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Mar 13, 2020

Google Shopping Ads: Working with Audiences and AdGroups

Learn about Google Shopping Ads best practices including, what is an ad group and all about targeted audiences from our eCommerce expert.

Google Shopping Ads are an invaluable tool for any brand that sells products online. These highly visual ad units are displayed at the top of the search results and can help you capture traffic at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

If you’re new to Google Shopping Ads, there are some key differences from the traditional Google Adwords campaigns you need to be aware of — specifically, ad groups and audience targeting. Here, we’ll explain Google Shopping Ads best practices as they pertain to audiences and ad groups to help you get the most out of every advertising dollar you spend. 


What is an ad group?

An ad group defines how your Google Shopping campaign is structured. Ad groups can be used to separate different products, brand names, categories (mens, womens, etc.), and more.

For merchants that sell more than one product, ad groups are necessary to make sure you’re optimizing how your ad dollars are being allocated. For example, let’s say your bestselling product has a 50% margin, but you sell other items with margins of only 20% or 30%. You’d be willing to pay a bit more to attract a customer to that product with a 50% margin because you can make more off of every sale. It’s a basic business principle, right?

Creating ad groups that separate your bestsellers from the rest of your inventory will allow you to bid more for clicks on those items than you do on items with lower margins.

This is just one example of how to use ad groups in Google Shopping campaigns. You can divvy up your ad groups in whatever way makes sense for your business. 
Unlike in Google Adwords, there is no keyword-based bidding in Google Shopping campaigns. Rather than bidding on keywords, you set bids on individual products or product groups. This is why your ad groups become so important–they’re what give you control over how your money is spent.

Think of your ad groups like different bins. In each bin, you can place single products or groups of products. For each bin, ask yourself, how much am I willing to pay to get someone to click on a product in this bin? That’s your target bid. 
We’ve already talked about creating ad groups based on your sales margins. Here are a few more examples of how you might use ad groups in your Google Shopping Ads. 


Group products by competition level

Some of your products likely have more competition than others. If you don’t keep tabs on this data, you easily run up excessive bids trying to outperform huge competitors like Walmart. You can use ad groups to set bid caps on highly competitive products so you don’t waste ad dollars going up against the juggernauts in the most crowded categories. Instead, you can focus more of your spending on areas where you have a competitive advantage.


Group products by brand name

If you’re a retailer that carries many different brand names, like a sporting goods store, you can create a different ad group for each brand (Nike, Adidas, UnderArmour, etc.). This is useful for setting bids based on the customer’s likelihood to buy.

For example, a customer that searches for ‘tennis shoes’ probably doesn’t have a very good idea of what they’re looking for just yet. They’re in the early stages of the buyer’s journey and just doing research.

A customer that searches ‘women’s Nike tennis shoes size 8,’ however, has a much better idea of what they’re looking for. They’re in a later stage of the buyer’s journey and more likely to convert. Thus, you can set a higher bid for groups where the search contains the brand name. 


Group products by price

This is perhaps the most easy-to-grasp concept for Google Shopping ad groups. If a product costs $100 and you have a $5 acquisition cost, you’re making great money on the sale. If a product costs $3, though, that same acquisition cost would actually be losing you money. You can group products based on their price to set more aggressive bids on higher priced products. 


How to use target audiences

Now that you have an understanding of how Google Shopping Ads are structured, let’s talk about some of your targeting options. Since we don’t have the ability to target users based on the keywords they’re searching, we can instead use target audiences.

Your target audiences are groups you create based on certain criteria. Note that using them is optional–they’re merely one more way to gain greater control of how your advertising dollars are spent. 



The first way to create target audiences is based on their activity on your website, also known as remarketing. To do this, you’ll need to first make sure you’ve enabled tagging via the global site tag. This allows visitor data to flow freely between your website and your Google Ads account.

We know that it takes multiple touchpoints with a user to turn them into a customer. Thus, it makes sense to remarket to visitors who have already become familiar with your brand by visiting your website. Via tagging, you can create a target audience of people who have visited your website, say, in the last 30 days, and show ads only to them. You can also show ads to people based on the pages of your website they’ve visited (i.e. your product page), their behavior on your site (i.e. how long they spent there), and more. 


Similar audiences 

You can also create what are known as similar audiences. These audiences draw on data from an existing user group, like people who have purchased from you in the past, and use machine learning to target new customers that display similar characteristics. If you have a decent customer base to draw data from, similar target audiences can be a highly effective way to get your ads in front of people who are more likely to buy.


Manage your Google Shopping Campaigns with the Springbot Dashboard 

Achieving positive ROI from your Google Shopping campaigns requires careful monitoring and ongoing optimization. The Springbot Dashboard makes it easy to analyze and control all your campaigns in one easy interface. Create ads, adjust your budget, monitor your performance and more. Plus, you can also include campaigns from other platforms like Facebook and Instagram to make ad management even simpler. See how convenient it is to streamline your Google Shopping Ad management by requesting your free Springbot demo today.

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