If you use Google Shopping advertising for your ecommerce shop, then one of the trickiest decisions is deciding the correct bid for a particular item. Especially when the message from Google always seems to be “increase your bid”.
You’ll probably have noticed Google “helpfully” provide columns showing Benchmark values for Cost per Click and Click Through Rate.
In my experience working with boutique, niche ecommerce shops, the Benchmark cost per click is much higher than the value that gets me the best return on investment.
In the above example you can see that although for most product lines the average Cost per Click (CPC) is much lower than the benchmark, the actual click through rate (CTR) is superior.
Remember that with Shopping you don’t control the search terms you appear for – Google decides which products to show based on relevance, quality and bid.
Relevance comes mainly from the product description.
A key indicator of quality is the click through rate.
The higher the bid the more likely your product will be shown.
But there’s a contradiction.
A higher bid could mean your product will appear for generic and less relevant searches – which will lower your click rate and impact your quality rating.
So raising the bid can have a negative effect.
Let’s take as an example a Pink Leather Clutch Handbag.
It’s quite a specific item in an area (handbags) that’s very competitive. Using a high bid could mean your product appearing for searches such as “leather handbags” and “pink handbags” – where the click and conversion rates are likely to be low.
With a lower bid you’ll only likely to be shown for more specific searches with a better chance that you’ll get the sale.
Here’s some tactics to use to find your optimum bid:
Test different bids
Often with Adwords you just have to try it and see what happens. I halved the bid on one product and saw sales increase – and return on investment rocket. But lowering the bid can also mean your products no longer appear for good quality searches.
Make full use of Adwords & Analytics reporting
There is loads of data available in both Analytics and Adwords – although some of it can be hard to find. Use these to find problem areas and track your testing.
Use negative keywords
Although Shopping campaigns don’t allow you to specify keywords and phrases, you can add negative keywords.
You can use this to exclude generic search terms. In the example above we might add negative keywords like:
- [leather handbag]
- [leather handbags]
- [pink handbag]
- [pink handbags]
Using the  brackets means Google will only exclude searches for those exact terms. So you can still appear for ”pink handbags clutch style”.
Optimise your product descriptions
This is vital to ensure you appear for the most relevant search terms.