample feed to guide our edits.
3. Your products are not appearing in the Google search results
Your feed is ready, it’s approved, and you’re eagerly awaiting your first impressions. But nothing seems to be happening. You’re not seeing your PLAs, and you fear, neither is anyone else. You try Google’s Ad Preview tool, and don’t see your ads anywhere.
First things first: for your PLAs to appear in the Google search results, you need to create a shopping campaign in Google AdWords. If you somehow missed this critical step, watch this video to see how it’s done.
If you’ve already done this, and your shopping campaign is up and running, there are some simple things you can do to get your ads appearing where and when you want them to.
Have you included relevant, high traffic keywords in your Google Shopping title and description? Google shopping campaigns don’t rely on keyword bidding; they work with the keywords in your ad titles and descriptions. Integrate your top performing keywords, or use Google’s Keyword Planner to find the best keywords for your product.
Check your competitive metrics. Look at your lost impression share based to see if your budget is high enough to give your ads enough exposure. Then wander over to Auction Insights and run reports for your different campaigns. This will show you who your competitors are, allowing you to decide whether you have what it takes to compete against them. Pro tip: adjust your budget per campaign based on where you think you can have a competitive advantage.
4. Your ads are not getting any traffic
If you have just uploaded your feed or updated your data, remember it can take two days for Google to review a new feed. Once your feed has been approved, there are a few reasons why your ads are not appearing:
Not getting enough impressions? Check all the settings in your Google Shopping campaign. Are all your products approved, active and ready to serve? Have you bid high enough for each product? Begin by increasing your bids for the underperforming products. If you’re still not seeing results, go back to your feed to see how you can adjust your feed titles, descriptions and product type to attract more relevant searches.
If not enough clicks is your problem, use Google’s Ad Preview tool to see how your ads measure up against the competition. How do your product images compare? Are your products priced competitively? Don’t just match your competition, try to do better. Make your product titles, descriptions and images sparkle, and price your products to sell.
Make sure your ads are appearing on relevant searches. Although you can’t bid on keywords, you can use negative keywords in your Google shopping campaign. Make sure you create campaigns and AdGroups that group similar products. Then include applicable negative keywords with each AdGroup to prevent searchers from seeing your ads in response to irrelevant search queries.
Optimize, optimize, optimize
Once things are running the way you like them, don’t set your Google shopping campaign and forget it. Optimize regularly. The more time you spend observing, measuring and tweaking your feed and Google Shopping campaigns, the more you will learn about the particularities of your products, your feed and your market.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Digital Strategist @ Bloom