7 Key Google Shopping Updates Announced Just in Time for Thanksgiving Weekend

Today, Google announced significant updates to their Shopping program – changes which should positively impact how retailers can leverage their inventory on search for the holiday. Below we cover what the more significant updates actually mean.

The 7 Google Shopping Updates

  • Addition of PLA Auction Insights
  • Improved Search Impression Share
  • Device and Time Segmentation for Competitive Insights
  • New Columns for Predictive Bid Simulator Metrics
  • Ability to Sort Product Groups by Performance
  • New Diagnostics Tab in the Merchant Center
  • Merchant Promotions for non-US Advertisers

 
So what do these updates mean for Holiday sales?


Google Shopping UpdatesGoogle-shopping-update

These updates come right before Black Friday, and the retailers who immediately begin to leverage these new features should have a competitive advantage with a more efficient bidding strategy.

Auction Insights for Product Listing Ads

TL;DR PLA Auction Insights Change-  Google Shopping data metrics at the Campaign and Ad Group level have expanded to include Impression Share, Overlap Rate, and Outranking Share.

Tracking Google Shopping performance is key to leveraging Google traffic to improve your online sales and adjust your ad budget. Google’s PLA Auction Insight update enables sellers to identify more performance data on the Campaign and Ad Group level including:

  • Impression Share
  • Overlap Rate
  • Outranking Share

 
Jason Bell, a Senior Retail Search Manager here at CPC Strategy, weighs in on the update:

“Auction Insights for PLAs is actually something I am looking forward to. There have often been times where I notice our traffic (or avg. position) within our text campaigns are beginning to drop. Typically this is due to another competitor bidding more aggressively or entering the auction for a particular set of keywords.

Currently, in order to find this out we would likely be looking at actual SERP pages after searching to see if we notice anything different or maybe analyze the trending of the Benchmark CTRs, Max CPCs, or Search Impression Shares to see if what the data can tell us.

The biggest disappointment which limits some of its usage is that it is only available at the Campaign and Ad Group level.

It would be much more useful to myself and many of the client campaigns I manage at the Product Group level. Unless you happen to build out your PLAs into several different campaigns and/or ad groups it would only really tell you what your competitors are doing compared to ALL of your product listings. Will this be a feature that may push us to break out more brands/top sellers/etc into separate Ad Groups or Campaigns? Maybe.”

How Auction Insights Will Affect Your Shopping Campaigns

Impression Share, Overlap Rate, and Outranking Share can all be segmented by device type and time-of-day (Update #3), allowing advertisers to see how they match up with competitors along these to segments.

Consider tracking Google’s new Auction Insights for your Google Shopping campaign(s) to diligently and aggressively stay on top of competitors at times where their ads are receiving more visibility.


Improved Impression Share Calculation

TL;DR Impression Share Calculation- PLA impression share is changing from campaign-level calculation to customer ID-level calculation, thus matching how traditional Search campaigns calculate impression share.

Google update modifies how Google Product Ads impression share is calculated, moving from the campaign- level to customer ID impression, to the calculation method AdWords PPC currently uses.

Google-impression-share

Jeff Coleman, Director of Retail Search at CPC Strategy, adds:

“It seems like all Google is doing is changing the definition of Impression Share for PLAs to mimic what it currently is for text ads. So this shouldn’t change anything about the way you manage the campaign.”

How the Impression Share Update Will Affect Your Shopping Campaigns

There should be a one-time bump or change in impression share when comparing October data to November data. For AdWords advertisers, one consistent impression share for both types of paid campaigns will enable further ease of reporting for data analysis.


New Columns for Predictive Bid Simulator Metrics

TL;DR Predictive Bid Simulator Metrics- 

Retail advertisers can now add estimated metrics from the Bid Simulator into standard reports. This addition could be part of a larger initiative to improve Bid Simulator calculations, but for the meantime, this will allow advertisers to make use of the Bid Simulator data more often.

Google- Search- Update bid simularot

How The Bid Simulator Columns Will Affect Your Shopping Campaigns

This update by itself is not a huge deal, but it is certainly advantageous to be making use of the Bid Simulator, especially as bidding becomes more aggressive during these next few weeks.


The Ability to Sort Product Groups by Performance

TL;DR Performance Product Sort- Google now allows merchants to sort impression share percent and other columns for product group data.

This is the first major update that addresses improving the efficiency of data consumption at the product group-level. Merchants can now sort by impression share % or other columns to more quickly identify how specific product groups are performing.

How the Impression Share Update Will Affect Your Shopping Campaigns

This update isn’t going to drastically affect your AdWords Campaigns. However, the addition of this update – and the collective release of all these updates – are designed to improve management efficiency during a time of year where rapid and meaningful changes are necessities.


New Diagnostics Tab in the Merchant Center

TL;DR Diagnostic Tab– The Google Diagnostic Tab replaces the Data Quality tab in AdWords

The new Diagnostics tab, which replaces the Data Quality tab, addresses the need for efficient feed manipulations during this time of year. A worst case scenario for next week is if your entire feed were to be suspended. This tab brings the addition of a historical overview of item-level suspensions as well as a downloadable report of this, making it easier for a merchant’s marketing team to articulate the problem SKUs to the IT department or PPC agency.

Tien Nguyen, CPC Strategy’s Technology Director and Google Merchant Center native, explains that the new tab “is much more informative now since it includes ‘due dates’ for fixes and more specifically outlines what needs to be done.”

How the Diagnostics Tab Will Affect Your Shopping Campaigns

Regardless of how rich and semantically-enhanced your product data is, an entire feed suspension will render all of it useless. At this point, it’s typically up the retailer’s PPC agency or IT department to scramble to get the feed up again – so this Diagnostics tab should hopefully speed up that process.

Check out Google’s announcements from today here (Shopping campaign updates) and here (Merchant Center update).

About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.