Welcome to Part 2 of optimizing shopping campaigns! Today’s article wraps up by delving into the product feed and dimensions reporting to help provide optimization tips and tricks. (You can find part 1 here)
With regard to the product feed, one important factor to consider is your product feed health, most of which involves managing rejections and errors. To assess feed health, click the store summary tab in the Bing merchant center to view the new update, which includes a colorful graph that indicates the number of total feed items submitted and a count of those eligible to serve ads vs ineligible, along with total shopping campaign impressions and clicks by time.
As with keywords or ads, if you do come across rejected offers, just make the required changes or submit an appeal. Below are some common offer rejection reasons:
- Missing required feed attributes (e.g. price)
- Pending index status (just check back in later)
- Disallowed product (e.g. firearms)
- Image URL missing/not valid (e.g. page 404 error)
- Price mismatch between offer & website
- Trademarked content
- Your page is uncrawlable by bingbot (do not disallow this agent and give it ample crawling clearance, especially if you have a large product feed)
Additionally, if your feed is not updated at least once per month it will expire and take your campaigns offline; set up an FTP or URL download to limit this risk.
Product Feed Attributes
Due to the fact that shopping campaign ads built and ranked using information from the product feed, this particular component is integral to the optimization process, and the first and most important step to optimizing your feed is proper attribute labeling. Without a well-organized and properly labeled feed, you will not be able to group products effectively. Make sure that all products in your feed include accurate attributes such as brand or price, and that all custom labels you want to use are set up for all applicable products.
The title is one of the most essential factors in your feed due to its significant effect on both ad rank and CTR. Regularly review your search term logs to ensure that the terms searchers are using are present in your product title and be sure to preview how your product titles actually appear in the SERP. Keep in mind that the title will truncate after about 70 characters (150 limit total), meaning that the actual product should appear early on in the title, with additional descriptor keywords relegated to the end of the title to help boost rank but not impair CTR. Also, while it may seem like common sense, make sure that your product titles actually make sense and describe what you are selling in a language that searchers will understand; product model numbers, while useful for stocking purposes, are rarely descriptive of the product itself.
Images are another critical attribute as they are the most eye catching part of the shopping ad. Images should firstly describe the product you are selling and be recognizable in shopping ad size; additionally, images should be unique and stand out as much as possible from the other 7 other closely spaced competitive listings. Experiment with different images to see which one drives the best CTR, or even try using a different background shading or product angle, which may improve your chances of standing out and thus getting a click.
Price is inherently a crucial component of a shopping ad because it is always displayed directly in your ad unit and can thus significantly affect your CTR and conversion rate. Preview your product SERPs to see what prices you’re competing against and position your own price (or use exclusions) accordingly. While having the highest price is rarely the best tactic, keep in mind that sometimes having the lowest price may also not be a good idea due to price-quality signaling theory, especially if the average price is noticeably higher. Using sale prices, which displays the original price in strike-through format is another advantageous tactic, but be sure to keep your regular and sale prices up-to-date so the wrong price or an old sale price is not displayed.
Product description has implications for rank and each can contain up to 5,000 characters; however description is not important for the CTR of a product ad due to the fact that descriptions are not surfaced in the ad unit. Add performing search queries to your description to encourage your ads to show up for the right searches and improve impression share.
Custom labels or product types can be used in organizing product groups to best support your goals and KPIs. Use labels to easily group products together (such as by shipping deals) and effectively allocate budget and set bids and priority.
Product variables such as size, color, pattern or material can also be an opportunity for optimization, just like long-tail keywords. Add each variation of the products you stock with an appropriate title and image, and target variations explicitly with higher bids. For example, you can optimize jeans by using sizes such as 30W32L, 32W32L and 34W32L or optimize t-shirts using color variations like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white and black.
In the SERP, product ads are bunched together in a tight block, which diminishes position-based CTR benefits and increases searcher tendencies to comparison shop, especially given the fact that each ad displays a price. This means that doing competitive research is another important part of optimizing shopping ads.
Below is a group of shopping ads for the search, “sunglasses.” The first result is positioned differently than the others, which immediately draws attention. However, every result has the same title, which could be a way to differentiate and draw attention, especially if the searcher isn’t looking for just ray bans.
Here is a set of ads for “slim fit jeans.” The first result uses a different shading to draw attention and several ads use a price discount to attract a click. Though no ads actually start with the search term and only one displays the full, un-truncated search term.
This search for “flower vase” yields two ads showing actual flowers as a model (which are more vivid and stand out against the other results) and also a few product images that are difficult to distinguish from the image background.
This search for “8 foot table,” brings up several results, yet only one of them accurately describes what I am looking for: an 8 foot table. This search illustrates the need to make titles understandable rather than product model gibberish or technical specifications (96 inches does equal 8 feet but if a searcher is looking in feet, inches are not the ideal size dimension).
Lastly, here is a search for “cardigan” and “cardigan sweater.” While there are several ads for the latter search, the former produces a single ad, which indicates a huge opportunity for any advertiser selling cardigans. This is a reminder that actually doing a few searches can sometimes uncover lucrative opportunities of low-to-no competitive density. Notice how the full product title is displayed when only one ad is present.
Like performance reports, you can use the dimensions tab to analyze the products targeted by your shopping campaigns at-a-glance, either account-wide or for a specific campaign. Dimensions can provide impression, click, spend and conversion data for shopping campaigns, but revenue reporting is only available in performance reports.
- Shopping: category – breaks out targeted products by 1st level category, with additional columns such as brand, condition, title, item ID, store ID, product type and custom label
- Shopping: product type – breaks out by 1st level product type
- Shopping: brand – breaks out by brand
- Shopping: item ID – breaks out by item ID
- Shopping: store ID – breaks out by store ID
Additionally, remember to analyze how your shopping campaigns perform by time of day, day of week and searcher geographic location. Leverage bid modifiers in order to optimize for persistent trends of positive or negative performance, such as higher conversion rates from a specific geographic region.
That concludes this guide to optimizing shopping campaigns; for more help, refer to the Bing Ads blog for additional shopping campaign posts such as this overview article. Thank you for reading – feel free to ask questions or add your own optimization ideas, and happy optimizing
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