The secret to Shopping Ad success is structure.

The correct solution lies somewhere in between a single campaign per product, and a single Ad Group containing all products. It’s not too dissimilar to how we treat customers, we can’t target each person individually, but we equally don’t treat everyone the same.
The difference between a Shopping Ad campaign and, say, an email marketing campaign, is the ease in which we can segment products into distinct clusters (using labels, campaigns and ad groups). With that, up-front resource is a small part of the equation when deciding how to structure an account.
Every account is different, but the answer usually lies in being ultra-granular. Not quite a campaign per product, but not far off.

Reason 1: Negative Keywords

This is due to the importance of negative keywords for Shopping Ads. Whilst Google, I’m sure, tries its best to show relevant terms it doesn’t always get it right. And the main problem isn’t irrelevant terms anyway, it’s generic, but relevant, terms.

Take our hypothetical shop, The Rucksack Shack. We want to setup ads for our outdoor, waterproof rucksack category.

  • Irrelevant terms: rucksacks for work, fashionable rucksacks, ladies rucksacks, womens hand bags
  • Generic terms: bags, rucksacks, sacks, backpacks

Whilst our irrelevant terms could cost a pretty penny, imagine how many people search for “bags”!

google shopping adwords ads

The ads shown here, whilst technically relevant, are showing due to very high bids.

Only very high bids would cause our Rucksacks to show for such a term, but there are occasions when such high bids would be lucrative. On such occasions, we need to be clever with our negative keywords or our small Rucksack shop will go under.

Our data tells us terms like “outdoor rucksacks” and “waterproof rucksacks” will perform best. “Rucksacks” may generate sales, but we can only afford a low CPC due to lower conversion rates.

Proper account structure allows us to do just that, we allow “rucksacks” as part of an ad group with lower bids, keeping bids higher for more lucrative terms. That leads nicely onto…

Reason 2: Bids

Not all queries are created equal.

It would be nonsensical to apply the same bid across all keywords within a Campaign or AdGroup, why do it for shopping queries? Some will be more profitable than others, and bidding accordingly will allow us to squeeze more out of the best terms without wasting money on the worst.

This is where we reach our first speedbump. As a small Rucksack company, splitting AdGroups and channeling search queries accordingly sounds like a great plan, but what happens when we have 50 campaigns, each with 5 AdGroups? Or more!? It becomes unmanageable.

You may have guessed the answer lies in automation, automated bidding to be precise.

Some form of automated bidding is advised as soon as it is possible (when the account has enough data), but a large number of adGroups makes it necessary.

Reason 3: Relevance

I think you’ll find I searched for white rucksacks.

When  Google gets it wrong negative keywords help, but there’s more to it than that. It’s not just about preventing search queries, it’s about channeling them.

Negative keywords allow us to sculpt our AdGroups, channeling search queries to the right AdGroups and most importantly, the right products. Splitting AdGroups down to the right Rucksack colour is an extreme example, but hopefully you can see how this can seriously boost relevance.

AdGroup Negative Keywords (for sculpting) Example Search Queries
Outdoor waterproof waterproof rucksack
Outdoor Waterproof  – outdoor waterproof rucksack
Black white black outdoor rucksacks
White black white outdoor rucksacks
Other Colours black, white blue outdoor rucksacks
All splash proof rucksacks

An “All” AdGroup is always advised with few or no negative keywords, it’s great for prospecting.

Deciding On AdGroups

When deciding whether to split out AdGroups, you want to look at two things:

  • Volume
  • Relevancy issues
  • Performance

Low volume AdGroups are a waste of time. If the volume is low, so is the advantage.

Are your white Rucksacks showing for searches for other colours? Check if it’s an issue before creating the new AdGroup.

Equally, we want to split AdGroups where there is a big enough performance gap. If we find queries containing “waterproof” have a 25% ERS whilst the rest of the products average at 50%, that’s a good reason to split out AdGroups and channel more spend into those profitable “waterproof” terms.

Wrapping Up

The extent depends on the account but always err on the side of granular. It will ensure the right products are shown, for the right queries, at the right bids.

Automated bidding is a big part of this approach, especially for larger accounts. Automated bidding solutions will generally favour AdGroups aiming for the more profitable, granular terms, and bid accordingly. However, ensure that’s the case by setting min/max bid constraints.

To take this to the next level, consider our auto-negative keyword adding script. It will add negative keywords based on positive keywords you supply, a massive time saver.

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