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How To Win Back Impression Share in Google Shopping

Mike Perekupka

Google Shopping is no longer the savvy retail marketer’s secret. It’s a known e-commerce powerhouse, and every retailer wants a share of the pie. It’s a competitive channel growing more crowded by the day —  but that’s not news to you.

With steeper competition, you might see your products lose impression share in times that have historically been your strongest. How can you win it back without burning through your budget to outspend top competitors?

By choosing your battles wisely, you can regain impression share from competition in Google Shopping. Here’s how.

About Your View of Impression Share

Impression share is the percentage impressions a product received divided by the estimated number of impressions the product was eligible to receive. It’s an important metric for understanding the visibility and position of your Google Shopping ads.

Impression share is one metric that reflects how well your products stack up against the competition, but it doesn’t tell the full story.

Be sure you’re looking at impression share at a granular level — such as the product group level — rather than the campaign level, which includes all of your products across all locations and search queries. Viewing impressions at the campaign level is too broad to lend any actionable insights.

At the product group level, you can gain a much better understanding of impression share for important segments of your catalog, such as top sellers or high-margin items.

If you have only one campaign, consider breaking out your highest and lowest performers into separate campaigns to get a more accurate view of impression share for the most important parts of your catalog.

Dig Into Other Competitive Metrics

Impression share is one metric that reflects how well your products stack up against the competition, but it doesn’t tell the full story. By tracking a few more metrics, you can better understand the competitive landscape and what might be contributing to low impression share.

Benchmark metrics, like benchmark max CPC and benchmark CTR, allow you to see exactly how much you’re being outbid and outperformed by competitors on individual products. If your bid on a pair of jeans is less than the benchmark max CPC, you know that competitors are bidding more aggressively and grabbing those impressions.

Here’s where you can find these competitive metrics in AdWords. 

competitive metrics in google shopping

Benchmark metrics, like benchmark max CPC and benchmark CTR, allow you to see exactly how much you’re being outbid and outperformed by competitors on individual products.

When bumping up bids in response to competition, be sure to adjust them only on individual products you deem worthy of a higher bid (for example, items that have high margin or AOV). This way, you can ramp up budget only on priority products, without overspending on the larger product group.

Click share, a metric specific to Google Shopping, tells you the percentage of clicks on your products relative to the clicks they were eligible to receive. It’s useful to track click share along with impression share to understand how often shoppers engage with your products when they surface in Google Shopping.

For example, if impression share is high, but click share is low, that could be a sign your products are showing up for irrelevant search queries (more on this later). If impression share is low, and click share is high, you might consider bidding more aggressively to increase impressions, and earn even more clicks.

Re-Evaluate Your Mobile Strategy

Once you understand the competitive landscape, one of the best places to revisit when you’re looking to increase impression share is your mobile strategy.

If your Google Shopping ads aren’t showing on mobile, where shoppers research and discover products, you are likely missing out on impression share.

If your Google Shopping ads aren’t showing on mobile, where shoppers research and discover products, you are likely missing out on impression share.

Increasing your impression share on the right products on mobile could translate to big wins across all devices. How to do that? Ensure you’re not being overly conservative with mobile bids. Those mobile impressions can lead to desktop conversions.

If you haven’t yet, consider creating a separate campaign just for mobile. You can set mobile-optimized bids, and a separate campaign gives you much better views into your product performance across devices.

This E-Commerce Marketing Minutes video shows you how set up a mobile campaign.

As an alternative to creating a separate mobile campaign, you can simply bump up your bids on mobile.

Hack Keyword Bidding

If you’re ready to get even more granular to grow impression share, look to search queries. Start by reviewing your search terms report — available in the Dimensions tab — to find your most valuable search terms. Then, focus on growing impression share only on those searches.

Here’s how it’s done, taking jeans as an example product.

Break out jeans into its own campaign.

Within this campaign, create two ad groups — one for high value search terms you want to rank for, and one for low value search terms that are expensive or indicate low purchase intent.

You’ll bid aggressively on the high value search terms group and conservatively on the low value group.

In the high value search terms group, you can make a low-intent search term, let’s say “men’s jeans,” a negative keyword. This leaves more budget available for your products to show for search terms that indicate higher purchase intent, such as branded queries.

In the low value group, you’ll bid less aggressively on these particular search terms. This allows your products to show up for the negative keywords you designated in the top ad group, but at a much lower cost.

Want more ways to use search terms to your advantage in Google Shopping? Check out how Vermont Teddy Bear improved ROI by hacking keyword control.

Modify Titles to How Shoppers Search

Optimizing your product titles is another way to give impression share a bump.

When you set out to optimize your titles, it’s very important to test.

The key to effective title optimization to grow impression share lies in search query data. You can edit your titles to look more like the search queries that you want your products to show for in Google Shopping. This makes your products more relevant to the way shoppers search, which can translate to more impressions.

When you set out to optimize your titles, it’s very important to test. Consider selecting one product line or segment of your catalog, edit only those titles, and monitor results before moving on to other parts of your catalog. Selecting one segment and measuring those results against a group you leave untouched will give you a better read on the success of title optimization efforts.

Monitor Success of Other Marketing Channels

Before you go digging into AdWords to make adjustments, remember that other marketing channels you have in play could be influencing your products’ impression share in Google Shopping.

Other marketing channels you have in play could be influencing your products’ impression share in Google Shopping.

If you’re investing in text ads or display advertising, those channels could cause shoppers to bypass your Google Shopping ads. Don’t fret — that means your marketing efforts are well rounded and built to capture shoppers at every stage of the purchase funnel.

The same is true of email campaigns. If you’re promoting your products in emails, the calls to action are designed to send customers directly to your site. If this is the case for you, take it as a sign that you have an effective omnichannel marketing strategy. Well done.

There you have it. You don’t have to blow your budget to win impression share. By segmenting smart and spending strategically, you can position your products in front of the right shoppers even as competition grows in Google Shopping.

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