You’ve read the articles. You’ve done the work—and now you aren’t seeing the results you expected. Do you find yourself wondering, “Why isn’t my Google Shopping working or performing well?”
If you’ve noticed your Google Shopping campaign isn’t working, you probably have questions—and need answers. In this article, we’ll look at some of the common reasons Google Shopping campaigns fail. Don’t worry, though, we’ll also look at how you can get your campaign back on track.
Google Shopping Campaign Pitfalls
Google Shopping campaigns have been around for years. While they have certainly evolved into something more sophisticated, there’s still quite a bit of time under their belts. It’s understandable that someone new to using Google Shopping campaigns might have a lot to learn.
You certainly can learn how to create an effective Shopping campaign—even if it’s your first time with one. Of course, there are many variables when it comes to your campaigns, but one thing is consistent across the board. You must have your campaign properly set up to see the results you are looking for.
If you aren’t finding success with your campaign, go back to the beginning. Your Google Shopping campaign must be well planned and executed. If it’s missing one of the following critical components during setup, however, it’s not likely to be successful.
1. Not Adding the Barcode or Brand to the Product Feed
No question about it—there is a lot of information that needs to be included in the product feed. You have the title and description. You’ve probably included the product category and type and whether it’s available.
You know the product feed is where sales are made. But have you included the barcode and the brand? These are two things that are frequently overlooked—and they can tank your otherwise pristine Shopping campaign.
Have you dropped brands and barcodes because you didn’t think that information was as pertinent as other bits you’ve included? Think again. The brand and barcode determine the target keywords responsible for returning your shopping advertisement to an enquiry.
That’s right—the brand and barcode are entirely responsible for when your advertisement turns up. Yes, this is different from a traditional AdWords campaign where you get to choose your keywords. In a Shopping campaign, the keywords are predetermined by Google.
Wondering how Google pulls these keywords? Google looks at the product descriptions from both you and others out there with the same product. Google determines which keywords are relevant to your product, based on those descriptions.
Have a product that doesn’t fit the mould? This can happen when you’re selling certain products. If you’re dealing with a handmade item or one that doesn’t have a brand or barcode, use the label, “custom/unique.”
Using this category will prompt Google to use the Google Product Category. At this point, you’ll be able to select the product category that most closely aligns with your product.
Choosing a product category can help keep your product visible when it otherwise wouldn’t be. For the greatest success when using the product category option, make sure to choose unique terms.
Using generic terms will set your product up against a greater number of products. When this happens, it will be easier for your product to be lost in the shuffle. This is true for the entirety of your campaign—stick to as much relevant detail as possible to increase your campaign’s success.
What’s in a Barcode?
Wondering about the barcode? For Google’s purposes, the barcode consists of three different components. You’ll need the global trade item number (GTIN), the universal product code (UPC), and the manufacturer part number (MPN). You must have at least two out of the three of these to successfully include a barcode.
If you don’t have two out of the three, you’ll need to go with the custom/unique option. Yes, using the custom/unique option is generally not as effective as using a barcode. However, it’s certainly the best option if you can’t provide a barcode for your product.
2. Your Feed Isn’t Set Up Correctly
It can be easy to get distracted by flashy components and extras when you’re getting your Shopping campaign up and running. You may be anxious to get it out there and think you’ll tidy things up later.
Rethink that. There’s no reason to launch your Shopping campaign until it’s truly ready. If your feed isn’t set up correctly, though, you won’t see the results you—or your Shopping campaign—deserve.
Where to Start When Improving Your Feed
Aren’t sure where to start when it comes to getting your feed where it needs to be? Look at your eCommerce platform. This is where you’ll see any areas that could stand some improvement.
When setting up your eCommerce platform, there are four areas you’ll need to focus on: title, description, colour, and images. Neglecting these components can lead to an unsuccessful advertising campaign.
The title—it’s one of the most important pieces of your campaign. It needs to accurately describe what your item is, whilst also conveying any relevant additional information. And it needs to happen in 70 characters or less.
This isn’t a lot to work with. You won’t be able to choose your keywords like in other campaigns, so it’s very important that your title is as informative—and descriptive—as possible.
You’ll want to stay away from any subjective language. Avoid words like “cute” and “fun” and stick with the facts. Colour, brand, and size—if applicable—should always be included in your title. This will make it easy for those looking for your item to hone in on your product. It will also help weed out people who are looking for something else.
For best results, follow this formula when putting together your title. Place the brand first (if it’s a well-known brand) followed by the title and the dimensions or size. If you’re dealing with an unbranded or lesser-known brand, position the title first, followed by the dimensions, and then the brand.
Your title might get people to click on the item, but your description is what will sell your product. Aim to have your description well-written and exceptionally informative. The more information you can include on the product here, the better.
Here comes the catch. You want to make this as powerful as possible—but you don’t want to go on about the product for too long.
For many people, this part of online shopping is akin to window shopping. You want to get in there with the pertinent information in an efficient way. You may not have your customer’s attention for long—make the most of it.
Plan on capping your description to around 500 characters. While you’re putting together your informative description, make sure to include as many natural sounding keywords as possible.
Don’t skip those keywords. While you can’t pick out your chosen words like in an AdWords campaign, Google does derive targeted keywords from your description. Every word you include should be meaningful.
Using these keywords will accomplish two things for you. The first is that it will help clue Google into funnelling appropriate traffic to you. The second thing? This will ensure that any customers who come to your product are finding exactly what they’re looking for.
While you aren’t able to choose keywords like in a traditional AdWords campaign, you can still identify negative keywords. This helps to identify what your product is not. This can help sift out customers who aren’t looking for what you’re offering.
Negative keywords can be a great addition to your existing shopping campaign. It’s important not to include so many negative keywords that you lose all of your traffic, though.
Identifying the colour of your product helps keep your product from appearing during other colour searches.
Many products come in multiple colours. If you have multiple colours of the same product it’s best not to include the other colours in your description area. This will help avoid any confusion on Google’s part. It will also help continue to funnel people to your site who are looking for that specific listed product.
Want to indicate that there are other colours or sizes available? You may want to consider adding “available in other colours” to your description. This will make your customer fully aware that other colours (or sizes, styles, materials, etc.) can be purchased through you.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good quality images. Your included images and your description are what sell your product. After all, your customer can’t see or touch the item in person. The online representation has to be good enough to compensate for this.
When choosing your images, make sure you have clear pictures in high resolution. Your image should not contain any watermarks. You also want to make sure you’ve sourced your images legally.
Remember that images can be pulled from your site if they are deemed inappropriate. To avoid inappropriate images, try to always use family-friendly pictures that can’t be misinterpreted or reported.
3. You Haven’t Turned to Dynamic Retargeting
We’ve all been there. On an impulse, you checked out a trendy item you thought you had to have. In the end, you didn’t make the purchase.
You aren’t off the hook just yet, though. Now you will continue to see the advertisements for that item. It will pop up in your social media feed and on website advertisements.
Why? That’s dynamic retargeting. Its sole purpose is to keep hitting you with the advertisement until it catches you at the right moment—and you make the purchase.
Many of these purchases are made in the spur of the moment. Sometimes, you just need to catch your customer at the right time. Dynamic retargeting can make that possible.
You’ve probably succumbed to this method of advertising in the past. The great news is that you can employ it as well. The even better news is that it’s very simple to do with a Google Shopping campaign.
Google has a number of templates you can choose from when setting up your dynamic retargeting campaign. You just need to make a few simple choices and Google pulls the rest from existing information. It’s that simple to set up a dynamic retargeting campaign.
Dynamic retargeting might not always result in a dramatic increase in traffic or purchases. There’s so little effort in setting one up, however, that it just doesn’t make sense to skip this opportunity.
4. You Haven’t Set Up Value Tracking
It’s easy to think once your advertising campaign is set up that it can function independently without any monitoring. This couldn’t be any further from the truth, though!
A savvy business person knows their advertising approaches need to be monitored and analysed. If you aren’t watching for effectiveness and return on the investment you’ve made, you aren’t using your money wisely.
Wouldn’t you rather catch a failing ad campaign early on and make a more successful one? Don’t keep track of your stats? You’ll never know when to cut your losses and sink money into something that could be giving you a greater return.
To monitor your return on investment here, you just need to compare your cost-per-click to your revenue-per-click. This will give you an accurate idea of whether or not your money is being well spent.
Make Your Google Shopping Campaign Everything It Should Be
Your Google Shopping campaign can be successful and profitable. Google Shopping campaigns have certainly grown in popularity. If you’re still new to this approach, though, it’s critical to treat it like the unique advertising approach it is.
If you bring a Google AdWords mindset to the table, you’re likely to be disappointed with the result. This isn’t a traditional Google AdWords campaign. You can’t choose your own keywords and there are things you won’t have control over.
But don’t sweat the small stuff. Google Shopping campaigns can still work for you, as long as you’re willing to work within the necessary parameters. Follow the steps we’ve gone through here and you can have your Shopping campaign back on its feet in no time at all.