Google Shopping: Non-Brand vs. Brand Segments


  • Google Shopping ads generally have higher click-through rates and lower costs per click than standard paid search ads.
  • Google Shopping decides which searches will trigger ads based on product titles and descriptions from your feed.
  • Instead of placing bids on keywords, bidding is applied to the text describing products.
  • Different bids should be set for non-brand versus branded terms, and each segment should be set up differently.
  • In doing so, you’ll not only focus on users who are much closer to converting, but you’ll also show products to individuals who might be less familiar with your business.

Any business that has products to sell should be utilizing Google Shopping. Google Shopping ads generally have higher click-through rates and lower costs per click than standard paid search ads. Google Shopping uses an uploaded feed through Google Merchant Center to connect to an AdWords account, populating your products in Google’s search results. The setup is relatively simple.

More Simple Than AdWords

Simplicity is terrific, but a problematic feature of Google Shopping campaigns is the lack of control that you would otherwise have with a paid search campaign. AdWords functions by giving marketers the ability to bid on individual keywords; a winning bid serves a text ad. Google Shopping, on the other hand, decides which searches will trigger ads based on product titles and descriptions from your feed. So instead of placing bids on keywords, bidding is applied to the text describing products.

Within text campaigns, Redefine Marketing Group does keyword research to find the most specific keywords to reach high-intent users. We control when text ads serve by using different keyword match types to broaden or tighten the triggering of ads, based on how closely they match a given search query.

Reaching Users at Different Stages of Their Journey

When users type the name of a business, a brand, or a product into their search, they are illustrating higher intent and that they are much further down the purchase funnel than those searching for more general, non-brand terms. We strive to reach users at different stages of their journey but place a higher value on those who are closer to conversion. We add general keywords to drive higher search volume and to help with brand recognition and recall.

Winning relevant Google Shopping auctions, where products and user searches line up, relies on a well-optimized data feed. Even when we optimize a Google Shopping feed with product information that contains keywords we hope to show up for, Google ultimately still decides what searches it considers relevant to the products we are serving.

Bidding Based on Relevance & Intent is Important

We don’t want most Google Shopping ads to show up for terms that are too general, spending ad dollars where the return on investment isn’t ideal. According to our best practices, we would separate broader keywords from more specific keywords and break out keywords that contain brand words. This strategy would allow us to budget and bid differently based on relevance and intent.

At this point, there are three options. We can create a feed that contains more general keywords, to make sure we attain scale. We can also generate text in our feed that features highly specific brand keywords, but risk not reaching all your potential consumers. Or, with slightly more setup, we can utilize two feeds and two campaigns, one of each of those described above, both with the same products.

The two campaigns described above, running in parallel, will allow us to set different bids non-brand versus branded term. It also allows us to separate daily budgets; branded search spend should be maxed out, because it will bring the more significant return on investment, while non-brand should be used to fill out the media buy and gain scale.

Setting Up Non-Brand vs. Brand Segmentation

To set up this non-brand vs. brand segmentation, we’ll duplicate campaigns with different feeds for each type of keyword set. We prefer a campaign for each brand a business carries and then breaking out ad groups by product type. We try not to have too much specificity in campaign structure because if it is too complicated then duplicating it can be a bit of a hassle. The complications arise because AdWords doesn’t currently let you copy and paste product groups in their interface.

Much like we exclude exact match keywords from our modified broad campaigns in paid search, we will use negative keywords on one campaign, so it will focus on those non-brand searches and the other on brand keywords. For non-brand campaigns, we add branded terms as negative keywords to their campaigns. Within the brand campaigns, we add general terms that we have seen in the shopping search term reports. This analysis and negation are an ongoing optimization that we will continue as the campaigns go on.

Let Us Help

While the above set up is not incredibly intuitive, it will allow for both precision targeting and ad spend at scale, while not wasting tons of budget. It focuses on users who are much closer to converting but also shows products to individuals who might be less familiar with your business. No matter your budget, Redefine Marketing Group can utilize your marketing spend to serve your products and your business best. Be sure to reach out to us today and let us walk you through the best options for you.

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