3 steps to achieving better Google Shopping Campaigns

James Webster, e-commerce PPC specialist at Impression, explains how businesses can target customers in the most relevant way.

online shopping

The average Google Ads account wastes 76% of total paid search budget on irrelevant search terms. The below graphic from Search Engine Journal demonstrates the correlation between productive spend and wasted spend in Google Ads. 

Google Ads graph

Google shopping has the ability to transform the revenue of a business, however, it can also become a platform for businesses to waste money as they struggle to understand their own Google Shopping campaigns. 

To prevent this and ensure marketers gain the most from their Google Shopping budgets, James Webster, Ecommerce PPC Specialist at Impression, has detailed three easy tips for how businesses can target their customers in the most relevant ways. 

Step 1 – Start using search query sculpting

Google Shopping is based on product bidding. Bidding on multiple products can create challenges for businesses to keep track of the terms that they want to show for and prioritise in shopping campaigns. 

To simplify this matter, businesses should engage in using search query sculpting. This allows advertisers to have multiple shopping campaigns for the same products, which may seem more complex, but it means they have greater control over which terms their products appear for.

For example, take a footwear retailer selling Nike trainers. They have a limited budget and would prefer to prioritise this on branded search terms. So, what do they need to do? 

Campaign Name Campaign Priority Bids Negative Keywords Example Search term
Nike – Catch All High Low “Nike” & “Air Max” Black trainers
Nike – Branded Low High N/A Nike black air max


  1. Create one shopping campaign with Nike trainers in and call it a ‘catch all’ campaign, this is designed to catch the more generic search queries so make sure your bids are lower in this campaign.
  2. In the settings of this campaign, ensure that the campaign priority is set to ‘high’.

Google shopping

  1. Create another shopping campaign with Nike trainers in and call it a ‘branded’ campaign this will only contain branded search queries so make sure bids are higher in this campaign.
  2. In the settings of this campaign, ensure that the campaign priority is set to ‘low’.
  3. Create a new negative keyword list and apply it to the ‘catch all’ campaign, within this list you want to add phrase match branded negative keywords e.g. “Nike” and “Air Max”. This ensures that any branded search terms are excluded from the catch all campaign and will filter into the branded campaign with higher bids.
  4. Created a shared budget for both campaigns. Search query sculpting only works when both campaigns are active, so make sure you are using the same budget for both!

For a more in-depth guide into the setup of search query sculpting, Kirk Williams provides a complete guide here.

Step 2 – Use custom labels to structure your shopping campaigns

While search query sculpting is a powerful technique for prioritising which type of search queries you want to show for, there are still more tricks businesses can use to achieve better Google Shopping ads. 

By adding custom labels, businesses will gain far better control of what products are showing in their ads. 

There are a total of five custom labels allowed per product {0,1,2,3,4}, allowing you to add external information for example: margin, price bracket, seasonality factors and priority of the product.

In the example below, we have used custom label 2 in the feed to input a variety of different factors that will help make bidding decisions much easier.

Google Ads bidding decisions

Not only does this allow us to bid more aggressively for the ‘bestseller’ or ‘five star review’ products we can also analyse the number of clicks and click-through rates of each product type. 

Step 3 – Use merchant promotions to shout about your offers

Now businesses have gained more control over the type of search query and the products that will be showing in their Google shopping campaign, it’s time to add the final trick to really stand out. 

Merchant promotions is a free feature allowing businesses to distribute their online promotions across their shopping ads. To set up Merchant promotions all you have to do is follow these short steps:

  1. Fill out this Google form to get your Merchant Center whitelisted – https://services.google.com/fb/forms/merchantpromotionsform/.
  2. Add a column in your feed called ‘promotion_id’ and ensure this is filled out for the products that you want to promote.
  3. Go into your Merchant Center and select ‘Marketing – Promotions’, here you will have a list of offers that are eligible.

Google Ads Merchant Center

  1. Once you have selected your offer, you will then enter your promotion id that should match the value in the feed.
  2. Give your promotion a title (this is what the customers will see) and enter a start/end date.
  3. Merchant Promotions usually take 24-48 hours to get approved.

Google Ads Merchant Promotions

Once the promotion is approved your shopping ad will now show a ‘special offer’ which stands out from your competitors selling the same product. Pretty simple, right?

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