Top Tips for Optimising Your Google Shopping Feed

Google shopping

Shopping campaigns are a great way to gain exposure and qualify leads before they reach your site; after all, a picture can speak a thousand words. But how do you get the most from your shopping feed? In this blog post, we’ll show you how to signpost customers straight to your products.

Google Shopping and Bing Shopping campaigns are a great way to gain extra exposure beyond search ads and can qualify your leads before you’ve even paid a penny. They’re fairly simple to set up; a scrape of your site can produce a feed which when uploaded to the search engine will begin to serve ads.

Whilst all that seems simple enough, optimising shopping campaigns can feel anything but simple. That’s because you need to think beyond your usual optimisation techniques in AdWords or Bing Ads and also take a look at what can be done to improve the quality of your feed. Feed quality is the foundation of a shopping campaign, it’s what holds everything else up and what helps Google/Bing match your customers search terms to your products. Think of it like signposts to your bricks & mortar store – if the directions are confusing, you’re going to have far fewer customers walking through the door.

Below are some of our top tips for optimising your Shopping feed:

1.  Complete product data

One of the most common issues I’ve come up against with new shopping campaigns is that no matter how much I increase my bids, we simply cannot get enough traffic through.  This is usually always because of missing or incomplete product data in the shopping feed. Product data is the information Google & Bing use to match your products to search queries, so it’s vital to make sure it’s complete.

There are 8 areas of product data in your feed:

  • Basic product information
  • Price & availability
  • Product category
  • Product Identifiers
  • Detailed product description
  • Campaign and other configurations
  • Destinations
  • Tax

Take your time to go through each of these and ensure the information in your feed is as complete as possible.  Also, because in some instances this information will be pulled through into your ads, it’s worth (in Google’s words) making sure everything you submit is of the quality you would show a customer.

2. Search friendly product titles

As we’ve just learnt, search engines use the data in your feed to match customers’ queries to your products.  It, therefore, follows suit that the next tip is to make sure the information in your feed is written in a way that people are likely to search.

A lot of the clients we work within the luxury sector become a bit nervous when we start talking about this.  Protecting their brand is hugely important and understandably product names and descriptions are part of that. Thankfully nothing needs to change on your website, just in the feed (even if you’re producing your feed from a scrape of your site, you can set up a series of rules to optimise the feed post scrape).  We refer to this as your ‘feed title’, which is optimised for search terms, and you ‘brand title’, which is optimised for brand identity.

Of course your feed titles still need to retain their core brand title as this will appear in your ads, and as much as we want to grow traffic volumes and reach new customers, we still must ensure the ads remain on brand (and also, if established enough people will search for your brand titles).  The trick in addition to this is to make sure your feed titles are practical and logical – if a 5-year-old was going to search for your products online, what would they type? This is how people looking for general products – i.e. not already loyal to one brand – are going to search so if you’re selling perfume, make sure your product titles say perfume.

Google shopping perfume

The other thing to remember with product titles is to put the most important information at the front.  The search engine algorithms read from left to right; start with the main product attributes and then fill in the rest.  You will also have likely seen longer product titles being truncated in shopping ads, so this is another reason for having the most important information at the front.  Using our perfume example again, this could be the brand name, whether it’s a feminine or masculine fragrance and the size of the bottle. If you are the brand rather than a reseller, you could afford to put your brand name later in the title as this will already appear in the ad as the seller name.

3. Keyword rich product descriptions

As with product titles, the product description is also very important in matching search queries to your products.  This is where you can include additional information that consumers may search for but you couldn’t fit in the title.  We’re not recommending you stuff your description full of keywords, rather just take a bit of time to make sure it is optimised towards search terms rather than being overly branded (again, no need to change the description on site, just in the feed, and remember this will still be seen so needs to remain on brand).  

If you’re already running Search ads, take a look at the search queries with the highest traffic volume and that are meeting your KPI targets; these are the terms you want to make sure are included in your product descriptions.  You could also use a DSA campaign to see what search terms Google and/or Bing already match to your website titles and descriptions.  

4. High-quality images

The majority of our clients have beautiful high-resolution images that they use across campaigns and it’s important that this quality is reflected in your product images too.  This is where, particularly in the luxury sector, shopping ads come into their own as we can easily showcase the superior quality of the products over competitors.

The other thing to note and test with images is that you don’t have to show a product only image, you can show a lifestyle image instead.  This is something I don’t think we see enough of in shopping ads and can really help you stand out from the crowd, particularly if you have a lot of resellers that are going to be using the same single product images.

5. Detailed product types

Before we go into detail here, it’s important to note the difference between Product Type and Product Category.  The Product Category is required for clothing & accessories, media and software and there is a list of predefined categories that you must choose from.  The Product Type, on the other hand, is optional and applicable to all types of product.

Because this field is optional it’s not always complete.  However, by leaving it blank you are wasting a valuable signpost for the search engines.  Within the product type field you can give as much detail as possible, so rather than just having Apparel & Accessories > Jewellery > Watches, which is as granular as you can go in the Product Category, you could add further detail of Apparel & Accessories > Jewellery > Watches > Men’s Watches > Men’s Leather Strap Watch, for example.  

An additional benefit of adding extra detail to your product types is that you can structure your campaigns and product groups around this hierarchy, allowing for greater control over budgets, bids and negative keywords.  

6. Custom labels

Our final tip is to think beyond the existing fields in your feed which, whilst they offer some flexibility, can be quite restrictive.  When structuring your shopping campaigns and allocating your budget, you might want to use a different attribute, for example identifying and separating out your best sellers, products with a higher or lower margin or items that are on sale.  You can do this with custom Labels, so make sure you’re taking advantage of them and think about other identifiers that might be useful to add to your feed.

If you follow these tips we’re sure you’ll see a significant boost in the volume of relevant traffic coming through your shopping campaigns. The next step is to start optimising within the search ads interface, making sure the right product shows to the right person in the right moment. For further help on getting the most out of our shopping campaigns, get in touch for a free audit.