Google Shopping Campaign: Bidding Strategies and Tips

March 12, 2024

Google Shopping Campaign: Bidding Strategies and Tips | AIA Book in a free 30 minute strategy session

Google Shopping campaigns are an incredibly powerful tool that can help retailers promote online and local inventory straight to the people most interested in making a purchase.

Yet, for all the incredible benefits these types of ad campaigns can yield, it’s easy to get lost in the technicalities. And when you set up your campaign with just 1 mistake, you can bet your results won’t be much to brag about.

Luckily, it seems that now, Google is aiming to remove those technicalities and make it easy for retailers to promote their catalogues through the new Performance Max campaigns.

Let’s quickly go over these two campaign types, and how to optimise them to get the results your business needs.

What Is a Shopping Campaign?

Google Shopping campaigns are a special type of campaign designed to help retailers promote their online or local product inventories. To run these campaigns, you have to send your product data to the Merchant Center and then create the campaign in Google Ads.

Once you create your product feed, these ads appear in a more visual format and let potential customers know an item is available for purchase at your online or local store. Unlike a regular text ad, shopping ads also display:

  • Product images
  • Product title
  • Product price
  • Store name, etc.

Through these ads, retailers can earn higher quality leads as they’re targeting individuals with a clearer intent to purchase.

What Are Performance Max Campaigns?

Performance Max Campaigns is a new type of goal-based campaign that can leverage all the ad inventory a company has in one single campaign.

It’s designed to slowly replace Shopping Campaigns and make it even easier for retailers to promote their products or services. Unlike Shopping Ads, Performance Max leverages Google’s automation tools across multiple layers of the campaign:

  1. Bidding strategy
  2. Audience
  3. Ad creatives, etc.

Performance max will use the specific ad objective the retailer chooses and other data (such as audience signals or data feeds) to automatically create the ad that will appear in the search network or other Google products.

Google plans to completely make the switch from Shopping to Performance Max campaigns by early 2023. Advertisers can manually make the upgrade themselves before the system transfers them over.

How Do Performance Max Campaigns Affect Retailers?

If you’ve been running Shopping ads, it’s understandable if this upgrade makes you feel a bit anxious. It’s important to remember that Google is making this change specifically to create a more effective tool for advertisers to promote their products and services.

So if you’ve been running campaigns for online sales through the Merchant Center feed:

  • You are eligible to create Performance Max campaigns
  • You can create no more than 100 PMC in your Google Ads account

Ad if you’ve been running local store goals campaigns:

You can set up PMC with local contacts or directions conversion goals
You can run PMC with offline goals with no additional budget or inventory required

How to Optimise your Shopping Campaigns

All Shopping campaign settings that will automatically transfer to Performance Max will be assigned the same or equivalent functionality, meaning there will be continuity in your campaigns even though the switch occurs while your ads are live.

In the meantime, if you are not ready or eligible to make the upgrade yet, it’s worth looking at some ways to optimise your Shopping Campaigns:

1. Choosing the Right Bidding Strategy

The golden rule is to choose your bid based on what you want to accomplish from your ads, meaning the overall goals. Performance Max will do this automatically for you, but for Shopping campaigns, you still have the manual bidding option available.

You can also opt for Google’s automated bidding strategies:

  • Maximise clicks – Obtain the maximum number of clicks to drive the most traffic to your website
  • Enhanced cost-per-click – Boost conversions by letting Google change the manual bid in cases where it thinks this can lead to a conversion
  • Target returns on ad spend – Alter the bids to achieve the best conversion value possible

In Performance Max campaigns, bids are automatically chosen based on the chosen performance goals. The two bidding strategies available are:

  1. Maximise conversion values – If you are tracking values with your conversions
  2. Maximise conversions – If all conversions have equal values

2. Setting Campaign Priority

If the same product is featured in several Shopping campaigns that run in the same country, setting the Campaign Priority can tell Google which campaign to participate in the auction when that product is potentially triggered.

This helps optimise spending and makes sure the ad comes from the specific Shopping campaign you want, either because that campaign has a bigger budget or is more targeted.

The default Campaign Priority is set to “low”, but you can change it to “medium” or “high” when necessary.

3. Focus on Ad Quality

A major factor that can influence bidding is the quality of your ads.

High-quality ads typically cost less per click or conversion even in cases where there can be high competition for a particular search query. The reason is simple: even if it’s a paid ad, Google still wants to make sure it delivers a great user experience.

So focusing on ad quality can support your bidding strategy, as low-quality ads may end up paying their maximum cost-per-click even in low-competition terms. And if you’re using automated bidding, you can be charged more than your maximum CPC.

4. Set Custom Bids for Your Most Successful Products

If you can identify your best-selling items from all your product listings, you can optimise your budget spending by assigning them custom bids.

Now, this can be a bit tricky since the only way to set separate bids for individual products is to create a new product group for each of them. If you only have 2-3, that’s not a problem, but for multiple best sellers, there’s a much more efficient strategy.

You can create a new ad group and in the Product targets section add the ID of your best-selling products. This will generate new ads using only your best sellers, with a custom bid.

And we can use the same technique to exclude those products that aren’t selling, to avoid bidding on them needlessly.

5. Add Negative Keywords

If you add negative keywords, you can exclude your ads from search queries that may technically trigger your ads but are unlikely to lead to a conversion.

It’s a great strategy to further perfect your ad delivery. For instance, you may advertise a wide variety of product types like “women’s clothing”, but your catalogue might be limited in terms of sizes. Therefore, adding the “plus size” or “XXL” word to your negative keyword list can prevent your ads from appearing in these Google Search results.

6. Always Increase Your Bids When Running Sales and Promotions

The number of sales a store could get during a sale or a promotion usually increases. So it makes sense to increase your bids during these moments, even though technically your products will be cheaper.

Higher bids mean you have even more chances of appearing in search results and bringing higher traffic to your site or store. With more opportunities to convert, your ROI could skyrocket.

Enhance your campaign performances with Australian Internet Advertising

No matter if you’re still using Shopping Campaigns, or have already upgraded to Performance Max, having the right Google Ads optimisation strategy is essential to using this PPC system at its full potential.

The Australian Internet Advertising team is here to help your campaigns and your business make the most out of its Google advertising efforts, with creative campaigns designed for maximum ROI.

If you want to start seeing great results with your Google Ads, schedule a free strategy session with our team today, and discover how this advertising system can help you reach your bottom line.

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

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