How to lose the most money with your Google Shopping account

Tim Gilbert · 29 October 2019

There are plenty of sources telling you how to improve your advertising performance on Google shopping, but none with tips on how to waste your advertising dollars, so here is a list of strategies to drive those pesky revenues down and pump up those costs.



Spend money on searches that have nothing to do with the products that you're selling to keep your CTR low and reduce your Google quality score

If you have a high click-through rate, Google will think that your site is relevant to what people are searching for, which will increase your visibility and decrease CPC. Avoid using negative keywords to block traffic on Google that is unrelated to your products on so that you can reduce CTR and increase CPC even for good searches. Remember quality score is profitable, so avoid filtering out any useless impressions to make Google think your campaigns are bad.

block google quality score

Use broad match negative keywords to block searches with some conversions

It's a lot of work to find all the variants of non-performing search terms to, so throw the baby out with the bath water by using n-gram analysis to ignore context differences and negate all that traffic containing popular inefficient phrases even if they have good conversion in the proper context.

baby in the bath

Overbid for generic searches with lots of competition to drive your RoAS down

Short generic searches have the most impressions and lots of ad competition while also having lower conversion rates. Trying hard to win on those is a perfect recipe for wasting money quickly. Short generic phrases with lots of impressions are what people want to rank on for organic traffic, so it's easy to convince management that paid traffic should aim for the same.

Underbid for converting searches to ensure your revenue doesn't grow

If you have searches that are converting with really good RoAS, make sure not to increase total revenue and profit by increasing their bids to attract more traffic. It's really easy to justify doing this if you keep everything at the same priority level to reduce workload.

Bid the same for generic searches and highly specific product searches to keep your campaign/adgroup structure simple

Square pegs, rectangle pegs, triangle pegs - put them all through the same round hole. Keeping all of your traffic in the same priority level with one campaign and adgroup guarantees that you'll overpay for non-converting searches from people who aren't ready to buy while also underbidding and not showing up often for searches that will convert.

hammer square peg into round hole

Or put every product into its own ad group to maximize labor costs

If it's worth doing, it's worth over-doing right? Who wouldn't want to spend hundreds of man-hours maintaining hundreds of different adgroups, bid rates, and negative keyword lists to improve performance by a few cents .It also has the bonus effect of reducing the quality of the data that Google reports to you which will make it harder to make future campaign improvements, so double wastage-points on this tip.

Reduce organic traffic and page rankings by not aligning your product and website content to match your customers language

Use different terms than your customers and don't include the attributes they care most about in product and page titles. This will help confuse Google, reduce click-through rates for paid campaigns, and avoid ranking highly for that organic clicks you don't have to pay for. Remember, it's hard to lose as much money as possible if you have free clicks coming in.

translation problems describing product

Keep revenue and RoAS down by ignoring effective long tail searches without much competition

Don't do anything with the long-tail searches with high click-through and conversion rates. They can add up to significant profitable, low-cost revenue which makes it much harder to lose money. If they aren't at the top when you sort by impressions, you can justify skipping them to focus on the expensive high impression, low CTR, and low Conversion searches.

Hemorrhage your ad budget on long tail searches that don't convert well

Make sure not to use negative keywords or reduce bidding on the low volume inefficient search terms. They might not waste much money individually, but they can accumulate to more than 75% of your total spend with hardly any revenue to show for it, so they are great for losing money without having a culprit to point at.

Man dropping money behind as he walks

Don't improve your offerings by learning what products your customers are looking for that you don't currently have

Ignore patterns that indicate customers are looking for product attributes and combinations that you don't currently offer. It's easier to keep conversion rates down if they can't find exactly what they want.

Keep your efforts unprioritized by not analyzing search volume trends for future growth

Sure, optimizing for growing trends in the marketplace would pay off in the long run. But it's easier to get buy-in and support for improving searches that were already successful in the past, even if they are now on their way out.

Wait to fix problems with seasonal searches until after their peak for the year

Better late than never, right? Make sure to optimize seasonal searches too late to do any good this year. This has the bonus effect of making actual optimizations look useless because the seasonal volume is drying out so any improvements won't show up as growth so you can justify slacking off next year.

Waste lots of time trying to manually read every row in your search report or don't look at it at all

The Google shopping search query report might have hundreds of thousands of search terms, especially if you include per-campaign and adgroup columns so that the same search terms are repeated across many rows. You can waste away any number of hours trying to read through to find patterns in the data.

Don't create strategic dashboards of performance by product type and attribute

You can reduce the efficiency of any ad team by forcing them to deal only with the top search terms without being able to aggregate concepts into a broad picture of what is going on with your account, learn where the problems are and how severe they are, find what opportunities are available now or coming up soon, or just monitor status by product type or category. Force your product teams to adopt a search term paradigm instead of letting them work with the products and attributes they are already familiar with, and make them spend lots of time creating custom report spreadsheets to waste time.

Pay for blog/article traffic

Make sure not to use negative keywords to filter out searches about your organic non-product from your high-bid campaigns. You spent a lot of effort writing it, so you might as well spend money paying people to read it.

Sad about losing money

If you came here because losing money on Google shopping makes you sad, we can help you find ways to make your strategy more profitable, easier to monitor, and more fun to work on. Send us an e-mail or schedule a meeting with us.




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