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2 Crazy Useful Google Shopping Columns You Probably Aren’t Using

Steve Costanza

Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. But here’s my number(s). So column me maybe.

Like a nightclub blasting Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2012 smash hit, “Call Me Maybe,” the Google AdWords interface can be a dizzying environment. Sure, there are no pounding beats or flashing lights, but with all the data points available, even the most battle-hardened e-commerce marketers can overlook or fail to properly employ AdWords’ lesser-known metrics when managing their Google Shopping campaigns.

But Google makes these tools available for one reason: to help marketers maximize their PLA performance. There are probably a million ways to hack AdWords to your specifications, but here are two columns I always display in my managed Google Shopping campaigns.

Share the Wealth (a.k.a., Search Impression Share)

First up is Search Impression Share (SIS). Located atop the “Competitive Metrics” menu, this extremely valuable metric appraises your industry’s competitive landscape, and makes a great starting point for checking the pulse of any Google Shopping campaign. Just select a week-by-week view to assess traffic flow to your PLAs at the campaign or ad group level.

Google Shopping Search Impression Share (SIS) column

If your impressions decrease while your SIS remains consistent, overall volume or search queries related to your catalog are down. An accompanying drop in SIS indicates that your competitors are beating out your ads for prime search real estate.

For an even greater level of detail, check the auction insights report to see how you are trending against your competitors on a weekly or monthly basis. Compare these figures to your Average Cost Per Click for a quick-and-dirty view of how your competitors’ bidding strategies may be affecting the price you pay for those prized front page ads.

You can also add the Search Impression Share column in the dimensions tab to couple it with your category, product type, and brand-level data. Low search impression share in categories, products, or brands indicates untapped revenue potential, while high SIS means that a segment is more or less tapped out — increasing bids there will have diminishing returns.

Google makes these tools available for one reason: to help marketers maximize their PLA performance.

Depending on the size of your data set and the number of differentiators in your product feed, this granular approach can help you unlock new sources of revenue from your product catalog without overspending on lesser items.

Pretty cool, huh? Well, venture further still and segment your campaign by device for the ultimate power trip …

Tabulate Tablet Traffic

A few weeks back, we explored AdWords’ new custom formulas functionality, and offered up some formula-driven Google Shopping columns e-commerce pros can create to take advantage of the update. Well, here’s one more (and it’s a mouthful): Desktop & Tablet Combined Return on Ad Spend (or D/T ROAS for short).

Many e-commerce marketers don’t look closely at tablet performance within their Google Shopping campaigns because Google does not provide a tablet bid adjustment. It’s out of your control, right?

Yes, BUT tablet conversion rates usually fall somewhere between that of mobile phones and desktop — at the full desktop Max. CPC Bid. Optimizing bids only for desktop and mobile performance, without factoring in tablet traffic, would be like buying an Audi because you can afford the monthly payment, without considering the additional costs (premium gas, expensive tires, etc.) of owning a luxury vehicle.

An accurate picture of your combined desktop and tablet performance is necessary to make cost-efficient bids. To see this picture, you would typically have to export data from AdWords and manipulate it in Excel.

Desktop/Tablet Return on Ad Spend custom column

Now, building a D/T ROAS custom column, as shown above, is a quick and easy way to view this important data every time you log into AdWords — without exporting to Excel.

Armed with this information, you can quickly compare your D/T ROAS to your mobile ROAS (or Conv. value/cost in AdWords lingo) to get a true understanding of your campaign’s performance by device, and adjust bids accordingly.

For instance, if your D/T ROAS is right at your goal and your mobile ROAS is above goal, all you have to do is increase the mobile bid adjustment (let’s say -60% to -50%) to reap more rewards from strong mobile performance. Or, if D/T ROAS is under goal and mobile is over goal, you might decrease bids, and then also increase the mobile bid adjustment so you don’t lose traffic there.

An accurate picture of your combined desktop and tablet performance is necessary to make cost-efficient bids.

Finally, if D/T ROAS is over goal and mobile is under goal, you would increase bids and decrease mobile bid adjustment (i.e. -50% to -60%) because you want to spend more on desktop/tablet and less on mobile.

Running separate mobile and desktop/tablet campaigns is the ideal solution, but employing such a structure can be laborious, and can dilute smaller data sets. If separate campaigns are not your cup of cappuccino, constructing this D/T ROAS custom column can cut complex time-consuming tasks in two (pause to untie your tongue) by eliminating the need to shuffle between AdWords and Excel.

Hopefully, these two Google Shopping columns will help you get even better results from your campaigns.

Ms. Jepsen said of the columns, “I wasn’t looking for these, but now they’re in my display. Before they came into my life, I missed them so so bad.” (She didn’t really say all that. But you should use them, anyway.)

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