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5 tips to get your Google Shopping costs down in 2019

23 May 2019

By Jon Akass

Jon is a Product Owner at Volo, and writes about how retailers and brands can improve their ecommerce performance.

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Does it feel like you’re constantly pumping your budget into Google Shopping campaigns with very little return?

Brands and retailers can’t afford to not use Google Shopping -- its dominance in online retail is too great. So, how do you use Google Shopping effectively? How do you use Google Shopping and keep your costs down?

Campaign optimisations can deliver some cost savings. However, the real game changer is intelligent product data which is actually optimised for Google Shopping, permitting brands to optimise their whole product catalogue effectively without spending lots more on extra staff.

Here we’ll cover 5 tips to help you keep your Google Shopping costs down and ensure you get the outcomes you need.

Take a data-driven approach

Data is the key to successful marketing, but collecting data and using it effectively are two different things. Technology enables businesses to access reams of data, but it's of little use if it isn’t collated and analysed properly. Data-driven decision-making (DDDM) is a viable way of improving campaign results, minimising costs and increasing your ROI.

How do you ensure your decision-making process is data-driven?

In order to create compelling and successful Google Shopping ads, you need to have an in-depth insight into the behaviour of your target audience(s). The most accurate way to obtain this is to collect user data from the relevant audience demographic and analyse it accordingly. With these user behaviours and trends successfully identified, you can create ad content which stimulates your target users to take action, such as clicking through to your site.

Taking a data-driven approach enables you to make informed decisions based on previous and current user behaviour. With concrete, quantifiable data to hand, the guesswork is taken out of your campaign strategy and your results should improve accordingly.

However, gaining a true insight into user behaviour involves collecting and analysing data from a number of varied sources. When you consider the range of products you sell and/or your target audience, as well as the data sources you’ll need to use, it’s easy to see how time-consuming a data-driven approach could be if it’s done manually.

This is where AI-powered ecommerce tools can come in handy. They can pull data from different sources, allowing a much broader view of your customer’s needs and wants. With fresh, purpose-built ecommerce solutions, your business can access reliable data and analysis quickly and efficiently. The automated collection of relevant data, along with trend and pattern identification and data segmentation, ensures you can interpret data without the need for laborious, manual calculations.

With the information at your fingertips, your subsequent marketing activity is based on robust empirical data, and data-driven decision-making is seamlessly integrated into your business process.  

Use Negative Keywords and Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords typically consist of three or four words and make up a term which users are searching for. If someone wants to buy shoes, for example, they might search for ‘best running trainers women’. Generally, long-tail keywords indicate that the user is in the market to buy a product or engage with the brand.  They’re conducted targeted searches for particular products, which indicates they are more likely to make a purchase based on their search.

Due to this, successfully obtaining Google Shopping ad space for long-tail keywords can be a valuable investment. With users more likely to make a purchase following a long-tail keyword search, adding long-tail keywords to your strategy may lead to increased sales and a reduced average cost-per-click, thus decreasing your overall Google Shopping costs.

Conversely, highlighting negative keywords helps to prevent you paying for clicks from users who are less likely to buy from you or engage with you. You may want to list the word ‘free’ as a negative keyword, for example, so that users who are looking for free products won’t be shown your ad and you won’t end up paying for a click which is unlikely to yield any profitable results.

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Hone in with Location Targeting

Businesses with physical stores can benefit from location targeting because it enables them to target users who are more likely to visit their premises in person. However, even online retailers can get great results when they use location targeting to enhance their campaign results.

Your existing customer base will have features which allow you to build an average customer profile, so you can see where most of your purchases stem from. Similarly, your target audience can be analysed in order to determine which area your target demographic are most likely to be based.

Furthermore, if shipping costs or customs restrictions prevent you from selling goods to users in a certain location, you can exclude this area so that you’re not paying for clicks from users who cannot buy from you.

Location targeting can be as specific or broad as you like. Choose to hone in on a particular town, city, region, country or continent but do use it to help you get your products in front of users who are most likely to click through to your site and make a purchase.

Take Advantage of Bid Modifiers

Bid modifiers are a great way to change your ad bids depending on the performance of your existing content. If you are getting a better ROI from users in a particular region, such as the North East of England, you can increase your bid for ads for users in the area via location targeting. Similarly, you can set bid modifiers to lower your bid by a specific percentage in areas which aren’t bringing in the results you want.

Of course, it isn’t just locations that bid modifiers work with. There are a variety of factors bid modifiers can work with, and you can choose to focus on elements which are having the biggest impact on your ROI. If click-throughs between 12am-4am tend not to result in sales or engagement, for example, your bid modifier can reduce your bid for ad space in this timeframe, so that if your ad is shown the cost per click will be significantly less.

Similarly, if users make more purchases on specific dates or during particular hours, a bid modifier can increase your bid by a certain percentage in order to take advantage of the increased engagement.

Insights into customer behaviour allows you to use bid modifiers to the greatest impact. The most effective way to keep costs down generally comes back to understanding your buyers.

Remove Manual Processes with Ad Scheduling and Automation

Increased automation reduces the need for manual labour. As a result, your staff have more time to focus on other tasks and your company is able to direct its financial resources elsewhere. Instead of relying on staff to manually update ad schedules, this can be done automatically with innovative ecommerce solutions.

With ad scheduling based on demonstrable data patterns and behaviour trends, your automated software or application will ensure your content is shown when it’s most likely to garner a reward. Conversely, your ad won’t appear during times when click-throughs are less likely to bring in a fiscal benefit.

Whilst this applies a similar rationale as bid modifiers, an automated approach enables businesses to remove manual processes wherever possible, thus improving results, mitigating potential staff errors or oversights and increasing the firm’s ROI.

With these easy tips, you can streamline your ad campaigns, reach your target audience and cut Google shopping costs in 2019.

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