My 2015 Google Shopping Wishlist

By Kirk Williams | @PPCKirk | Owner of ZATO

In 2012, Google Shopping went from a free offering (Product Search) to a paid solution (Google Shopping/Product Listing Ads) for ecommerce websites. One of my clients has seen a 92% increase in revenue for Google Shopping when comparing May 2012 to May 2015 Google Shopping numbers (total site revenue rose 26%).


With that kind of growth, I would be nuts if I didn’t have a vested interest in what happens in Google Shopping. The concern voiced by many of us ecommerce PPCers is that the traffic volume of Shopping has increased at a far greater rate than the usability of the backend to manage it.


I’ve been greatly encouraged by the number of features Google has implemented to make Shopping campaigns be more manageable (priority settings, product groups, and individual ad groups to name a few!), but I’d still like to see some other changes.


Over the last 2 years, I have written 2 different “wish lists” previously on Google Shopping and would like to submit a 3rd, updated version. You can see my past 2 posts here:


My 2013 Google Shopping Christmas Wishlist
My 2014 Google Shopping Wishlist


The Top 9 Updates Google Shopping Needs


(1) Keyword Targeting


HAHAHAHAHA, ok seriously, let me wipe the mirth from my eyes so I can see the screen again. I requested this previously, but more signals are being sent off regarding Google’s love of keyword-less campaign types than ever before. Note this screenshot I snagged from the Search Advanced Test.


googel adwords test shopping


See the interesting word choice on that 3rd option? It’s like they went all Inception on us.


Maybe we should be checking Hal Varian videos for hidden anti-keyword messages played backwards.


In all seriousness though, having the ability to target to Google’s feed based product algorithms, as well as user-chosen keywords when applicable would be welcomed!


But… as much as I want KW Targeting in Google Shopping I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it won’t happen, so let’s move on to realistic requests.


(2) AdWords Editor Functionality


This is at the top of my “realistic” list. It takes far, far too long to create campaigns and ad groups in the UI currently if you are going deeper than 1 ad group (which you should, and here is why: New to Google Shopping? Read These 9 Tips to Own It). You can do limited edits (like adjust pre-existing product bids) in Editor, but otherwise any effort to copy product ad groups or campaigns gives you this error:


adwords editor product groups error


Side note of curiosity, this crazy amount of work is why Frederik Vallaeys told me he started Optmyzr. Note, I’ve never used Optmyzr, but when he tells me “that Shopping campaign strategy that took you 20 hours? That would take about 5 minutes with my program” I do admit that he has my interest. Honestly, if you’ve used it, I would love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments or on Twitter.




(3) Product Details In The Product Groups View


We PPCers make our Shopping bid decisions in the product group tab. Yet, we have to do this knowing which Product ID to bid on because that is all we can show in that view. I’ve managed accounts with up to 80K SKUs so the whole “memorizing the ID” thing would be… er… difficult.


On the other hand, the product information for every product is right next to that tab in the interface. I’m honestly not sure why these 2 tabs are different, perhaps someone can give insight and share it in the comments below or on Twitter?


product group tabs


Maybe I’m missing something, but it would be awesome to see product details like the title and price in the view where the bidding decision is being made.


(4) Search Functionality In Google Merchant Center Beyond Product ID


Again, unless one has the ID memorized, it takes a bit of work to find that (some retailers don’t include the same ID on their website that they send up to Shopping). It would be nice if we could search in GMC for products by keywords used in titles and descriptions as well.


(5) Product Disapproval Details In Google Merchant Center


Currently, some products have details (for instance they will notify you of pricing issues), however, many do not so it becomes guesswork as to the issue and the solution.


There have been times that a product has become disapproved for policy violation and I have gone in and hacked up the title and description with success, and there have been times where I have thrown up my hands in defeat.


I have often told an Adwords rep: “I’m not trying to break any violations, I WANT to know what I need to do to fix this and get this product back up and running. We’re on the same team here!”


Over on the KlientBoost blog, I gave 6 things to know about product disapprovals that go hand in hand with this (and the next!) wish: 6 Tips for Dealing with Disapproved Products.


(6) Product Disapproval Review Request For All Violations


(like, for instance, the pharma filter for ads and keywords in AdWords). I believe Adwords could actually save money here since this would likely reduce their help center call volume! Some violations allow for a manual review, others do not. Which is which?


AdWords explained it on Twitter this way:


google shopping products disapproved


I would love to see this option available for all disapprovals to reduce contact we and the Adwords reps can have so we can all spend our time focused on manually required tasks.


(7) Support For MAP Pricing Oddities


I have written about this at length here: The Secret Conflict of MAP Pricing, so I won’t repeat everything. While there are unique steps that can be taken, they often require manual approval, which causes client products to be down for multiple days. This depends significantly on the manufacturer pricing policy and its severity.


(8) An Accessible Google Shopping Team, Or Specialist Ecommerce Reps


Because of the back and forth often required with Google Shopping and the intricacies of the feed management side as well as the AdWords UI side, it would be AWESOME to have access to a team who understands these issues at a deeper level. It would eliminate the middleman approach that is often required with current reps (you knew the “help” line in GMC is just the normal Adwords help line, right? See Tip 3 Here: 6 Tips for Dealing with Disapproved Products in Shopping).


(9) Multiple Account Login


Google made Analytics and AdWords accounts support multiple user login and I would love to see this happen soon in Merchant Center. This would make life much easier for agencies who, even with the multi-client GMC accounts sometimes still have to use multiple logins (it’s complicated).


So, there is my wishlist for Google Shopping. What about you, anything you would add to the list? What is the pain point for you?