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Google Shopping Search Queries Got You Down? Word.

Mike Perekupka

We asked a big question to our blog readers recently: What if you could bid on keywords in Google Shopping?

It could be a game-changer in how you run your campaigns—but also crazy complicated to implement. On one hand, you could pair products to the most relevant queries, which would give you more control over when your ads appear and how your budget is used. You could create trademark campaigns, where you push certain products to consumers who are searching for your website on Google.

On the other hand, you would have to pick your target keywords (which could easily number in the hundreds or thousands or more, depending on your catalog size), and match a SKU to every single keyword.

Then you would have to set a bid for those thousands (or millions) of product-keyword combos. And by the way, your target keywords can change over time, because consumers change how they search for your products. Yikes.

It’s probably safe to say you wouldn’t want to bid on keywords in Google Shopping. And after all, Google is pretty darn good at serving up products that match search queries. But you definitely would want to somehow capitalize on your most valuable search queries, if it led to a positive impact on your cost/sale or ROAS goal.

So does a happy medium exist? Is it possible to use search query data to help optimize your Google Shopping campaigns?

Yes, and here’s how.

What’s in a Word?

Think about your search query report. It probably has anywhere from several hundred to upwards of a million queries. Every query has metrics attached to it—clicks, cost, revenue, etc. That’s a lot of data to evaluate in raw form.

The performance of one query is like a grain of sand on the beach. Let’s say one query, among many, is “king size candy bars” and it has five clicks and zero conversions. That’s a statistically insignificant amount of information from which to build any kind of optimization strategy. But the collective performance of many similar queries can give you statistically significant data.

So imagine aggregating search queries by the individual words they contain. Like this:

Search Query Data - Sidecar

This is sample search query data that we analyzed at the individual word level. Take a look at “size,” for instance. Over 200 queries contained “size” and those queries collectively generated 352 clicks at a 37% cost/sale. Now you have some data to build off.

Looking further, check out “plumbing.” It was included in 733 queries, which collectively generated a lot more traffic than “size” (over 1,600 clicks). But those queries were less efficient, with an 87% cost/sale. And then there are many words that performed in between.

It’s not so much the search queries that can help you optimize your Google Shopping campaigns. It’s the words within those queries. And with a bit of creativity and elbow grease, you can take advantage of search queries in Google Shopping.

With this view of your data, you would understand what words, and by extension, what queries, are more efficient and less efficient for you.

An Efficient Google Shopping Campaign Is Worth, Well, a Thousand Words

You’d probably agree that highly efficient queries would have high value to you, and less efficient queries would have low value to you. You’d be willing to allocate more spend to high-value queries, and less spend to low-value queries, right?

The good news is, you can create this structure in Google Shopping:

  • Analyze your search query data in the manner we just discussed. Identify the words that are included in your most efficient queries.
  • Create a new campaign with higher product bids. Let’s call it campaign B.
  • Apply those “key” words you identified in step one as negative keywords to your existing campaign (campaign A).

When consumers use those “key” words in their search queries, campaign A would bounce the traffic and campaign B (which has higher bids) would attract the traffic. Essentially, you would be paying for a more qualified buyer. Booya! Your ad spend is being put to better use.

Just one thing to remember: Consumers’ search behavior changes. The campaign structure and bids you just set up might be optimal for only a certain time frame. Your best bet would be to routinely analyze your search query report (about monthly) to identify your most efficient queries, and make any adjustments to your campaigns and bids accordingly.

So there you have it. It’s not so much the search queries that can help you optimize your Google Shopping campaigns. It’s the words within those queries. And with a bit of creativity and elbow grease, you can take advantage of search queries in Google Shopping.

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