Google Shopping is absolutely one of the best ways to get your products in front of your potential buyers. Shopping campaigns, particularly the Google Merchant and products feeds portion, take a little time to setup, but the return on ad spend (ROAS) is incredible once you get your campaigns tuned.
Google Shopping’s Biggest Advantage
Simplicity is the biggest advantage for ecommerce stores when it comes to Shopping campaigns.
Shopping campaigns are simple to setup. You choose from a few campaign settings, enter your budget, and you’re done. You don’t have to worry about writing ads, creating hundreds of ad groups, or anything like that. All of this is done for you.
You get to spend your time optimizing product bids and running your business.
However, the simplicity of Google Shopping campaigns also leads to the most common mistake that we see among new clients.
Ignoring Negative Keywords: The Biggest Google Shopping Mistake
Many advertisers don’t know how to use negative keywords in Google Shopping campaigns. We see it time and time again when we do an AdWords audit or take on a new client. You can enter negative keywords in Shopping campaigns just like you would in any other campaign.
Just because you don’t get to choose positive keywords (keywords you bid on, like in Search campaigns) doesn’t mean that you can’t enter negative keywords. You can easily make the argument that negative keywords are MORE important in Shopping campaigns because of the fact that you aren’t explicitly choosing what search terms your products show for.
What Are Search Terms
Before we dive deep into negative keywords, we need to make sure that everyone understands what search terms are. Search terms are the actual searches entered by Google users. It’s important to understand exactly the terms that customers are using because they often differ dramatically from what you would anticipate.
How To Find Search Terms in Shopping Campaigns
We’ve analyzed dozens of accounts where advertisers didn’t know that you could examine the search terms for a Shopping campaign, much less know where to find them and how to enter negative keywords.
AdWords can easily be overwhelming for newbies, especially navigation and finding specific features and tools. Thankfully, the new AdWords interface makes the navigation a little simpler. To find your search terms, navigate to the Shopping campaign in question, then choose Keywords. You’ll see 2 tabs here, one for Search Terms and one for Negative Keywords.
What To Look For In Your Search Terms Report
Once you’ve found the Search Terms report, you’ll want to look for any search terms that don’t make sense for the products that you’re offering. As you identify negative keywords that you want to add, don’t just check the box and add the negative right there, put them in a list so that you can add the keywords directly on the Negative Keywords screen.
Here are some great examples that I’ve seen recently that would make excellent negative keywords.
- Brands that you don’t offer. If you see Reebok in your search terms, but you only sell Nike, then Reebok should be a negative.
- Products that you don’t offer. If you’re selling products made out of poplar wood, then ‘poplar tree seedlings‘ should be a negative.
- Search Terms that don’t convert well. I don’t recommend adding negatives for search terms that do fit your product offering unless you have substantial data to back it up. However, it’s quite common to see certain keywords eat a lot of your budget that just don’t convert well. You should add these as exact match negative keywords.
Exact Match vs Broad Match for Negative Keywords
Just as you have match types for keywords, there are match types for negative keywords.
I’m a big proponent of utilizing broad match for negative keywords. When adding negatives it’s important to think about not only the search terms that you’ve gotten traffic for already, but the ones that you’re not thinking of.
Using the above example, if you’re a store selling Nike shoes then you would want to add reebok as a broad match negative. That way any keyword containing ‘reebok‘ wouldn’t show.
Adding negatives from the Search Terms report in AdWords creates exact match negatives, which are too narrow in scope. If your search terms include ‘reebok running shoes‘ and ‘black reeboks‘ then it would be much easier to add the broad match negative keyword reebok than add exact match negatives for every term in the list.
Adding Your Negative Keywords
Once you have a list of the negative keywords that you want to use it’s time to add them. Click the Negative Keywords tab and enter your list. Again, I recommend going with broad match as much as possible, but there are circumstances where the other match types could make sense as well.
If your negative keywords apply to multiple campaigns then it might make sense to put those keywords in a negative keyword list. Just check the checkbox at the bottom of the keyword form to save your keywords to a list.
To add a negative keyword list to another campaign you would do the same process as above, but choose the “Use negative keyword list” option.
You will want to continually monitor your search terms and continue to add negative keywords as needed. I recommend looking at them on a bi-weekly basis. Put it on your calendar so that you won’t forget. It’s worth the effort.
What Did We Miss
Are there any other tips and tricks around Google Shopping negative keywords that we need to talk about? Let me know in the comments.