PPC Chat Streamcap – Google Shopping Updates & PPC

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) doled out questions discussing “Google Shopping Updates & PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What concerns do your clients have about the Google Shopping updates?

  • Understanding the amount of traffic from G-Shop and what that will now cost. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Impact on ROI. What was low hanging fruit is a little bit higher to grab now. Another issue I am seeing in-house is how do we track it to our 3rd party ERP platform? – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • Number one concern is having to spend money to get traffic that was previously free. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Feed optimization, time management, PLA integration, budget, traffic, revenue, ROI – all concerns with the looming changes. – Jessica Cameron Ruud (@Camruud)
  • Is it still a viable channel re: ROI / ROE (Return of Effort). – Russel McAthy (@therustybear)
  • The main concern here is that we won’t have as much control over what appears where. Data Feeds need to be highly focused! – Nathan Schubert (@NateSchubert)
  • Cost will be an issue and also the logistics…or new logisitcs if they change. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • During the holidays there will be very few retailers that can pay for that much traffic. – Chris Kostecki
  • I am happy with this update in the sense that it will help clean feeds up. – Matt Umbro
  • Optimization & Tracking. Both have historically been obnoxious in g-shopping, need to see if juice is worth the squeeze. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • You should have more control. Being able to bid where you want your products shown is a plus. – Andrew Davis (@CPC_Andrew)
  • Increased competition will drive up costs. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
    • Not necessarily, if you are segmenting your feed appropriately you can still get those lower CPCs. – Matt Umbro
      • More people will be doing PLAs now. That should drive up competition. – Jeremy Brown
        • Yes, but just like general search network PPC, if you manage and optimize the right way you’ll see lower CPCs. – Matt Umbro
          • Lower than if you do it wrong, but more players will likely drive up CPCs. Many clicks for PLA campaigns low cpc now. For a number of retail clients, we are seeing lower CPCs across the board. A part of that is low adoptions. – Jeremy Brown 
            • We’ll see, I’m not totally convinced that CPCs will go up dramatically. – Matt Umbro
            • Google has stated that .01 bids will be allowed, so if ur on a comp page its a way to get exposure w/ low costs. – CPC Strategy (@CPCstrategy)
              • Might not go up right away, but I see them going up in November and then after. Lots more people aware of PLAs now. – Jeremy Brown
  • IMO the Google Shopping update is a shame. More mallification of the web & search. – Dan Barker (@danbarker)
    • Disagree! Could improve/make it relevant again. – Aaron Levy
  • Also where is G’s focus going to be going forward – how will be integrated into the search – more prominent? – Russell McAthy
  • Mostly confusion on how it works exactly. And the fact that they have pay for clicks now, of course. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • Its taking away product inventory, as a searcher that makes it worse, most CSEs are on their last legs & G gave up its value prop. – Chris Kostecki
  • When its free, ppl throw EVERYTHING at the wall & pollute results. Paid, have to optimize to what consumers really want. – Aaron Levy

Q2: How are you explaining the Google Shopping updates to your clients?

  • We never showed up too much in the free section, always doing paid anyway. Boss was excited to get more opportunity. – Kristi Davis (@KristiBug)
  • Opportunity for more traffic that we can segment by ROI goals, etc. – Jeremy Brown
  • Only have a few clients who use it, but we educating them on the update and letting them know about the strategy and testing. – Mark Kennedy
  • It’s a big opportunity for our clients. Most retailers are confused / afraid of this program which = advantage for us. – Andrew Davis

Q3: What are your thoughts (both positive and negative) regarding the new PLA formats?

  • Sounds like a good blog post 🙂 I haven’t heard many details about how different it will be. – Jeremy Brown
  • The New PLA Formats present a great opp. for retailers to merchandise their inventory directly on SERPs. Definitely an improvement over both the old free gShopping listings and traditional adwords. – Nii Ahene (@Nii_Ahene)
  • I think they look nice. I don’t have too many complaints! – Kristi Davis
  • I’ve found the image PLA’s to have a lower Rev. / Conv. so reaching an acceptable ROI more challenging than traditional ads. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • +’s:gives retailers control over what products get exposure that they never got before. negatives: it’s like having access to a free lunch buffet everyday but now you’re paying for each lb of food you eat – CPC Strategy
  • The formats themselves look fine. I think it’s clear they are no longer organic results. – Jeremy Brown
  • I really like the new formats. – Matt Umbro
  • I think there will be a lot better/more granular control for product targeting. – Rick Galan (@RickGalan)
    • Hope so but…. Google is aggressively pushing to automate “let them handle it” & don’t see em giving up search=product. – Chris Kostecki
      • No, i agree with that.. but right now the control is there, it’s just a nightmare to manage. I have segmented every way – brand, category, top products, sale products, by performance, individual skus, etc. – Rick Galan
        • If you can group top performing and worst performing products you are in for some granular groups. You can also tease out top performing products in brands and categories and put into groups – Andrew Davis
  • Setting up and optimizing data feeds on the fly will be integral to a successful Google Shopping campaign. Especially analyzing ad groups in Analytics and teasing out best performers, then creating new groups in the feed to optimize ROI. – Andrew Davis
  • PLA’s equals 1 to 4 ads – GS equals crazy amount of real estate and a totally different strategy. – CPC Strategy
  • With the ongoing PLA testing of formats (images, mutli links, expandable, etc.) it’s hard to tie results to each version. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • Yep, definitely a lot more targeting options for selecting which inventory to merchandise though we’re putting trust in Google for figuring out ‘product related’ queries. – Nii Ahene
  • I think they are fine formats – would like clearer reporting options to tie down specifically what was live. – Russell McAthy
  • I think google is way ahead of bing shopping who cant get my categories right. – Nathan Schubert
  • Also, retailers need to make sure their feeds are highly relevant – especially now that they will be paying to show these results! – Matt Umbro
  • Yeah for now PLA realestate is owned by a small % (1%ers?), once GS is fully out the 10000s of retailers will fight. – CPC Strategy
  • Honestly, managing PLAs in AdWords could be a separate service all together. – Matt Umbro
    • PLAs will be a bigger part of ecommerce budget. Interesting to see who doesn’t want to manage that budget. – Jeremy Brown
  • Conversion Rate & CTR… individual sitelinks can influence headline results as well. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
    • Yes, would be nice to have more granular reporting to break down how format changes affect conversion rate. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • Google will likely roll out more targeting in the future (don’t have details on that). Lots you can do now. – Jeremy Brown

Q4: How do you ensure PLA campaigns are segmented as finely as they should be

  • Until match specific searches to specific products its a fail – do we forget Broad Match when we look to product types & groupings. – Chris Kostecki
  • By segmenting as tightly as possible considering brands, product types + search volumes and ROI. – Anisha
  • Make sure youre tracking which auto targets are rendering your ads. This’ll give you way more insight into ad rotation. – David Weichel (@DavidWeichel)
  • If you manage existing campaigns on other paid CSEs, u should already know which segments perform well, so there’s your start. – Nii Ahene
  • Adding labels wrt product price nd segmenting it. – Manoj Pandey (@_MAN0J)
  • Follow the data, and don’t make too many assumptions based on past performance. – Andrew Davis
  • A great one is to cut off low-ROI, low price-point products from the feed altogether. – Jeremy Brown
  • Bid high around $1.00 or more to find your avg CPC rate, then move it down to the average, and watch spend / rev close. – Andrew Davis
    • Negative spiral costs more, Penny bidding will get you know no where – if we can match better we can bid aggressively. – Chris Kostecki
  • Brand, Price Band, SKU, Margin… all this information can and should be populated into the adwords_label column. – Nii Ahene
  • Look at LPs from PLAs in Analytics. What products are getting traffic -how are they segmented in your feed – analyze & optimize. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
  • Another reason to segment PLAs is to put category/product specific messaging (ex: 15% off shoes vs. 10% off jackets). – Matt Umbro
    • Can do the same thing with Dynamic Search Ads. Which BTW in less than a week has a 2,000+% ROAS thus far. – Brian Gaspar
  • I would certainly hope (and naively expect) between now and October Google will provide better tools. – CPC Strategy
    • Word from my sources is that there is nothing planned other than what’s there currently. I think that will change. – Rick Galan
    • Supposedly some refinements coming from Google, but not major changes (according to one rep). – Jeremy Brown
    • I hope so, but would bet on the “we got it under control/too many factors” approach. – Chris Kostecki

Q5: How do you envision the platform within AdWords will be for managing shopping listing results? In other words, how will we manage shopping listings?

  • I honestly do not see Google making major changes to adwords to cater to Shopping Listings besides what we see today. – Nii Ahene
  • Very similar to how we currently manage Product Listing Ads. Targeting at the feed level, bidding through AdWords. – Jessica Cameron Ruud
    • Agreed. With the data feed managing this campaign is completely it’s own thing. – Andrew Davis
  • Google really needs to have a different section/UI for shopping just like they need it for Display. – James Svoboda
  • In the near-term, not much different than currently managing PLA ads. Longer term, more options. – Jeremy Brown
  • It should move to adwords, if all traffic is paid for, why have merchant center – prob thru AWE or a G-Doc plugin in web. – Chris Kostecki
    • Nope. Google needs the data feed. – Rick Backus (@CPC_Rick)
      • Right, but why upload feed to merchant center, w no billing, as opposed to upload to Adwords. – Chris Kostecki
        • They want some sort of delination between feeds and advertising especially since the Google Trust Stores feeds. – Nii Ahene
        • Ah I gotcha. Yeah combining the logins makes sense but Google is REALLY slow to respond to these types of issues. – Rick Backus
  • I think there’s going to be a lot more communication between PPC agencies and CSE agencies. – Andrew Davis
  • My guess is that the new network setting options in AdWords are a first step toward separating PLA and shopping listing management. – Matt Umbro
  • The fact they haven’t created a specialized interface for display probably should be a good indicator of future enhancements. – Nii Ahene
  • Most CSE Svcs interrupt feed from merchant, optimize/etc & then publish, Google will need to allow for this, incl template updates. – Chris Kostecki
    • That’s what we do. But we don’t interrupt feeds. We give them makeovers. – Andrew Davis
  • Start getting really familiar with shopping listing management. Possibly start charging for it as a separate service. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Question – Has anyone seen the new buying guides for queries outside of ‘tents’ on the new Google Shopping. – Nii Ahene


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Who does these Streamcaps? This guy:

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; Internet Marketing for WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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One Response to PPC Chat Streamcap – Google Shopping Updates & PPC

  1. Lisa Sanner says:

    Great discussion. Sorry I missed it. I’ve been all over my reps to see what we should do to prepare our PLA campaigns for this change. We have a pretty segmented and optimized campaigns already (auto targets, filters, negatives). Their answer was basically “Nothing. No immediate action required. You’re in good shape.” Google is focusing on “advertisers to get onboard with PLA’s if they haven’t already, which will help users enjoy a richer Shopping experience, and better results for advertisers.” I share concerns about the rise in cpc’s especially for our most popular products that are already in competitive bid landscapes, and especially for the holidays. Forecasting and planning budgets around that has been difficult for our clients to understand they need to think about this now.

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