How do we deal with issues involving family safe content?

We sell lingerie and we come up against a lot of issues with ‘Family safe’ content, but there is no definitive answer as to what in particular is allowed and not allowed. Would be good to find an official response.

This might be a suprise, but Google uses humans to make a lot of these decisions, and the bad news is that they are subjective. This is a combination of human reviews by Google, but also shopper feedback. For your products, I would bet the only safe way to go is to push product photography where the items aren't on a model--but that looks like crap, right? You could also take a look at what your competitors are pushing, or seeing what is getting through, and what is getting kicked back at you. I doubt you'll get a firm answer, as I think Google is totally going with the "I know it when I see it" method of defining unsafe content.

Have questions?  Drop me a line via the Contact form--I love to talk shop.

Up and to the right!

Should we use the AdWords interface or a bid management tool?

What is your general preference for managing PPC - in the AdWords interface or using a bid management tool?

My automation strategy has always been "do everything manually, and automate the biggest pain in the ass first." It's served me well for years. I recommend you do the same. You'll learn about all the ins and outs of your account, campaigns, and performance. This will arm you to be better equipped to either automate your process, or evaluate third party providers. The worst thing would be to hire someone, and just take their word for it. Never let a third party tell you how well they're doing--measure everything independently, and that's something you'll need to learn how to do. There are three layers of options for doing it yourself. First, manually. Second, AdWords Scripts, for automating most of the things you were doing by hand. Third, the API--it's more complicated than either of the first options, but has a lot fewer limitations. Still, due to Pareto's Law, I do almost everything with the first two.

Have questions?  Drop me a line via the Contact form--I love to talk shop.

Up and to the right!

Using Location extensions for a subset of your campaigns

How can you use Location Extensions for just some of your Campaigns?

Since Location Campaign Extensions are only available when the Account-level Extension is enabled, this is actually quite the challenge! It appears that some situations allow you to add Campaign extensions in the absence of an Account Extension (like if you're an AdWords chat rep, apparently), but for the rest of us... You have to have the Account Extension, then you have to exclude the Extension on all of the Campaigns you don't wish to have the Extension active. This is accomplished from the Ad Extensions tab, just like adding one. However, once you click "Add Extension", you can select "Disable" from the drop down. If you do this with multiple Campaigns selected, you can do it all at once, at least. If you don't do this, then your Extensions will be active, if nearly hidden, collecting clicks for CPCs you probably didn't intend.

Have questions?  Drop me a line via the Contact form--I love to talk shop.

Up and to the right!

Does product title optimization help Shopping Campaign performance?

Roy, have you seen much lift optimizing product titles for Google Shopping Campaigns?

Personally, I haven't seen that much lift from effort spent on product title optimization.

I know there are entire companies out there built around this type of optimization.  They claim incredible things, but I guess I don't get it. Google Shopping is a content democracy.  If you send Google a spectacular product title, or any other content for that matter (great photo!), then you're helping your competitors as much as yourself.  Google is abstracting the product data, and then simply dumping traffic off to whatever retailer the shopper clicks on.  This actually leads to all kinds of shopper confusion. When there's an error in a description, or the like, it's not clear whether that data came from you in their mind. It was on Google, and they clicked to you, right? While there are probably incremental gains to be had here, the safest baseline is the same as my SEO advice: be the most relevant result, and most things will shake out.

One area that absolutely makes sense to invest in is the overall quality of your product data and feed in general.  This includes some aspect of product title optimizaiton.  In my reviews and working with clients I see a lot of room for improvement in the underlying data submitted into the product feed.

First, start by working through your errors and warnings in Google Merchant Center.  Google does a decent job of prioritizing what you need to fix under the Diagnostics tab in Google Merchant Center.

In terms of the product title, are you already following Google's specifications of a 150 character limit? Remember that typically only 70 characters will display.

For products with variants (parent-child SKUs) are you using the common title for all of the variants and adding the variant attributes after the common title?

Are you following Google's editorial guidelines?

A properly constructed product title will typically include the following data:

  • Brand | Product Name | Attribute 1 | Attribute 2 | etc.
  • Levi's 501 Original Fit Blue 32x34

Additional information that I've seen that can help improve the relevancy depending on the product could be gender, model number or any other product descriptors that are commonly used to find a specific product.  For example:

  • Levi's 501 Men's Original Fit Stonewash Blue Jeans 31x34

While this type of product title optimization may not necessarily help your performance within Google Shopping Campaigns, it is improving the user experience and relevancy for someone looking for this specific product.

Have questions?  Drop me a line via the Contact form--I love to talk shop.

Up and to the right!