Data Feeds And Google Shopping: Are you doing everything you can?

You Need To Be On Google Shopping

Hands up if your business is currently on Google Shopping? Now, hands up if you have a data feed in the Google Merchant Center? (Hint, if you raised your hand the first time, it should still be raised). Now how about all of you who have a data feed but aren’t advertising on Google Shopping? Is the last time you thought about this when Google Shopping was called Froogle? Who takes care of your data feed?

If you’re expecting your products to show up automatically, you may be sorely disappointed to hear that free product results on Google are long since dead and gone. In fact, they were phased out last year, and if that’s the last time you talked to your developer about your data feed, you may have been out of the Shopping Results for a good long while.

Google Shopping is now a key part of nearly every e-commerce PPC account. Products with this ad type sell like hotcakes.

Waffle Iron Google PLAs

Just look at that bold black pricing. Those crisp, clean images. It’s a delicious temptation. How could you not click on that?! And people do – all day long. I’ve had people tell me when I tell them that I manage ads on Google that “they never click on those” or they “always click the third result down because [they] know it won’t be an ad”. But the fact is, paid shopping can bring in a significant portion of revenue for a PPC account.

Let’s take a look at those waffle iron ads again, but taking in everything above the fold on the results page.

Waffle Iron Google SERP

88% of those search results are paid, and 29% are Shopping results. The companies ranking top in the Shopping results have healthy data feeds in the Google Merchant Center. So I’ll ask again – who takes care of your data feed?

A Healthy Feed Is A Visible Feed

You may find yourself in the position of having a feed and running shopping ads, but not being able to see your results on the search page. In fact, it’s a common query; “where are my ads??”

Firstly, try not to actually search for your ads on Google. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you constantly search your own brand/products, Google will stop showing them after a while because you end up never clicking on those ads. Use the Google Preview Tool instead.

Secondly, the quality of your data feed has a HUGE impact on where you rank in Shopping results. Your data feed is essentially your keyword list and if you haven’t built it correctly, you’re fighting a losing battle. We wrote last year on creating your feed and Google has a whole heap of info on feed specifications. The trouble is, so many of these specifications are “recommended” rather than “required”. This is a trap. Recommended attributes should be seen as required. The more Google knows about your products, the easier it is for them to match them up to a search query and display your ad. Don’t be caught out.

A Healthy Feed Is An Optimised Feed

Some accounts have a fairly good feed and their Shopping campaigns return a good amount of revenue within their target range. But good is all it will ever be because their data feed has been fleshed out but not optimised.

In August 2014, Google will be retiring the product listing ad type within regular search campaigns and all Google Shopping advertisers will need to switch to the “Shopping Campaign” ad type. This is highly interesting for anyone managing an AdWords account but understandably duller than dishwater for those who don’t. All it really means is this: your data feed just got even more important.

Shopping campaigns allow for segmentation by brand, product category, product type, condition, item id, and custom labels. If, for the sake of ease, all your products have been labelled with the same brand and product category with no information on the following attributes you may find it very difficult to optimise the performance of your Shopping campaign. You would be limiting yourself to setting the same bid for a £5 kitchen whisk as you would for a £200 waffle maker. It just doesn’t make sense and will result in a poorly optimised campaign.

A Healthy Feed Is Possible

Whether everything I’ve said has gone straight over your head or if it’s terrified you into thinking your products are going to suddenly drop off the face of the Google Shopping universe, it sounds like you might need some genuine Attacat advice on where to go next. Get in touch to see how we can help!

If you need any help in doing "digital" better don't hesitate to contact us.

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