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4 High-Impact, Underused AdWords Features You Should Be Using

Lauren Frankel

AdWords offers a seemingly endless array of levers to manage and optimize your Google Shopping performance. No matter how well versed you are in campaign management, it’s easy to find yourself sticking to familiar AdWords features and using the platform to less than its full potential. Knowing what works is important, but expanding your toolset in this channel is essential to getting the most from your investment.

We’re here to break routine and explore a few high-impact, underused features in AdWords to boost returns in Google Shopping.

1. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

Google Shopping is a top channel for acquiring new customers online. And now, tools to remarket to audiences that show high purchase intent (past purchasers and site visitors) are available. RLSA is one of those remarketing tools that make Google Shopping a place to convert one-time shoppers into repeat customers.

What’s useful about this feature?

RLSA dynamically builds lists of shoppers in AdWords based on actions they’ve taken on your site — visits, checkouts, cart abandonments, etc. — and lets you value these audiences differently in AdWords with bid adjustments.

Remarketing gives you the chance to upsell and cross-sell different parts of your catalog.

Remarketing gives you the chance to upsell and cross-sell different parts of your catalog. In apparel, for example, if a shopper buys a swimsuit in the summer, you may want that shopper to return to your site and buy a coat in the winter. You could add an audience bucket within AdWords for past purchasers and add a bid modifier (say, + 50%) to increase spend and have a better chance at re-engaging these familiar shoppers.

For site visitors who haven’t made a purchase, you can value this audience differently. You could bump up bids, but less aggressively, by + 25%.

It costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. So winning back familiar customers or engaging high-intent shoppers should always be a priority.

Use this feature if…

  • You’re looking to re-engage past purchasers or high-intent shoppers who have visited your site.
  • A busy season is approaching and you have many first-time shoppers in your audience list that you hope to re-engage.

How to implement?

To get started with RLSA, you’ll need to install the remarketing pixel, available in AdWords, on your website. Start by navigating in AdWords to Shared Library, Shopping Campaigns, and Audiences. From there, you can create a remarketing list for website visitors (shown below).  

remarketing lists rlsa high impact adwords features youre not using

For step-by-step instructions on setting up RLSA and getting the most from this feature, check out The Ultimate Guide to Customer Match & RLSA.

2. Customer Match

Customer Match is another remarketing feature that lets you adjust bids to target valuable past or prospective customers with Google Shopping ads, using email addresses from your database.

What’s useful about this feature?

Customer Match allows you to target shoppers in your email database while they’re searching for the products you sell. This is a key moment to influence the shopper on the purchase journey.

Using Customer Match, you can create audience lists for past purchasers and for subscribers to your email newsletter or promotions. You can bid more or less aggressively on these audiences, depending on your goals and seasonality.

Customer Match can help you attract and retain high potential lifetime value customers and reduce cost per acquisition.

As an example holiday strategy, you can further segment the past purchaser list by shoppers who bought during the holiday stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas in the past year. Then, you might add a positive bid adjustment preceding the holiday season next year.

Because these audiences are already engaged with your business in some way, this feature can help you attract and retain high potential lifetime value customers and reduce cost per acquisition.

Use this feature if…

  • You have at least 1,000 valid email addresses in your database. Google requires this as a minimum.
  • Your Shopping campaigns are whitelisted.
  • It’s holiday time and you want to be top of mind with audiences that are already familiar or engaged with your business.

How to implement?

First, fill out the interest form to sign up for access to the beta version of Customer Match. For details on how to get started on Customer Match, check out our handy guide.

3. Custom Labels

Creating custom labels is a feed optimization technique that allows you to segment your Google Shopping campaigns according to values you define. Some useful custom labels could include the price tiers of your products, net margins, seasonal top sellers, and sale items. You can include a maximum of five custom labels for every feed in Google Shopping.

What’s useful about this feature?

Custom labels layer more advanced structure onto your campaign beyond the basic feed requirements. The labels segment your catalog into buckets you’ve defined as important. These labels can translate to a more effective bidding strategy on items within those buckets.

custom labels high impact adwords features youre not usingLabels that indicate price tiers are especially helpful in aligning your bidding strategy to product price points. For example, you would assign higher bids to items in a high price tier (say, $100 – $150) that have higher AOV and higher margin. Or for items labeled “clearance,” you can quickly spot and bid up on all products that have this custom label when it’s appropriate.

Custom labels layer more advanced structure onto your campaign beyond the basic feed requirements.

These categories are not visible to the public in Shopping ads or on SERPs, only to you in the product feed and in Google AdWords campaign structure.

Use this feature if…

  • You’d like additional structure and organization in the product feed.
  • You have technical resources who can add and update custom label attributes (dynamically if possible), especially for large catalogs.

How to implement?

You’ll need access to your product feed within Merchant Center. Create up to five additional columns in your product feed, and assign custom label attributes. Keep in mind these will need to be updated as prices change.

4. Dimensions Tab

There is a lot to the Dimensions tab, so much that it’s worthy of its own post, but we’re going to sum up a few high points here. In this tab is a treasure trove of campaign performance metrics, tracked down to the hour of each day, that you can use to optimize bidding and boost ROI.  

What’s useful about this feature?

The Dimensions tab is the place to see performance on a granular level. You can see clicks, CPC, and conversions on individual products by day of week and hour of the day. Revealing performance at this level can dictate strategic optimizations. You can reduce spend on clicks that are too costly or unprofitable, and spend more on those that are cost-efficient.

You can also view performance from a higher level, such as month over month, or year over year, using the date range selection in this tab.

Revealing performance within the Dimensions tab can dictate strategic optimizations. You can reduce spend on clicks that are too costly or unprofitable, and spend more on those that are cost-efficient.

Here are some useful ways to drill down on performance across your catalog within the Dimensions tab in Google Shopping campaigns:

  • Day of the Week and Hour of the Day to help with dayparting optimizations.
  • Shopping > Brand to view brand-level data and find opportunities to reduce inefficiencies and ramp up for brands seeing strong performance.
  • Shopping > Item ID to examine individual product-level data. You can then break out and bid up products with strong momentum, or break out and bid down products that drive up spend without generating revenue.
  • Shopping > Product Type to drill down into category-level performance and find pockets of strong performers. From here, you can drill further into item performance to see where you can boost bids to drive more revenue.
  • Search Terms to see a detailed breakdown of which queries your products surface for in search.

We recommend reviewing performance this way at least once per week, and possibly twice per month for smaller catalogs.

dimensions tab high impact adwords features youre not using

Use this feature if…

  • You want a detailed view of performance, according to parameters you set.
  • You want to see overall performance (month over month, year over year, etc.)

Where to find in AdWords?

You can find the Dimensions tab on the far right in AdWords (shown above).

Let’s review: The features we’ve covered can help you re-engage high intent shoppers as well as past purchasers, add additional structure and organization to your product feed, and see a granular view of performance.

There are always ways to get more from Google Shopping, so long as you know which levers to pull in AdWords. Keep discovering, and stay tuned to our blog for updates on AdWords features worth trying.

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