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Google Shopping Search Queries: What’s in a Word?

Steve Tutelman

The lack of keyword control. It’s something that every e-commerce pro managing Google Shopping campaigns must confront. And for marketers used to text ads, it can be an especially bitter pill to swallow.  

Unlike text ads, there is no way to bid on individual keywords in Google Shopping. Negative keywords are the only way to control the terms for which your ads appear, but they are a defensive tactic. Still, marketers using the channel long for a way to actively capture traffic from more valuable, higher intent queries.

In our three-part Google Partners video series finale, Google’s Jacob Mader and I look at managing Google Shopping search queries. Watch to learn how Sidecar’s new Search Query Management (SQM) technology actually lets retailers sift through millions of search queries to discover the most meaningful words in their Google Shopping campaigns — and fully capitalize on high-value queries while reducing spend on low-value queries.

And for complete details on Sidecar’s new Search Query Management technology, check out our launch announcement

 

0:36 What does Sidecar do?

1:11 What does a search query mean in the context of Google Shopping?

1:57 Why do e-commerce marketers need to manage search queries to have success in Google Shopping?

3:18 How does Sidecar’s technology allocate budget to the search queries that matter most to a retailer?

Transcript

Jacob Mader: Hi, everyone. My name is Jacob Mader and I am a Google Agency Development Manager out of our New York City office. As an Agency Development Manager, I help grow our agencies business and drive client success.

You are joining us for part three of our [Google] Shopping series, where we discuss how to effectively allocate budget across different queries. And here to answer that question, we have Steve Tutelman from Sidecar. Steve, for those of our viewers who didn’t tune in to part one or part two, can you share a little bit about yourself and what Sidecar does?

Steve Tutelman: Sure. I am Steve Tutelman. I am the Chief Operating Officer at Sidecar, and Sidecar is an e-commerce marketing technology that leverages machine learning to solve the very data-intensive and complex problem of connecting people to the products they are searching for in paid marketing channels.

The commonly asked questions amongst executive teams and acquisition marketing teams at retailers are: “How do I make sure this product shows up for that query?” or “Why aren’t I showing up for this query?”

JM: Okay, very helpful. Thank you. Now let’s think a little bit about search query. In a typical Google search, someone types a query in and they see an ad returned based on the intent of that query. Now Shopping may be a little different. Can you talk about what a search query means in relation to Shopping?

ST: Sure, absolutely. So in the traditional paid search world, as you mentioned, the search query is matched to a keyword which a lot of people have probably heard of.

In Shopping, that search query is typed into the search box when someone is looking for something, and behind the scenes, Google is doing a lot of things — that I am sure you will never tell us about — in order to match products to those queries. And product data is sent over to Google.

The reality is that retailers can’t hand over a fee to Google and say “Hey, show this product for this query because it is one of my strong sellers.”

The bid and a bunch of other things — again, that we don’t know about — are all used to determine which products should be displayed for that search query.

JM: So, I suppose within the Shopping realm, when we are thinking about what you need to be concerned about in Shopping … why is query so important?

ST: I think it is one of those things that retailers want to control but they don’t know how. They want to control it because the commonly asked questions amongst executive teams and acquisition marketing teams at retailers are: “How do I make sure this product shows up for that query?” or “Why aren’t I showing up for this query?”

Everyone has probably heard their CEO ask that question, and the reality is that retailers can’t hand over a fee to Google and say “Hey, show this product for this query because it is one of my strong sellers.”

Sidecar’s technology evaluates all of the words inside each query to figure out which ones indicate success, failure, or somewhere in between, and segments into different campaigns the queries that are valuable versus less valuable.

So they have to pull other levers, one of which is the product data that is in the feed, and the other of which is the bid. And so search query is important because search queries all differ very greatly.

There are the more generic queries like “running shoes” that indicate some intent to look for a product, but then there are the longer tail queries like “Nike Air Max 90 red running shoes” that relate to a specific product.

Those two queries have very different intent, and, therefore, very different value to a retailer’s business — so they should be treated differently.

JM: I like what you said about Nike running shoes because if someone types in a query of “Nike running shoes” versus “red Nike running shoes for men,” I would likely want to put more of my money towards the query that is more specific. So with that, how does your tech allow me to allocate my budget differently to different queries.

ST: Sidecar’s technology evaluates all the queries and the words that are in those queries and looks for words that indicate success. It looks for whether or not all the queries with the word “Nike” or all of the queries with the word “shoe” in it are successful overall.

For example, we had a client that sold tools and hardware, and they had one Shopping campaign, one ad group, and then all these product groups. And one of the things we noticed in looking at their search query data was that when the word “paint” was in a query, it was unsuccessful. It didn’t lead to conversions.

[With Sidecar] retailers can pay more for queries that are more valuable to them, thus maximizing the revenue opportunity for those searches.

You wouldn’t know that by just looking at a search query report and seeing “red paint” in there because there is so little traffic for each one of those [terms], but when you look at them in aggregate, the word “paint” was clearly not a strong query for that business.

And so Sidecar’s technology evaluates all of the words inside each query to figure out which ones indicate success, failure, or somewhere in between, and segments into different campaigns the queries that are valuable versus less valuable.

And essentially what happens is retailers can pay more for queries that are more valuable to them, thus maximizing the revenue opportunity for those searches.

JM: Thanks, Steve. That was really helpful and hopefully the audience found that to be useful. Really appreciate you all tuning in to our three-part Shopping series.

Remember if you haven’t seen parts one or two on campaign structure or mobile optimization, please go back and view those. Thanks again, Steve. Always a pleasure.

ST: Thanks for having me.

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