In a search campaign, advertisers bid on keywords, providing much more control over when ads are displayed and what the budget is spent on.
Google Shopping Ads turns that approach on its head – instead, advertisers bid on their product inventory, typically provided via a compatible XML feed from their eCommerce store, via the Google Merchant Centre.
Which Google Shopping Keywords Will Show Shopping Ads?
Since this is a much more organic process, consider Google Shopping more like bidding on a bunch of broad match keywords in an AdWords Search campaign.
You should invest some time in keyword research, choosing search terms, brands, part codes, colours or sizes and optimise Product Titles and descriptions with those terms. That will help Google match your products with long-tail queries which improve ad positions and earn clicks for pennies – literally.
Also, ensure that your product data is as optimised as possible. Include relevant data in the brand, colour, size, age and other attributes (assuming they’re relevant to your products). Populating those will help match more specific queries and improve the quality of the traffic your Shopping Ads attract.
Making sure that the Google Product Category is as accurate as possible is also an important signal for matching keywords to your ads. Nominating a third or fourth level category will perform much better than allocating every product a top-level category.
How to Check Which Keywords Are Showing Product Ads
In your Google AdWords account, at ”Account, Campaign and Ad Group” level, you’ll find the Keywords tab.
Clicking the “Search Terms” button will reveal keywords (or Search Queries) which have generated ad impressions, clicks and sales, assuming you have eCommerce tracking configured.
Optimising Google Shopping Keywords
Since this is a much more organic system than Search, it’s impossible to “bid” on keywords, or increase or decrease bids on particular keywords.
It is certainly true that higher Google Shopping bids attract more and more traffic, often not of the greatest quality or intent. The higher your bids, the harder Google will work to match your products with search queries.
Google Shopping Negative Keywords
From the Search Terms Report, one common optimisation technique is to add irrelevant, or low intent keywords as negative keywords.
Negative keywords can be added at Ad Group level, or at Campaign level and will prevent those keywords matching your product ads in future.
Take great care when using negative keywords. They use the same keyword match types as those you might bid on in a Search Campaign; broad, phrase and exact.
The negative keyword, ‘dress’ will exclude ALL search queries which contain that term such as: “red dress”, “cocktail dress” and “how to make a prom dress”.
The negative phrase, “blue dress” will exclude ALL search queries with that phrase intact such as: “blue dress”, “blue dress for prom”, but not for: “dress with a blue ribbon” for example as the phrase is not intact.
The negative exact keyword [blue dress] only excludes that specific query. “Blue dresses” could still match your Shopping Ads.
Optimising Keywords in Google Shopping
Monitor your campaigns and ad groups regularly. Every 2-3 days is essential with a new campaign to avoid wasting budget.
Add negative, broad keywords (single words are recommended) only when you never want matching queries to show ads. “Cheap”, “free” and brands that you don’t sell are often good candidates for negative keywords.
Add negative and exact match keywords for irrelevant queries, or those where the searcher’s intent is too low for you to convert.
eCommerce tracking is essential as it provides data on the number of sales; but most importantly, it provides data on the ‘Conversion Value Over Cost’. This metric is the MOST important for an effective and profitable Google Shopping campaign.