The first quarter of 2020 has come to a close. It’s the perfect time to look back on some of the updates made to Google Shopping and how they affect retailers. In the last few months, Google has made updates to better analyze data, help productivity and improve ads.
Let’s explore these updates in detail and see how you can take advantage of them from here on out.
Table of Contents
Google Shopping Ads on Gmail
Sunset of Accelerated Delivery
Add Individual Products Manually to Merchant Center
New Market Insight Features
New Mobile Features
Google Shopping ads on Gmail
A big update for campaigns is that Google Shopping Ads have become available to appear on Gmail. This means your Product Shopping and Showcase Shopping ads can both be displayed. If you’re already opted into the “Youtube, Gmail and Discover” option then your ads will automatically be set up to run.
Sign into your Google Ads account and check if you have this option selected by:
- Clicking on the ‘Campaigns’ tab
- Choose the standard shopping campaign you’d like to check
- Under the section ‘Networks’ look for the ‘Youtube, Gmail and Discover’ option
Since over a billion people use Gmail, it makes it a valuable place for you to show your ads.
Just like before, the ads will show under the Social and Promotional mail folders. If someone is checking the Promotional tab in their email, they’re most likely already open to finding a good deal. Your shopping ads appearing on Gmail will be reported under the Google Display Network. In the words of Google, it’s “designed to help you find the right audience” and lets you “strategically show your message to potential customers at the right place and the right time”.
Since many people check their email from their mobile devices, you may want to consider adding deep links. This will give your audience a better overall experience because your ads will be formatted to whatever device your potential customer is using.
Sunset of Accelerated Delivery
By choosing the ‘accelerated delivery’ option, merchants were able to spend the entirety of their daily ad budget as soon as possible. Usually this resulted in the budget being spent by the morning, meaning that possible impressions and sales were missed out on later in the day.
Existing campaigns with ‘Accelerated Delivery’ will continue operating until May 2020, after that it will result in an error. Google suggests going into your settings now to update it. From this time, it won’t be possible to choose the ‘Accelerated Delivery’ option for new campaigns.
This option is being phased out because Google believes there are more efficient ways for advertisers to use their budget and the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of Accelerated delivery. If your campaign is not limited by budget, then it wasn’t a good option for you to use in the first place. And if they are, it could have actually made you pay more per click or use up all of your budget in a timezone that’s not your audience.
If you’re someone who’s disappointed by having to say goodbye to this feature then there are probably other solutions to the outcome you’d like to see. For example, if your primary objective was to spend your budget in the early hours of the day, then you can use the ad scheduling feature to adjust your bid amount for certain times of the day.
Standard delivery is set up to factor in expected ad performance throughout the day along with making the most out of your daily budget.
Add individual products manually to Merchant Center
If you were looking for an easy way to add individual products directly to the Merchant Center, then you’re in luck! Google added this feature in February and you can find it by:
- Going to the navigation menu
- Selecting ‘Products’ -> ‘All products’
- Clicking on the + button to add a new product
- Or click the pencil icon to edit an existing product
One potential drawback is that the products you upload individually won’t be affected by feed rules, so you’ll have to adjust them individually as well. It’s also worth mentioning that if your inventory is on the smaller side then this can be a handy tool for you. However it most likely will not be a practical solution if you have a range of hundreds to thousands of products.
You'll have the choice between basic and advanced options for most of the sections:
- Country of sale and placements
- Product Identifiers
- Product data
- Price and Availability
- Detailed Product Description
- Shipping and Tax
- Product campaigns and other configurations
- Product category
New Market Insight features
Market Insights is a resource provided by Google that gives you exclusive access to retail data. You can use this data to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. In order to start using these features, you'll have to enable Market Insights on your account. Have an account administrator opt in by going to the section Growth -> Manage programmes -> Market Insights. Once it's set up, these reports will be shown under Growth.
Price competitiveness report
As a retailer, it's important to know how your prices compare to other sellers in the same sector as you. This report does exactly that. Sort data by category, brand or product type and then track how you compare in the scope of your market over a specified time.
This data can be really valuable to you when you're deciding where to price your products and even on how much you should be bidding on your ads. It can also be helpful to check if you should be updating these areas, or when the best time to advertise a promotion is.
Best Sellers report
Have you ever wondered about which brands and products were most popular and what you should be adding to your inventory? If you use Shopping Ads or Shopping Actions then this report will inform you about exactly that. You'll be able to sort products by category and country to know which direction you should be heading. You'll also be able to see which products you already carry could potentially benefit from increasing the bid or budget.
Every week the best sellers report data is refreshed so you can stay up to date on the trends. Check information related to categories like:
- Popularity rank
- Popularity change in the last 7 days
- Sample title of the item
- Which Google product category applies
- Most popular GTINs
- Price range
- Product/Brand inventory status
Making the Data Work for You
This information can be really beneficial when it comes to optimizing your product data feed. You can use the list of your best sellers, or items with a best seller potential, to advance the bidding strategy across your shopping campaigns and put more emphasis on the items that give you the biggest bang for the buck.
First, you need to create a list of your bestsellers (consider using ID or SKU) in a Google spreadsheet or a csv./txt. file.
Then you can head on over to DataFeedWatch and create a custom label in the 'Optional Field' section under the 'Mapping' tab.
Here you will connect the list of bestsellers. It should look like this:
Products matching an item from your spreadsheet will be labeled with “Best Seller” in your product feed.
Now you can use your isolated 'Best Seller' products to increase your ROI. Either create their own separate campaign or break down your existing campaign structure. Adjust your bidding for the best sellers accordingly.
Learn more about improving your campaign performance with custom labels.
New mobile updates
Google created a Google Ads mobile app to fit into retailers’ on-the-go lifestyle. They're constantly tweaking and improving the app based on feedback. There are two major updates they've introduced for quarter one.
The first is a change to the interface and user experience. Love it or hate it, dark mode for mobile devices is becoming more and more popular. To the delight of dark mode enthusiasts, you now have the choice to give your eyes a rest while checking in on your Google Ads. This feature will automatically turn on if you already have your phone set to the ‘dark mode’ theme.
Prioritize top recommendations faster
The second update is an improvement to an existing feature. By using ‘optimization score’, you can get an estimate of expected Google Ads account performance. It’s now possible to view your optimization scores for your account and campaign-level ads on the account overview screen. It makes it easier for you to check campaigns that have recommendations with the 'highest potential impact' since they'll be listed first.
It’s also possible to get a notification when your optimization score changes. Stay aware of any necessary changes to make in real time. You can opt in to getting these notifications in the app by going to the 'Settings' page.
Now that you’re all caught up on the Google Shopping updates for quarter 1 you can log into your Merchant center and try some new features out. Or why not download the mobile version (if you haven’t already) and see if it suits you?
It’s clear that Google has merchants and advertisers in mind when they’re innovating and fine tuning their features.
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