In recent years, Google Shopping Ads, also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have become more vital to online retailers than ever. In many cases, PLAs are now considered one of the most effective ways to reach consumers at key points in their path to purchase, making them a vital part of your E-commerce strategy.

What is Google Shopping & Why Should You Optimise It?

In a nutshell, it is a shopping service that allows customers to search, view and compare products which appear in the main search engine results page under the shopping tab.

With this in mind, how can you make sure you’re making the most of your Google Shopping campaign opportunities? The quality of a Google product feed is often overlooked, impacting the effectiveness of campaigns, highlighting the need for one of the most important aspects of Shopping Ad management: feed optimisation.
There are several tactics that we can utilise to boost performance and often some of these are really quick wins. We’re going to look at the most common opportunities we’ve found throughout our time managing both shopping campaigns and product feeds.

How To Use Product Titles

Making sure your product titles are optimised may seem obvious but, in many instances, we’ve seen feeds where these seem to have been overlooked. Yes, your product title is what the customer sees, but it’s also what Google sees, and in some ways, this is almost more important.

Here’s why product titles are important:

  • Content used within your product titles will help determine what search terms your products will appear for
  • Product titles are one of the most prominent elements of your shopping ads, besides the product’s image

When optimising feeds we need to consider which search terms we want a product to show for. Can we include these or at least aspects of them within the product title?
All too often, we’ve seen brands focus on the product name and not their own brand name and the type of product a user may be looking for. Even something as simple as including ‘shoes’ can make all the difference (if the product is a pair of shoes).
Of course, you don’t want your brand before every product on your site, but what if your users are searching for your brand? Customising your feed allows your site and feed to be optimised individually, allowing each to reach its full potential.

Bearing the above in mind, it’s important that product titles remain relevant to your product. It’s great to have your product showing high in the results as well as winning those vital clicks!

We recommend following the below structure for your product titles:

{Brand Name} – {Product Name} – {Product Attributes (size, colour, gender, age?)}

The most important information should always come first and, despite having 150 characters available, in most cases, only 70 characters will ever be seen.

Why You Should Optimise Product Descriptions

Another key area for optimisation is your products’ descriptions. Again, this is something that can be overlooked once your copy has been beautifully tailored to entice customers.
Making sure your description helps gain that all important click within the competitive marketplace that is the results page, can require a somewhat entirely different voice.
You can also use this as an opportunity to feature terms that are really important to that product, just not quite as important as those featured in your now optimised Product Title. This will help improve your visibility, reduce CPCs and gain more relevant visits.

How To Create Google Product Categories

So your titles and descriptions are great, but how does Google really know where you want your products to show?

Categorisation is a huge part of feed optimisation; it’s another opportunity to influence which queries your ads are shown for, whilst also being an easy way to start structuring your campaigns. The only difficulties with Google Product Categories are finding the most accurate category for every product in your inventory. Fortunately, Google’s entire taxonomy can be found here.

Remember, the more accurately you categorise your products here, the easier it’ll be to gain visibility for the right queries.

As a side note, we’ve often seen Product Type to be confused for Google Product Category. The difference is that you can use whatever you like as your Product Type, but it’s not as important to Google. It does, however, allow you to group products as you would prefer.

Categorise Your Custom Labels

If you want to improve your performance, Custom Labels can help make a difference to your Google Shopping campaigns. While it’s not vital to feed health and quality, Custom Labels allow you to categorise your inventory on a granular level which can be really useful if you wish to categorise your campaigns using filters and rules.

Why Does Google Need Product Identifiers

Google wants to know exactly what you are selling so they can identify each product clearly and match it to search queries. This is an area of product feeds that can cause quite a bit of confusion, so it’s important to understand the product identifiers.

There are 3 product identifiers and Google needs each product in your feed to have at least 2 of them for it to be eligible to be shown. Brand, MPN (you can use your SKU / Item ID), GTIN.

Now, not all products have a GTIN, but most do (custom made and small run products generally don’t). Where possible, include GTINs in your feed. Google uses these to help ensure they’re serving the right products for the right searches and if your competitors are selling the same products as you but they have GTINs in their feeds, they’ll almost definitely appear above you in the search results.

Don’t forget, the more attributes you include in your feed, the more accurate it is, helping you get more from your PLAs.

Other Attributes

Aside from the sorts of attributes you wouldn’t need to ‘optimise’, like Item IDs, there are a number of other attributes that Google requires for some products, like clothing:

  • Gender
  • Colour
  • Size
  • Condition
  • …and more

To get the most from Shopping Ads, you should include these in your feed wherever possible.

Since we are a digital marketing agency, we are here to provide value and share our expertise. If you need any assistance with Google Shopping ads, product feed management, and maintenance or you’d like help with your overall Ecommerce digital marketing, feel free to get in touch.

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