Shopping Campaigns are amazing! They are still one of the fastest growing parts of the PPC universe, with YOY growth for Google above 20% for the past 4 months. With Bing Shopping just out of Beta it’s safe to assume that Shopping Campaigns will continue to become a larger part of many advertisers’ PPC portfolios.

These campaigns offer insight to advertisers on the competitive landscape of their actual products. Since transitioning from Product Listing Ads to Shopping campaigns, Google has introduced 3 competitive benchmark metrics. You want to see how your actual products measure up to the competition in your advertising space? Just look at these 3 metrics: Benchmark Max. CPC, Benchmark CTR, and Impression Share.

Google shopping benchmark data

If you’re reading this, you likely already know what each of these metrics measure. Their definitions have been repeatedly covered in blog posts since January 2014 (click here for a quick refresher). These are great articles, but they never tell you how you can use these metrics to get more out of your Shopping advertising efforts. Have no fear – Metric Theory is here to walk you through a simple process of how to optimize your efforts using these handy metrics.

Know Your Goals

Before we determine what changes need to be made, we need to know what we are trying to accomplish – or else we’re putting the cart before the horse. Setting the goal for your Shopping Campaign will help tell us what metrics to focus on and how to analyze them before making our changes. Are you just trying to capture the most traffic possible with your ads? Is there a return on ad spend (ROAS) you need to meet?  If we don’t know what goal we are trying to reach, we could end up optimizing toward the wrong competitive metric.

Determine What Goal Metrics to Analyze

Once we know our goal, it’s time to look at our metrics. We’ll focus on the most common cases: Efficiency or Growth goals. If your campaign is efficiency focused, you’ll want to start by looking at your ROAS in the Conv. Value/Cost column. If you’re trying to maximize growth with your campaign with either clicks or conversions, look at Search Impression Share and CTR. These will be the basis for determining the changes we should make.

Analyze the Performance

You have the metric that’s most important to your goal and now it’s time to analyze. We’ll use optimization examples for both Efficiency and Growth, but the questions we will ask ourselves are the same in each case:

  • Are we above, below, or at the goal?
  • How far away from the goal are we?
  • How does our metric performance compare to the competitive metrics?

What action you take in the account will be based on your answers to these questions. The general decision process flows as follows:

Google Shopping decision tree

Efficiency Example

Let’s use the below performance data as an example for an ROAS-focused campaign and assume our Goal is a 3.0 ROAS.


Our ROAS is 7.2 – which is above our 3.0 goal and by a margin of over 2x. That tells us there is room to bid up. Comparing the performance benchmarks tells us how much to make our adjustment. In each case, the performance is well below the benchmarks:

  • Max CPC ($0.66) is significantly below the Benchmark Max CPC ($1.05)
  • Our CTR (1.14%) is below the Benchmark CTR (1.40%)
  • Our Search Imp. Share is very low (<10%)

Putting it all together: We are performing far above our goal which indicates room to grow. Our performance is well below what Google says our competitors are doing (Max CPC and CTR), and our ads are showing a very small amount of the time (Search Impression Share).

What to do: All signs point to becoming more aggressive with our bids – and significantly. A 30%-50% increase could be appropriate (depending on how much you usually adjust your bids by).

Growth Example

The below campaign is focused on growth and we are trying to determine how many more clicks we could generate with higher investment.


Looking at our Search Impression Share, we can see we are already showing nearly all of time (~90%). Considering anything over 80% is very strong in shopping campaigns, it doesn’t look like we have a ton of room here. When we look at our CTRs, we also see that our ads get clicked on at a much higher rate (2.33%-5.47%) than the Benchmark CTR for other competitors (1.33%). That tells us that we are nearly maximizing our coverage toward the goal. Looking at our Max CPCs further confirms there is limited room for growth as our CPC’s ($7-$9) are much higher than the Benchmark Max CPC ($4.28).

Putting it all together: There doesn’t appear to be much room for growth based on our goal metrics of CTR and Search Impression Share. Our Max CPC’s are much higher than the Benchmark Max CPC – indicating limited room for growth.

What to do: Look for other areas to grow – we’re tapping this well for everything it has.


The importance of Google Shopping shows no signs of slowing down. Make sure you’re using the competitive metrics available to make the most impactful changes in your campaigns. Just remember – you have to know what you’re trying to accomplish before these metrics can be used effectively.