2021 Quick Guide to Bidding on Google Shopping Ads | Bid Smarter with Bidbrain™

by Massimo Barnett
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Bidbrain, NexifyAI, Heyday and other AI tools are the secret weapons that will see certain companies hit record growth in 2021 while others are left behind to bite the dust. 

2020 turned out to be a record breaking year for e-commerce. And, 2021 is promising to be just as epic a year for E-retailers. However, it’s looking like the competition is about to get tougher and smarter than ever before. 

For many, the playing field where the winners are crowned is won by Google Shopping Ads (also known as Google Product List Ads or PLAs) which are the ads that appear at the top of search engine listings — sought after because they are paired with high-quality images of a product, as well as pricing information and other details that draw the eye.

PLAs are a largely untapped resource. And yet, even so, according to 2018 statistics, PLAs now “make up around 76.4% of retail search ad spend, and win 85.3% of all clicks.” This means that there is more than enough reason for you to jump into the game and make a name for yourself in the realm of Google Shopping Ads.

More below on how to bid on Google Shopping Ads and how you can find more success with Speqta’s new AI-based ad investment optimization tool, Bidbrain™:

Why Google Shopping Ads Matter

  1. Shopping Ads offer increased visibility. They appear at the very top of search engine results, higher than both ‘Search Ads’ and ‘Organic Search Results.’
  2. Shopping Ads show the product. This is the biggest difference between Search Ads and Shopping Ads. As consumers with high buyer intent are more likely to be drawn by the visual format of Shopping Ads.
  3. Shopping Ads are Intent-based Ads. Unlike most ads, which are interruption-based (ads that appear without prompting), Shopping Ads are part of the small minority of ads that appear only when consumers are actively looking to buy a certain product or service.

How to Bid on Google Shopping Ads

After you’ve set up your account for Google Shopping Ads, what do you do next? Well, there are several roads that you can take, each with their pros and cons:

Manual Rule-Based Bidding

Manual Rule-Based Bidding offers the most ‘control’ over your bidding strategy. It functions based on “if/then” rules that would shift your actions based on predetermined parameters:

  • High-ROAS: “If,” you notice that some products are performing better than others in your lineup, “then” you might want to break up your product groups further so that you can create higher bids for the products that are performing the best.
  • Low-ROAS: On the opposite end of the spectrum, “if ” you find that certain products are performing poorly and do not reach the desired ROAS (Return on Ads Spend), “then”you can exclude those products via their product titles.
  • Sales and Promotions: “If” you are holding a promotional event or a sale, “then” you might want to raise your bids. As these events naturally increase conversion rates.

The main issue with manual rule-based bidding as described above is that it takes a lot of time and effort. And, even if you were to put your all into it, there would be no beating the capabilities of an AI-based system. Leaving you behind the dust of your competitors.

Google Shopping Automated Bidding

If you’re not prepared to spend much time manually customizing your bids, then the next standard option is to use one of the automated bidding strategies offered by Google:

  • Maximize Clicks: This strategy prioritizes maximizing your clicks by setting your bids to obtain the highest volume of clicks possible for your target spend. It’s a great strategy to use if all you want is to drive traffic to your website. But it is not necessarily good for obtaining traffic that converts — which is why it is not often used by e-retailers.
  • Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (ECPC): This is one of the more popular strategies, it’s the practice of boosting conversions by giving Google the ability to override manual bids if the AI believes that the chances of a sale are more likely. The downside to this is that it does leave you at risk for completely missing your target CPA (Cost-Per Conversion.)
  • Target-ROAS: TARGET-ROAS is another popular Google Shopping strategy as, once again, it boosts conversions while also trying to reach your set target ROAS for a certain campaign. The main con of using this bidding strategy is that it is not very useful if you don’t have pre-existing data for the AI to derive bid levels from.
  • Maximize Conversion Value: Similar to Target-ROAS, this bidding strategy is used to boost conversions. The main difference is that, instead of trying to reach a set target ROAS, this time, Google’s AI is trying to reach a specified budget that you can set while working to increase your overall revenue. 

It should be noted that, while there are many in the e-commerce space that uses Google’s automated bidding strategies for convenience’s sake. It does take a lot of control away from you. It’s a black box, so you never truly know how the tool is bidding for you. 

AI-based Automated Bidding | Bidbrain™

To address the limitations of the first two bidding categories, AI solutions like Bidbrain™ have come into the market to help e-retailers bid smarter. This is the method that we most recommend. As not only will it save you time and resources, but it will also allow you to have more control over how you place your investments.

Bidbrain, similar to competitors like Bidnamic and UPP Ai, is a new release from Speqta, a company led by CEO Fredrik Lindros. It’s a SaaS solution developed for pushing for the bottom-line growth of an online retailer. 

When in use, Bidbrain both outpaces and performs smarter than manual rule-based calculations and Google’s bidding tools. It has a product feed optimizer that increases your PLAs quality score, it automatically creates new clusters of potential bidding strategies based on the data provided by the e-retailer, and also, Bidbrain deals only with traffic that will convert and learns how to do so by feeding on the structured data that fuels its AI’s intelligence. How does it work? Well, Bidbrain’s AI functions completely on Google Ads, so the bidding performed is—unlike Google—completely transparent, you’ll know exactly how your money is being spent and what for, giving you great insight on how to better structure your campaigns in the future. The tool was also outfitted with more allowance for freedom and control than Google’s own tools by offering extra functionality in the form of useful optimization features like endless custom label possibilities, which are useful for fully exploring all the different parameters an online retailer might want to test.Overall, if you’re looking for a way to optimize the way you’re bidding on Google Shopping Ads, consider Bidbrain. It’s a very dynamic and insightful tool. And with it, you can be sure that you are constantly ahead of your competition.

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