Google Shopping Ads & the Branded Terms strategy

How to avoid wasting money while reaping all the benefits from Google Shopping Ads

In this article, Jose Arevalo, HammaJack’s Digital Consulting Lead, explains a simple and useful technique to organise your Google Shopping Ads so that you can distribute your bids according to the funnel stage of your audience, and eventually, stop wasting money on low-value search terms.

The basics

If you have already wasted money by not separating your bids between your audience’s funnel stage, don’t worry - you’re in the right place.

Before we continue, let’s quickly talk about search terms and the likelihood of purchasing. Which one of the following people you think is more ready to buy?

Person 1 - search term: “best running shoes for a marathon”

Person 2 - search term: “new balance marathon running shoes”

If your answer is Person 2, you might be the right fit for this article as it is based on the premise that someone who includes the brand in their search term, is further down the sales funnel and more likely to buy.

Setting up your Google Shopping campaigns for success

Optimise your product titles

First of all, you need to make sure your product titles are optimised. This means, at a minimum, making sure that:

  • All of the relevant keywords have been included (Brand, product type, attributes, etc)

  • The order in which these keywords are presented in the Title is relevant to the industry

For example, for the running shoe case, the ideal Title would be Brand + Gender + Product Type + Attributes (colour, size, material):

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More information about how to optimise your product titles can be found in this article.

Campaign structure and negative keywords

After you have optimised your product titles, go ahead and copy your main Shopping Campaign (and its products) into a new campaign. Name this new campaign with something like “Shopping - Branded”. Also, rename the original campaign to something like “Shopping - Generic”.

As you might already know from a previous article, in Google Shopping Ads you can’t add keywords as you would in Search Campaigns, so instead we have to rely on Negative Keywords.

Specifically, we want to add the brand name as a negative keyword only in the “Generic” Campaign. By doing so, the products in this campaign won’t show up under branded search terms (e.g. “new balance marathon running shoes”). This differentiation will allow us to bid differently based on the search term. More about this down below.

Tip: If you are selling products from multiple brands I will suggest creating a negative keyword list. Then, apply the list to the “Shopping - Generic” Campaign. This keeps things nice and tidy (and probably will save you time down the road).

 
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Well done! Next is where most people get confused, so please bear with me.

Campaign bidding and priorities

Following the initial principle of this article, for search terms that include a brand name we want to set a high bid (as they might be more likely to buy). So please go ahead and set a high bid in your “Branded” campaign. Similarly, set a lower bid on your “Generic” campaign, as these searches might belong to people that are not ready to buy yet. So far so good.

However, if you remember, the “Branded” campaign doesn’t have any Negative Keywords, so - given an “unbranded” search term (e.g. “best running shoes for a marathon”), how do we avoid the products from the “Branded” campaign showing up?

Answer: Campaign priorities.

Yes, this may sound counterintuitive at first, but for this structure to work, you must set the “Generic” campaign's priority higher than the “Branded” Campaign’s.

 
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Don’t worry, this will only affect how your internal campaigns behave, yet your “Branded” campaign’s high bids will still be telling Google that you are ready to beat your competitors against that juicy branded search term.

Most important point

In order to stop wasting money in Google Shopping Ads, you should organise your campaigns based on the search term’s likelihood of purchase - being “brand name” the best indicator. To do this, it’s important to first optimise the product titles and then create a campaign structure that separates the branded and generic keywords through the use of negative keywords. Last but not least important, you should set up the bids and priorities so that you bid high on branded search terms and low on generic (or “un-branded”) search terms.