Google Shopping Guru Day

July 29, 2015

Google’s Shopping Guru day at the New York GooglePlex was full of lots of useful information designed to improve the performance of Product Listing As (PLAs), especially the series of 3 workshops.

Workshop #1: Improving your data feed

The presenters emphasized the tremendous importance of an optimized feed in order to get your products ranked in the shopping results. In essence, Google warned that if the feed is not optimized, your not going to be successful. According to the Google presenters, the top four ranking factors for the feed are:

  1. Unique Product Identifier (Manufacturers Part Number, Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) GTINs include UPC, EAN (in Europe), JAN (in Japan), and ISBN.
  2. Title
  3. Description
  4. Image Quality


Google used the example of a high end road bicycle. Google divides the resellers into two groups: one group provides the UPI and one that doesn’t. All of the resellers in the first group will rank above the second group. In the Google Shopping Product Feed Specification, Google writes: “In the future, GTIN will become a requirement for all products that have them, but we’ll let you know in advance before we make that change.”


Google recommends very specific titles that use keywords that shoppers would use when looking for products. They recommend including the brand name (especially for high value brands). The title should conclude with gender and size where appropriate. Titles can be up to 70 characters although the title might be truncated at 35 characters (depending on the Google Shopping display format). Google recommends 50 characters. They warn against using the title for “keyword stuffing.”


Up to 1000 characters are recommended. Use keywords that shoppers use when buying products online. Similar advice on titles.


Google likes high quality, clear images. Poor images will be demoted.

Workshop #2: Shopping Campaign Optimization

The presenters recommended building our the campaigns to mimic the website taxonomy (or even the store layout) as a starting point, but adding additional campaigns and adgroups that would allow for differentiated bidding strategies such as:

  1. Gross profile margin (high margin products can bid higher)
  2. Seasonal merchandise
  3. Sale merchandise
  4. Geo factors (Google Shopping performs betters when users are closer to stores)
  5. Use the dimensions tab to segment by device
  6. Bid adjustments by time of day/day of week

Initial bids might be set by the formula (Gross Profit) / (# of clicks required to make a sale). In the absence of gross profit, we could rely on revenue divided by the ROI target.

Workshop #3: Advanced Shopping Features

Here the presenters recommended testing a variety of “advanced” shopping features: Shoppable Trueview

This technique allows the You-Tube advertiser to embed product info with a link to the product page.

Local Inventory Ads

Google is making a huge push in the direction of local inventory listings. Google believes this is a big part of the future. This requires a dynamic inventory feed for each store, which for many retailers is non trivial.

Product Feed Lightbox

Show a 10-20 product catalog on the Google Display Network (GDN). Google writes: “Lightbox Ads are high-impact ad experiences that let you embed a stunning piece of content—such as a video, catalog or game—into a standard, scalable ad unit. When a user chooses to engage by hovering the cursor over the ad for two seconds, the ad then expands into a near full-screen canvas. Your ad expands in the forefront with a dimming effect on the page underneath, making your content stand out as a viewing experience.”

Dynamic Retargeting

Remarket on the GDN to display specific products to users who have visited your site.

RLSA for Shopping

Increase bids for people who have previously visited your site. Targets probable existing customers.

For a somewhat contrary view on the feed optimization tips, Andreas Reiffen poses the question (Search Engine Land, July 15, 2015). Reiffen saw no impact from changing the description fields. He also found very little impact from changing the Google Product Categories. In the case of the Title, however, it was a difference stroy. Reiffen wrote: “Here, we can see that when we included Party Dresses in the product title, there was a huge increase in this product’s traffic. We also compared the clicks on all other products represented by this graph in order to see whether the increase in clicks was incremental, or if the product was cannibalizing clicks that would otherwise have been caught by other products. We can see here that the tested product increased by about 3,600 clicks, and all products dropped by about 400 clicks, meaning the increase is incremental and not a case of cannibalization.”

Jarod Caporino
Managing Partner
Jarod Caporino
Managing Partner

Jarod Caporino has managed ad sales, strategic planning and media buying for major brands in nearly every industry vertical, including Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Major League Baseball and the NEA. He has over 12 years of experience as a sales director at agencies specializing in digital services and search engine marketing and optimization. Jarod frequently speaks at universities and industry panels in the New York area.

Contact Jarod