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Section 5.3: Optimizing Google Shopping Campaigns

Guide to Google Shopping bidding (different types and uses)

In this video, you’re going to learn about the different bidding strategies you can use for your Google Shopping campaigns.

You'll also learn the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy, and when you would use each one for your own campaigns.

The Basics of Bidding

To grasp bidding strategies, let's first understand the fundamental concept of bidding in Google Ads. Google operates on a pay-per-click model, meaning you pay for every user who clicks on your ad and visits your store.

Your bidding strategy is how you convey to Google how to display your products and the amount you're willing to pay for each click.

Automated vs. Manual Bidding Strategies

Bidding strategies for Google Shopping campaigns fall into two main categories: automated and manual. Automated strategies utilize Google's machine learning and vast amounts of data, but they may lack control. On the other hand, manual bidding strategies offer more control and are recommended to guide the algorithm effectively.

We typically recommend starting with a manual bidding strategy to focus on what works before transitioning to an automated approach. Although it takes more time to optimize initially, it can save you money and yield quicker results.

Exploring Bidding Strategies

Let's dive into the different bidding strategies for Google Shopping campaigns.

1. Smart Shopping (Deprecated after July 2022)

Smart shopping, once Google's most automated strategy, has been replaced by Performance Max campaigns. While these campaigns share similarities with smart shopping, they offer a different approach. Smart shopping essentially offered limited control and insight, making it suitable for beginners or as a last resort after testing other strategies.

2. Target ROAS Bidding Strategy

The target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) strategy involves setting a specific ROAS target that Google aims to achieve with your bids. This approach prioritizes profitability and is effective when supported by existing conversion data.

However, initiating this strategy without prior conversion data can be inefficient and potentially costly. Starting with a manual bidding strategy allows for optimal results before transitioning to a target ROAS strategy.

3. Maximize Clicks Strategy

Maximize clicks strategy focuses on driving as much traffic to your website within a set daily budget. While it sounds appealing, it often leads to obtaining cheap clicks that may not result in conversions. We recommend caution with this strategy, especially for beginners.

4. Maximize Conversion Value Strategy

This strategy aims to maximize the value of sales rather than the number of customers. It leverages conversion tracking and prior data to optimize for sales. However, it may not necessarily prioritize profitability.

5. Manual CPC Bidding Strategy

Manual CPC bidding strategy provides control by allowing manual adjustment of click bids for the campaign or individual products. This is a fundamental strategy for building and scaling a profitable Google Shopping campaign, focusing on performance and cost-efficiency.

6. Enhanced CPC

Enhanced CPC merges manual bidding with a touch of Google's machine learning algorithm. It enables slight bid adjustments based on the likelihood of a click converting. This strategy strikes a balance between manual control and algorithmic assistance.

Conclusion

Choosing the right bidding strategy for your Google Shopping campaign depends on your goals, expertise, and existing data.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy is vital for optimizing your campaigns effectively.

For further insights and strategies on optimizing Google Shopping campaigns, explore our free Google Shopping course.

Recommended lessons

🎥 How does Google Shopping Work? Full overview ➤ Watch here

🎥 Manual Bidding Optimizations for Google Shopping ➤ Watch here

🎥 Standard Shopping vs Smart Shopping ➤ Watch here

🎥 No Impressions and/or clicks ➤ Watch here

🎥 Not enough Sales ➤ Watch here

🎥 Ads too expensive (Not profitable) ➤ Watch here

🎥 How to set up Conversion Tracking with Google Analytics for Shopify and Google Ads ➤ Watch here

Add Your Comments & Questions Below

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Fred
Fred
2 years ago

Hello,

I've used your shopping campaign to good effect driving clicks. However, I'm running into an issue I was hoping I could get help on.

I'm selling a haircare product line. The most profitable is a bundle of shampoo, conditioner, and styling product. However, Google keeps showing the single products first before the bundles when you search. Is there a way for me to prioritize the bundles?

thank you!

Jo Vucic
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

Hi Fred,

If you're using Standard Shopping, you can try forcing it by having a higher bid on the bundles.
This isn't strictly related to Google Ads, but I would consider having the bundle offer on all single product pages, so visitors see the value and can easily upgrade to the bundle.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo Vucic

jo, it looks like this has worked as my impressions and clicks are up on the group that I'm working to promote!

Much appreciated 🙂

Jo Vucic
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

No problem, glad it worked!

Willie
1 year ago

Hello,

Quick question re Shopping campaigns: Is it advisable to run 2 x shopping campaigns for the same country and try out 2 different TARGET ROAS %?

For ex. 1st campaign target 400% Target ROAS and 2nd campaign target breakeven ROAS of 210%?

Many thanks!

Ela Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Willie

Hi Willie,

This is not advisable; by running two separate campaigns with the same products and the same target country, you are forcing your products to compete against each other. Despite setting different ROAS, google will put each product in the same auction. This means you are driving up your own CPC and likely forcing the campaign with the lower target ROAS to dominate spend and impressions.

The best practice will be to run all products in one campaign if you have a daily budget to accommodate the number of products. If the products have different ROAS target due to different margins, then consider setting them in separate campaigns. This can work well if the products share margins and product categories.

For example, low-margin products are all sofas, and high-margin products are all beds. Then you have two campaigns, one with a lower target ROAS for Sofas and one with a higher target ROAS for Beds. Ensuring both products run exclusively in their campaigns with relevant target ROAS.

Willie
1 year ago
Reply to  Ela Bruce

Hi Ella,

Thanks for your comments – this is all very clear now and makes loads of sense. Appreciate the insight in running 2 separate ROAS shopping campaigns against each other.

I followed your course and started off running 1 manual CPC campaign and my campaign was profitable and was making between 50-100 sales conversions p/month. My break even ROAS was 2.25 and then I changed my campaign objective from manual CPC to target ROAS of 3.50 and my clicks/impressions have dropped substantially.

Is it advisable to rather run 2 x shopping campaigns for the same country with different objectives to drive up clicks again?

Lets say for example, you run 1 shopping campaign thats a target ROAS campaign and 1 campaign thats a manual CPC campaign for the UK side by side?

Please advise what you think best way forward is my campaign structures?

Thanks for your insights.

Regards
Willie

Ela Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Willie

Hi Willie,

Glad our 1st response was of help to you; thanks for the context.

The main issue you have is the target ROAS you've put of 350%; unless your campaign was hitting that ROAS or more before you set that target, that campaign traffic and spend will drastically drop as Google is expected to bring a return it's not done before. So when this happens, Google becomes very conservative, less volume, and more value-focused.

I suggest lowering the target ROAS to 180% – 200% or switching back to manual. Google can always outperform the target ROAS you give it.
Running 2 campaigns only works when you separate products and strategically set budgets and ROAS targets for each individual campaign. Running two campaigns with the same products will always come back to cost you more money and likely fewer sales.

Willie
1 year ago
Reply to  Ela Bruce

Hi Ela

Thanks for your detailed response and answer – Its much appreciated.

This all makes sense – I'm going to try your strategy right away and will report back in a few weeks on my progress.

The difficult thing for me to comprehend is whether we should just be running 1 campaign in total for our all our products or/and if we can run a shopping campaign (target ROAS strategy) in conjunction with a smart shopping campaign, search campaign for various keywords all in the same country or is it best just to run 1 x shopping campaign (either manual CPC or Target ROAS) only?

I will report back with progress as soon as I have data/results.

Appreciate the time and help.

Regards
Willie

Ela Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Willie

You're welcome 🙂

Laurence
Laurence
1 year ago

Hi there,

You recommend switching from ECPC to Target ROAS after achieving 50-100 conversions per month.

I've started my campaign with ECPC and optimised in line with the guidance and gained 130 conversions (I'm about 3 weeks in). Would you suggest that this is already enough to swap to a Target ROAS model? Or should I continue with ECPC for a few months of consistency?

Appreciate your advice.

Ela Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Laurence

Hi Laurence,

This depends on two things, is the current ROAS profitable for you, and if not, how far away is it. Getting 50-100 conversions in this period makes it more suitable to use smart bidding, such as target ROAS. However, if a campaign has never hit a certain ROAS, it will struggle to achieve it despite switching to a target ROAS bidding.

It's always best to use target ROAS when the campaign has hit the desired ROAS or is close to it in recent weeks. ECPC is ideal until you hit that point, as you can leverage your full daily budget without losing volume of sales to get to your desired ROAS.

Thor
1 year ago

Hello,

In the section of the video discussing smart shopping (Which is now redundant as you said), You also said you would link to some videos where you were going over the new Performance max Campaign.

I cant seem to find any links for this. Could you please help me?

Ela Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Thor

Hi Thor,

We are still busy with the videos for Performance Max, in the meantime you're welcome to look at some of our PMax articles.

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