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How to 5X Google Shopping Results

How to 5X Your Google Shopping Results When Selling in a Broad Market

A client of mine sells handbags. When I first started working on the account their Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) was so low that they were making a loss from their advertising.

Literally they were making $.50 from every dollar they spent on ads, and then they still had to ship the product!

One of the first things I did was look to see what search terms were being used when someone transacted. For this client, I could see the people who were buying were either searching for the client’s brand name, or they were searching for soft leather handbags or boho/bohemian handbags.

The problem with Shopping Campaigns is that Google chooses which search terms to show up for. Naturally Google can’t be right all of the time, and so you tend to show up in the Shopping feed for a lot of irrelevant searches. This is fine if you are in a tiny niche that hardly anyone searches for, but a huge problem if you’re in a big broad category like bags, apparel, shoes etc!

My client was showing up for all sorts of other brands and other styles of bags. Since bags are a very common search word this meant lots of irrelevant traffic.

Don’t assume people will only click on your ad if they want to buy your product. They’ll click on it because it looks nice, or they want to compare it to something else, or they’ll just click on it by accident. The less relevant the Shopping search term, the lower the conversion rate, simple as that.

Listen up closely. If you have a limited budget, you can’t afford to attract all of those clicks to your website. It’s like trying to surf a tsunami.

If you have a small budget (or any size budget really, if you’re in a broad category) you might as well only allow the people searching with relevant terms to see your ad, so that you’re not overwhelmed with poor quality traffic. You don’t want to pay for clicks from people who are not likely to purchase from you, right?

If you allow your ad to be shown to every man and his dog, then you will run out of daily budget by breakfast time and you won’t show up for the searches that really count.

It’s much better to limit the number of search terms that can trigger your Shopping ads down to only the best terms and max out your budget on those terms before broadening out your keywords.

Unfortunately Google goes broad by default, and wastes your money. 🙁

Not only that, but Google Shopping campaigns do not let you specify keywords that you want to target! Unsuspecting Google Ads users get swept into the clickfest tsunami and if they get a bad result they assume that Google Ads just doesn’t work for them.

(It’s not true.) There are a few tricks that you can use to work around this and get much, much better results.

How would you feel if you got say 5X better return on your investment? Think it’s not possible? Read on.

Your Negative Search Term List

While you can’t select particular keywords that you do want to target, if you use manual Shopping campaigns you can select keywords that you want to exclude. The trick here, is that you need to be really specific with what you want to exclude so that you don’t accidentally exclude good searches.

The way to do that is to specify your negative search term as an ‘exact match’ keyword. An exact match means that it will only be excluded if the phrase is typed in exactly how are you have specified it. So for example if someone searches for Oroton handbag and you want to exclude that specific term, you would exclude the whole term as an exact match keyword.

Exact match is designated in Google ads by square brackets around the phrase, for example [fake leather handbag], or [oroton handbag].

If you sell products in a broad category you will quickly find that Google Shopping comes up with literally thousands of search terms, of which only a small number may be truly relevant.

Applying all those search terms as negative keywords is extremely cumbersome if done one at a time! Since most people only know how to exclude them one at a time, the majority of people don’t do it properly. This is why they don’t get the best results from Google Shopping.

So don’t do it one at a time. Export all the keywords from the past year into a spreadsheet, convert them all into exact match keywords using a data manipulation in the spreadsheet or text editor, take out the terms you want to keep, and voilà you have a long list of negative exact match keywords to add to your shopping campaigns.

Add all of your negative keywords to a big long list in Google Ads and then then you can apply them to any campaign you like.

If you have a small budget, you should have a lot of negative keywords so that only the best ones use up your ad budget. I.e. 80-95% of all your historical search terms should be added to the negative list!

Keep the ones that are for your brand name, your specific product names, your niche or anything else that is unique and likely to lead to a sale. Exclude the rest.

What if you have a larger budget, or you want to scale up your campaigns past these best keywords?

With a larger budget, you might not want to exclude all of those extra search terms permanently because some of the generic terms will still definitely lead to sales. So in this case, you can run more than one campaign based on the quality of the search term being used and adjust your budgets and bids accordingly.

Even with a larger budget, you’ll still want to max out your daily spend on the most relevant keywords first before spending money on the less relevant keywords.

If you keep your best keywords really tight, you’ll reach a point where you increase your daily budget, but your account doesn’t spend any more money. This is when you know you’re ready to add broad keywords back in.

To do this without undoing all your good work, you can have two campaigns running at the same time. One campaign will be for your best keywords, and one campaign will be for all the other keywords Google comes up with. Even in this broader campaign you’ll still want to exclude really bad keywords. So for example if you sell genuine leather handbags, you’ll want to exclude fake leather, plastic, vinyl etc as keywords permanently.

You’ll want to bid higher and put more budget on the specific keywords campaign as this campaign will get the better ROAS.

(You should see a stark difference between the ROAS of these two campaigns. Feel free to send me a message thanking me when you realise how much money you were leaving on the table that you’re now collecting in your specific keywords campaign!)

In your specific keywords campaign exclude your long list of negatives, and then in your broad keywords campaign let Google choose the search terms as per normal, but exclude your “good” keywords (Also exclude the really bad ones).

Bid lower on each click on this campaign so that you get more traffic since you’ll get a lower conversion rate. Adjust your budgets so that you max out your daily budget on your specific keywords and then set the daily budget on your broad keywords to spend whatever you have left after the best search terms have been prioritized.

This works really great!

I’m using this strategy with great success on my handbags client account, plus many others. Straight away this client’s account started performing five times better then it was before. It started finally making a profit for the client.

There’s still more that can be done on these campaigns to boost the ROAS higher, but 5X higher return overnight isn’t a bad start right?

Before we go I want to briefly mentioned maintenance. This strategy does require some maintenance.

It might be that some of the keywords you selected as highly relevant do not perform well, or some of the keywords you have excluded are actually really fantastic. In these cases you’ll want to switch the keywords between the best keywords and the broad keywords lists as you see fit. You’ll also find that’s some irrelevant keywords still pop into your specific keywords campaign simply because no one had searched for that term before and so you don’t have it excluded. As this happens you can move these keywords onto your broad list and exclude them from your specific keywords campaign.

I do this programmatically which saves me a lot of time and then I can get much more done than if you were doing it yourself. This saves you time and money. If you want some help doing that, just reach out and I can help!

How to fix missing ecommerce transactions in Google Analytics and Google Ads when using Woocommerce

Use WooCommerce? Here’s How to Fix Missing E-commerce Transactions in Google Ads and Analytics

Several of my e-commerce clients have problems with WordPress WooCommerce websites not tracking all of their sales correctly in Google Analytics. This often happens on a WordPress website because there is more than one way to set them up, and this lack of consistency can lead to issues from time to time.

Aside from being annoying when trying to use Google Analytics, this issue is extremely problematic when using paid advertising like Google Ads. If Google Analytics is not getting all of the sales data, then most likely neither is Google Ads. Without the sales data, Google Ads cannot be correctly optimized to generate more revenue for your business.

One new client has been running ads through Google ads for a few months with another agency and it looked like they had a Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) of only 0.5 times. I.e. for every dollar they spent on ads they were getting $.50 back! And then they still had to supply and ship the product!

If this result was true they would advertise themselves out of business very quickly. The trouble with not having the financial data pull through is that you might actually be advertising the wrong things and not making any money from it and never realise.

So the most important thing that I needed to do here was to fix the e-commerce tracking so that we had every transaction recorded. Then and only then could we determine which Google Ad campaigns and settings were working for the client and which needed to be changed.

This is easier said than done!

Fixing Missing Transactions in Google Analytics and Google Ads

There are a couple of reasons why WordPress WooCommerce websites have the issue of transactions missing in Google Analytics. Firstly, different plugins vary in their effectiveness and set up. Rather than pushing e-commerce transactions to Google Analytics directly, I prefer to use the plugin Google Tag Manager For WordPress  which integrates nicely with WooCommerce. This plugin passes e-commerce data to Google Tag Manager where it can be intercepted and passed to third-party applications like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook and Email Automation.

However, even with the plugin set up correctly and working you can have irregular results with your WordPress website failing to pass e-commerce data if your website is slow when processing the “thank you” page after transaction.

The e-commerce data is pushed out from the website after the transaction has completed, while the thankyou page is loading. If this critical page is slow, you might not get the data pushed out quickly enough and then it won’t appear in Google Analytics or Google Ads. For this reason, you need a quickly loading thankyou page and fast hosting if you run an e-commerce. Any Google Analytics, Google Ads or Google Tag Manager code on this critical page need to be placed as close to the top of the page code as possible.

If the thankyou page loads slowly, the purchaser might close the browser tab before Google Analytics, Google Ads and any other platforms you pass ecommerce data to have received any data. If this happens, the transaction will become missing from Google Analytics and Google Ads even though you can see it in your WooCommerce transaction logs. This is the situation my client is in, and it’s very hard to fix other than updating the website for speed and increasing the speed and bandwidth of the website hosting service being used.

There are a couple of other very common causes of missing transactions in Google Analytics.

If you use PayPal, Afterpay or another offsite payment processor, you need to return your purchaser back to your own thankyou page. If your purchaser is left on PayPal after the transaction, the e-commerce transaction will not be recorded in Google Analytics or Google Ads. When you redirect the user back to your thankyou page, you need to check that your website knows about the transaction and is passing this data along. You’ll probably need to set up a custom post-transaction redirect in PayPal if you use PayPal as your payment processor.

Similarly, PayPal, Afterpay, and other third-party payment processes need to be listed as excluded referrers in Google Analytics. If you don’t update this setting your revenue will be attributed to PayPal instead of the real traffic source. Even counting the offsite payment processor as an excluded referrer will not work if the purchaser spend more than 30 minutes off your site. For this reason, it’s better to extend the Google Analytics session time out to 4 hours instead of 30 minutes when you run an e-commerce store. (PS. One of my services is a Google Analytics setup, we fix all these settings for you).

One more cause of disappearing transactions, that you might never think of, is if you have too many tracking codes trying to use the transaction data at the same time. If Google Analytics, Google Ads, Bing, Facebook, Email and other third-party tools are all trying to access the e-commerce transaction data at the same time the data can end up being passed to some, but not all of the places. This can be very confusing for the marketer as the revenue will show up in some places but not others. When I see this issue in my client accounts, I set it up so that the ecommerce data is passed to a cookie first, so that the data can be retrieved from the cookie and sent to as many platforms as required.

Fixing Duplicate Transactions in Google Analytics and Google Ads

Another situation that I see occur from time to time, is duplicate transactions. This occurs when the thankyou page does load correctly and the purchaser leaves it open. Later, if they go back to that browser tab and refresh, the page sends data to Google Analytics and Google Ads again. This should not happen if you use the Google Tag Manager plug-in because once the e-commerce data is sent it is removed from short-term memory, but it can happen when the website is setup to add the e-commerce data directly onto the page. When you are testing your WooCommerce setup, see if it is possible for you to refresh the thankyou page and have the data go into your analytics twice. If it happens you’ll want to fix this.

When All Else Fails and You Still Have Missing Transactions in Google Analytics and Google Ads

The client that I am working with was putting up with only about 30% of transactions showing up in Google analytics and Google Ads. This is a big problem, and made it looks like they were losing money from advertising. So what I have done is set up Google Tag Manager to send e-commerce transaction data to Google Ads and Google Analytics when the purchaser clicks the “Process Order” button instead of having to wait for the thank you page to load.

This workaround has a few drawbacks however. Firstly, tracking a sale on button click makes it possible to track a sale if someone clicks the process order button but for some reason the transaction does not go through. This might happen if there is an error with the credit card. Also the transaction ID is not created until the thankyou page and so sending the transaction early makes it harder to match the transaction to the backend order number. Finally, if you have multiple buttons the user can click on the finalize their order this trick might not work at all. Especially if you embed PayPal and Afterpay buttons directly onto your website, because these are usually done as an iframe and Google Tag Manager can’t record clicks on them.

Still, the tactic above is better than nothing. If it’s a choice between having no data or every now and then having too much data I would rather go with the latter as long as the error doesn’t occur very often. This will at least enable somewhat more accurate recording of Google Ads results. Of course it would be best to resolve the underlying issues such the website processing the thank you page slowly so that the issue wouldn’t happen in the first place.

When Your Dog Eats a Rainbow Bagel

This is What Happens When Your Dog Eats a Rainbow Bagel

The missing bagel…

We have a local bagel maker. He makes these amazing rainbow bagels. Last week my daughter got out a bagel and left it out for her breakfast. Later that morning I heard “Mum! I’ve lost my bagel!”

We looked under the sofa. We looked under the bed. We looked under the cushions. We looked under the table. We even looked in the backyard.

Later that day we found the bagel. The dog had been ill and it didn’t look like a rainbow bagel anymore.

It’s funny because my three-year-old daughter is always asking me “what color does pink + purple + blue + orange + green make?” (Turns out the answer to the question when she asks it is not muddy brown, the answer is rainbow). That said, the answer this time was muddy brown.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this? Well this is actually relevant to a very important concept in Google marketing called segmentation.

If every color is a segment, you get a much better experience when they’re all separate. When they are all mixed together, all you’ve got is a mess on your carpet.

How to use this info?

Lets be serious now. Let’s say you sell shoes. Do people buy more shoes from their mobile phone or from their desktop? Google Analytics and Google ads gives you the ability to segment people by their device type so that you can know for sure which one does better.

The key here is that you need to separate them in order to know which one gives you the better result. If they are all mixed together then you would never know and so you can’t target your best customers.

How can you use this segmented data? If you know that more people buy from you when they are on their mobile phone, then you can set up your advertising to target people using their mobile phone. That way you can eliminate the waste of advertising to people using different devices if you only have a small budget. With small budgets it’s always better to focus on what works the best and trim everything else out of your advertising.

How about a different example. Have you ever considered segmenting by peoples interests? Google Analytics and Google Ads let you see the interests of people who go to your website or click on your ads.

Some marketers will add this interest data into Google ads, but they don’t always do it right. Lets use the example again of selling shoes. Often marketers will segment to users who have been shopping for shoes recently. But segmenting to people who have been looking for shoes defeats the purpose when you are selling shoes, because you already know they are looking for shoes! Otherwise they wouldn’t have seen or clicked on your ad in the first place.

Much more interesting segments could include comparing people who are into sports against people who are into cars and against people who like to go to the salon. These different groups of people will be more or less likely to buy from you, and you’ll be able to reach them with higher or lower CPCs depending on who your competitors target. If you segment by these different interests you can understand much better who are your best advertising markets and you can target accordingly.

If you leave all the different segments mixed together rather than separated you will have no idea!

I can assure you the bagel looked better when the colors where separate.

How to Check Your Google Shopping Ads For Errors [Video]

A quick one for Google Shopping users!

Make sure that when you do list your products on Google shopping that you test how the products look when people search for your products. You can do a search in Google and you can bring yourself up as a seller.

Choose shopping and do make sure that your images are formatted correctly. In this particular case, you can see there’s a problem because some of the ads do not have a description.

Having no description will be a problem because it’ll stop you from being ranked for those products where someone doesn’t search for the exact text.

The other thing that I have seen as well is sometimes the heading ends up being in the description or the descriptions are in the heading. Do check to make sure that it is alright.

Have a look over your prices. Make sure those are coming through correctly and if you see any problems in here, it could be that you need to update your feed.

How to use Google Trends Data for Ecommerce

Google Trends is a useful tool for Ecommerce businesses because it lets you see how products, product categories, brands and competitors are trending over time through the world’s largest search engine, Google.

You can search for a single term, or you can compare up to five different terms against each other.

how to use google trends for ecommerce

The first thing you might want to do is choose a timeframe. If you want to see a general trend over time, choose a date range of greater than one year so that you can see how seasonality affects your terms, for example Past 5 years is a helpful timeframe for long-term trends.

If you want to see short-term trends, 12 months, 6 months (needs to be custom) or 30 days at the lowest will be suitable. Anything shorter than 30 days and the trends will relate more to the time of day that people tend to be up and searching rather than being helpful to you.

By default, Google Trends is set to Web Search, which shows you general searches for your keyword on Google. As an Ecommerce business however, if you want to use Google Trends to help you make strategic decisions for ecommerce product selections, you will want to switch over to Google Shopping.

In our example, Google Shopping shows very spotty data for shopping queries towards different types of apples. If you sold apples online you may struggle to get consistent search volume for your shopping campaigns.

 how to use google trends for ecommerce

Better to know now, rather than after you start your online apple-selling ecommerce business!

Drill down to your local region if you don’t plan to ship overseas, but perhaps check against worldwide data as well, as it would be valuable to know if something is trending elsewhere and your country just hasn’t discovered it yet.

The Google Trends graph has a peculiar scale that can confuse people. You will observe the scale is always 25, 50, 75, 100. These numbers are not fixed units of volume. Instead they are relative units. The highest volume term and date for any of the search terms compared always gets “100” on the scale, and then all other numbers are relative to this term. If you want to find absolute volumes, you will need to use another tool such as Google Ads planner or SEMRush.

how to use google trends for ecommerce

While it is limited to being a free tool, Google also gives you a list of additional search terms related to the term you are querying.

Ideally you want to find a product category with growth trending up or steady over time so that you don’t have too much seasonal variability in your stock and you are not left holding stock you can’t sell. You want the search volume to be adequate in the area in which you can ship. If you’re comparing brands you don’t want to become the primary supplier of a brand that has gone out of favour with consumers.

how to use google trends for ecommerce

How an Ecommerce Store Went From Almost Closing to Amazing Recovery

Terri and I both work with ecommerce clients often. I have great respect for her as her website development skills are phenomenal.

I saw the result of this particular success story for myself because I came in after her, successfully bringing in Google Ads to bring more customers to this client’s (now working!) online business.

Terri did an amazing job of developing the website for this ecommerce business. When I started working with the account the website was working so smoothly that I had no idea that there had ever been dramas in the past! I just had to interview Terri to find out the story behind it all.

She had certainly been brave to make the call she did. Many clients would have walked away, but Terri knows what she’s talking about and the client knew that she was honest.

If you’ve got an ecommerce store that’s simply not working well, maybe you follow Terri’s lead and start over, no matter how terrifying that seems. (Get good advice first of course!).

How an Ecommerce Store Went From Almost Closing to Amazing Recovery

Terri’s client came to her with a poorly-built website. The client had forked out a lot of money for a web developer to move their site from BigCommerce to WordPress. The original developer had just disappeared, leaving a mess behind.

The website was not built properly and caused the client a tonne of stress, lots of problems and a lot of money. Plugins were incompatible, ads were breaking, and customers were unable to complete their purchases. Terri was basically just spending all her time fixing problems.

“I think the person who did it didn’t know how to fix it and then just left instead of being accountable for what they’d done.”

Terri had no idea how the site had been built, so troubleshooting was a huge challenge every step of the way. Being ecommerce, it already had its fair share of complexities, but it was also quite broken. It would be fine for a week and then the next week all of a sudden no one would be able to complete their purchases.

“Multiple times a week I was fixing stuff that would just randomly crop up or ads would stop working and the ads people had no idea how to fix it or what was wrong. I’d have to scrounge through the website and try and figure out what to do to help. I had quite a few conversations where she was worried about having to just actually just shut down the business”.

Not only that but when the ads would stop working all traffic and sales would come to a halt because ads were the only way that the business was getting any traffic. As soon as the ads stopped working, her revenue would stop for a week at a time.

“At one point she went for at least two weeks of almost no sales.”

The client was rapidly losing income. Terri knew a drastic change needed to be made if the business had a chance of survival. It wasn’t music to the client’s ears:

“We needed to just completely redo it. We had to build it from the ground up and then that way if we ran into any problems we’d know exactly what was happening rather than trying to backtrack when we don’t know”.

Terri knew that there was a way to fix this problem, so she offered to do the work for free, at least temporarily while the business was rebuilding. The client had the breathing room to get back on her feet while her website was being recreated in the hands of a capable and trustworthy person.

“I offered to do it for free until she could afford to pay; until her revenue got back to normal”.

Terri took charge of the situation, rebuilding the website, fixing all the links, and even helped her bring in a new marketing team. It took about four to six weeks. And then, once the website was rebuilt, the issues just stopped.

“We went through it, changed everything up, got new marketing people involved. Now she’s like smashing out of the park and I almost never have to touch that website ever! It’s awesome!”.

The best thing about the change is that the client is now getting great results from her marketing spend, and it is consistent. No more ups and downs or sleepless nights.

The result is a happy client and a thriving business. Terri’s initiative, kindness and professional integrity has paid off in the form of a stellar reputation as a hard-working professional capable of taking a business from near-death to smooth success.


Terri: Yeah, so it’s about a client that I had who came to me because they had been working with a web developer before that forked out lots of money to have their website moved over from BigCommerce into WordPress. And then that person dipped and just disappeared as I do and the website just like was not built properly and caused her heaps and heaps and heaps of stress and lots and lots of problems and money. So, yeah.

So like a lot of this basically when I went in and had a look, there was all of these plugins that were clearly like incompatible with each other and so one thing would cause another thing to break. And then it just kind of cascaded. And then in terms of like the products and stuff like that, the, that done a lot of work on SEO and doing ads and stuff like that. But the, none of the, none of the links were pointing in the right direction from the old site. So all these ads were breaking all the time like nothing was working. You would just get like error, no page, no page found on heaps of Google links. Like nothing was, yeah, the whole, the whole thing just wasn’t moved over correctly. And I think the person who did it realized that it wasn’t, didn’t know how to fix it and then just left instead of being accountable for what they’ve done.

It would literally just be random things popping up, like random problems. I mean, so like it would go fine for a week and then the next week all of a sudden no one would be able to pay for their stuff because something would crop up and a lot of the problems we couldn’t even troubleshoot because we didn’t know how it was built. So when she hired me, she literally just hired me to continuously fix problems. Multiple times a week really I was fixing stuff like that. That would just randomly crop up or ads would stop working and they, and the ads people had no idea how to fix it or what was wrong and so I’d have to scrounge through the website and try and figure out what to do when the ads would stop working because ads were the only way that she was getting any traffic. As soon as the ads stopped working it would just stop, like to her revenue would just stop for like a week at a time. And so that was super stressful for them and yeah, so it was, it was really, really stressful and I know that I’ve had like quite a few conversations where she was worried about having to just actually just shut down the business.

It was a, it was a massive buildup I think. So I’ve had like — very fortunately, me and the guy who does the IT for her and everything like that, we have a really good relationship and so which is just built up from me doing all of this maintenance. We didn’t actually know each other beforehand. We even have like a little GIF Facebook chat where we would just send each other GIFS and stuff, it’s so weird. But we would continuously be having these conversations with her where we were like, we should overhaul this. I’m trying to fix that.

And then I, I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I know that she went for like at least two weeks of almost no sales which for someone that makes like 10K a week, that’s a lot of money and it’s not an, it’s not like a massive business. It was her managing it herself. So it was like the income that she was solely relying on as well. And that’s kind of where I called her up. I had a three-way chat with her and the IT guy and we’d, we’d had chats about the marketing people and how you know, it was, it was getting to this point where they would be like, “Oh, all of this stuff’s broken.” And then I would figure out that it’s because Google had changed some stuff but they should’ve known that and they should have been able to tell me certain things in advance rather than waiting into all of a sudden she’s got no income which she relies on.

And so we’d had those conversations but we got on a three-way call and I just said, “Look, we need to just completely redo it.” It doesn’t need to change in design because she was really happy with how it looked. We just need to build it from the ground up and then that way you know that like any problems we’ll know exactly what’s happening rather than trying to backtrack when we don’t know — like we have no contact with the previous developer which makes things extremely, extremely difficult and we have really poor communication with the marketing team. So we just completely do it from scratch. I also just do it for free until she could afford to pay until her revenue got back to normal.

And then yeah, so it was like a massive overhaul of things which would have been really stressful as well for her to make all of those changes again after having such poor experience the first time. And then, yeah, so we went through it, change everything up, got new marketing people involved, which includes yourself and, and now she’s like smashing out of the park and I almost never have to touch that website ever. It’s awesome.

It was pretty cruisy, it was pretty cruisy in, in like getting it rebuilt to look the same.

But the thing that was the hardest I think was trying to — it’s hard to explain. So it’s like I’m trying to fix the issues in terms of marketing that had been done was probably the hardest. So like all of the broken links and stuff was still happening on her old site. And so trying to find what the links originally should have been and what Google was flagging as the links and then making sure all of her products, all of her pages and everything is fixed from the new website. That’s like extremely time-consuming and a little bit difficult but I think taking the time to do it clearly paid off and the fact that she, there wasn’t much of a cut over period of things being not working well or anything like that. And so straight away pretty well. We started seeing better results and things weren’t dropping off and stuff like that. So that was awesome.

I think it was really within the first couple of months when it started flipping upwards. So it was pretty consistent. And then, and then with bringing in the new marketing team and everything, it just started going higher and higher and higher. Which really indicated that the previous people weren’t doing the right thing as well. I think, heaps of stuff wasn’t being utilized correctly.

Petra: Yeah.

Terri: And now, I mean I don’t know to record what she’s earning now, but it was over, I think last month it was around 30K and previously she’d been doing about 10K a month. So that’s wicked. Yeah. I’m really happy for her. She deserves that after all of those stress to have that success as well.

Isn’t Terri awesome? If you’d like to get in touch with her, here is a bit more about Terri’s business:

Clever Fox Creative is an Adelaide-based boutique agency specialising in branding, web design & development, social media marketing and email marketing. They help small businesses, start-ups, creatives and ecommerce stores by producing beautiful, functional and highly effective websites to take their dream brand from idea to reality.

Ecommerce Google Ads In Progress – Consistently Doubling Revenue

Ecommerce Google Ads In Progress – Consistently Doubling Revenue

The brief was simple: double revenue. And be consistent. We needed to get store-wide gross revenue from $18,000-$20,000 per month to $36,000-$38,000 per month without big swings between spend and revenue.

We certainly got started well. This is an image of Cost and Conversion Value (Gross Sales) in Google Ads. You can see we increased revenue by a lot. AND, we were so consistent in the last two months that you can see a straight line at the revenue results rather than a peak.

Ecommerce Google Ads Revenue and Costs

The pesky problem is that costs went up as well. I know this is Business 101, but I don’t want the Return on Ad Spend to increase too much.

There are two metrics I care most about; Gross Profit From Advertising ( Conversion Value – Advertising Cost ) and ROAS ( Conversion Value / Advertising Cost ). There’s not much point in looking at just one without the other. If you only look at Gross Profit then you can focus on making more and more money but your costs as a percentage of your income can erode your profit margins and you essentially become a charity. If you only focus on ROAS then you can get amazing return from what you spend on your advertising, but if you don’t reach your revenue targets then your business overhead engulfs your business.
It’s better to go for a middle-of-the-road approach and give away some efficiency for higher levels of revenue.

BUT, you don’t want to just become wasteful either and spend money on campaigns just because. If some campaigns are not working well, its good to trim the fat and cut down on those, while doubling down on the campaigns that are working really great.

For this particular client, some of the Google Ads Search campaigns are a bit flat on ROAS to the point of being wasteful. I cringe when I see some campaigns returning revenue of only 2X advertising spend. Campaigns like these are essentially loss leaders because the product margins + advertising costs don’t leave enough money left over to run the business. A retailer really needs to set minimum ROAS targets, and these are normally somewhere between 4X and 8X ad spend depending on purchase volume and gross profit margin for the products being sold.

I recommend slowly reducing budget on campaigns that are not delivering, and slowly increasing budget on campaigns that are delivering well. Too rapid and you create swings, but if you don’t do it at all your costs can chip away at your results. If you really really want to sell certain products and their campaigns are the ones with the budget being reduced, then it should give you the impetus to focus on getting the results better there.

For this client, I have set up an automated campaign bid adjustment rule that reduces budget for campaigns that are not performing well, and increases budget for campaigns that are. I’ve limited it to just search for now because this client has 13 different search campaigns and their ROAS is quite a bit lower than the shopping campaign. If I was going to apply it to the shopping campaign I would up the ROAS setting so that the budget didn’t just keep increasing budget into perpetuity.

These automated rules are triggered weekly, so if a campaign did really well their campaign budget would be increased to close to 3X current budget after a year and if they continue to flail with a ROAS less than 3 then their budget will be cut to a third of current budget.

This is what the automated rule for increasing campaign budgets looks like:

Google Ads Automated Budget Increase

And this is the corresponding decrease:

Google Ads Automated Budget Decrease

Ultimately I would like the ROAS for search to be much higher than 4X, and when that is the case I will adjust these values in line with the new “normal” but for the time being the average ROAS over the long-term for Search campaigns has only been 2.7X which is pretty poor in my opinion.

My next plan is to work on increasing the ROAS without decreasing the revenue. In the meantime, shopping campaigns are proving to be a good bet.