Marketing your products is very important. You may well have the best damn vacuum cleaner the world’s ever seen, but if you can’t get it in front of people it’s going to suck. And I don’t mean in the way a vacuum cleaner should! This crazy digital world we’re all caught up in is no different for the modern retailer.
Just go to Google and type in vacuum cleaner – you’ll get your standard search results on vacuum cleaners, but you’ll also get Google AdWords listing various retail options down the side. These ads aren’t just picked out of a hat by the mythical Google Bunny. It’s much more complex and, until recently, it’s been powered by Product Listing Ads (PLAs). These allow for content rich ads to be displayed on Google relevant to the search query being entered.
Merchants are able to bid on a number of requested actions. First, there’s cost-per-click (CPC) which means you only pay when a customer clicks on your ad. Secondly, we have cost-per-thousand impressions which means you pay every 1,000 times your ad pops up. Thirdly, and finally, there’s cost-per-acquisition (CPA) which means the merchant is expecting some type of conversion e.g. a sale or a signup to a mailing list. Clicks, in particular, are often won through bidding competitively on individual keywords.
This has been fine for the last few years, but the last thing Google wants to do is sit round, rest on its laurels and admire the view. Admittedly, the view from Google HQ is probably very picturesque. However, Google has always prided itself on its customer service and ability to deliver the best experience possible. Therefore, they’ve been busy enhancing Adwords with a new feature simply entitled Adwords Shopping campaigns.
Shopping campaigns allow merchants to call up their product inventory and create product groups for the items they wish to purchase adspace for. These product groups can be based on numerous attributes such as product type, colour, condition, manufacturer or even custom labels. These product groups can then be subdivided e.g. Vacuum cleaners could be subdivided into Dyson models and then these subdivided into specific colours. This means greater visibility for which products can be promoted.
Once your products are being promoted, you’ll want to know how successful this process is. Shopping campaigns have been designed with this in mind and offer data to highlight individual product performance. This allows the merchant to discover which products (and which subdivisions in particular) are generating high click rates. The merchant can then rethink their bid strategy where necessary to implement their findings.
The analysis on offer doesn’t stop there. A further feature is the use of competitive benchmarks to view the average click-through-rate and CPC of rivals selling similar products. Future upgrades to the system also promise a bid simulator to predict impressions against cost of bid and integrating data to bring attention to lost sales opportunities.
Google Shopping campaigns were launched to the global market in February, 2014 and have already proved highly lucrative to merchants. Rich Brown – PPC head at luxury fashion retailer Farfetch – announce the following success: “The transition was very easy. We quickly created product groups for the top 25 brands and a ‘top sellers’ strategy and saw a 6% reduction in CPC and a 13% increase in conversion rate. The combined benefit of these two improvements alone has meant our CPA has reduced by 20% since we launched Shopping campaigns”.
It seems that once again Google have managed to deliver a more refined and successful take on an existing service. If it’s everything they promises it to be, this will be lucrative for both Google and the advertising merchants.