June 18, 2021
Google Smart Shopping: What Makes it Special and How to Make it Work for You
Within the Google Ads ecosystem, Shopping can be a bit of a black sheep: Combined text and images? What is Smart Shopping? Where do my keywords come from? How should I organize this thing? Can I run a Brand Shopping campaign?
Answering the last question is extremely important; Brand searchers operate with an entirely different set of considerations, behavior, and purchase likelihood than users who have no familiarity with your products.
Due to this distinction, one of the biggest opportunities to take Standard Shopping efforts to the next level is splitting out campaigns (and their bidding strategies) to match different stages of the conversion funnel.
In the example above, we have three different searches which could match to the same product. Which search is the least investigative? Who is most actively ready to buy new skis?
If I’m the ski manufacturer at Atomic, I am certainly willing to pay a premium for the search “Atomic Backland 107, 175cm” which calls out my brand and a specific size; this user wants an exact product we offer. This is the Brand Funnel. A user searching for skis that match the sizes we provide – but not searching for any exact skis – is exhibiting the consideration to purchase skis that match our offer: this is the Middle / Purchase Intent Funnel. At the Top Funnel level, we have generic searches for skis in the larger category of our offering; these users have discovered the “need” for powder skis and are looking to understand what is available. Showing impressions to these users is important (especially for expensive or high-consideration products) but conversion rates are lower on average here, and these clicks should be bid on less aggressively than those in the Brand Funnel.
Product Titles are the keywords of Shopping. This means we match to searches that contain terms found in the Title section of our product’s shopping tile in the Google SERP. Due to this, we must use Negative Keywords to force searches into relevant campaigns. To ensure easy troubleshooting down the road, grouping terms into Negative Keyword Lists is recommended.
Within the Funnel, Negative Keyword List application looks like this:
Brand Filtering negative lists are intuitive: simply include all versions of your advertised Brand terms. Middle Funnel / Purchase Intent lists get a little more subjective: what search terms for your products would indicate higher likelihood of purchase? This typically includes searched versions of important attributes such as Size, Part Number, Color, etc. that, when grouped together, have higher conversion rates than Top Funnel searches, but lower conversion rates than searches containing your brand.
The other tool that makes this approach work are Campaign Priorities. These tell Google which campaign to send a search to, if that search is eligible to show for multiple campaigns – this ensures that the Brand campaigns (which have zero negatives) don’t swallow all searches.
Campaign Priority Settings may feel a little backwards relative to the funnel (wait, Brand searches are high priority right??) but when combined with our Negative Lists, these settings work to ensure that only Brand searches show in the brand campaign, and so forth.
Let’s look at a simplified structure using Brand-filtering only. The campaigns below are active in a Standard Shopping Fallback Structure, which is discussed here.
Top Funnel Campaigns are grouped by Product Type in the black box, with one Brand Campaign (Product Type breakouts in Ad Groups) highlighted in the green box:
Brand Negative Lists applied at Top Funnel
A few disclaimers: (1) All Non-Brand Shopping campaigns included here, active and inactive and (2) The actual Negative Keywords in list are not shown for confidentiality.
Brand Campaign Settings:
Non-Brand Campaign Settings:
To add a mid-funnel breakout, the same process applies with two slight differences:
Once a clear understanding of the Conversion Funnel, Shopping Keywords, and Campaign Priorities have been gathered, setting up this structure becomes very simple! A major key when implementing this is to simplify things as much as possible – always use negative lists and keep it to three levels of filtering – and you will have a reliable strategy that can be troubleshooted if necessary.
If you need strategies like this to keep your brand growing on Google shopping campaigns, or across other retail media, reach out to our team!