The latest benchmark report to come out on ad-performance reinstates the disparity between how e-retailers are using their marketing budget. As of now, Google Shopping ads make-up over 80% of retail ad spend, while Google Search Ads are at an all-time low at only 20%.

Today, we’ll be talking with Fredrik Lindros about how one can take advantage of this trend to get more traffic from Google.

Fredrik Lindros is the CEO of Speqta, and his experience in the industry and Speqta’s recent work with their new, AI-powered marketing platform, Bidbrain, should shed some light on what it takes to master Google Shopping Ads once and for all.

First, as an authority on Google Shopping Ads, can you give us a brief overview of what it is?

Fredrik Lindros: Google Shopping Ads are so-called Product Listing Ads (PLAs) where the product advertisement appears at the top of search engine results. These listings show the name, image, pricing, details, etc. of a given product, and target customers with high-intent queries. Making it an incredibly effective way of promoting products to customers who know nothing of your brand or, in the best-case scenario, drawing more convertible traffic without having to entice the consumer through your website’s landing page.

And, how exactly does bidding on Google Shopping work?

Fredrik Lindros: In terms of basic knowledge, Google runs an auction every time a product is searched for. These auctions decide which ecommercers’ ads will appear in that space in real-time, and by bidding, you are placed in contention with others who want their own products to be displayed in that space. Once the visitor clicks the ad, the auction bid price is paid to Google. There are multiple ways of placing bids:

  • Manual, rule-based bidding
  • Automated bidding using Google’s smart bidding strategies or Smart Shopping
  • Automated bidding using third-party services or agencies

The goal of the retailer, then, is to figure out how to bid in a way that will maximize the traffic that has the highest likelihood of converting.

What is manual, rule-based bidding and how effective is it?

Fredrik Lindros: Manual, rule-based bidding on Google Shopping ads, functions on an “if/then” basis that factors in different performance-based information, like:

  • High-ROAS: “If,” you notice that certain products are performing with higher ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) than others, “then” you might want to categorize those into another product group and create a higher baseline bid for them for maximizing performance.
  • Low-ROAS: In that same vein, “if” you notice that certain products are displaying low-ROAS, “then” you might want to exclude those products from your high bid clusters.
  • Special Event: “If” you are hosting a special sale or promotion on your website and want to draw more traffic to the event, “then” you might want to increase your general bids to boost your click-through rate and conversions.

This type of bidding strategy on Google affords retailers the most control. There’s no doubt about that, but it does take up a lot of time and effort having to do all of this manually.

And, if you’re competing with someone that is using something like Bidbrain™ to boost their efficiency? While you might be able to experience short-term victory occasionally, in the end, you will still be left behind in the dust.

How about automatic bidding on Google? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this strategy?

Fredrik Lindros: Google Ads offers several options for automated bidding on Google Shopping Ads. For the most part, it’s up to you to decide how you want to run your campaigns. That is, you can choose to focus on clicks, impressions, conversions, etc.

These smart bidding strategies are considered the standard as far as most advertisers are concerned. And they can certainly do the job well enough, but there are also plenty of e-retailers that are, rightfully, hesitant to fully buy into Google’s smart bidding tools.

Google has an endless inventory of pages that need ad views and clicks. And their business model has always been more in the camp of pushing for clicks rather than conversions. These factors, tied in with the fact that their smart strategies work in an impenetrable black box that allows for no insights as to how you can improve (or even how it’s working), have prevented many advertisers from putting their faith into the program entirely.

What do third-party alternatives like Bidbrain™ have to offer when in contention with manual-based bidding or Google’s smart bidding strategies?

Fredrik Lindros: All third-party alternatives are different, of course. But, with Bidbrain™ specifically, we developed it to make sure that it addresses the shortcomings of other available methods. Breaking it down:

  • Bidbrain vs. Manual Bidding: Because it is powered by AI, you can keep up or, in most cases, overwhelm manual, rule-based calculations. Furthermore, it has a product feed optimizer that can significantly help you improve your feed’s quality score, increase your CTR volume, and, of course, allows for smarter bidding and boosts sales.
  • Bidbrain vs. Smart Bidding: As for Google’s smart bidding, it may work for some. But, if you want an extra edge over your competition, it might not be the one for you. Bidbrain™ gives you that much-needed edge by focusing only on bidding on converting traffic — unlike Google’s smart bidding. 

In any case, if you really want to draw more traffic from Google, just remember that it won’t hurt you to look at other options. 

That may sound self-serving. But, outside of Bidbrain™, there are plenty of other third-party alternatives like Bidnamic, Whoop!, or UPP Ai, that are available that would be worth at least checking out. Especially if you want to keep pushing for the bottom-line growth of your business.  

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