Blog Post - Dwayne Manzano , Oct 3 2019

Preparing for peak: are your feeds ready for Black Friday?

Preparing for peak: are your feeds ready for Black Friday?

Get ready for Black Friday - 29th November 2019

Black Friday has grown from a day to a weekend, and beyond, and showcases the best deals of the year. This is great for consumers but often a heap of stress for retailers. Preparation is key and there are a few things you can do to optimise your Google Shopping Feeds in time!

Shopping campaigns tend to drive higher conversion rates as you can see the price, description and image before the ad is clicked, therefore increasing the chance of a click leading to conversion.

Our Commerce Data Management Team are experts for feeds supporting some of the biggest brands around including Bose, John Lewis, Waitrose, and Canon. Here are our 7 top tips to get you to feed heaven in time for Black Friday:

  1. Get your feed healthy!
  2. Show your products in the best light - optimise titles and descriptions!
  3. Black Friday = discounts!
  4. Review your data
  5. Appear in the right search
  6. Manage low selling products
  7. Keep updated
  8. Now is the time to test!

1. Get your feed healthy!

  • Errors prevent products from being eligible for a shopping campaign, so fix these first!
  • Next, solve Warnings and Notifications to ensure best performance - they are Google's way of giving you advice
  • Check for 0 values, and prices on your feed should match the PLP to provide confidence to your customer (Google shopping uses ISO 4217 codes - e.g. GBP, EUR, USD)
  • Safeguard out of stock items to be handled with exclusion rules and synchronise feed updates to your own website update cadence
  • Update all attributes, your feed should only contain fresh and up-to-date data
  • Mandatory fields should be complete, missing info is likely to be rejected from most channels, therefore if it's incomplete and not approved you are missing the opportunity for your product to reach the consumer

2. Show your products in the best light - optimise titles, descriptions and details

Product Titles

  • Product titles require a strategic way of thinking, they should be easy to understand and encourage the reader to click
  • Google Shopping allows 150 characters for a title, but will only display 50 on the search page, so put the most relevant information at the beginning
  • Try to mimic customer language in the title, think about what you would type in search if looking for this product (e.g. 'brown boots' not 'boots brown')
  • Include brand, gender (if applicable), product type, attributes (e.g. colour, size material/weight count) - automated rules can be a time effective and easy way to help ensure you fulfil the requirements for every product
  • Don't write your title in all capital letters
  • Check for blank spaces and delete

Product Details

  • Ensure to include good product descriptions
  • Include as much relevant detail as you can in the description, check what keywords and search terms you should be using
  • Complete the categorisation column, and be specific as it can be essential to product discovery
    • E.g. 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewellery' becomes 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewellery > Rings > Wedding Rings'
  • Make your product types as granular as possible
  • Check all links are active and information is up to date
  • Set up product ratings

Images

  • Images should be of high quality and engaging
  • The product thumbnails should have a white background
  • Google's recommended image size is 800 x 800 pixels
  • Text and watermarks could be flagged as 'promotional text', so ensure clean images

3. Black Friday = Discounts!

  • Make use of Merchant Promotions!
  • Top promotions:
    • Free shipping
    • Lower your free shipping threshold
    • Buy 1 get one half price
    • Percentage discounts (e.g. 5% off orders over £30)
    • Brand specific discounts
  • Google Merchant promotions allow you to show 'special offer' tabs making your listing bigger
  • If you are bidding for PPC, some things to bear in mind as the competition intensifies:
    • Optimise your bids to win traffic
    • Divide products into separate campaigns so you can control your bids and prices
    • group clearance stock in one campaign or sub-category
    • Products that competitors aren't stocking, increase your bid to maximise exposure and claim the customer

4. Review your data

  • If you know where you are, you can get to where you are going. Reporting on Google Shopping campaigns are highlighted in a Shopping Report on the Merchant Centre
  • Use 'clicks & conversions' metric to help prioritise SKUs to focus and fix first if you have a long list; SKUs with the biggest impact on conversion should be addressed ASAP
  • Check Impressions and Click Share metrics to know Click Share Percentage, broadly speaking:
    • If impressions share is high + click share is low = products are showing in irrelevant searches
    • if impressions share is low + click share is high = you should increase your bids to receive
  • Ensure your GTINs match what the manufacturer uses
  • Check out last year's data to see what worked and what didn't last time in peak period
    • are there any keywords to reactivate?
    • Best performers and bid increases?
  • But don't just check your last click revenue as this will limit your campaign, research has suggested that customers find products on shopping channels but tend to go direct to convert, which means you need to review your 1st touch performance too

5. Appear in the right search

  • Use the right search terms - Google knows when to show your product based on search terms and when it's relevant to show you
  • Run a search term report in AdWords to discover your top performing queries/bid for PPC
  • Split the highest and lowest revenue products into separate campaigns and divide up your budget to give you the highest level on product performance
  • Negative keywords can help to filter unqualified traffic to your ads, however, check there aren't any that are limiting the traffic that could be valuable

6. Manage low selling products

  • Identify products with no sales in the last 30 days and update those keywords and bids; experiment with more descriptive keywords that may not be as competitive
    • e.g. Change 'black trainers' to 'black trainers for trail running'
  • Binds should be high enough to give your products a chance of appearing in a search but not too high that you are damaging your margins
  • Check if you are appearing in shopping results and how similar products perform and edit your bids accordingly

7. Keep updated

  • 24 hours is best practice, and for peak times this is an advised minimum
  • As mentioned before, synchronise feed updates to your own website update cadence

8. Now is the time to test

  • Test a variety of search terms, AdWords, Custom labels and formats to learn and understand what works best for your brand
  • See what increases reach and revenue to optimise the opportunity for conversion this black Friday weekend
  • Google want to see you do well, so check the Merchant Centre and stay up to date, their advice will be beneficial to your success
  • Keep a clean and maintained feed and stay on top during busy periods

We're here to help

Wunderman Thompson Commerce's CDM practice offers a dedicated Feed Management service: from comprehensive feed creation using our proprietary web-scraping technology, to feed optimisation, and channel integrations.

With experts account managers who live and breathe data, we ensure your data feeds are always of the highest quality and can advise you on how to make more of your product data. All of this means that you'll maximise your sales on Google Shopping and other key channels.

More information here.