How to Troubleshoot a Google Shopping Campaign


Google Shopping is a great tool for anyone running an e-commerce website. It allows you to pull product information from the back end of your website and deliver relevant ads to your customers directly on the front page of Google. For a lot of people, it’s still fairly new and knowing what do to with a shopping campaign once set up can be pretty daunting to begin with. In this article, I will run you through some of the basics once your campaign is up and running. Think of this as a basic troubleshooting guide to get your shopping campaign pumping!

So you’ve set up your Google Merchant Centre, imported your XML Data Feed, imported your data into Google AdWords and set up your campaign… now what?

1) What if my campaign is not getting any impressions?

The first thing to test is your bids. If you’re not getting much in the way of impressions there is a chance you’re not bidding high enough to get into a position that gets you seen. Have a play with what you’re bidding, don’t be afraid to bid quite high to begin with. As you begin to get data in, you can look to drop bids to a level which will work for you long term.

1a) I’ve played around with the bids and still am not getting any impressions… now what?

Well, now it’s time to look at your product titles and/or descriptions. If your campaign is not receiving any impression data, it is important to understand what triggers your shopping ads in the first place. For the most part, it is actually your product titles (roughly 60-70% weighting) and your product description (roughly 30-20% weighting) which triggers your shopping ads. Think of your titles and descriptions as your key word sets.

Are they relevant to your product, if you’re selling a blue dress is it called ‘Blue Knee Length, Strapless Dress,’ or is it called ‘Midnight in Paris Dress’…? It’s really not that uncommon that the title of the product title has nothing at all do to with the product itself. If this is the case with your feed it may be time to take a long hard look at your data feed and begin to play around with the product titles and/or descriptions to hone in on the traffic that you’re looking for.

This process is very much a matter of test and measure; you may not land on quality results first time. You will probably want to work on the titles over time, learning (through your search term report) which changes bring you closer to the results you need, keeping what works and altering that which doesn’t.

2) What if I’m not getting clicks?

First step is to look back at your product titles and descriptions again. Make sure they’re as relevant as they can be before looking elsewhere. If you’re happy with what you’re showing with and what is triggering your ads then it’s time to look elsewhere…

The next step for me when trouble shooting a shopping campaign is to look at who we’re competing against, and what we’re competing on.

What I mean by this is who is showing their ads against us. What is their price? What is their product photo? Are they directly comparable or are you actually competing in the wrong market place? These are all questions that need to be looked at. Price is a big one… because your price shows on your shopping ads; if your products are identical to your competition and show to be more expensive… perhaps that’s the issue?

If your competition has great, high quality images, and yours are small and blurry within your feed… perhaps that’s the problem?

If you’re showing for similar products but are offering something slightly different, for instance, you’re competing in the dress market and your blue dress is knee length when everyone else showing against you are ball gowns… perhaps you need to go back to the product titles and descriptions to ensure you’re competing against products that your target market will identify with.

3) What if I’m not getting conversions?

Well if you’re not getting conversions, there could be a number of reasons. For the most part, I would be looking at your website. Where within the page is the roadblock that is causing people to drop off and not complete the purchase? The other thing to look at is the bounce rate of each product… Because shopping ads land you directly onto the product page, if your customers are landing on the page where they can purchase your product and bounce off there is obviously a disconnect between what they’re expecting to see and what they’re actually seeing -- which is an issue that needs to be addressed.

In my experience, there are two main issues when it comes to addressing conversion roadblocks with shopping campaigns. The issue usually relates to problems within the product title/description not triggering the correct searches… or… issues on the page/checkout process itself which are causing people to abandon the purchase process.

For the most part, this last question is what keeps people like myself in a job because even if you are getting conversions, its fair to say it’d always be nice to get more… right? At the end of the day, there are many factors that can impact results; the above can be used as a bit of a cheat sheet regarding where to begin and what to look for when optimising a shopping campaign. Happy optimising!

Comments (1)
Darren Clay

Darren Clay, Content Marketing Consultant

Great write-up - I find the first thing to consider when looking to improve a Google Shopping campaign is to make sure that the product data (title, description, image) are fully optimized. If you don't start with great product data, than other optimization techniques won't be nearly effective.

A few other simple techniques that I've found to be useful is using device bid modifiers (if your store traffic has enough data to support how to best modify) and making sure to keep up-to-date with a negative keyword list.

One other thing - for stores with a lot of products and that are starting out, I'd suggest using a feed creation and optimization tool like Sales & Orders ( or GoDataFeed (