The State of Shopping Campaigns

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “The State of Shopping Campaigns.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Now that Shopping campaigns have been around for a few years, what trends are you noticing and why?

  • Campaign structures are getting much more complicated. Used to make money with all products target. Now hierarchy is very deep. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • Competition increases by the day, feeds becoming more and more detailed/granular, policies becoming more strict, etc. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Not a cheap source of revenue anymore. The cash cow has caught on – PLAs cost more now and the process have become more complex. – Matt Umbro
  • Shopping is growing in % of account budget & conversions. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I’ve noticed that people don’t realize they’re ads. – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • Product differentiation is getting harder for the user. This may lead to trust issues. – Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
  • Added complexity, increased market spend, increased adoption rate of searchers. – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
  • The new Shopping campaign structure is great AND sucks at the same time. Targeting needs to improve. A. LOT. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Somewhat unrelated, but SKU-based keywords are significantly less efficient (added competition + the existence of Shopping). – Leo Sussan
  • Google still has a lot of work to do. Demand is there, but more control is needed for advertisers. – Matt Wilkinson (@WilkinsonSEM)
  • Mobile is quickly ramping up. – Shaun Wild (@swild826)
  • I wonder if Google will begin experimenting with a “Buy” button directly from the Shopping campaign search window. Seems like something they’d do. – Leo Sussan
    • That would make sense – I would ready sign up for the beta! – Matt Umbro
      • Would be *amazing* for smaller retailers, but it would also piss off a LOT of people. – Leo Sussan
      • How would that work? Auto-plant the product in the cart of the winning ad & send user to cart upon click? – Kirk Williams
        • Probably more like the Twitter beta – checkout from the shopping page, Google Wallet would handle the buy. – Leo Sussan
        • Or Google becomes a shopping platform like Amazon – advertisers submit their “stores” to Google. – Matt Umbro
        • Then bring back something like the Bing Cashback program from a few years ago & have my paycheck. – Chris Haleua
        • They’ve already got product feeds, building a marketplace backend a la Amazon seems pretty plausible. The Shopping SERP is already pretty similar. – Leo Sussan
      • You go back. All others are priced similar w/ similar photo. As a marketer, how do you differentiate? – Rohan Ayyar
      • I would hate that as a user. Wary about enabling features like one-click on Amazon. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • At times it is confusing and a bit complicated. Need to revamp the interface to make it more user-friendly. – Selin Gurjar (@selzay)
  • Merchant Center is a misfit product mostly ignored by Google. Can’t even create filters in MC. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
    • Agreed – I do like the new Diagnostics tab – step in the right direction. – Matt Umbro
      • Diagnostics is long overdue. Now if they just improve everything else! – Jeremy Brown
  • Also starting to see more experimentation with “PLA extensions”, such as Special Offers. – Dave Rosborough
  • Tough to compete with service or quality when price shoppers appear to be main traffic drivers. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Setup/maintenance seems complicated and very manual, but are necessary for e-commerce advertisers. – Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
  • Good points from all. Shopping Campaigns are training users to shop by price, advertisers will find ways to exploit that. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Understanding how to better use Shopping campaigns is causing us to re-analyze where we spend our PPC budget. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
  • Certainly far more competition, ad cost increase, more complexity & agreed optimisation not helped by outdated GMC. – Andrew Baker (@andbkr)

Q2: What is your stance on shopping campaign importance in accounts compared to other areas (remarketing, text ads, etc)? Why?

  • For ecommerce advertisers, they can be your best performing campaigns. – Dave Rosborough
  • For any ecomm-focused business, very important & necessary. – Timothy Jensen
  • For many of our retail clients, Shopping Campaigns has surpassed Non-brand search as top revenue or ROI source (behind Brand). – Matt Wilkinson
  • Top priority for retailers. Then RLSA. Then dynamic remarketing. Then standard search text ads. Then DSA. Then GDN. – Chris Haleua
  • At this point for me, in order of “importance” based upon results: (1) Shopping (2) Remarketing (3) Search (4) Display. – Kirk Williams
    • 100% agree – can’t succeed in ecomm without shopping ads. – Matt Umbro
  • All based on behavioral trends. As the internet becomes saturated with rich media, search trends will skew towards Shopping. So in short, Shopping is super important to last touch retail efforts, will remain important. – Leo Sussan
  • Would be interesting to see some sort of lead-based “Google Shopping” platform. SERPs filled with Services instead of Products. – Dave Rosborough
  • Research buyer behavior for your products. If they have a short buying cycle, shopping campaigns may be ideal. – Rohan Ayyar
  • We only work on eComm sites, Shopping campaigns are top priority, however we also develop the site so we build with GSC in mind. – Andrew Baker
  • Extremely important, and can drive 60% of traffic. Which is why Google’s underwhelming support of MC is so odd. – Jeremy Brown
  • You have to do it or at least have the pieces ready to go when you want it. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • For ecommerce it should be one of the main pillar’s holding up the PPC roof. – James Svoboda
  • How important is visualization for your product line? Do they sell well through search and on first click? – Rohan Ayyar
  • Shopping has potential to grant a lot of control and client feedback w/ profit margins & accurate conversion values in feeds. – Tyler Purcell

Q3: Is “feed management” part of your account strategy? If so, do clients pay extra for this service? Why or why not?

  • Generally no, but we do some limited aspects of feed management. – Jeremy Brown
  • Feed management is super important for set up, maintenance, disapproval’s etc. We do have clients that pay extra for it. – Margot da Cunha
  • Don’t get me started on this…. IMO Feed Mgmt providers as a seperate entity no longer needed with Google Shopping Campaigns. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Gawd yes (strategy and charging). Every stupid feed is a unique snowflake of pain in the ass. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Yes, and no. I like to keep pricing as simple as possible (when possible) so I just make sure FM is part of my overall fee. – Kirk Williams
  • Hard for feed management not to be part of account strategy. Has become too entwined with Adwords not to. – Dave Schwartz (@davesch7)
  • As a client we expect the agency to optimize the feed. We know we have to deliver them the best data & they have to massage it. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Rather, agencies/advertisers should use tools to better optimize feeds. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Yes, someone has to keep an eye on the feed and optimizing for newly unearthed opportunities is part of the fun. – James Svoboda
  • Feed management needs to be part of PPC strategy and should be charged, but often times it isn’t. – Matt Umbro
  • Definitely. Feed management is an essential task that is intimidating at first but so worthwhile. A little help goes a long way. – Chris Haleua
  • Feed Management is necessary.. our targets depend on its performance.. no extra pay for this. – Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
  • Having 1 entity manage feed and another manage campaigns is a nightmare (and feed mgmt. providers now trying to poach business). – Matt Wilkinson
  • Nothing as heartbreaking as meeting a retailer who isnt live on GSC / PLA because they dont have images & product feed. – Chris Haleua
  • If I am ecomm and paying a search agency fee, it should include feed management. Not a fan of a la carte pricing. – Chris Kostecki
    • Perhaps diff for an independent like myself than a huge “known” agency, but simpler fees helps me in sales too. – Kirk Williams
      • Absolutely, even in a big brand, hardest pitch is scope change. Can fund a service, but can’t keep going to bat for more $. – Christ Kostecki
    • I find it varies from company to company, having both baked in & ala cart are good options. Sometimes you get a good dev. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • As alluded to in A2, as we build the eComm sites GSCs are part of design, incld Product Attributes, Feed Extn DEV & Management. We quite often work with 3rd party PPC agencies and it amazes me the lack of knowledge of feed management/opt for GSCs- Andrew Baker
    • Good point – that’s why agencies need to clearly define how they handle the feed or if they outsource. – Matt Umbro
  • This is where I’m at, if the agency knows they will have this as part of Shopping, why not bake it into original fee? – Kirk Williams
  • Defining “feed managment” is also difficult. Frequency, depth of optimization, etc. should all be agreed upon ahead of time. – Matt Wilkinson
  • Feed management forces us PPCers to learn the concepts of SEO. – Matt Umbro
  • I’ve found that most important is thorough initial feed development. Makes management easier in the long run. – Tyler Purcell

Q4: Now that BingAds Product Ads have been available for almost a year, what have your results and thoughts been? Why?

  • Very similar to Google, minus about 85% of the volume. – Dave Rosborough
  • As usual with Bing. Solid efficiency. Just hoping for more volume. For most clients, still decent return on time spent on setup. – Chris Haleua
  • It would be nice if Bing support for Google Shopping campaigns, came out soon. – Jeremy Brown
  • Bing Product Ads are where Google Shopping ads were two years ago – at this point all you need is an all products campaign. – Matt Umbro
  • Frankly, (& not just trying to complain) I’d like to build it out further when I have access to Editor. – Kirk Williams
  • It is what it is. First baby steps into direct response product marketing. Efficient, volume-less. – Leo Sussan
  • Have seen terrible results with Bing Products Ads vs what I had with Google Product Ads back in the day. – Ron Mahoney (@ronzmahoney)
  • I don’t know, my All Products thing isn’t going great, but I can’t go crazy building segmented campaigns without Editor. – Kirk Williams

Q5: What features and/or updates would you like to see made available in Google Shopping campaigns? Why?

  • Would be interesting to see a lead-based “Google Shopping” platform. SERPs filled w/ Services instead of Products. – Dave Rosborough
  • Alerts to make it easier to avoid product targeting overlap. Each SKU should ideally be targeted by only 1 product group. Then simple exceptions to use Campaign Priorities to control intentional overlap to highlights SKUs on sale during promotions. – Chris Haleua
  • #1 Lots more functionality in MC. #2 Optional keyword targeting. – Jeremy Brown
  • Expansion to Automated Item Updates (AIU) Mark-up to allow Google to crawl website product pages to keep feed/campaigns updated. – Andrew Baker
  • I’d like to exclude products like you can negative keywords – too time consuming to exclude individually by product group. – Matt Umbro
  • Better audience segmentation, more detailed messaging opportunities (maybe on hover), different LP options, more image options. – Chris Kostecki
  • Would also like to see functionality to target specific ‘Collection’ / Product Listing Pages not just Product Pages based on KWs. – Andrew Baker
  • Just melt the Merchant Center into AdWords UI already. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Built-in inventory management. When products go OOS, change status or switch to backup landing page of closest related product. – Chris Haleua
  • Seriously, bridge the gap between feed and advertiser. – Dave Rosborough
  • Easier view of performance opts based on differences between Shopping & Non-brand Search keyword performance. – Courtney Demko (@courtdemko)
  • Retail price intelligence with other competitors for products with matching MPN/SKU. – Shaun Wild
  • True Keyword targeting. Modified keyword targeting also… +30% bids for keywords containing Brand/Type/Style. – James Svoboda
  • Optional 5-second videos in place of product images. – Rohan Ayyar
  • Perhaps integration of PLAs w/ new or current ad extension formats? ex- related products extension, etc. – Dave Rosborough
  • More dynamic features, ie: 4 left in stock or 4 left at this price. – Matt Umbro
  • Get rid of promo copy line. People only see when they hover and of questionable value. – Jeremy Brown
  • Head Term Targeting that sends “Nike Shoes” type keywords to a filtered list of your products. – James Svoboda

Q6: What has been your experience with Amazon Product Ads so far?

  • To be honest, limited experience. But I cant describe how excited I am to watch 2 giants fight over my budget Excited for 2015. – Chris Haleua
  • APA depends a lot on product offering. Can be very profitable. Backend UI needs help & would like product bid ability. – Kirk Williams
  • With limited experience, not impressed. It will take a lot more work to improve. – Jeremy Brown
  • Used it at my last place, Amazon was huge for us. But I’m more excited by what happens next. – Leo Sussan
  • Would be interested in hearing more about these. PPCHero blog post idea? Surely you guys have a blog meeting soon..? – Dave Rosborough
  • Quick reminder – Amazon is a competitor to most ecomm sites. – Chris Kostecki

Resources

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Andrew Baker (@andbkr)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
• Courtney Demko (@courtdemko)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• Dave Schwartz (@davesch7)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• JD Prater (@jdprater)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Matt Wilkinson (@WilkinsonSEM)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
• Ron Mahoney (@ronzmahoney)
• Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
• Selin Gurjar (@selzay)
• Shaun Wild (@swild826)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
 

The State of PPCChat Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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