Optimize your Shopping campaigns with search term segmentation

When a shopper searches for a product using Google, they can be in different stages of their shopping journey. Shoppers use different search terms depending on the stage of their journey, typically using short-tail keywords at the beginning of their journey and changing to more specific, long-tail keywords, when they are ready to buy. 

Naturally, there is a higher chance of conversion if the shopper is further along their journey, using specific search terms. With Shopping ads, you bid on products, and it is not possible to bid on search term keywords as with Search ads. What is possible, however, is keyword segmentation. With keyword segmentation you can optimize your bids for search terms. 

Campaign priorities

If you want to optimize your Shopping campaigns based on search terms, you first need to build 2 or 3 Shopping campaigns for the same product or product group and select a different campaign priority for each campaign.

There are 3 campaign priorities: high, medium, and low. When you have multiple Shopping campaigns for one product/product group, you can use the campaign priority to determine which campaign should participate in the Google auction first.

The priority settings you choose will act as a funnel. Google lets the campaign with the highest priority level enter the Google auction first. 

Why use search term segmentation in this process? 

We can use search term campaign segmentation to place higher bids for search queries that have a higher chance of turning into a conversion. Here’s how that works:

Let’s say you sell gloves. The shopper has not decided on the specific pair of gloves they want to buy, but they know they want gloves. You want your campaign to show for these shoppers to raise awareness for your product, but you don’t want to set your bids too high, since the chance of conversion at this shopping stage is low. 

When a shopper is getting closer to buying a certain pair of gloves, their search queries become more specific. This means a higher chance of achieving a conversion, so you want to set higher bids for these specific search queries. 

There is one way to manipulate the search queries moving through the funnel, and that is by adding negative keywords. Negative keywords prevent your Shopping ads from showing when you don’t want them to. 

Segmenting your keywords

To explain the segmentation of keywords, let’s pretend we have a gloves campaign for Karl Lagerfeld leather gloves in the color red.  

For the high-priority campaign, use generic, non-brand-related queries (‘gloves’). Add negative keywords like the brand (‘Karl Lagerfeld’) and specific product-based keywords (‘leather, red’). The shopper is usually at the beginning of their journey. The bid for this campaign is low.

For the medium-priority campaign, use long-tail generic brand queries and non-brand queries (‘red leather gloves’, ‘Karl Lagerfeld gloves‘). Add negative keywords like product-based search terms that exactly describe the product (like the two queries above combined). The shopper is getting more aware of the product they want but is not searching for a specific product yet. The bid for this campaign is medium.

For the low-priority campaign, use product-based queries (‘Karl Lagerfeld red leather gloves’). You do not have to add negative keywords. The shopper knows what product they want and is ready to buy. The bid for this campaign is high. 

To show Shopping ads, Google searches for the highest priority campaign that is eligible to show for the specific search query. Suppose the shopper is further along in their shopping journey and decides on which brand they want to buy. In that case, the high-priority campaign will reject the search query containing Karl Lagerfeld because Karl Lagerfeld is added as a negative keyword. The search query moves to the medium-priority campaign with the higher bid.

Through this search term segmentation process, you can control your advertising budget and optimize bids on search terms depending on where the shopper is in their shopping journey.

We hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions or are interested in the many ways Shoparize can help you optimize your campaigns, contact us at css@shoparize.com. Read this article if you want to learn about other ways to adjust and optimize your Shopping campaigns.

The opportunities Covid brings to the E-commerce world

While most businesses suffered from the effects of Covid, growth still occurred in the e-commerce world. With lockdowns, ordering goods and services online became indispensable. E-commerce raised its share of the global retail trade from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. 

With Covid restrictions waning. The question is, will shoppers’ preference for online shopping continue to grow even after the pandemic restrictions are over? 

The longer the pandemic takes, the more shoppers become accustomed to buying online, so we can expect it to become the new normal. That being said, in some countries we already see a drop in the e-commerce shares in total retail sales after the pandemic peak. The shares after the peak are, however, still higher than the shares before the pandemic.

e-commerce sales during covid

E-commerce sales in all countries increased in 2019 compared to 2018. For most but not all countries, e-commerce sales increased in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Shopping trends during Covid

During Covid, we have come accustomed to working and learning remotely, helping kids with their schoolwork, exercising at home and trading restaurants for cookbooks. These are the product categories that are seeing some of the biggest jumps: 

Electrical devices such as webcams, monitors, computers and laptops became in high demand. By the end of 2020, there was a 26,1% growth in computer sales over the previous year. 

Loungewear and sleepwear sales increased significantly. Working from home caused most people to choose casual and comfortable clothing over a suit and tie. Especially Australia, Brazil, Korea and Italy saw a significant increase in this product category. 

Covid also caused us to get creative in the kitchen. Baking items like food decorating kits, batter mixes and pastry fillings gained popularity.  At the same time, a sales increase in fitness and sporting equipment occurred. Especially exercise-bands gained popularity. 

We often reached for gaming consoles like Playstation to keep us entertained. Gaming hardware, controllers and games saw sales growth around the world. Seasonal products like barbeques, garden furniture, and pools rose, since holidays are still mostly spent at home. 

Not all product categories rose in sales with this pandemic. Travel-related products like suitcases, cameras, and swimwear decreased in sales. 

No one knows what the next year, or even 6 months, are going to look like when it comes to Covid-19. All we can say is that it’s highly likely that global retail will not go back to normal, and we should instead prepare for a new normal. Amidst all the uncertainty, we think it’s safe to say that the e-commerce world will continue to grow, with or without a pandemic. 

e-commerce sales during covid by country

E-commerce sales by country over 2018, 2019 and 2020. Datasource: Eurostat

More shopping trends

The pandemic caused the consumer’s mindset and behaviour to change, making them more conscious of their shopping habits. According to Google, shoppers are influenced by the “buy local, or bye local” campaigns that emerged as a response to the pandemic, resulting in 56% of EMEA holiday shoppers stating they will shop more at local stores this holiday season.

For these reasons, it’s important to show shoppers your in-store inventory if you are a local store owner. To show this and other important store information, like directions to your shop or opening hours, you want to use local inventory ads. If you want to know how to set up local inventory ads for your shop, check out our article about it. 

Common pandemic struggles for retailers

Google states that pandemic-related supply chain challenges are expected to continue. The supply chain challenges are the effect of labor shortages, fluctuating demand and disrupted shipping lanes.

These challenges result in delivery delays and expected stock shortages, so shoppers are paying more attention to product availability before they convert to purchasing a product, and they are using Google Search to get product availability information. 

What can you do as a retailer?

It is important to keep your product availability information up-to-date. If a popular product goes out of stock, consider offering relevant substitutes that could still meet your customer’s needs. Also, make sure to be transparent about your delivery times and possible delays so customers know what to expect. Changes in delivery time after a customer bought your product can result in distrust and damage brand loyalty. 

We hope this article has been helpful.  If you have any questions or need our help with your Shopping ads, please feel free to contact us at any time at css@shoparize.com.

The different types of automated bid strategies

Automated bidding can save you time while optimizing your advertising spend. Machine learning is used in all automated bid strategies to set an optimized bid in every auction.
In this article, we break down 4 automated bidding strategies so you can pick the one that reaches your performance goals.

*In the beginning of 2021, Google reorganized Smart Bidding strategies. All bidding strategies below are still available for your use. 

Important notes 

Please note that you need to have conversion tracking set up to correctly use automated bidding. The only automated bid strategy that does not require conversion data is Maximize Clicks. 

If any issues occur with conversion tracking, you can use data exclusions to make sure that unintended changes in your conversions don’t affect your Smart bidding. With this tool, you can tell Smart bidding to ignore data from dates where conversion tracking issues occurred.

Maximize Clicks, Maximize Conversion Value, and Target ROAS strategies can be used as either a standard strategy in a single campaign or a portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns.

If you expect major changes to conversion rates in short periods of time (1-7 days), you can use seasonal adjustments to inform Smart bidding of expected changes in conversion rates for future promotions or sales. 

Automated bidding strategies

Maximize clicks
Maximize clicks positions you to get as many clicks as possible within your budget. You can set this bid strategy for a single campaign or multiple campaigns with the help of a portfolio bid strategy that groups together multiple campaigns. You can set the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each bid using the Maximum CPC bid limit. Use the average daily budget tool to determine the spend for campaigns. Average daily budget sets the amount you are willing to spend each day over the course of the month.

Maximize clicks bidding strategy is only available for standard Shopping campaigns. 

Smart bidding strategies

Enhanced Cost-per-click (ECPC)
This bidding strategy lies in between a manual and an automated bidding strategy. You still control your bids like with manual bidding’s Cost-per-Click (CPC), but your bids are optimized to increase the number of conversions or conversion value within the same total spend. You can use ECPC to optimize conversions which adjusts your max CPC bid to the likelihood of conversions, or conversion value, which adjusts your max CPC bid to the likelihood of high-value conversions. 

ECPC uses auction-time signals, like location and browser, to take different conversion rates for all types of traffic into account.

Maximize Conversion Value
This bid strategy is only available for Smart Shopping campaigns. Working within your specified budget, Maximize Conversion Value optimizes and sets bids to maximize the total conversion value of your campaign. This bid strategy uses historical data from your campaign to determine the best real-time CPC bid for your Shopping ad.

Target ROAS
Target return on ad spend (tROAS) is used to maximize your conversion value at the ROAS you set as a target. Just as with Maximize clicks, you can use Target ROAS as a strategy in a single campaign or for multiple campaigns using the portfolio bid strategy. Target ROAS bids high on user searches that are likely to generate a high-value conversion. 

What is the optimal strategy?

We advise merchants to use smart bidding when possible. Smart bidding strategies for Google Shopping campaigns such as Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and Maximize Conversions value will save you time optimizing your bids and they can increase your campaign performance through machine learning bid algorithms. These algorithms use automated bidding signals such as device, search term and price competitiveness to determine the optimal real time bid in every auction based on historical campaign data.

The only drawback is that your Shopping campaigns need at least 30 conversions in a month to start with smart bidding. The smart bid strategies become more effective with more historical conversion data. Therefore it is advised, when possible, to set a lower target ROAS in the beginning to accelerate the conversion data in your campaign.

When your Shopping campaign has less than 50 monthly conversions, or when you are setting up new campaigns, we advise you to start with manual-enhanced cpc bidding. This gives you more control on your ad spend by setting your max CPC bid. In this way, you can build up conversion data in a cost effective way. As manual bidding is complex and time consuming, we advise you to switch to a smart bidding strategy, like Target ROAS, or set up a smart shopping campaign with the Maximize Conversion value bid strategy as soon as your campaign reaches more than 50 conversions in one month.

There are many ways to meet your performance goals with or without automated bidding strategies. Please note that you can always change your bid strategy after a campaign has launched. 
If you have any questions or want us to help you choose the best bid strategy for your business, contact us today at css@shoparize.com. If you are more interested in working with the managed service model, read this article.

Working with Shoparize CSS managed service via an affiliate network – A complete guide

In this article, we will explain the benefits of working with Shoparize CSS managed service model within an affiliate network.

Introducing Shoparize

We are Shoparize – a Premium Google CSS partner offering managed service CSS. Shoparize was founded in 2013 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where the company started as the price comparison website Kiesproduct.nl. The 2017 court ruling regarding Google’s monopolistic practises seen throughout the EU gave Shoparize a platform to rise above the standard industry sales proposition leading to superior customer service for our merchants. In that same year, we became one of the first CSSs to be accepted into the Google CSS partner program.

As a result, Shoparize quickly became an international player, being active in all of the 21 countries where Google’s CSS program is available. Today, Shoparize accounts for 23% of the Benelux region’s market share. 

The difference between Managed and Self-service 

There are two main ways of working with a Google CSS partner: self-service and managed service. 

With self-service, the merchant gets access to both the Google Ads and Merchant Center accounts and manages feeds and campaigns themselves.

With managed service, the merchant receives a Merchant Center and Google Ads account created by the CSS partner. The merchant shares product data with the CSS, and the CSS in turn optimizes the merchant’s feed and manages their campaigns. 

What’s an affiliate network?

So, what is an affiliate network? An affiliate network acts as a liaison between affiliates (CSSs) and merchants. Through an affiliate network, merchants can find a CSS partner that is relevant to their business. 

An affiliate network helps you choose the best CSS partner(s) from their network that suits your target group. Working with multiple CSSs can be beneficial if you work with the CSS as a managed service model. Working in a managed service model can result in incremental sales by running the CSS’s channel in parallel with your existing Shopping campaigns. The CSS optimizes the merchant’s product data, resulting in bids on distinct terms and impressions that do not occur in other campaigns. This can lead to more traffic and conversions based on the different bidding strategies.

Besides more traffic and conversions, there are numerous benefits to working with a CSS in a managed service model.

The advantages of a Managed CSS service 
Incremental sales

Are you already running Google Shopping campaigns?
Perfect! This means we can deliver incremental sales by running our Shoparize CSS channel in parallel with your existing campaigns. Using our expert insights and market knowledge, we will optimize your product data, which results in bids on distinct terms and impressions that do not occur in your other campaigns. Do not worry; multiple CSSs can advertise on your behalf, and this will never inflate your CPCs.

Commission based sales only

Within managed service, it is possible to work with a commission-based model. With this model you only pay for actual sales, not clicks or impressions that don’t increase your ROI. This performance-based way of working ensures that a campaign generates sufficient return, which is better than a fluctuating CPC model.  

Increased visibility on Google Shopping

Merchants report better visibility for their webshop and higher total revenue from Google Shopping when they use a managed service model by running their Shopping campaigns in parallel with multiple Google CSS partners

Shoparize manages feed & campaigns

Working with a managed service is convenient and saves time. You can hand over your entire Google Shopping campaign and trust Shoparize to run your Shopping campaigns successfully for you. 

CPC will not increase

Your CPCs will not increase due to working with multiple CSSs, because you will never compete against yourself when working with multiple CSSs. If there are two or more CSSs placing a bid on your behalf, the winning offer and price paid by that CSS will be the same as if the bid was placed by only one CSS. For more information on this topic, read our article or our case study on this topic or visit this Google support page.

Remain in full control over your ROI with transparent analysis

Set your desired CPA (cost per acquisition) commission (%) for Shoparize CSS, so that you retain control of your ROI in Google Shopping. You can find transparent analysis in Google Analytics which measures the additional value (additional turnover, profit and incremental sales). Upon request, we can share a campaign performance evaluation of your results. 

Not convinced? Test it first!

Most merchants make their entire product feed available for a CSS’s managed service model. But if you want to test the model first, you can start with a custom feed, such as a feed containing lower-priority product groups. If you are considering working with Shoparize CSS, you can give us the specific feed you want to use for managed CSS — this can be different from the standard affiliate feed.

The advantages of working with Shoparize CSS managed service

You can expect the following benefits from Shoparize’s feed and campaign management:

  • Product title optimization based on search data from Google
  • We will generate higher quality scores in Google Shopping with continuous updates to product data within our database that contains over 60 million products.
  • Bidding strategy optimization based on product price (lowest price), search term, device, location, and productEAN, to stay competitive with other advertisers.
  • Audience targeting to optimize Shopping ads with about half a million monthly unique user data from our CSS websites. 
What does working with a CSS managed service model on an affiliate network look like?

The CSS partner of your choice will set up a Merchant Center for you and manage the product feed that you make available on the affiliate network. The CSS partner uses your product feed to create Shopping ads to bid in the ad auction on your behalf. 

You can have a new campaign up and running on Google Shopping within 1–2 weeks. Contact your CSS account manager to discuss your campaign’s performance to make the necessary adjustments. Shoparize shares campaign data and auction insights with you, and you can retrieve data about additional turnover and profit, and incremental sales.

The CSS partner pays for the traffic that the Shopping campaigns send to the merchant’s webshop. After a sale is completed on the merchant’s website, the CSS partner receives compensation through the performance-based (or No cure, No pay) business model. 

This compensation is made through the affiliate network interface. 

Conclusion

The main reason for merchants to use a managed service is to increase reach and turnover while saving time. It is best to collaborate with one or more CSS partners alongside your own Google Shopping campaigns to drive incremental sales.

The affiliate network matches you with a CSS that has a portfolio of campaigns within a similar industry as you, therefore you can count on relevant expertise from your CSS partner. The risk remains low because you can choose to test the services of a CSS by starting with a custom feed or taking advantage of the trial period.

Payment is based on a performance model of actual sales. This ensures sufficient return on your investments. 

In conclusion, working with a CSS managed service through an affiliate network is a win-win situation! If you are interested in joining an affiliate network, check out our partners: AWIN, Webgains, TradeTracker, Partnerize, and Daisycon

We hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions regarding Shoparize’s managed service model, feel free to reach out to us at css@shoparize.com.

Google lessons from Conrad – working with multiple CSS partners

Reading time: 6-8 minutes

* This article about working with multiple CSS partners is a direct translation from the original, Dutch version which can be found on the Emerce website. In this article, you can find references to Kiesproduct, which is Shoparize’s Dutch brand name.

During the search for a Google CSS partner, you come across terms like discount and cashback. Usually, they are talking about a Google CSS partner’s self-service model. With a self-service model, merchants can save Shopping ads costs directly due to the 20% bid advantage

But what is the managed service model through which shopping activities are partly outsourced to a CSS partner? Does this have added value for your client? In most of the situations, it can even lead to more revenue and a higher ROAS from Google Shopping, as it did for Conrad as well.

What is Google CSS managed service?

There are several ways in which a Google CSS partner and a merchant can work together. One of the well known strategies is that merchants advertise in Google Shopping through a self-service model, whereby merchants stay in control of their Merchant Center and the Merchant Center is linked to a Google CSS partner. At all times, the merchant manages their Shopping campaigns and billing from their Google Ads account. 

Most of the time, merchants also use a Managed service model which runs in parallel with their in-house Google Shopping activity. With this service model, the Google CSS partner manages the Google Shopping campaigns and billing on behalf of the merchant. 

Since the Google CSS partner also finances the campaigns, they are reimbursed based on CPC (Cost-per-Click), CPS (Cost-per-Sale) or Adspend model. The most popular is CPS, because this no cure no pay model is the most transparent collaboration as it does not involve any risk for the merchant. This collaboration on CPS is usually set-up through affiliate networks and can lead to additional shoppers and sales without competing with the merchant’s current campaigns.

You don’t want cannibalization

It is assumable that you would compete against yourself with an extra Google Shopping campaign. That is not desirable. That is why we examined how Google CSS partner’s campaigns influence their own Google Shopping performance. 

Does bidding against each other really take place when working with multiple CSS partners? Are clicks and sales being hijacked by Google CSS partners, or in other words, was there cannibalization? 

We had to put this to the test. There are enough theoretical articles about this subject, but we could not find any concrete customer cases that support this. That is why we, together with Conrad, launched Google Shopping campaigns via our Premium CSS partner Shoparize. These campaigns ran beside the Shopping campaigns from Conrad via Google CSS. 

You never compete with yourself

In the official source documentation, Google shows how the Google Shopping auction introduces Google CSS partners in the equation. Google designed a second-price auction in which a merchant can never compete against itself with the same bid and working with multiple CSS partners. Google also answers the question: Do I have to pay more for Shopping ads if multiple CSSs advertise on my behalf?

Google’s answer is: “A merchant will never be second-priced against itself in the auction for any offer, and that rule holds irrespective of the number, or identity, of the CSSs used by the Merchant. Therefore, if two CSSs place bids on behalf of the same merchant, the winning offer and the price paid by the winning CSS will be the same as if those bids had been placed by one and the same CSS”. Google support” 

Bids by multiple CSS partners

Besides Conrad’s Google Shopping campaigns, Shoparize managed a campaign being the only Google CSS partner for Conrad, based on identical product feed. For a period of eight weeks, we tested the following assumptions:

  • Does Google Shopping CSS managed-service model result in incremental sales?
  • What happens to the ROAS when two Google Shopping campaigns advertise for the same website?
  • Does the performance of your own Google Shopping account suffer from working with a Google CSS managed-service?

The test is evaluated based on the customer’s KPI’s: revenue and ROAS (where the costs are equal to the own Google Ad Spend plus the CPS fee paid to Shoparize CSS).

On top of that, we evaluated the transactions based on Google Analytics 360’s last click. To assess the results, we provide insight into revenue and ROAS per week.

Revenue and ROAS with multiple css partners
The red curve shows revenue and the blue bars show ROAS.

The results are very positive. Both the revenue and the ROAS increased significantly in the test period. At first glance, there is no question of cannibalization. 

The positive test results can be explained in different ways. Did Shoparize focus on the end of the funnel to, for instance, advertise EAN codes and product names? Did Shoparize focus on high-priced products or rather on products with a low order value, like the wide range of Conrad’s LED lights? 

The answer to these questions is “no”.
The assisted conversions from Shoparize’s campaigns were even higher, despite leaving out “Conrad” in the search terms. 

The assisted conversions were an important factor in the results because the results were initially evaluated on the last click, which does not always tell the complete story.

How does Conrad (Shoparize CSS) vs Conrad (own Shopping campaign) relate in the Google Shopping auction? 

To get a realistic view of signs of cannibalization, we further investigated the auction statistics from the Shoparize CSS Google ads account. 

This shows that Shoparize CSS is responsible for an impression share of 16,02%. The impression share of Conrad’s campaigns is higher, namely 45,26%. You would think that Conrad has the highest impression share, but that is not the case. It appears Conrad has multiple competitors who take on a considerable impression share in the auction.

The outranking share is only 11,97%

Conrad is represented in 34,43% of Shoparize’s Impression share in the same auction. Shoparize’s outranking share in comparison to Conrads is only 11,97%. The outranking share shows how many times your ad is placed in a higher position than another contestant, how many times your ad is shown while the contestant ad is not, divided by the total amount of ad auctions where you participated in. 

overlap rate and outranking share with multiple css partners

Blue shows “overlap rate”, light green shows “outranking share”, and dark green shows “without overlap”.

Based on these statistics, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • About 53,60 – 65,57% of the Shoparize CSS traffic from Google Shopping for Conrad could never be generated by Conrad itself. Simply because they were not part of the auction. The sales resulting from this are completely attributed to Shoparize’s shopping campaigns. We can speak of verifiable incremental sales.
  • From the overlapping Shoparize traffic of 34,43%, the vast majority did not go to Conrad. However, it is hard to give an exact percentage because numerous big players were active in the auction. With Shoparize, Conrad increased visibility in the auction because Conrad would never obtain the same amount of clicks when entering the auction only with Google CSS. 
  • Because Shoparize CSS realized higher positions than Conrad, you would assume Conrad missed out on sales due to Shoparize. This is not the case because multiple contestants in the auction also obtained higher positions than Conrad. If Shoparize had not participated in the auction, this traffic probably would not have gone to Conrad, but a competitor. 
  • Of the 34,43% Shoparize CSS traffic, little overlap occurred with Conrad. Because multiple advertisers show similar impression shares / outranking shares with Shoparize CSS, it is highly unlikely that Shoparize competes more with Conrad than with other advertisers. Furthermore, there is no indication that Conrad’s and Shoparize’s ad positions are directly related. 

impression share, overlap rate, outranking share with multiple css partners

Conclusion: Does cannibalization happen, or can you safely profit from managed CSS service?

Conrad enjoyed the full benefits of Shoparize’s managed CSS service and, for the most part, Shoparize CSS did not cannibalize with a second Google Shopping account. Based on the test results, we can conclude that Shoparize CSS generated incremental sales and an increase in revenue. Furthermore, Conrad benefitted from a higher ROAS from Google Shopping, more Conrad.nl visitors, and extra visibility in Google Shopping.

How can you apply this case to your webshop?

Shoparize CSS is easy to set up through your affiliate network as you only need to accept Shoparize as publisher to your affiliate program. A test period will show how much incremental revenue Shoparize CSS can generate for you on top of your current Shopping activities. For the performance, factors such as commission percentage, cookie length, and attribution are very important.

The attribution model you choose, last click or linear, will significantly influence your final evaluation.

The commission percentage you choose also influences your performance. Increasing your commission percentage results in more competitive bids in the Google ads auction, resulting in higher rankings, more traffic, and ultimately more sales.

In preparation for a test, it is advised to execute an EAN-overlap analysis. This way, you can map competitors that enter the auction with a similar product feed.

Take advantage of these benefits with Shoparize CSS. Allow Shoparize to help grow your business by improving the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns. Make the switch today, by following the steps in this article or sending an email at css@shoparize.com. To learn more about working with multiple CSS partners, read our article on this topic.

This case study was realized with the help of Conrad, Budgetverf, Hunkemoller, Daisycon and Shoparize. You can find the original, Dutch version of this case study on the Emerce website

Understanding and resolving enforcement for Google policy violations

Reading time:  5–8 minutes
Understand and resolve account suspension, product data disapprovals, and item disapprovals 

Google has created a set of policies to ensure a positive and safe experience using Google and their partner sites. As a merchant, you must adhere to these policies. If you don’t, your items might be disapproved — you will then know that there is a problem. Continued policy violations can result in suspended accounts. 

Read this article to dive into account-level, product data-level, and item-level violations. You will then be up to date on this topic and less likely to break any of Google’s rules. 

Account level

When you first upload items to your account, your items and website will be reviewed to ensure they meet the Google Shopping ads policy requirements. Your products can show as “Pending” on the Diagnostics page for up to 3 business days. 

A successful review will find that your products and website comply with the Shopping ads policies — your products will then be eligible for Google Shopping ads. If your products and website do not comply with the Shopping ads policies, you will face immediate account suspension and will receive a notification email with details. 

Warning email

After this first account review, your Merchant Center account will be reviewed regularly for compliance issues. Let’s suppose your website or products are not in compliance with Google’s Shopping ads policies. In that case, you will receive a warning email with more details about the issue and how to fix it. You will be given a warning period in which you can still resolve your issues before account suspension.

Account suspension

If the issues are not fixed before the end of the warning period, all your products will be disabled from Shopping ads and your account will be suspended. You will receive emails with detailed information about your account suspension and the Shopping ads policy violations that were detected.

Requesting review

After an account suspension, you can fix the problems and request an account review. If your issues have been resolved, your account suspension will be lifted. If your issues have still not been resolved, you can request a second review. If your issues are not resolved after the second review, you will receive a one-week cool-down period in which you cannot request another review. Your account will remain suspended during this period. 

You can find the Request review button in your Merchant Center account. Navigate to Products, and click Diagnostics. Next, click on the Account issues tab. Click Request review for the account-level issue you would like to have reviewed.

account issues in the merchant center

An email will be sent to you once the review has been completed. This can take up to 7 days. 

Product data level

Products may be disapproved when the data you provide does not comply with Google’s product data specifications or does not match the product information on your website. Products that are disapproved will not show up in Shopping ads and free listings. 

Review

To show your disapproved products in Shopping ads and free listings again, you need to review your disapproved products and make corrections to ensure you resubmit accurate product data. 

To update your disapproved products, review the Item issues tab on the Diagnostics page in your Merchant Center account. With Learn more, you can view specific steps to fix the issue. 

item issues for policy violations

It can take up to 12 hours after you have updated the disapproved products to verify whether the data issue has been resolved.

Product warnings

Product warnings tell you there is an issue limiting the performance of your Shopping ads and free listings. They also let you know about issues that may lead to product or account suspension in the future if the issues are not resolved. 

If your products miss required product identifiers (UPIs) — such as MPN, GTIN, or brand — they will continue to show in Shopping ads and free listings, but their performance may fall short. Similar products from competitors will receive higher priority than yours. Always make sure you provide correct UPIs to maximize your product performance. You can read more about this at Google’s Help Center page.

Item level

Google can disapprove individual items or your entire Merchant Center if they find submitted items that do not comply with Google’s policies. You can view your disapproved items in the Merchant Center under Items issues in the Diagnostics section. It is also possible to download a CSV file containing all affected items for a particular issue. 

As with product-data violations, you can request a review when you have corrected your item-level violations. In some cases, you can request a manual review of an individual item that was automatically disapproved for policy violations. This manual review can take up to 3 business days to complete and is only available for select policy violations. 

Best practices regarding suspension issues

When you receive a suspension warning, contact Shoparize CSS if we are your CSS partner (or contact your CSS partner if you don’t work with us yet). Shoparize will contact the Google Premium CSS support team to identify and fix the issue with them. We will make sure the suspension warning is lifted and request a review for you. 

If your account is suspended, contact Shoparize before you request a review. If you request a review, you can’t revert that request, and you risk a one-week cool-down period in which you can’t request a second review — during that period, your account will remain suspended. To prevent this, contact Shoparize first so we can follow Google’s Premium CSS support team’s best practices and fix the issues. Only after we have made sure the issues are fixed will we request a review. That way, we ensure minimal revenue loss for our merchants. 

We hope this article has been helpful. If you would like to know how Shoparize can help you prevent suspension issues and optimize your product data accordingly, send us an email today at css@shoparize.com.

How do I link my Google Ads account with my Google Merchant Center?

Reading time: 3–5 minutes

Linking your Google Ads and Merchant Center account is a necessary step to take if you want to set up Shopping campaigns. In this article we explain how to link the two accounts together. 

Link your Google Ads and Merchant Center accounts

You first need a Google Merchant Center account. If you don’t already have one, you can create a new Merchant Center Account by navigating to https://merchants.google.com/ and signing up for a Merchant Center Account with a Google account.

Once you have a Google Merchant Center account, you are ready to link the accounts. 

  1. Request link to Google Ads from the Merchant Center

    You can link a single Google Ads account to multiple Google Merchant Center accounts, or multiple Google Ads accounts to a single Google Merchant Center account. The link is always created from the Merchant Center.

    Steps to link to other Google Ads accounts:

  • Navigate to Linked accounts under Settings from the Tools icon in your Merchant Center.
  • Select Google Ads.
  • Click Link account under Other Google Ads accounts.
  • Enter the Google Ads customer ID of the account to link.
  • Click on Send link request.

Link Google ads account

Please note that you need admin access to your Google Ads account and need to be a Merchant Center account user to link with the Google Merchant Center. 

If your Google Ads account is already added at a multi-client account level, you can follow these steps to link your Google Ads account:

  • Go to Tools, Settings, Linked accounts  in your Merchant Center.
  • Select Google Ads.
  • Locate the Google Ads customer ID of the account to link.
  • Click on Link, which you can find under Actions.
  1. Approve the link request in your Google Ads account
  • After signing into your Google Ads account, navigate to the Tools icon, Settings, Linked accounts.
  • Find the Google Merchant Center, and click Details.

Link google ads account with google merchant center

  • Click View request in the Actions column to see the request details of the account you want to link. You should see Needs your approval in the Status column.
  • Click Approve to approve the link or Reject to reject the link. 

You can find the new account link requests in your Google Ads account: Go to Tools and settings, Setup, Linked accounts.

Linked accounts in Google ads account

Cancel or unlink your Google Ads and Google Merchant Center accounts

After you have successfully linked Google Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts, it is possible to cancel or resend a link request from the Google Merchant Center or to unlink an account. This can be done from either the Google Merchant Center or Google Ads. 

  • Cancel a link request: navigate to Tools, Settings, Linked accounts in the Merchant Center, and click Cancel request in the Google Ads tab.
  • Unlink accounts:  go to Tools, Settings, Linked accounts in the Merchant Center, and navigate to Your Google Ads account or Other Google Ads accounts. Click Unlink for the relevant account.

    You can also unlink accounts from your Google Ads account. Go to Tools, Setup, Linked accounts. Click on Details under Google Merchant Center, and find the account you want to unlink. Click Unlink.

Some important things to know about linking your Google Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts
  • The accounts begin to share information once the Google Ads account owner approves the request. Google Ads statistics, such as clicks, will then be visible in the linked Google Merchant Center, and the Merchant Center product information will be accessible in Google Ads to help create campaigns.
  • The link between the two accounts can be removed at any time by the Google Ads account owners and the admin or standard Google Merchant Center users. An owner or user of one account cannot make changes to the other linked account unless they are also an owner or user of that account.
  • Please be careful with the account link. If you remove it, the Shopping campaigns will no longer receive data from the Google Merchant Center account and will be unable to serve ads. New Google Ad campaigns that use product data from this Merchant Center cannot be created if you remove the account link. 

We hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions about linking your Google Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts, please contact us today at css@shoparize.com.