Tis the season for Google Shopping ads! Of course, every other ecommerce retailer is likely also turning up the volume on their Google Shopping ad spend for the holidays.
So how do you maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS) with Google Shopping ads? We've got some handy tips to optimize your ad buy strategy to help you make the most of every view and click throughout the entire season.
Start with broader ads earlier in the season
When do people start shopping for the holidays? Believe it or not, according to the NRF by early November in 2020, about 59% had started shopping for the holidays, covering off about 26% of their list. As you might expect, many shoppers spend October and November browsing to get ideas, compare products, find targets to price watch or bargain hunt on, and to build their own personal wish lists. It's okay to bid on broader search terms earlier in the season. It'll help you understand where to focus your funds for whenever your peak dates are.
Two holiday-specific bidding strategies to consider: Bid on keywords related to the term 'gift', particularly if you've got content to support it. This strategy works especially well if you've got a wider product catalog but a niche market. For example, a 'gift guide for puzzle lovers' would be a great fit for a games store to pull out a range of puzzle-focused products.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, why not bid on unexpected terms that aren't so directly related to your products? Your future customers may find you conducting their everyday searches, for example 'city name + weather' could be a great opportunity to spotlight your winter boots if a blizzard is in the forecast, that may end up on someone's wish list weeks down the road.
Pro ROAS Tip: Don't sweat ROAS or conversion rates too much during the discovery months, particularly October and the first half of November. The primary metric here is visibility.
Ensure your ad content is accurate, detailed, and up to date
Imagine you're ready to pull the trigger on a new Google Shopping ads campaign, only to have the bulk of your ads rejected? LimeSpot Shopping Ads for Google has continuous catalog syncing to ensure your product listings are current and complete, as well as pre-validation to ensure acceptance by Google.
Not only that, we enrich your Shopping ad listings with additional product attributes such as gender, product descriptions, and product details to ensure your ads have more data points for Google to plug into, giving you more exposure (including free listings).
Pro ROAS Tip: Don't wait until peak season to make sure your ad feed is running smoothly. Get your ads in market at least a week before your key dates to ensure everything is optimized and running as it should.
Manage your inventory with early season insights
Another key reason to run your Google Shopping ads well before the holidays hit is to get a pulse on what your top gifting products are, using Google's best sellers report. This report is refreshed daily, but can also be used to view historical data, which is great for retailers that carry a large range of products but on a consistent year-over-year basis. By pinpointing what did well last season, or even early in the gift season in 2021, you can ensure you've got inventory to spare for the influx of orders you'll be receiving.
Pro ROAS Tip: Use the best sellers report to also identify which products are the most worthy of your spend for the season. Use Google's Target ROAS Smart Bidding and custom labels to have the highest probability of showing up in the first spot for your best-converting products.
Make sure your images pop
Great photography is paramount to standing out on Google Shopping. For clothing brands, it's recommended you use images that are 250x250 px images. Non-clothing stores can use 100x100 px images. Test out your imagery earlier in the season to see which image drives the most clicks, for example, testing out lifestyle vs product shots, or trying out different lifestyle shots head-to-head.
Pro ROAS Tip: High quality and clear imagery is key to avoiding your Google ads from being disapproved.
Get prepped for key promo dates
We've got a calendar for this one. According to the NRF, 72% of purchases made over the lucrative Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend were specifically for gifts. This means putting your best gifting foot forward, especially related to pricing deals and promotions.
You can use Google promotions to actually spotlight discounts and offers on your products, which is particularly clutch for the busy BFCM period, when nearly everyone is on the hunt for deals.
Pro ROAS Tip: Don't put all your eggs in the BFCM basket. Take a look at our full holiday calendar and consider raising your ad spend on other key dates that may be less competitive but no less critical to driving revenue.
Integrate review ratings for instant social proof
Speed up the time to checkout by adding in your product ratings to your Google Shopping ads. Customers will want to know that your product - and your brand - is trusted. Seeing multiple ads side-by-side can be a zero sum game, unless your ad stands out by showing a high number of reviews (popularity) and ratings (quality).
Pro ROAS Tip: Google - and shoppers! - love the words 'best' and 'top rated'. Having seller ratings for your products gives Google another data point to surface your ad more often, and drive more conversions for your brand. If you sell through other channels, do what you can to drive more reviews for your products as both volume and rating will impact your ranking.
Sync your online buying strategy with your offline availability closer to the holidays
If you've got a brick and mortar location, take advantage of it - particularly around peak shopping dates like BFCM or the final days before the holidays. Use Google Shopping ad location extensions to serve up local inventory ads to customers that are in the same city as you, or even within the same neighborhood to drive foot traffic directly to your stores.
Pro ROAS Tip: Shift the bulk of your ad spend budget to local ads after online shipping cutoff dates have passed.
Create a bespoke shopping experience from your ads
So you've got someone to click on your ad - great! But you might see a high bounce rate and low ROAS unless you've created an experience that allows a customer to find exactly what they're looking for, fast. With LimeSpot's Segmented Experiences module, you can create an entirely custom site experience based on how they enter your site, including from each Google ad you run.
For example, a customer that clicks on a premium model of a bike could be sorted into a 'luxury' category on your site. The products you feature on the home page, the hero image for a gift guide you spotlight, and even the product sort order of any collection page can all be tailored to a premium shopper with more money to spend. Learn more about Segmented Experiences by downloading our ebook.
Pro ROAS Tip: Think beyond Google Shopping when it comes to boosting ROAS through segmented buyer journeys. For example, if you're spending money on a major influencer campaign this winter, create a custom landing page for anyone that comes from the influencer's accounts and tailor their buying experience from there.
Is your Google Shopping ad strategy ready for the 2021 holiday shopping season?
As we said, your best bet with Google Shopping ads is to start early and test frequently. With that in mind, why not try LimeSpot Shopping Ads for Google? It's completely free to install and get started with. We can help you:
- Better target customers based on where they're at in the buyer journey
- Reduce overhead by automating the review process
- Ensure your catalog is always up to date and accurate
- Improve visibility with additional enrichment
- Drive higher ROAS on autopilot