Strategy

Best Practices for Your Google Shopping Feed

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Google's Shopping campaigns provide an excellent opportunity to get your inventory feed in order. Your feed is the backbone of the entire campaign - so without a quality feed, your campaigns will likely suffer. Missing or disorganized data could potentially cost you sales.

 

Prior to Shopping campaigns, Google would match your data feed information from product targets (categories for similar products) with the search terms people entered to best determine which ads displayed and at what bid amount. But this structure didn't allow for additional levels of segmentation within the product targets. Now with Shopping campaigns, the product targets are gone, and you can organize and group your inventory into Product Groups. Product Groups allow you to segment your inventory into subcategories for classifications like Brand, Item ID, Condition, or Product Type. Then, you can assign separate bid values to each segment of the Product Group. Being able to create more granular campaigns with Product Groups will help you generate more efficient and relevant ads. Using ChannelAdvisor's Product Group Generator will help you save time with this process; in fact, internal tests showed the Product Group Generator built an entire campaign 37 times faster than it took to build the same job manually.

Read on to learn ways to improve your inventory data feed so that you can make the most of your Google's Shopping campaigns.

In a hurry?
Check out the Creating Your Google Shopping Feed Express Guide related to this topic. 


Clean Data, Clean Images


To begin, make sure that you're not missing any vital information within your product attribute columns. Since the product attributes are directly matched to search queries, gaps in data could prevent potential shoppers from seeing your ads. Inventory feeds can be thousands of lines long, so consider beginning with your most profitable products first to save time. Finally, when time permits, move to the products that have smaller margins, and make sure they have complete product data, as well.

Along with clean data, you need clean images. Some basic tips include:

  • Use images that fill an 800x800 pixel space.
  • Consider different angles to separate your products from those of your competitors.
  • Avoid using images with watermarks.
  • Do not include multiple products within an image.
     

Using Custom Labels


Custom Labels are a new structured way to label products in your data feed and can be especially useful if the other attributes in your feed are not sufficient. You define the purpose and values that are used for your custom labels, which gives you even more control of how you organize and bid on your product groups. Custom attributes like profitability and seasonality are examples of common custom labels.

Retailers are limited to five custom labels, marked 0-4, so it's best to first define the purpose of each label and then begin mapping possible values that you want to populate these fields for your products. Because there can only be one label per column in your feed, make sure that all descriptions are aligned under the proper headings. Creating a chart, like the one below, can help you keep label values in order when you finally input them into your feed.

Custom Label

Purpose

Custom Label Values

0New vs. EstablishedNew, Existing, Discontinued
1On SaleStrong Sale, Modest Sale, No Sale
2ProfitabilityHigh, Low
3Limited Inventory100+, 10+, 1
4SeasonalWinter, Spring, Summer, Fall


Then, input the custom labels to the feed itself. Keeping the chart you create (like the one above) in mind:

  1. Add columns for Custom Labels 0-4 (depending on how many you plan to use).
  2. For each SKU, in the Custom Label columns, populate the field with the values you already established for each custom label. Remember to keep the same label in the same custom label attribute column. 
For example, your feed may look like this:

ID

Title

custom_label_0

custom_label_1

custom_label_2

custom_label_3

custom_label_4

1Brand X Black TankNewNo Sale  Summer
2Brand Q Jeggings Womens  High1 
3Brand Q Jean Womens Strong SaleHigh100+ 
4Brand X Basic TeeNew   Summer


For more on Custom Labels, see Creating a Google Shopping Feed .

Once you've established your custom labels and have submitted them to Google, they are usable and can be combined with the standard values that are already in the field to refine your campaigns.  Although enhancing your feed can be a lot of work, it's an invaluable step to take toward improving the performance of your campaigns. Also, once your feed is optimized, it's easier to add additional products since your attribute structure will already be in place. 

Finally, to ensure that you're generating accurate and timely ads, submit your feed as often as possible . You don't want to mislead or upset a potential shopper by promoting a product that has changed price or became out of stock since the last time your feed was submitted.
 

What's Next?


After your feed is in order, it's time to start mapping your campaign structure, and create product groups based on that structure. Visit our Google's Shopping Campaigns: Structure and Product Groups page for tips about this process. 

Return to Google Shopping Strategy at ChannelAdvisor  to learn more about Google's Shopping campaigns.

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