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Google Shopping: How to optimise your retail listings

by Allyson Munaritz, Volo Strategic Account Manager


So why is it important? Google has made significant changes to its shopping channel over the last few years, equating to 13% of traffic to sites, and 12% of sales in 2013. Adding to this is the rise in mobile PLAs, with a 65% YoY increase in traffic (Q4 2013) and 56% of advertisers using mobile PLAs. These numbers can only rise, so it seems appropriate to fully understand the best practices associated with creating an ad.


Components and data requirements

Optimising a product to the fullest is essential, and filling in accurate details will ensure a high conversion rate on Google Shopping. Identifiers should be unique and titles must include both the colour and brand. Descriptions must be relevant and visual attributes like size, material, design texture should all be put in. The entire description is less than 5000 characters so keeping it accurate and succinct is important. Creating high quality product feeds that are kept up to date will mean ads won’t be disapproved by Google and ultimately be deleted.

google, shopping

Google tends to expire products monthly, so on a monthly basis you will need to generate a product file and then use ‘Manual Upload’ into the Google Shopping merchant centre. Make sure your product IDs are the same so you can track how your products are doing.


Category requirements

Your data must include the categories that you place the product in on your website. This includes the breadcrumb for that category along with the exact and most up to date category from Google’s taxonomy (list of categories). This will be case sensitive so if you copy and paste directly, make sure it is accurate to avoid errors and product exclusion.


Marketing Data

When a customer clicks through to an item, if they have searched for a black jumper, they should land on that specific item on your site. If the item appears as part of a variant then the relevant colour and size must be pre-selected, to give the buyer the best experience possible.

Linking to your mobile site is vital for measuring this conversion. Sites should be optimised for mobile and be able to recognise if a visitor is using a smart phone or tablet. Customers are likely to leave the site immediately if they have to resize the page or zoom in. Consider developing a full mobile site to ensure that the category structure and the checkout are simplified for mobile browsing.


Unique Product Identifiers

When it comes to giving a unique identity to your product, having two out of the three search options are required, otherwise your account will be suspended. If the product is under the clothing category then the name of the brand is necessary. For other items like electronic or software, GTINs (UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN) or the Manufacturer part number (MPN) is required. These are absolutely vital for Google to search for your products against those from competitors.


Monitoring ROI

Google offers a lot of tools for monitoring and optimising your bids based on a set of key metrics. By keeping on top of these and knowing your cost per conversion, you will ensure that your budget is focused on the right areas whilst avoiding spending on products that are not converting as well. You should also set a daily budget and set your spend to run steadily through the day.


Content, structure and bid optimisation

Although you might have to wait two weeks for changes to be made effective, monitoring search terms that trigger your ads and continuously reviewing the categories in AdWords will help you to maximise your optimisation. Bid optimisation is also essential. You should be increasing bids on products with no clicks, dropping them on products and categories that are not converting, and considering margins of your products and altering the bids accordingly. All of the above should be preferably based on your ideal ROI.

Optimising your Google Shopping ads is vital for sales conversions of your products. Building accurate, up to date data to meet Google’s requirements is something that sellers should look into in detail. Measuring performance ROI will help you keep on track and on top of further alterations you could potentially be making.

If you'd like to find out more about how Google Shopping can work for you, contact your Volo Account Manager.

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