Why Am I Not Showing Up in Google Shopping

Common Google Shopping Campaign Questions

Dear Roy, I am taking over my family's e-commerce business and I am new to the world of paid search and have a few questions for you about Google Shopping.

  • What are the reasons we do not appear for some keywords in Google Shopping

  • If we wanted to appear for certain keywords in Google Shopping what should we do and how would that effect our costs?

  • Why are we not showing up for Mobile searches within Google Shopping?

Thanks for sharing your insights



Hey Gene, no problem, I love talking shop and am happy to help.

What are the reasons we do not appear for some keywords in Google Shopping?

There are a number of variables that Google is considering when it determines who to show. First among them is the relevance of the product data to the search. While they don't tell us how they determine that, we can certainly make some safe assumptions. First, they are building an abstract catalog of all products behind the scenes, based on all of the data they collect from all of the retailers on the platform. Therefore, if you were selling Widget ABC, and your competitors were as well, and Google could tell that they were the same product (by UPC, MPN, Brand, etc.), then they're going to start to paint a picture of what they think that product is, and what words are relevant to it. The downside is that because Google doesn't actually have firsthand knowledge of ABC Widgets, it becomes a bit of a democracy of competitors, and it's difficult to tell what they're looking for.

Second, they are doing more traditional keyword matching, especially against the title, but also the description. There is some semantic analysis here, as well, so closely related terms are included, in part. Given the sample keywords in your example, this isn't as likely to be the issue, as those are basically searches exactly for your product title, but it's a variable that's core enough to what Google's doing, that I have to mention it.

Third, they are checking the relevance of the landing page. This is conjecture on my part, but we know that they're parsing landing pages as part of their ad validation process, so they do know something about where they're sending the shoppers, and it's entirely plausible that there's a Quality Score-like calculation going on behind the scenes, as well.

Those three are the difficult ones, as improving them involves a lot of content work (which is generally manual, and therefore expensive and hard to scale), and there aren't that many types of feedback that Google provides. Among what we do have to work with is Impression Share. Some of your products are currently seeing an impression share of 58% for the past three months. That seems high to me, based on the performance you're seeing in your sample queries, and it's more likely that the items in your catalog are under-matching to the products that Google thinks shoppers are looking for. A high impression share means one of two things--you are either dominating a given audience, or you are only able to access some small segment of the true audience, wherein you are a big fish in a small pond. This is what I fear is happening here--it might not even be a bidding problem at all.

Fourth, and last, is the bid. While it's true that AdWords is fundamentally an auction platform, relevance is key to ensuring that shoppers keep coming back to Google to find things, and so Google is sensitive to that above all else. Once a list of viable contenders for that ad impression are vetted and ranked, the bid is the final ingredient.

If we wanted to appear for certain keywords in Google Shopping what should we do and how would that effect our costs?

The first thing I'd do is analyze whether or not you have a bidding problem. As I mentioned, I think you may have (at least in part) a match issue, as your impression shares are high. Despite this, the "Benchmark Max CPC" tells another story. Google provides this value to give you a ballpark idea of what other advertisers are paying per click for that kind of traffic. Some of your products bids are currently around $1.00, but the Benchmark is $2.64, and your average actual CPC is only $0.62. That benchmark actually conflicts with the impression share data, in my opinion. It may indicate that there's a bid ledge somewhere around $0.60, where the competition gets far more fierce after you reach that tipping point. Here's what Google thinks the audience looks like, based on the past week's data:

Google Shopping Bid Simulator
Google Shopping Bid Simulator

So, we're in the $0.86 to $1.14 range, spending between $1,500 and $3,000 in their hypothetical date range window. If we were participating at the benchmark level, we'd expect to see costs leap to over $13,000 in the same period--between 5 and 9 times as much as you're spending now, in dollars. We can see that they think the actual CPCs will be about $1.60 at that level, though, so it's clearly non-linear.

You can read quite a bit more on my approach to this kind of data here, where I do a bunch of interpolation to try to find the optimal point on the curve for profitability.

What would the output of that $13,000 spend look like? If we assume the Conversion Rate of 0.11% holds, then we know that the 8,310 clicks will produce about 9 conversions, whereas the ~3000 clicks at $1.00 would produce about 3. Using our Average Order Value of $1,838, we see that this would be about $16,500 in revenue for the $13,000 in spend--almost certainly a losing proposition. The law of diminishing returns is in full effect, here. While I don't think I'd trust Google's forecast (based on such a short date range) to represent literal figures, the relative comparison of the two hypotheticals is likely close. That's about a 2:1 ROAS on the smaller volume, versus ~1.2:1 for the higher volume case.

Why are we not showing up for Mobile searches within Google Shopping?

This one's easy, because you're choosing not to be:

Google Shopping Mobile Device Bid Adjustment
Google Shopping Mobile Device Bid Adjustment

If I had to guess, I'd say that this has only been the case since that drop in click count around 8/18, based on the fact that there had been data for the Mobile segment in the past three months, and that drop-off caught my eye as being likely related to this. And, when I zoom into the past 7 days, and see no impressions for Mobile, that hypothesis is confirmed. This could be a strategy to separate Mobile traffic into its own campaign, but I don't see that being executed. I'm also not a fan of that strategy, outside of some very specific use cases.

I hope this helps answer some questions and if there is ever anything I can do to help with Google Shopping or AdWords drop me a line via the Contact form.

Up and to the right!