Shopping Ads, The Secret Weapon For Online Fashion Retailers?

Meet The Author

Name: Aimee-Leigh Prince
Position: Marketing Manager
From: Portsmouth, UK


What You’ll Find In This Post…

  • The one thing that is guaranteed to help you beat big name brands
  • Advice on how to implement this secret
  • Useful links and guides

If you’re a clothing e commerce store then I know that the struggle is real. With fashion being one of the most demanding industries of all time it can be tough to compete with big name high street brands such as Topshop and Newlook. It is nearly impossible to rank higher than them with just an SEO strategy. So what else can you do? Luckily for you I have the ultimate secret on how to finally tackle your competitors and reach new heights with your ROI.

The answer….


What are they and how can they help you?

Google Shopping is what was formerly known as PLA (Product Listing Ads) and is a way of promoting your inventory and boosting traffic to your site via Google Ads and Merchant Center. These placements differ from your bog standard text ad as it contains so much more information such as price, images, description and a link straight to the product being advertised.

The number one great thing about shopping ads is that they are actually displayed above all search results, not to mention on the actual Google shopping and image pages. If you do everything properly and make sure you have an excellent quality score then you can rank higher than all the big name brands you are trying to beat!

Did you know that as of Q1 2018, Google shopping ads are driving 82% of retail search ad spend in the UK alone? That’s really quite impressive stuff and this simple fact alone should be raising alarm bells if you’re not currently using the platform to your advantage.

If you are a beginner to shopping campaigns, or maybe you are looking for extra tips and tricks to enhance your conversions, I have that totally covered in this article. But remember, I am writing specifically for clothing and apparel retailers. If you are looking for a more basic guide to shopping campaigns we have another blog post for you!

So, let’s get ready to rumble…

Optimising Product Data Attributes is Key.

When a customer is browsing online the majority of the time they are looking for a specific item or requirement. This is where it is important to make sure you are using as many relevant attributes as possible!

First thing’s first. What is a product data attribute? Well, they are Google’s foundation for creating your shopping ads. It is where you input all the relevant information within your merchant data feed. You can view a full list of the attributes here, however I’m going to be honest and say that it’s not the easiest thing to understand.

To get you started there are some attributes that are a must have. If you don’t include them in your data feed then Google will not serve your ads:

  • [id] – Each product needs to have a unique ID and Google recommends using your product SKU
  • [title] – This one is easy. Your products name
  • [description] – Again, easy. A description of your product is required. Maximum character limit is 5000, however I have found that just a sentence or 2 has the best performance
  • [link] – A direct link to the product you are advertising
  • [image_link] – The URL of your products main image
  • [availability] – Whether your product is in stock, out of stock or available to pre-order
  • [price] – How much your product costs (do not include delivery costs)
  • [google_product_category] – The Google defined product category for your product. For example if you are selling dresses: Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Dresses
  • [brand] – Your own brand name
  • [gtin] – Your products Global Trade Item Number
  • [mpn] – Your products Manufacturer Part Number
  • [shipping] – Delivery costs
  • [colour] – Your products colour
  • [gender] – Is your product for males, females or unisex?
  • [age_group] – Who is your product intended for? Infant, newborn, adult?

Once all of these attributes are in your data feed then your adverts are ready to go! But unfortunately if you are wanting to beat those big named brands just simply fulfilling the requirements is not enough. For clothing and apparel stores, I highly suggest including the following attributes:

  • [product type] – This lets you condense down your google product category even further. For example: Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Dresses > Midi Dresses
  • [material] – Your products fabric. E.g. Leather or cotton
  • [size] – The size of your product (this is a requirement if you are selling shoes)
  • [size_type] – Who is the product intended for? Maternity, petite, tall, plus?
  • [size_system] – The country of the size system used
  • [item_group_id] – A separate ID for a group of products that has different versions (colour, size, pattern etc.)
  • [pattern] – stripes, polka dot etc.
  • [additional_image_link] – A URL of an additional image link (maybe you want to show the front and back of your product?)
  • [mobile_link] – This is of course only suggested when you have a different URL for mobile and desktop devices

Including all of these attributes means you are pretty much covering all questions and queries your customers may be having. If you have ticked all of the customers boxes within one glance, then guess what? They are 100% more likely to click onto your ad over anyone else’s! It is also important to remember that shopping campaigns are so much more cost effective for online retailers as the users are already qualified on the price and image before even clicking onto your ad.

I know you’re probably getting bored of talking about product data attributes, right? But there is just one more thing I need to suggest here – trust me it’s a good one for clothing and apparel! Custom. Labels.

Now, you can use up to 5 custom labels in one go and they are fantastic for organising your products…But wait, isn’t that what I have been describing above? Ways to organise your products? Yes. But the above has mainly been for the customers benefit. This is a way of organising your products to help yourself. Check out the most recommended custom labels for clothing and apparel:

Custom Label Your Definition Possible Values
[custom_label_0] Selling Rate Best Seller, Low Seller
[custom_label_1] Seasonal Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
[custom_label_2] Profit Margin High Margin, Low Margin
[custom_label_3] Clearance Clearance
[custom_label_4] Price Range 0-5, 5-10, 10-20, 20+

Custom labels make your life so much easier when managing a campaign. Just one example is that you know your best sellers are always going to sell, right? These are the products you want to be pushing. If these products have their own value assigned to them then it will save you a tonne of time when you want to raise their bids. You get me?

Enhance Your Product Titles.

When you search on Google Shopping, before you click onto a product to view more details, the only type of description available is the product title. This means it is vital you have a title that is going to pull your customers in. It must be enticing and in a way, it must say exactly what it is on the tin.

Goggle suggests using the following format:

Brand + Product Type + Other Important Attributes

Note that ASOS has this down to a tee! (I would also take inspiration from the images they use. High quality, correct size and all the models are placed within a plain white background).

Remember you only have 150 characters to play around with and Google advises to get the most important information down within the first 70, so you’re probably going to have to have a few attempts before you absolutely nail it.

Dynamic Remarketing Is Probably the Best Thing You’ll Hear About This Year…

This will get you giddy in your seat. I mean we all know how fantastic normal remarketing is, but imagine this… specific lists automatically generated for you…general visitors…past buyers…product views… AND SHOPPING CART ABANDONERS! Isn’t that just the dream? Think of the potential opportunities of being able to remarket to a customer who was so incredibly close to making a purchase.

You could even remarket with a 10% off deal or free next day delivery because I mean c’mon, if they have placed an item in their basket already then they really don’t need much swaying at all do they?

If you already have a remarketing tag installed on your webpage then you’re going to need to insert some custom parameters. These are elements that allow your tag to send specific information about your products to your AdWords account.

Below is a screenshot taken from Google of the custom parameters clothing and apparel stores will need to use:

To insert these into your tag then just go ahead and follow Google’s instructions. Trust me, it is totally worth doing this! If you are looking to beat all the big name high street brands then you have to use this chance to open up missed opportunities.

Finally… Feed Rules can Have a Big Impact on Your Account.

Feed rules lets you easily optimise, automate and fix your feed, without the need for a developer or 3rd party plugin. Even just a small adjustment could have a big impact on your campaign and there are so many rules that can come in handy.

You can use feed rules to do any of the following:

  • Fix disapproved feeds
  • Populate custom columns
  • Use conditions to set a particular value for an attribute

Quick-change your titles to optimise keywords

These are just the main rules I find most useful, however you can do so much more! You may be wondering, what is a condition? Well, Google defines them as something that ‘can be added in front of an operation to filter items in your feed that meet a certain criteria for your choosing’. You can even go as far as adding a second condition to coincide with the first.

As for operations, there are two types; data sources and modifications. Data sources identify where the data for the attribute should come from and modifications allow you to add additional steps to change your data.

You should use both operations and conditions together for ultimate optimisation! I could go on about feed rules for hours, however I am assuming that you’re brain has just been overloaded with enough information, so I’ll save that for another time ;).

I hope I have given all you clothing & apparel retailers some good advice on how to optimise your Google shopping campaigns? It’s now time for you to go ahead and start beating the big brand names.

If you still have questions you can contact us at any time, or why not let us do a free review of your account and we’ll tell you exactly how we’d do it!

About The Author

Name: Aimee-Leigh Prince
Position: Marketing Manager
Email: [email protected]


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