Building a Google Shopping Structure To Win Customers
Originally published July 27. 2017. Updated October 28, 2021.
Align Search Queries with the Right Products and Bids in Google Shopping
When setting up Google Shopping campaigns, it is often difficult to decide out how to organize your account to best segment your data and find appropriate bids for your products. Since this is done using different methods than Search, it can sometimes be a daunting task.
The biggest difference between Shopping and Search is that in Shopping campaigns, we bid on products, whereas with Search campaigns, we bid on keywords targeting specific search queries directly. While this is true at a basic, technical level, there are strategies we can use to segment our Shopping products and bids based on search queries.
Note: Google Smart Shopping campaigns do not support the addition of negative keywords, so the strategy below may not be applied for this type of Shopping campaign.
Let’s pretend we own a company called CoolPool that sells inflatable pools for kids. Take these three queries:
“inflatable pool for children” “inflatable pool” “CoolPool inflatable pool”
If we only have one Shopping campaign selling inflatable pools, we are likely to show the same product with the same bid for all those queries. However, don’t each of these queries have different values to us?
The search query containing “children” will likely have a higher conversion rate than search queries without “children” since our products are specifically made for kids. We are therefore able to bid more for that click while still hitting our performance target. Without separate campaigns with separate priorities, we will be overbidding on the “inflatable pool” query and underbidding on “inflatable pool for children”. The same concept applies for any brand searches. Brand searches typically have a higher conversion rate, because the searcher shows intent to visit us exclusively- looking for “CoolPool” by name.
Thankfully, we can segment search queries containing the word “children” and “CoolPool” using campaign priorities.
Understanding Campaign Priorities
Before getting into the specifics of setting up this particular account, we need to first understand how campaign priorities work. (You can find Google Ads Help docs here.) Even the word “priority” can be a bit misleading. Just because a campaign has a lower priority than another, that does not mean that the products contained in that campaign are any less valuable to the company.
There are three campaign priorities: High, Medium, and Low. Your general shopping campaign that picks up the majority of your traffic will be set at Medium priority. High priority campaigns are used for segmenting out products that are considered outliers (Best Sellers, Poor Performers, On Sale items, etc.). Low Priority campaigns are used to segment out traffic by search queries, which is what we will be focusing on in this article.
If we have multiple medium priority campaigns with identical products but different bids, the campaign containing the product with the highest bid will participate in the auction. However, if our three campaigns all have different priorities, the product from the highest priority campaign will participate in the auction, even if the same product from a lower priority campaign has a higher bid.
With the use of negative keywords, we can use these campaign priorities to filter out search terms.
Segmenting Search Queries
Back to our example: First, make sure your General Shopping campaign is set to Medium Priority (Google Ads > Shopping Campaign > Settings > Shopping settings (advanced)). Next, we need to create a new shopping campaign with a low priority. Organize this new campaign with an identical structure to the existing General Shopping campaign (same ad groups, product groups, and exclusions).
The most important piece when setting up this new campaign is to have identical negative keywords as in your General Shopping campaign. Once you have copied over all negative keywords to your Low Priority campaign, add “children” as a negative keyword to your General Shopping campaign (but not your Low Priority campaign).
If all products in your Low Priority campaign are also active in your General Shopping campaign, the only search terms that will match to your Low Priority campaign are ones that contain the word “children”. You will want to add negatives like “kids” & “child” to your General Campaign as well, as negative keywords don’t leverage the same ‘close variants’ matching as normal keywords; otherwise, singular/plural variations and synonymous search terms will not be blocked.
Using this method, we can segment out search queries containing “children” to more accurately bid to their true value. In several cases, we have been able to double total Shopping traffic and revenue for clients by using this strategy. These are huge wins that can be accomplished with a properly structured account.
This same concept applies for segmenting out our Brand searches. Although the proportion of Brand vs Non-Brand traffic will be lower on Shopping than on Search, we still want to make sure we are optimizing bids everywhere we can.
Create another Low Priority campaign with the exact same negative keyword list as your general campaign, but now add your Brand name as a negative on all other campaigns. In our example above, we would want to add “CoolPool” as a negative to both our General Campaign and our “Children” Low Priority campaign.
It’s important to remember that any time you add a negative keyword to your General Shopping campaign, you must also add that keyword to your Low Priority Shopping campaigns.
Up Next: Using High Priority Campaigns
While this article only covers the use of Low Priority campaigns to segment traffic based on search queries, High Priority campaigns can also be useful to segment products based on performance. Understanding how to use these campaign priorities to segment products and traffic is essential for creating a highly-optimized account, so we’ll address them in an upcoming post.