Data feed quality drives success in Google Shopping
Over the past few years, Google Shopping Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have expanded and evolved and Google Shopping has an increasing pull on retailers’ spending. Making sure that products appear in Google Shopping – in front of the right people at the right time – has become an important task for retailers selling online.
How does this happen? Put simply, making the most of the opportunities that Google Shopping present comes down to three key things:
- The amount you bid;
- The relevance of your product data feed to the search terms;
- The quality of your feed.
FusePump has a team of expert Account Managers that help retailers improve the relevance and quality of their product data feeds. The first step is always to create a high-quality, keyword-rich, complete product feed. From there, the priority is to test and optimise the various fields in the feed. It’s worth noting that there’s no exact science, with Google’s algorithm changing all the time in response to customer queries.
Though feeds have many different requirements, increasing the effectiveness of titles has a major impact on performance. Titles let Google know whether or not your ad is relevant to a search query and specific titles allow traffic to be directed to the right products. Not only that, but a good product title will entice more of the right shoppers to click on your product. Someone clicking because they don’t understand your listing is not a good use of budget!
There are two main things to consider with a title: the contents (or ingredients), and the order of the contents.
Using the right ingredients
For Google to know when to show the product, the title needs to contain as many relevant keywords as possible so that it is easily found by customers. It also needs to include relevant product details so that the product can be easily found by specific searches, and so that customers actually want to click on the ad.
There is a 150 character limit to work within, but ingredients of a title will typically include (in no particular order):
- The product (e.g. shirt, TV)
- A more specific name or keyword for the product (e.g. polo [shirt], 4K Ultra HD [TV])
- Colour (i.e. red rather than scarlet, crimson or burgundy)
- Size or capacity
- Product specific information
- Anything else deemed to be relevant
Some examples of product specific information could include:
- Gender for clothing
- Designer for designer items
- Data allowance, or “with contract” for mobile phone deals
- Material or fabric type for some clothing/furniture (see image below)
- MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) for electrical or mechanical products
There are also some things that should not be included as Google will disapprove the listing:
- Promotional information, such as sales offers
- Duplicated keywords
- Improper use of CAPS
While we don’t know exactly how Google’s algorithm chooses which products to display to people searching, we can work with retailers to gain insight into which search terms people use to find products. Sometimes it is possible match popular search queries exactly – otherwise, we can add search terms somewhere else within the title if they are not already included.
Is everything in order?
The order in which these ingredients are placed is also significant. Google will give the first words more weight than the last when determining relevance so it’s worth thinking ‘left to right’. More importantly, potential customers will want to see relevant information that will encourage them to click through, and only the first 70 characters will be displayed in a PLA (before it’s clicked). So, there’s a job to making sure the most important information is towards the front of the title. But how do you determine what the most important information is?
Here are four tips:
1 – Brand first
Whilst not a fixed rule, the brand name will often come first. Most brands FusePump work with like to lead with the brand name. Some less well-known brands might forgo this in order to have more chance of appearing in generic searches, however.
2 – Think like a customer
Another tip is to think like a potential customer for that product, and the terms you would use to find a product. Using retailers’ search insights and Google’s Search Query Performance Report are other ways of making sure titles help products appear more often.
3 – Different products, different priorities
The order of keywords will vary considerably depending on the product. For a shirt the colour and style would usually be included before the word ‘shirt’, while size would also be in the first 70 characters. Similarly, for a product like body scrub more descriptive keywords (e.g. ‘cocoa’, ‘organic’, ‘softening’, ‘energising’) would appear before ‘body scrub’, with size also included (e.g. “The Body Shop Shea Exfoliating Body Butter 50 ML”).
For mobile phones there is little point in including ‘mobile phone’ in the title. Instead brand and model will likely appear up front. Ingredients like memory, colour, data allowance, features and contractual info will make up the rest of the title.
4 – Complement the image
It is also worth considering how the first 70 characters could also be used to add detail the image. Some features will be obvious from the image, but details such as size and other specifications will not be and can be brought out in the description.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Ultimately though, getting the title right is all about experimentation. Constant reviews of your titles and other elements in your feed will give you clues as to what works best. There might be several ways of describing a product, and experimenting with synonyms (e.g. trying ‘sparkling’ instead of ‘fizzy’) is an important part of optimisation. Here at FusePump, the team can work closely with clients to A/B test different titles to see which perform most effectively.
Titles are only one part of the feed of course. There will be more posts from The Pump coming soon, looking at other ways you can optimise your product data feed.
FusePump’s Feed Management solution creates, manages and optimises product feeds to help retailers succeed in Google Shopping and other channels. Please get in touch if you would like more information.