The holiday season is upon us. With just a few months to go until Christmas, businesses everywhere are preparing for the busiest shopping period of the year. Online sales project to grow yet again in 2018, and Google Shopping will be a significant part of that. To help you make sure your shopping campaigns are properly set up for the holiday rush, here are four best practices for success this holiday season.

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1. Custom labels for your most popular products or new releases

Set up custom labels for your most popular products or newly released products to help turn your holiday period into a success. Product group segmentation is arguably the most effective tool available through Google Shopping campaigns. It enables you to control spend and targeting for specific items or product lines and get the best return for your investment. By splitting out your most popular products into their own product groups, you can raise bids because you know they will sell better, without having to raise bids on less popular variations. The same goes for new releases. Consumers are expecting to see the latest and greatest variation of your products at this time of year, so make sure you are putting your best foot forward. Create specific product groups for your latest items to help prioritize them over older models.

As a rule of thumb, you should always know where you are bidding on your best performers and your new releases. If you can’t identify where those products are, then you could be missing out on sales by showing people the models they don’t want.

2. Merchant Center Promotions

Consumers are always looking for the best deal when they shop, so make sure to promote any discounts you offer, especially on Google Shopping. This is such competitive real estate that you need to take advantage of any opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Especially during the holiday season, you do not want to be the only advertiser not offering a special deal.

In the above example, although the Express shirts are the cheapest, and the Bonobos shirt has free shipping, consumers likely still want to see what deal they could get from Vineyard Vines—in case it is good enough to pay the extra price for that shirt. It is this kind of engagement and interest that will drive more potential customers to your site, where you can take control of their shopping experience.

Make sure you opt into promotions in the Google Merchant Center, review your promotional calendar, and you have the feed capabilities to ensure all of your promotions are called out in your Google Shopping ads.

3. Google Seller Ratings

Most consumers, while shopping, will look for guidance around the best brands to buy from, and it is up to you to convince them that is you. To do this, make sure you opt into Seller Ratings in the Google Merchant Center and that you are gathering customer reviews on your site. This will allow you to show potential customers just how much your current customers love your products, encouraging them to buy from you.

Google has also started to rank brands based on their seller ratings when consumers search with words such as “best” or “top rated.” These rankings are determined by not only the quality of the product ratings but also the quantity. Therefore, it is more important than ever that you are actively collecting reviews on your website. Even if you sell a lot of your products offline, encourage your customers to go online and leave a review. Programs such as a sweepstakes for everyone who has left a review are great ways to encourage offline users to engage with your site. The more reviews you get, the more new customers you can potentially acquire!

4. Search Term Filtering

While it is much more difficult to target specific search terms in shopping campaigns, it is not impossible. Search term filtering correctly can help you better distribute your shopping budgets and maximize your return. Start by making sure you separate out brand and non-brand searches. This enables you to bid more for people searching specifically for you and be confident that you will get a stronger return to match.

More advanced strategies include taking advantage of those custom labels you created to separate out your most popular and newest products. If a certain search could apply to multiple products, you can use search term filtering to determine which products will actually appear. For instance, if someone is searching for an iPhone, you can use search term filtering to ensure they only see the latest models, rather than any older variations that are still in your feed.

Take a moment to review what searches are the most valuable to you, and then think about which products you do and don’t want to show up if a potential customer types in that search. If you’re worried that you’re not putting your best product forward on your most valuable searches, then you should look to implement some search term filtering to your shopping campaigns.

With the holiday season upon us, Google Shopping is a crucial part of your digital marketing efforts. Make sure your campaigns are best equipped for your goals by implementing custom labels, opting into Merchant Center Promotions and Seller Ratings, and trying out some search term filtering. Contact us to learn more about how best to optimize your Google Shopping campaigns.