Google Shopping is the ultimate goal for advertisers. Online retailers want to make sure that when people search for products on Google, their ads pop-up first in Google results. To make this a reality, advertisers should focus on product feed optimization to boost their visibility.
Product feed optimization is key to achieving successful campaign performance. Without it, your products are less likely to show up, and if they do appear, it’s often as a result of high bids because your products were not seen to be as relevant.
Example of Google Shopping feed.
What is a product feed? Simply put, a product feed is a spreadsheet of all of your products and attributes, including SKU, title, description, images, and others. Every single advertising channel and marketplace accepts a different set of attributes with different names. For example, Google Shopping and Google Shopping Actions allow you to have 70 characters in your title, whereas Amazon allows you to have up to 200 characters. Therefore, you need to be selective about what you include in order to make those 70 characters meaningful. Read on to get additional tips and strategies!
Optimize Your Product Titles
It’s critical that you structure your product attributes similarly to the words and phrases that users are typing into their Google searches. When shoppers include the attributes of “color” and “size” in their search, it is a very strong indicator of intent to purchase.
For example, instead of your product title being “Nike Air Basketball Shoes" a better optimized title would be "Nike Air Jordan Basketball Sneakers, Size 12 Black."
The most important thing that you can do is to make sure that your product titles contain:
- Brand name
- Product name
- Style or model number
You may want to exclude certain attributes if people are not searching for them.
Make sure that you use keywords in your product description. Google crawls your product description for relevant keywords. You’ll want to check what keywords convert and perform A/B testing to see if adding additional keywords will help improve performance. One suggestion is to use a keyword recommendation tool that will automatically compare your Google Shopping feed to actual converted search terms. It allows you to see what words are missing from your title and description.
There are thousands of categories in the Google Shopping category taxonomy. Why use Google product categories? First off, good categorization helps search engines understand the nature of your products and how to group them. It is recommended that you correctly categorize products to increase your relevancy and to allow for better bid segmentation grouping.
Google added new product categories in August 2019. Many categories became more granular. For example, instead of just cat food, there are now distinct categories for Prescription vs. Non-prescription. The more you narrow things down and use subcategories, the easier it will be to get visibility and adjust bids on a granular level.
Use Clean Data
You'll want to ensure that the data is clean, no rogue HTML, duplicates or missing values. It should be mapped to the according to the specs for Google Shopping.
Make Sure Product Images are High Quality
A good product photo is essential to your Google Shopping Feed. No one will click on your ad if the image is poor. Use a clear, high-resolution image. Products should be photographed against a plain white background. For some products, you’ll want to provide additional images of the item from a different angle to capture special details.
Use Custom Labels
Custom labels are a powerful tool to use when you want to subdivide the products in your campaign based on certain values. So instead of just pushing your products based on product size or color, you can get more granular and focus on products that have a bigger profit margin or promoting sales items.
An advanced feed optimization will consist of custom labels and applying certain transformation rules in the background to optimize the product data. These values can then be selected to use for reporting and bidding in your Shopping campaign.
There are a variety of ways that you can use custom labels. Here are just a few ways to use custom labels:
- Price Point Custom Labels: Price points or price buckets allow you to separate your products by their price range. For example, a product that costs $9.99 could fall into the price range "$0-$19.99." This label can be especially useful when there are large variations in prices within a wide range of similar products.
- Competitive Pricing Custom Labels: Create custom labels based on how your competitors are pricing similar products. This enables you to bid more aggressively on products that cost less than those of your competitors.
- Profit Margin Custom Labels: This custom label allows you to pull your profitability data on a per-SKU level into your feed. If you know a product has a bigger profit margin, then you can create a custom label to increase your bids. The less profitable products can be put into lower bid buckets or pause it completely.
- Sale Custom Labels: By tagging items as on sale, you can increase the bids, as these items are far more likely to convert with a price discount. This is great for holiday sales like Labor Day Weekend or Black Friday.
Regularly Update Your Data Feed
It’s important to evaluate your product feed regularly and make updates as needed. With a feed management platform, you can set this up so that pulls data and updates weekly, daily, or even hourly – as often as you need it.
Evaluate your product feed on a regular basis and make updates as needed. Product prices change constantly, new products will be added in, and old ones will be discontinued. If you don’t review and revise your product feed, then you are at risk of receiving feed errors or disapprovals. With a feed management platform, you can set this up so that it automatically pulls data and updates your feed weekly, daily, or even hourly – as often as you deem necessary.
Brian Roizen is the co-founder and chief architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of channels.
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