Google Shopping optimisation drives 490% impression uplift

Blog | 29 Apr, 2015

As Google Shopping grows ever more popular, Senior PPC Manager, Harpal Singh examines how to successfully achieve multiple SERP listings.

For many retailers, a common challenge within Google Shopping is to show more than one product per SERP result. Unlike standard text ads there’s no risk of dual-serving, and retailers can have multiple listing across the PLA landscape. 

There are a number of reasons why retailers would seek to achieve multiple product listings, such as:

  • Dominating the landscape for highly profitable Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), therefore improving overall ROAS from Shopping
  • Increasing brand awareness for new SKUs, thereby increasing reach of Shopping activity
  • Push competitors off the landscape for products which are strategically important, such as products which drive high Life Time Value (LTV)

The brief

One of our ecommerce clients asked us to look into driving landscape visibility for SKUs to improve LTV, across a particular product category. The defined objective was to increase impression volume across 14 SKUs specifically.

Although these were relatively lower-ticket items, the client’s internal research demonstrated that these products performed particularly well for initiating first-time purchases within their core demographic of B2B customers. Therefore, the client was happy to sacrifice initial transaction return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) for a more cost-per-acquisition (CPA) orientated approach, which was based on the anticipated LTV generated by these products.

We knew that hitting the client’s objective would not be easy, as the category was a competitive one, with several large multi-channel retailers also on the landscape.

However, we were also aware that to achieve the overall aim, increasing impressions for just the most popular two or three SKUs would not be sufficient – we had to aim for multiple listings if we were to achieve our goal of growing visibility equally across the entire product category.

SKU performance before optimisation

SKU Performance Before Optimisation

 

How to achieve multiple product listings

So now we’ve looked at the ‘why’, let’s look at the ‘how’ of achieving multiple product listings.

The initial focus was to look at the data feed, as this is one of the most important elements in driving impressions and CTR within Shopping. This is because Google judges relevancy based off the data feed (as there are no keywords within Google Shopping), so essentially the quality of the data feed dictates whether Google thinks that a particular listing is relevant enough to appear in the auction, against the search query. With this in mind, we looked at number of elements within the feed, including:

  • Title structure
  • Title length
  • Ad product descriptions

In order to ensure relevancy throughout, we utilised search query reports to reverse-engineer descriptions, in that the most relevant information was frontloaded within the description text.

Not only is this useful from an impressions perspective (i.e. listings should show more often due to increased relevancy), but also ensuring greater CTR, as the most relevant title text avoids truncation.

Structuring multiple product listings

The target SKUs were initially housed within the ‘core’ Shopping campaign, which was where the bulk of products were situated.

In order to have greater control and visibility of performance, we broke the target SKUs out into a new campaign.

This would ensure that we had tighter control over budgets therefore eliminating the risk of compromising impression share due to limited budgets (as was the case in the existing Shopping campaign, where 1000’s of SKUs shared the same budget).

As we were breaking out these SKUs into their own campaign, we also had to exclude them from the pre-existing Shopping campaign, in order to minimise the risk of crossover.

We also ensured that bid caps were sufficiently high, in some instances increasing the bid by x10 against the original set-up within the ‘core’ Shopping campaign.

Results

As a result of the above, we were able to achieve FOUR listings within the same landscape (see Fig 1. below). 

Landscape post optimisation:

Landscape post optimisation

In addition to this, we were able to push our most aggressive competitors off the landscape for this strategically important product category.

As such, we were able to achieve a marked improvement across all metrics, including Impressions, Clicks, CTR, and Conversions and CPA:

  • Impression volume increased 490% (from 5,275 to 31,143)
  • CTR improved from 2.96% to 3.05%
  • Although we bid more aggressively, Ave. CPC was actually consistent
  • Conversions increased by 850% (4 to 38)
  • Conversion Rate improved by 56%, leading to a CPA efficiency of 25%

SKU performance post optimisation

SKU performance post optimisation

In summary, five tips to get multiple listings in Google Shopping SERPs

1. Ensure data feed quality, look at title descriptions, length and product ad copy

2. Use search query reports to reverse-engineer descriptions – front loading the description text with the most relevant information

3. Break out target SKUs out into a new campaign for greater control and performance visibility

4. Also, exclude them from the pre-existing Shopping campaigns, to minimise the risk of crossover

5. Make bid caps sufficiently high against the original set-up within the ‘core’ Shopping campaign

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