We worked an eCommerce site that sells plus-size lingerie (whose name we’ve withheld to protect their privacy) to increase conversion rate and revenue from its Google Shopping campaigns. The numbers we generated for them were:
- Conversion rate: increased 116%
- Revenue: increased 268%
Those are numbers to be proud of by any standard, so how did we do it?
By treating their online shopping campaigns like a brick and mortar window display.
Specifically, most companies let Google decide which products to display in their Google Shopping results, but this can often be killing your conversion rate and leaving lots of revenue on the table.
In this article, we’ll explain why, show you what we did to fix this problem, why it worked, and how you can do the same for your own shopping campaigns.
The Problem: Letting Google Decide What Product to Feature in Your Ads
We tell virtually all ecommerce brands that Google Shopping Campaigns are a worthwhile investment. They have a high click-through rate and convert extremely well.
But, if you’ve done any work at all with Shopping Campaigns, you know that competition is fierce.
You’ve done your homework and know what search queries are most likely to convert.
You bid aggressively and grabbed the Number 1 spot …
But … then what?
Which corset, specifically, do you want Google to display in that spot?
Most companies let Google just kind of guess based on traffic or whatever else Google can see.
In other words, they let Google decide which products to feature in the all-time single best sales location available in Google Shopping ads.
It would be like a retail store letting a complete stranger waltz in and decide what products get displayed in the window promotions at the front of the store.
Google doesn’t know your products like you do. It doesn’t know your margins. It also doesn’t know your strategic priorities.
This is exactly why we implemented product-specific campaign structure for the online retailer that mimics the science behind product placement in brick and mortar stores.
Because, just like a retail store, you want your best products displayed in the most prominent position in shopping campaigns.
And—as the numbers show—it works.
The 2 Changes We Made to Improve Revenue by 268%
To get these results, we made two simple—but impactful—changes to their existing shopping campaign.
Change #1: We cut out generic search terms (such as bras, lingerie, corset, etc.)
Before they came to us, the company was using a funnel approach that targeted a variety of keywords.
At the top of the funnel were keywords that were more generic—such as bras, lingerie, and corsets. On these keywords, they bid less aggressively.
At the bottom of their funnel were keywords such as plus-size corsets and DDD bras. For these keywords, they bid more aggressively, since these long-tail queries were a better match for our client’s products.
This is not a bad strategy.
It separates generic keywords from those with more buying intent.
It is not—however—an ideal strategy for a company with thousands of products in many categories, such as our client.
Their setup led to wasted campaign dollars by bidding on searches that were less likely to convert to sales.
We increased their Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) by getting rid of the top-of-the-funnel search terms.
Using negative keywords, we filtered out searches for generic terms (like bras, lingerie, corset, etc.). That way, we were only bidding on the most relevant searches.
If you want to know more about how to use negative keywords in PLA campaigns, check out our case study for another online clothing company, Skreened.
That resolved the problem of spending money on queries unlikely to convert into customers.
Change #2: We Told Google What Products Were Most Important
Our second change was to tell Google exactly what products we wanted to feature in the search returns for our shopping ads. This is where our retail approach comes in.
Take a search for “plus size corsets.”
Because they were bidding aggressively for this and similar keywords, they had a decent chance of showing up in the results when someone searched for them in Google.
But, which plus size corset would Google show?
Google might decide to show a corset that wasn’t a great seller or even show the same corset three times in three different sizes!
See, we know that a small percent of products make up the majority of a brand’s revenue. They sell the best. And they have the highest margins.
These are the products you’d want displayed at the front of a brick-and-mortar store.
They’re also the products you want to promote the most heavily online.
Our simple, effective hack to force Google to feature these products was to bid the most aggressively on top-performing products.
This had two positive results. As expected, we increased the click-through rate by showing products the consumers would likely be the most interested in.
In addition, we increased the possibility that multiple products would show up on a search page.
If you search for plus-sized corsets, you’ll get six to nine products on the results page.
Our goal was to display in as many of those listings as possible.
When you bid higher on specific products, you also increase those product’s relevancy score.
In effect, you’re making it more likely that multiple products rank as highly relevant on specific searches.
For our client, certain sizes sell better as well.
Again, to force Google’s hand, we bid more aggressively on top-selling sizes, increasing their relevance rating and making it more likely that customers searching for those specific sizes will see our products.
See how that works?
If you’re running an eCommerce store with hundreds of products—all with various styles, sizes, colors—and dozens of categories, don’t let Google guess which products you want to show in your shopping campaigns.
Instead, you tell Google what you want it do to with your money.
These two changes resulted in higher relevance scores, better impression share, higher click-throughs, and, yes, the most important metric of all…
Does your PLA strategy best match your products?
This is a common issue we see with new clients who have existing google shopping campaigns — they don’t know the best strategy for their products and, as a result, they’re wasting valuable campaign dollars bidding on searches that don’t convert.
By optimizing our client’s shopping campaign, we increased their revenue by 268%. Let us help you get your best possible return on ad spend by creating a unique strategy designed for your specific audience. Contact us here.