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Google Shopping

Some Interesting Updates from Google Shopping Engineers

Some Interesting Updates from Google Shopping Engineers

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

Post Summary

I recently had the chance to sit in on a digital Academy training with Google on the Shopping Product. Most of what they covered was generic and review for the sharp PPCer paying attention, but there were some interesting things worth calling out.

First, Google detailed the four quadrants of the Shopping Ads algorithm for determining what you will pay and how your ad will show in SERPs.

google shopping feed attributes impacting the auction

Those four quadrants are: 

  • Data quality (your feed attributes)
  • Product relevance
  • Predicted CTR
  • Bid

As with Search, Predicted/Expected Click-Through-Rate is an interesting one to include here as it uses Google's machine learning to determine the likelihood your shopping ad will be clicked on by the audience in this specific auction and that assumptive decision helps determine what you actually pay in that auction. This means, things like price can also have an indirect impact on the auction since Google may determine someone is more likely to click on a lower priced product, and thus allow a lower bid to win for that advertiser with the lower price.

Nothing too surprising there, but it's still interesting to determine what Google actually details is included in the algorithm since my assumption is that likely means those four are weighted fairly heavily in the decision (albeit, with potential other factors).

Next, we see Google talk about a few feed attributes. There were some interesting datapoints to ponder in this section of the training for me.

google shopping feed key attributes

  • Title
  • GTIN
  • Product Type
  • Description
  • Images
  • Variant Attributes

Here is why this is interesting, because again, whenever Google calls out something to pay attention to in the midst of a host of other attributes (there are many!), I pay attention. In this Academy video, the Googlers noted to ensure attention was spent on optimizing these six attributes... which makes a lot of sense since they are likely to impact the previous four algorithm elements. For instance, if you have a better image Google believes will be more likely to get clicked on, then it stands to reason that they'll likely assign you a lower bid based on the higher Predicted CTR. It's an indirect assumption, but it's worth optimizing things like your images because of that.

google shopping image attribute

That being said, Google did go into some detail on these attributes. Nothing was terribly new, though it's worth calling out (with them) how essential the Variant Attributes are to include whenever you can. We've seen these be tested by Google in displaying as actual Filter options in Shopping Ads test types. We also know they help Google better associate the correct product variant with the search (thus, product relevance in the algorithm above). So if someone is searching for a red dress, make sure to have Red in the title, and as a Variant attribute.

Google also gave some tips on Title and Description that may be helpful: 

google shopping title optimization

google shopping product description optimizations

Product Types was an interesting one to listen to, as this is the most descriptive I've ever heard Google get on Product Types, and it resembled things I've pieced together from various Googlers for years (and presented in conferences!). Especially of interest was the guidance to prefer Product Types as the organizational means within your campaigns so you can reserve custom labels for more... customized... groupings. More importantly, Google has revealed for awhile now, and reiterated, that their Product Types are weighted somewhat heavily in Google's system since it reveals how a store views the relationships between its products, and that can impact serving and product relevancy.

google shopping feed attributes product types

There were additional interesting notes about Shopping Video for Action campaigns and Local Inventory Ads (LIA) and new automated feed options (cool!), but I found this slide particularly interesting and wanted to share it with you as well as it gives some insight into impact of optimizing various key attributes: 

google shopping feed key attributes impacting the auction

Finally, Google closed the Academy video by noting a couple of key changes to be aware of (which we already knew, but I guess maybe if you don't monitor the change-log closely like me cause you actually have a life outside of Google Shopping, haha): 

  • Availability changes in September 2023 (have this ready before Black Friday!)
  • LIA offers to require availability instead of quantity
google shopping feed spec updates
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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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