How To Optimize Standard Shopping Campaigns in 3 Easy Steps

So you just launched your first standard shopping campaign. Congratulations, you’re well on your way to dominating the Google Shopping results! 

However, if you’re not careful - you can either find yourself in a situation where you are showing up for too many searches that you do not want to show up for, or not showing up enough for the searches that would be very relevant for your business. In this article, we are going to talk about three easy ways that any business can improve their standard Shopping results and how you can do this today.

Use Negative Keywords to Reduce Wasted Spend

One of the most significant advantages of Google Standard Shopping Campaigns over Google Smart Shopping Campaigns is the fact that Standard Shopping Campaigns allow advertisers to view the search terms report, giving us insight into the searches that triggered our shopping ads to show. In this report, you will find many searches that are relevant for our business, but likely many that you would never want to show Shopping Ads for. Let’s look at how we can add negative keywords to reduce waste.

When you look at the search term report (found in the Keywords section of Google Ads), sort your columns by either clicks or cost to see if the most common terms that are triggering your ads to show. Let’s say that one of these keywords stands out as something you would like to exclude. First, click the checkbox next to the keyword that is not relevant for your business; at the top of the page, you will see a section that says add as a negative keyword, click this option, and then you will be prompted to either add the keyword as a negative for an ad group, A campaign, or a negative keyword list. 

Where should you add your negative keyword? It depends. Here are some examples of wind to do each of these situations. 


Ad Group Negative Keywords: Let’s say that you are a barbecue company that sells seasonings for meat. One of your shopping campaigns is focused on your spicy barbecue rubs, with ad groups broken out by flavor: one ad group containing your jalapeño rub, one ad group containing your habanero flavor, and your other ad group containing your mild spice. In this situation, our goal would be to ensure that jalapeño searches only appear for the jalapeño rub, that habanero searches only appear for the habanero rub, and so forth. The more relevant that our shopping listing is for the user’s search, the more likely they are to click on our shopping at and ultimately convert. We wouldn’t want someone searching for “jalapeno bbq rubs” to get one of our ads about habanero bbq rubs, as they are less likely to click on this product than our jalapeno bbq rub.


Campaign Negative Keywords: At the campaign level, let’s use the same example of a barbecue company that sells not only rubs, but sauces as well. In one campaign they house all of their BBQ rubs, and in another campaign, they house all of their barbecue sauces. In this situation, we would want to add barbecue rubs and seasonings as negative keywords for the sauce groups and vice versa. This is due to the same logic as the ad group level negatives, but looking at product categories rather than product variations within a category. If someone searches for “bbq sauce”, we want to ensure that the only ads of ours they will see are our bbq sauces, not any of our rubs/seasonings.


Negative Keyword Lists: When it comes to the negative keyword list, there are many types of lists that you can create. Typically we will create at least two major types of lists: An “out of scope” negative keyword list, which contains keywords that we never want to show for due to a lack of relevance; and a “ brand protection” negative keyword list, which contains any keywords that we do not want our brand associated with due to branding or legal concerns. Your “out-of-scope negative keyword list” is most typically what you will use, and is something that you can apply to all of your campaigns. This is particularly useful for making bulk additions of negative keywords. 


For this, we will use a different example. Let’s say you are a men’s skincare business. Some negative keywords that we could add to our “out-of-scope negative keyword list” could include: “womens skincare”, “skincare for women and men”, “best womens face wash”, etc. Since we only sell men’s skincare products, there are no situations where we would want to show up for users looking for women’s skincare products. We want to ensure that the keywords that trigger our ads to show are from people who are most likely to convert.

Use Automated Bidding To Ease Management and Improve Results

Once your campaigns begin to receive conversions, approximately 20 conversions per 30 days per campaign, you will be ready to switch to an automated bid strategy. We suggest using target ROAS or maximize conversion value, as these bidding strategies aim to maximize your profitability with Google shopping ads. 

For Target ROAS, you simply tell Google Ads what your ROAS goal is, and Google Ads will try to achieve an average ROAS equal to your target across all campaigns using this strategy. Some conversions may return a higher ROAS and some may return a lower ROAS, but altogether Google Ads will try to keep your conversion value per cost equal to the target ROAS you set.

For Maximize Conversion Value, Google uses historical information about your campaign and evaluates the contextual signals present at auction-time. This bid strategy automatically finds an optimal CPC bid for your ad each time it's eligible to appear. Google will seek the conversions that are the most valuable for your campaign while spending your budget.

These automated bit strategies rely on Google’s algorithm and machine learning to increase visibility for the users that Google believes are more likely to convert, and to decrease visibility for those that Google believes are not likely to convert. Once you have sufficient conversion data, an automated bid strategy will not only see better performance than a manual bid strategy, but it will be significantly easier to manage.

Ensure Titles, Descriptions, and Product Type Are Optimized

Your product feed is what tells Google what types of searches that you want your shopping ads to appear for. If your product feed uses very broad and generic terms, then you are likely going to show up for very broad and generic terms. The more specific and relevant you can make your titles, descriptions, and product types - the more likely you will be to have immediate success with Google shopping ads. 

A well-optimized product feed will reduce the need for adding negative keywords, and will also improve click-through rates and conversion rates over time. 

When it comes to your product title, include the most important information first, such as the primary non-branded keyword that you want to show up for. You will also want to include supplemental information such as your brand name, the product qualifiers such as the size of the packaging quantity, the color, and anything else that would potentially be important to the user. Include the most important information at the front of the title and the least important information near the back. Here is an example of a well-optimized product title: “jalapeño bbq rub 1 pound bag, spicy blend of salt, pepper and jalapeño, [brand name] barbecue”. 

Kosmo’s Q has well-optimized titles, putting the non-branded term near the front.

Here is an example of a poorly optimized title: 1 pound bag [brand name] BBQ jalapeño rub”. While the second title could end up working, the first title will maximize your chances of success.

These Meat Church product titles could likely use optimization. 

When it comes to the description, add as much content that is relevant as your character space allows for. You have plenty of character space to work with here (5,000 characters), so try to pull as much relevant information from the website as possible. Lead with your most important information such as details about the product, the ingredients, and what makes it good, but also include information about your brand that makes you unique. If your products are homemade, made in America, made naturally, cruelty-free, gluten-free, etc. make sure that you are highlighting this information about yourself in your description. 

Lastly, when it comes to your product type, these are to be treated as if they were keywords for search ads. To use the jalapeño barbecue rub example, your product type for this product could be “BBQ rubs > spicy barbecue rubs >  jalapeño barbecue rubs > jalapeño seasoning > [brand name] barbecue seasoning”. These will help Google identify the types of searches that you want your shopping ads to appear for. We advise A/B. testing this over time, where you create additional product variations and adjust your product type to see the impact on your search terms.

While there are many more advanced tactics and strategies for optimizing your results with Google’s Standard Shopping campaigns, if you are able to: 1) add negative keywords to keep your search results relevant to your brand, 2) automate your bidding to take advantage of Google’s machine learning, and 3) make simple edits to your product feed to tell Google what you want your shopping ads to show up for; then you will be well on your way to seeing great results with Google Shopping.

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