Optimizing Your Brand Performance on Shopping Ads

Historically product listing ads gave us limited control over search queries and individual bids. One product could be triggered by a variety of different search queries and all products took the same bid. This would never be a good approach for search ads. It would have been useful if we were able to bid differently on brand searches compared to other less intent-driven generic searches. Today, utilizing shopping campaign priorities allows us to make this split.

Below is a basic setup:


How this works:

Both of these campaigns are targeting all products. This means that the high-priority campaign will trigger for any impression your feed is eligible to appear on as it will trump the low-priority campaign with the same targeting. However, we have a brand negative list applied to the generic campaign so any search queries blocked by this list will be triggered by the low-priority campaign instead.

This method allows you to have separate bids for your brand and generic terms. Ensure you achieve 100 percent impression share on your high-intent brand searches without over-bidding. This setup is particularly useful for retailers where the proportion of brand traffic is high and a small change to maximum CPC can make a big difference to spend and ROI. The split now allows you to bid based on performance for the more competitive lower intent searches filtering through the generic campaign.

If you decide to add a negative to the generic campaign due to poor results, this will start triggering in the brand campaign. A useful tip is to create a list of shopping negative terms that you have applied to your brand and generic campaigns, which will prevent this from happening.

The Next Step

Once brand and generic terms are split out we are able to review performance and assign separate budgets really easily. There are a couple of reports that can help us push our brand ads further.


The product performance reports will give you a good idea of which products are driving the best-quality traffic to your site. You can increase the bids on these products to get them showing more often. This is a good practice to take if you are trying to win clicks over a competitor. Increasing bids on a cheaper version of a product or on a color variation that stands out will help gain the attention of the searcher.

Auction insights for shopping also became available at the end of last year. Use this to see who is appearing against you and what the overlap is like. Is there anything you can change in your offering – such as delivery price – that will allow you to trump those competitors. In this report you can see impression share, overlap rate, and outranking share.


Another big change that happened for shopping ads last year was the positioning of the ads themselves. Shopping ads were able to appear above the top search ad. For most retailers this is fantastic news, as the performance of shopping tends to be very strong compared to text ads. However, if your brand is not occupying all five spots this is directly putting resellers and competitors above your main ad. Currently there isn’t a report to tell us exactly where shopping and text ads appear on the SERP, but hopefully this will come as there may be some benefit to pushing brand bids on your search keywords to try to force the text ads to appear above the shopping ads.

What to Do Next

Above is just a basic way to split out brand and generic. There are many other ways you can utilize this technique to ensure strong coverage on your key terms, such as product-specific searches or long-tail vs. short-tail searches. We have seen huge improvements in results by taking this approach so would highly recommend testing it.

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

Related reading

How to use PPC data to drive more SEO traffic
Facebook campaign budget optimization how marketers must prepare for September 1, 2019
search reports for ecommerce to pull now for Q4 plan
Effective Amazon PPC How to get the most out of Amazon PPC campaigns on a limited budget