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How To Get More Out Of AdWords Shopping Campaigns

Rocco Alberto Baldassarre
How To Get More Out Of AdWords Shopping Campaigns

There are countless metrics to measure the performance of Google AdWords shopping campaigns — most of them are often misinterpreted. At the end of the day what really counts for shopping campaigns is profit. In order to maximize the profit, existing data, insights regarding competitors as well as potential opportunities need to be interpreted correctly.

Here are five ways to maximize the profit and get more out of Google AdWords shopping campaigns.

#1 Auction Insights

Google has recently added auction insights for shopping campaigns allowing advertisers to get a better idea of how the campaigns stack up against competitors.

The following Auction Insights are available.

Account & Campaign Level:

  • Store Display Name (name of competitors)
  • Impression Share (impressions divided by maximum amount of possible impressions)
  • Overlap Rate (how often ads of competitors had impressions when your ads had impressions)
  • Outranking Share (how often your ads ranked higher)

Ad Group Level:

  • Display URL Domain (display URL of competitors)
  • Impression Share
  • Position (average position of ads)
  • Position Above Rate (how often your competitors’ ads ranked higher)
  • Top of Page Rate (how often ads are shown on the top of the page)
  • Outranking Share

Tip: This information also helps to adjust bids accordingly if the columns are interpreted correctly. A common mistake is to to misinterpret the Outranking Share. If a competitor’s Outranking Share is 56%, it means your own ads show up higher than the ones of this specific competitors more than half of the time — not the other way around.

#2 Search Lost (IS) Rank

The impression share that is lost due to ads in low positions, also referred to as “Search Lost (IS) Rank,” is a valuable custom column that any AdWords shopping campaign can benefit from. Especially so in combination with the Auction Insights because both reports influence bid decisions. Lower ranks can be raised by bidding more as well as by increasing the quality score.

Tip: A common mistake is to increase bids and try to increase the quality score by changing ads at the same time. This way it is impossible to measure how much of an impact either of them had on the impression share. For the best results, review your quality score and decide whether the campaign performance allows for split testing landing pages, which takes more time than to simply increase the bids. Changing the bids makes the most sense if other values such as quality score and CTR are already optimized and margins allow for higher bids.

#3 Search Impression Share

The Search Impression Share is an indicator of how many impressions were generated compared to how many impressions the campaign or ad group for instance was eligible to receive. In contrast to common belief, it does not represent the percentage of impressions that were generated compared to the impressions that are available for this particular market.

The Search Impression Share considers the current settings and quality score of the ads as well as the budget. If the budget was dramatically increased the impression share theoretically could stay the same but the reach increased.

Tip: Instead of trying to increase the Search Impression Share percentage, it makes much more sense to try to increase the amount of impressions the account, campaign or ad group is eligible to receive. In other words, by raising your Quality Score and bids, you are eligible to receive more impressions and will get more impressions as a result of the changes you made. Despite that, your Search Impression Share might actually be lower because you are now eligible to show up for a lot more, competition is higher and your search impression share — in proportion — is not as big.

#4 Benchmark CTR

The Benchmark CTR shows the average CTR of other advertisers for the same product ads. This value is to be take with a grain of salt because ads that show up higher typically have a higher CTR. Therefore, it is best to first look at the Position Above Rate from the Auction Insights Report, then compare it with Search Lost (IS) Rank and finally, interpret the Benchmark CTR. This way the ad position and how your own ads rank compared to competitors has been taken into consideration before looking at the CTR.

Tip: If the CTR of your competitors turns out to be higher than yours, consider testing new ad promotions, like free shipping.

#5 Benchmark Max CPC

The Benchmark Max CPC provides information about how other advertisers are bidding on similar products. This value will only be available when enough advertisers have placed bids, enough meaning that the number is statistically relevant. This way, misleading benchmark values — such as a extremely high or low CPC caused by only a few bidders — are avoided.

Tip: The Benchmark Max CPC column can be useful for a number of different things. For instance, if the value is significantly higher than your bid, it could mean your competitors have more budget and can therefore bid more aggressively; but it can also be an indicator that they have higher margins. Additionally, it could mean they have a great upsell system in place.


The right metrics interpreted the right way will positively impact the profit of any Google AdWords shopping campaign. The five optimization strategies mentioned above are just an excerpt of what can be done to improve the performance of shopping campaigns, but they are among the most effective.

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Rocco Alberto Baldassarre is the Founder and CEO of Zebra Advertisement, a results-oriented SEM consulting firm. Rocco consults companies with up to $5 million in PPC advertisement budgets, speaks three languages and was shortlisted as a Young Search Professional of the Year by the 2014 U.S. Search Awards.
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