26 April 2019
By Ethan Morgan
Ethan is in the marketing team at Volo, and specialises in writing about retail trends and news for our blog, white papers and reports.
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Search engines are a vital component of any online retailer’s success. 89% of all online customers use a search engine as the first step of the buying process.
Unsurprisingly, Google is trying to ensure it retains its dominance in shopping search. To that end, it has been delivering dramatic improvements to Google Shopping. These ads get more prominence, leading to increased clicks and impressions. This has led to 87.9% of all paid search clicks in the UK coming directly from Google Shopping.
Getting your products onto Google Shopping is simple enough, but optimising that data feed is another question. Your CPA (or cost per acquisition) can vary greatly depending on how you use Google Shopping. One of the most effective ways to reduce that CPA is through intelligent product data management.
So, how do you put that concept into practice? That is what we are going to explain here.
Relevance is one of the key factors by which Google determines which products end up taking the top spot and which fall from the visibility and reach that they need. Relevant ads lead to more clicks, higher ranking, and a greater chance of customer conversion. Relevance to the customer’s query (i.e. providing what they’re looking for) drives sales.
Google is all about linking search engine users to the results that are relevant to their interests through both paid ad placement and organic search results. Having accurate content formatted and optimised to the strengths of the channel can help you make your listings gain the prominence that translates into sales. You need to take advantage of optimised titles, keywords, and categories to maximise the chances that your products appear in relevant customer searches.
We’ll cover the details of what attributes you should include in the conversion section, but one of the biggest challenges of creating relevant product content for every item in your inventory is the sheer amount of time and work that can go into it. Even if you’re using ERP software, turning the raw data there into readable, relevant information and formatting it for Google Shopping can take up to 30 minutes for every item. Fortunately, the use of intelligent listing software guided by artificial intelligence can take a lot of the work out of this process.
Compared to your website, Google Shopping provides a smaller amount of space with which to convince and convert your customers. Product titles and images are the most important content components for conversion on Google Shopping.
In your descriptions, try to fit as many attributes as possible into between 500-1000 characters whilst front-loading the important information. In search results, customers are likely only to see the first 150 or so characters. That means you need to create an information hierarchy that puts the highest value details at the top. This includes the brand, product type and gender. Other attributes like size, shape, pattern, design, and material should be included, but further down the list.
One of the biggest issues that many product descriptions suffer from is missing data, mislabelled data, or invalid attributes. If you have missing data, you are missing opportunities and diminishing your chances of conversion. But, finding and filling those categories by yourself is a slow and arduous process. Identifying missing attributes is another task that can be automated using the right intelligent software solutions.
Optimised imagery is important, too. Images should be clear and high-quality and should accurately represent the product. Clogging up images with a noisy background and props that make it hard to tell what it is will get likely lead to Google refusing to approve these products, meaning ads don’t go live.
Lastly, you need to make sure that you have all the right information visible on the landing page on the other side of the ad. If potential customers click on an ad and find unexpectedly different-seeming content, you’re likely to see higher bounce rates. Google also requires that information be consistent between adverts and product pages, for this reason. Clear consistency in your content will ensure you don’t risk shopping cart abandonment or negative conversions.
One of the best features of Google Shopping is the ability to understand customer behaviour and the overall performance of your previous and ongoing ad campaigns. Knowing what the customer is looking for, as well as what you have done right, can help you incorporate the elements crucial to success in your campaign.
The keyword research tool from Google can help you understand which terms are most relevant to your products and customers. Using it will allow you to generate a list of keywords that get the most searches and the most clicks. Incorporate these into your product descriptions to improve your relevance – but be selective with your choices. Shoppers can tell when you’re using unrelated keywords to game the ranking and will not reward you.
Understanding your customer’s interaction with the brand can help you better understand what existing ads and descriptions are doing right, allowing you to incorporate what you learn across all product content.
Doing this manually is possible, but slow and costly. The right application of technology that measures customer interactions with your listings across a range of channels can offer real-time, actionable insights which gives your ecommerce team enough time to actually take action and turn those insights into increased revenue.
Great product content is key to your success on Google ads, but it can be hard to achieve. To see just how successful your own ads are from the customer’s perspective, search for your own branded items and filter the results based on colours, sizes, and materials you offer. If your products aren’t appearing despite those sizes/materials/colours being applicable and available, you can see how customers will have trouble finding them.
Time and inefficiency are the greatest barriers between the average online fashion retailer and the product content that helps them make the best use of Google Shopping, making it harder to reduce CPA for each listing. Many simply do not have the resources available to optimise their ads in-house, meaning that search visibility is poor, and you see fewer clicks and conversions than you should.
Those who find success on Google Shopping aren’t doing their listings by hand. Instead, they’re making use of intelligent software that can highlight and incorporate missing data, deliver insights on existing product listings, and intelligently reshape existing content to the right format that will help ads to get approved and shown to consumers. With more efficient ecommerce teams, online brands can focus on the value-added tasks that move the needle.
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