eCommerce Insiders

5 Mistakes That Will Cost You Google Shopping Clicks

The ability to promote products directly to Google users sounded like a dream come true, right?

No more trying to squeeze all the information into the small number of characters allowed in AdWords ads.

No more trying to stand out with nothing but text.

Since the launch of the Google Shopping platform, retailers have finally been able to display a product image, price, and link back to their store.


And yet, hardly anyone has clicked your ads.


But what if I told you that some elements in your ads deter searchers from clicking them?

And that eliminating each of those mistakes could drastically increase your click-through rate?

Luckily for you, that’s exactly what I’m going to show you in this post with these 5 mistakes that are costing you Google Shopping clicks.

Mistake #1: You’re not standing out in SERPs

It’s no secret: Google’s SERPs are a highly competitive place.

According to Marin Software, in 2013 alone online retailers increased their PLA spend by 300% (source). And last year, one of every 5 ecommerce clicks to paid ads was on a PLA (source).

It’s no surprise that gaining clicks is getting more challenging.


Truth be told, there are ways online retailers still entice searchers to pick their ads over competitors.

For one, they make their ads richer and more engaging – and for a reason.

According to Mariner:

“[…]consumers prefer the richer, more engaging PLAs. Marin found between January and December 2013 the average CTR of PLAs increased 6% while the CTR of standard text ads decreased 13%. In 2013, 20% of paid shopping clicks were on PLAs.”

If therefore you’re displaying just the product image and price, you might be missing out on a big marketing opportunity. Here are some ways to change that:

Display Star Ratings

Fact: 90% of customers confirm that their buying decision is influenced by reviews (source).

Moreover, according to a study by Ae Kim Young and Jaideep Srivastava, online shoppers give more trust to information found in online reviews than from any other sources.

Therefore displaying star ratings in your ads are bound to attract the user’s attention. But star ratings work in another way – they give your ads more authenticity.

How? Because consumers put more trust in products on which comments and reviews are allowed.

To display star ratings in your ads, you need to share your product reviews directly through Google Shopping or use third party websites. There’s a full list of them here.

Display Enticing Images

We’re going to talk about images later in this post. But just to highlight their importance – images greatly affect (and can help predict) searcher behavior. In other words, by displaying appropriate images you either attract or detract users from your ad.

Mistake #2: You’re not specifying negative keywords

One of the main factors differentiating Google Shopping from AdWords is that the former doesn’t use keywords to display ads.

Instead of displaying ads based on specific keywords, Google determines when to show them based the information about products you provide in your Merchant Center feed.

But that doesn’t mean that keywords no longer have any relevance to Google Shopping.

For one, the platform allows you to specify negative keywords you DON’T want your ads to appear for.

You want to make full use of this feature to keep Google from displaying your ad for irrelevant queries. This ultimately results in poor CTR and ad performance.

To find out if your ad displays for irrelevant queries, go to Keywords > Details Tab and click All Search Terms in the Adwords interface.

Mistake #3: You are using poor or generic images

I hinted about this already, but:

Images have an big effect on the searchers’ behavior.

They can attract them to the ad but similarly, deter them from clicking on it.

In a 2011 study, eBay study concluded that image features have impact on searchers behavior and allow predicting the ads CTR.

Images with products on white background, for instance, achieve the highest ROI. Notice that Google also recommends that your PLA images feature products on white or light grey background.

In other words, poor or generic images you received from manufacturer will most likely cause a lower CTR.

Mistake #4: You’re not optimizing titles

It’s kinda obvious: Your ad title should feature the product name and nothing else, right?

Well…yes but there’s one other thing you should know.

According to this research by CPC Strategy, Google weights titles from left to right. It means that any words to the left of the ad title are considered more valuable than the ones to the right.

Therefore, if you optimize your ads to feature the most important keywords at the end, they carry little weight in positioning your ad in search, i.e.,

“Nike X250 Men’s Running Shoes”

But if you write your titles with the most important keywords at the start, you gain a chance to appear for more relevant searches, i.e.

“Nike Men’s Running Shoes X250”

Mistake #5: Displaying variations of the same product

Depending on the product, you may sell many variations of the same item.

It could differ in size, color, volume, shape and many other factors. In most cases, these variations don’t affect your advertising.

Unless they differ in price.

For instance, if you sell cosmetics, your competitors might advertise smaller volume bottles, naturally at a lower price.

And with 91% of shoppers admitting that price is an important factor in their buying decision, it’s only natural that ads for cheaper products will attract a higher click-through rate.

Therefore, if you’re selling products with different characteristics which affect their price, consider advertising cheaper models. And then, once the searcher clicks your ad, use up-selling to convince them to get a more expensive option instead.

Is This Enough?

Are these mistakes enough to increase the CTR? Most of the time, yes.

There might, however, be other problems with your ads. For one, a dirty little secret is that Google Shopping’s default settings tend to hinder profitability with unnecessary spending.

Paid search specialists ROI Revolution are hosting a special webinar next week on these Google Shopping defaults – and how you can transform restrictive settings into scalable opportunities for growth.

This event kicks off on Thursday, 11th June at 2pm Eastern time and you can register for it here.




Pawel Grabowski is a SaaS writer, working with B2B SaaS companies primarily.

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