Preparing for the Q4 Shopping Spree

Google Shopping Best Practices, Tips and Tricks

Q4 is fast approaching, so it’s time to review those best practices for Google Shopping! We have some tips and best practices that we hope will help you kick start optimising your shopping campaigns to achieve the best performance, when it really matters!

Separate best sellers or high value products in different campaigns with different priorities depending on your goals.

Ensure the products that perform the best (or are likely to, for example because they’re going to be featured in an offer) are given the best chance to sell. Creating campaigns to separate and prioritise these products from the main feed will help you focus on their performance, set different CPA or ROAS targets and increase your click share when you need it most.

Common ways to separate your shopping campaigns:

  • Brands
  • Product Category
  • Sale Items
  • Product Price
  • Best Sellers

Make the most of Showcase Ads

Showcase ads help you reach higher level, more generic searches and entice customers to discover your brand. This can be particularly useful during periods prior to Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas whilst users are doing their product research. Capturing these users early by targeting the upper funnel search terms gives you the power and data to then retarget these users later on when their intent changes and they are using more specific product related searches that you would be targeting using regular shopping campaigns.

the works christmas showcase

 Create specific seasonal shopping campaigns to prioritise products at particular times of year.

We’ve seen great results with clients when we’ve used custom labels to highlight products that do well in certain seasons. For example, a woolly hat would have the ‘winter’ custom label added, ensuring it features in the winter campaign, knowing it will perform better during Q4 and other winter seasons than in Summer or Spring.

Separating campaigns ensures they get the relevant focus at the critical time of year, for example increasing budget, priority or altering the CPA or ROAS targets if using smart bidding.

Optimise the Product Feed

See our blog on What is Shopping Feed Optimisation

Implement Smart Shopping Campaigns

This will allow you to use your time more efficiently to build a strategy for Q4. It takes your business goals and campaigns based on your objectives to choose the most appropriate bidding strategy for you and then uses machine learning to automate optimisations across intent channels. 

You can have one Smart Shopping Campaign for all of your inventory, or separate these into multiple Smart Shopping Campaigns based on product groups or categories. You can then set different goals and targets for each of these groups based on the time of year or priorities for the business.

Differentiate your ads from other retailers

You can attract consumers by highlighting your unique value proposition. Do this by:

  • Adding Merchant Promotions through Google Merchant Centre; these can be discounts, free gifts or shipping. For example “Spend £30, Enjoy Free Shipping”
  • Adding Merchant Ratings which will drive online shoppers to your store and earn more qualified leads to increase your ad performance. This can be done through a review feed, a reviews aggregator, or to participate in Google Customer Reviews.

Don’t forget to have a ‘catch all’ campaign

Creating an ‘all products’ campaign set at a low priority will ensure that the products and categories that you’re not prioritising using the above techniques continue to be eligible to show as shopping ads. You can monitor and act on the performance of these products to understand any changes in trends and prioritise them later if necessary.

Some housekeeping tips

Ensure the budgets aren’t being limited

Ensure that your shopping campaign budgets are sufficient enough to deal with any peaks and expected or unexpected surges in demand. There are several ways you can do this.

Firstly, review last year’s performance to predict future trends and get ahead of the curve. Events like Black Friday/Cyber Monday are prime examples. Alternatively, you can set rules that can change the budgets of campaigns if they see good performance.

Managing seasonality

Budget control can help you manage the eb and flow of demand as seasonality takes hold of the market. Something worth considering for this time of year is that Black Friday is a little later in the month than previous years. We would expect demand not to drop as drastically this time around with it being closer to Christmas. Something to consider when planning the daily budgets of your campaigns.

Review search query reports regularly.

Just because shopping campaigns don’t specifically have keywords, doesn’t mean you don’t have some control on what searches your campaigns show for. If you’re using regular Shopping campaigns you should be using search query reports almost twice as much as the search campaigns to ensure you’re adding the negatives and irrelevant searches. You can save a lot of money on wasted clicks by ensuring your negative lists are regularly updated.

 Continue to check Merchant Centre

Depending on the amount of products that the client has, checking Merchant Centre for product improvements is useful as product alterations can help get a product more visibility and appear on more accurate search terms.

Merchant Centre will also flag any disapproved items, and items not appearing in the feed due to things like missing or mismatched pricing. Reducing errors will ensure that your whole shopping inventory remains available for your campaigns.

Keep an eye on Auction Insights…

If you’re appearing alongside unrelated businesses, then that may be an indication that you’re matching to the wrong type of searches and that you should review the search term report.

The auction insights report can also illustrate where you may be missing opportunities and may need to increase priority or relax CPA/ROAS targets to ensure impression share improves.

Don’t forget those remarketing audiences

Whether you opt to use formats like Showcase or not, it is important to use the remarketing data you have at your disposal so that when the time is right you are prioritising the best users. Ahead of time, set up as many audiences as you can think of (as long as there is enough volume). Some ideas for audiences:

  • Basket abandoners
  • Viewed product pages – grouped by type of product
  • Visitors within 24 hours / 3 days / 5 days – this particularly around the end of promotions and Black Friday.

Opting in to Smart Shopping will take care of remarketing. Something to consider.

Now you’re prepared to use Google Shopping to its full potential; good luck this season and Happy Shopping!

Want To Build A Pipeline For The New Year While You’re Off This Christmas?

We’ve talked about the reasons you shouldn’t pause campaigns over the festive period here, but if you’re taking time off, going to be away or need to know what to do about leads that you might still be paying for, we’ve got you covered with some top tips on what to do to build a pipeline for 2019 while you lament over the number of Brussels sprouts you’ve eaten…

Call Extensions

If you’re unable to answer the phone during a certain period, remove call extensions from your campaign.

Build A Pipeline For 2017

Alternatively, you can keep them, and make sure you have someone professional who can answer the phone for you and make appointments or bookings.  You could even hire the services of companies who specialise in this area.
At the very least have a personalised voicemail explaining when you’ll be able to get back to their message.

Ad Text

Tweak your ad text to influence people’s next steps by using a Call to Action.  Tell your prospects what you want from them.  “Email Us For 2019 Bookings” or “Email To Get In First For 2019!”, “Email For January 2019 quotes” all this will help build a pipeline for 2019.

Landing Pages

What you’re saying in your ads needs to be reflected in your landing page, so get those updated.

Also, you want to make it clear that anyone visiting your site knows what your movements are over Christmas. Do not have it hidden on your contact us page.  Have it on the header banner across all pages.

Other tips to build a pipeline for 2019…


Shorten your sales funnel to quick sales conversions

At this time of year, people are open to buying and don’t need to be as nurtured as other times. There is more sense of urgency across November, December and January. Make it as easy as possible for them to buy from you. Reminders in the form of phone calls, emails or other forms of marketing can be ramped up over Christmas without fear of scaring off prospects.

Give back to loyal customers

Reward your best customers, a tempting Christmas offer or a gift or freebie can encourage more sales in the new year. It’ll be remembered when those hard sales calls from competitors start up in January.

Build a Pipeline for 2017

Optimise product descriptions

Include keywords such as new year, 2019, resolutions etc. Research what your customers will be searching at this time of year and don’t be afraid to change product descriptions to reflect this.

For more Christmas-related advice, you might want to try some of our other blogs:

Pause Campaigns at Christmas

Christmas Shopping Trends You Need To Know
Online Retail Ads – When To Save And When To Spend This Christmas

Build A Pipeline For 2019 during the festive period with these Christmas clever marketing tips and if you’ve got more tips to share, be sure to leave them in the comments! We’d love to hear them!

Digital Marketing Tips for Christmas 2018

Christmas is a time when businesses ramp up their marketing strategies to entice new customers and more sales during the festive season. Competition is fierce among competitors, so brands need to stay ahead of the game in their campaigns in order to take the biggest share of the market.

In the lead up to the big day, companies utilise various digital marketing strategies to increase sales. This includes social media, email marketing and various campaigns, special deals and competitions. Use our top tips to maximise the success of your Christmas marketing plan.

1. Get Creative

Use creative keywords to improve SEO. Interesting content is key to engaging consumers, so quality matters. You can use Google Adwords to find keywords, but ensure your content is on top form. Hire a professional content writer if needs be.

2. Update

Keep your content up to date to show your customers you are in the now and staying current. Gain their interest by posting updates in the form of blogs. Look back at old posts that were successful and work out why they ranked highly. Use these ranking factors to add to new content on your website.

3. Get Noticed

With so many businesses, it is important to stand out from the crowd by having a USP. Include this in your meta-description. Add deals and perks in your keywords to entice new customers, such as free delivery or discounts. This will improve ranking and traffic. Push it on social media to boost this even further.

4. Set up a Google My Business profile

Getting on Google My Business provides users with further information on SERPs when looking for your company. It is quick and easy to do. It features posts that last for a week, making it perfect for events, guides, products and more. Getting this sorted also helps local SEO strategy.

5. Implement a Cross-Channel Marketing plan

Many people use various ways to search for information, including different devices, social media platforms, adverts and more. Ensure consistency across all platforms and target customers wherever they are. This will strengthen your brand and show solidarity. Monitor your customers’ actions so you can tweak future campaigns.


Christmas Tips Advertising 2018


6. Use Google search trends

Look at current trends to stay up to date. Certain terms and phrases peak at Christmas time and Google Trends can assist you with this. Target high volume phrases where competition is difficult or opt for lower volume phrases where competition is not as strong.

7. Use Schema Markup

Add schema markup to your site as this informs search engines what your data means, rather than simply what it is. Stand out from other digital marketing strategies by using concise keyword research and quality content.

Christmas is an important time for any business and sales often increase during this period. Ensure you get the most out of the season by following our tips to improve your SEO and overall digital marketing campaigns. Stand out from the crowd and make 2018 one to remember.

“How-To” E-Books For Key Industries This Christmas

ree Ebook Christmas Marketing

Christmas is approaching fast, but it’s not too late to make the most of the opportunities this time of year. It’s just a case of identifying them and acting fast. That’s why Broadplace has put together a Free Ebook Christmas Marketing for you. Whether you’re a retailer in Toys & Games, Food or Electronics, there’s hints and tips for everyone. Time is of the essence, however, so we recommend you download your free Ebook now and contact us for more information on how we can help you to drive sales this Christmas.
Plus  – find out how you could win £500 of YouTube ad credit (download one of the Ebooks to find out how)

Did You Know?

Sales from smartphones in January ’16 are predicted to grow 99% Year-on-Year – time to make sure your website is mobile-friendly, especially your checkout pages!


Free Ebook Christmas Marketing
A general look at the Christmas landscape for all retailers in 2016 – a review of the key outcomes of 2015, followed by predictions for 2016. Hints and tips from Google and Broadplace. All of which will help you to secure the best marketing plan for Christmas 2016. Download your Free Ebook Christmas Marketing for Retail here…

Free Ebook Christmas Marketing Retailers
click here to get it…



Free Ebook Christmas Marketing
Beauty retailers will enjoy an uplift this Christmas, but when? Find out with the Free Ebook Christmas Marketing for Beauty. Included are Google’s predictions about search queries and volume; as well as hints and tips for taking advantage of the Christmas period. Get your free copy here

Free Ebook Christmas Marketing Beauty
click here to get it…

Did you know?

30% of location specific searches happen on a smartphone?


Free Ebook Christmas Marketing

When are your peak search times? What white goods and consumer electronics search queries were most popular last year? We’ve compiled the information and tips that will help you get ahead this Christmas. The Free Ebook Christmas Marketing for Electronics and Tech is your indispensable guide to driving sales this festive period, download it here

Free Ebook Christmas Marketing Tech
click here to get it…


Toys & Games

Free Ebook Christmas Marketing
It should come as no surprise to toys and games retailers that this is an incredibly busy time of the year. But do you know the peak times at which your customers are searching? How much growth does Google forecast in your sector this Christmas? Are your shopping ads up to scratch? Find out in the Free Ebook Christmas Marketing for Toys & Games here…

Free Ebook Christmas Marketing Toys & Games
click here to get it…

Did you know?

Only 10% of consumers do ALL their shopping in-store

Food & Grocery

ree Ebook Christmas Marketing

Food and Grocery retailers will be interested to learn when people most search for their products. This will help to guide you on when to ramp up ad investment to ensure you are front and centre when people are searching for your products.

Discover how Google forecasts spend for your industry in the 2016 Christmas period in the Free Ebook Christmas Marketing for Food & Grocery here…

Free Ebook Christmas Marketing Food & Grocery
click here to get it…


Why You Shouldn’t Pause Campaigns Over Christmas

Pause Ad Campaigns at Christmas

Are you thinking it’s better to Pause Ad Campaigns at Christmas? It’s tempting to wind down for the Christmas period. The office Christmas party, more lunchtime drinks – it all makes us feel like we should be putting everything on pause. We get it. But while pausing your ad campaigns might have short term gains (a few savings) this is a false economy… find out why:

Ad Rank

That elusive and mysterious method by which Google decides where and how often your ads are shown to customers… The score is determined by a few things, including quality scores, bids, use of extensions and also the length of time you’ve had an active campaign with Google.
Pausing your campaign damages your ad rank. It removes you from auctions and automatically gives your competitors a boost up the ladder. So when you reactivate your campaign you are at an immediate disadvantage having to fight harder to regain your position. Simply put, this costs money.


If you keep advertising while competitors pause their campaign, bidding on keywords gets cheaper, competition is reduced.

REMEMBER! You only pay the amount for a click as the highest bid on the position below you

Pause Ad Campaigns at Christmas

Trafffic Volume Increases

Think about what you do over the Christmas period… a sneaky search for next year’s holiday? Looking for office supplies while work is quiet in the countdown to Christmas Eve? Planning events, home improvements, weddings, , marketing plans… The list is endless.  Make sure you’re there.

Predicted traffic volumes
Black Friday – 190-200 million
Cyber Monday – 170-185 million
Manic Monday – 150-157 million
Christmas Day – 150-155 million
Boxing Day – 170 – 190 million
New Year’s Day – 130-137 million


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Spending Increases

With Christmas bonuses, cheques and vouchers, people are looking to spend money. Not just on gifts, but on themselves too. Just think about the opportunities that social gatherings, family treats, outings bring with them for many different industries. If you pause ad campaigns at christmas, you’re going to miss out on this extra opportunities.

40% of us are expected to over budget this Christmas by at least £70


New Year’s Resolutions

This is the time of year that people are looking to the future. They’re planning, they’re researching and looking for answers. This an example of what Google calls ‘micro-moments’. And they’re exactly when you need to be in front of your customers.

Trades and Services

Many service clients assume they should wind down over the festive period. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can remain competitive over the Christmas period even if you’re taking time off – make sure that you clearly inform customers when you are or aren’t working and you’ll already have an edge over many rival companies. Switch off call extensions active and for times that you are not working, or make sure you have a voicemail set up to get customers to leave a message – let them know when you’ll get back to them. Convert those calls!
Emergency tradesmen are in short supply at this time of year. If you’re planning on working, advertise this. Bid high to ensure customers call you first. You’ll get more exposure than those not working and will be the first port of call next time an emergency happens.

Want to know more | Pause Ad Campaigns at Christmas?

If you’re a Broadplace customer, get in touch with your Account Manager to draw up a plan-of-attack for your successful Christmas. Not a Broadplace customer? Get in touch today and we’ll tell you what we’d recommend FREE OF CHARGE.

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See also >> 
Online Retail Ads – When To Save and When To Spend This Christmas

Christmas Shopping Trends You Need To Know

With the festive season almost upon us, we’re bringing you a series of blogs about Christmas Shopping trends for 2015. If you read nothing else, let it be this…

Google Christmas Shopping Trends

Analysis of online shopping behaviour shows that once we hit less than three months to go until Christmas Day, the more organised consumers out there begin their Christmas shopping and this tends to be around Pay Day (25th of the month for most people).
Google says that 2014 was the most connected Holiday Season to date: 78% of shoppers reporting that they used the internet for holiday research last year and 40% of all shopping happened online.


Christmas Shopping Trends
Consumers will be researching and purchasing already, looking for those must-haves for 2016 and carefully selecting the perfect gift for that special someone from the extensive range of choice out there. In 2014, 53% of those who shopped online did so on smartphones or tablets.

Shopping vs Text Ads

Christmas Shopping Trends
Shopping ads and remarketing should be at the top of every savvy advertiser’s agenda, further qualifying visitors to your site through product images and prices and also attracting previous visitors back to your site to convert them second time around.

What Next?

To take advantage of this early pre-Christmas shopping, you must be visible where the majority of online shopping journeys begin – Google!
To ensure maximum exposure, please speak with your Account Manager about scheduling your ads so that your ad is seen whenever someone is searching for your product or service. Especially at weekends!
If you’re not already a customer with Broadplace, get in touch today to see how we can make your ad spend work harder for you this Christmas.
To read our Top 3 Competitor Analysis Tools To Get You Ahead For Christmas blog click here.

Christmas Shopping Trends

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