Turn Poor Performing Google Shopping Products into Campaign Winners

Last updated on August 30th, 2023 by Stefanie Parks

If you’re anything like me, you want to give all of the products you sell a fair chance to perform in Google Shopping and you hate the thought of eliminating any products from your campaigns. I get it. For years, the thought of pausing a product on Google pretty much gave me nightmares because I thought that even if the product had tons of clicks and no conversions, there was still a chance that it could start performing well. I had serious FOMO and didn’t want to miss out on any potential sales in Google shopping, even if it meant wasting a ton of money to get them. 

After years of working with many eCommerce clients and on our own in-house eCommerce brand, DermWarehouse, I finally came to the realization that you just have to trust the data in Google ads and stop thinking that a poor performer might suddenly turn around. We came up with a new strategy for poor performers outside of just pausing products (read on to find out more!), and now I have a completely new outlook on these Google shopping products.

Need help with your eCommerce store or setting up your Google shopping campaigns? Contact The Media Captain!

How Can I Improve My Google Shopping Performance?

Before you make any rash decisions and start going on a product pausing spree, the first step is to take a close look at your Google shopping campaigns and see if there’s any improvements that can be made:

Do you have any budget hogs?

Look through your products and see if there are any that are eating up all of your budget. Many times you’ll see that one or two of your products are using up the majority of your budget. If those products are getting a ton of conversions, then you’re in great shape (though you may want to move them into their own campaign to give other products some action). If they have a ton of clicks but no conversions, they’re a budget hog. Either pause the product or significantly lower the budget (if your bidding settings are on manual CPC).

Are You Monitoring Your Search Terms?

Have you gone through your search terms within your campaign regularly to make sure they’re all relevant? If not, you may be wasting a lot of your budget on keywords that don’t make sense. My favorite example was a search term for DermWarehouse for our brand Elon that sells hair and nail products. We were getting hundreds of clicks for “Elon Musk Smart Pills” which isn’t what we’re selling. We set this as a negative keyword and were able to save a ton of money and increase the performance of our campaign by doing so. 

Even if a product is generally doing well in your shopping campaign, it doesn’t  mean all search terms for that product will perform well. As you’re going through search terms, make sure you’re not only looking for terms that are irrelevant, but also search terms that have gotten tons of clicks that haven’t converted. 

In the example below, you’ll see the search terms “best scar treatment after surgery” and “silagen scar gel”. Both of these are coming from one of our top selling products, the NewGel+ E Silicon Gel, which is a product for scars. You’ll see that neither of these mention the product by name, but “best scar treatment after surgery” converts really well and has a high return. “silagen scar gel” which is a competitor to our product only has one conversion. Clearly this search term doesn’t convert as well and is one that we could set as a negative keyword.

Are You Adjusting Bids By Device?

Conversion rate tends to be higher on desktop, though if you look in any of your campaigns, chances are the majority of your clicks are coming from mobile. Lowering the mobile bid will save a lot of your budget and also likely increase the performance of your campaign.

Are You Segmenting Your Campaign By Price?

Another great way to make your budget work for you in Google shopping is to segment your campaign by price. This will allow you to bid differently on products based on their price point. It doesn’t make sense to bid the same on a $50 product as you would on a $250 product. Segmenting your campaign by product price is an easy way to adjust bids to ensure you’re getting the most out of your budget.

Learn More: How to Optimize Google Shopping Ads for a Better ROAS

What Do I Do with Poor Performers in Google Shopping?

Once you’ve done everything you can to improve the performance of your Google shopping campaign, now it’s time to take a long hard look at all of your products and decide which are serving you well and which need to be eliminated.

Let The Data Speak For Itself

One really important thing to note here is that you have to let the data do the talking. It used to be really hard for me to pause products because I would be rooting for them to turn around. I would also get caught up on products that did well on our site and not want to pause any top site performers even if they were performing horribly in Google shopping. 

Now, I don’t even look at the product name when I’m going through my campaign. I look at the data and make decisions based on the numbers rather than how I feel about the product. In other words, I make decisions with my head rather than my heart! 

Pause Products Altogether

The first option for poor performers is to pause products altogether. My rule of thumb is that if a product gets over 50 clicks and hasn’t converted, chances are that it won’t. These are products that are safe to pause. 

Just remember, that you only have so much budget to go around and if you’re letting poor performers eat up that budget, it’s taking away from other products that could be gaining more traction.

Move Products to a Poor Performers Campaign

What may be a better first step before pausing products altogether is moving them over to a poor performers campaign. This has worked extremely well for DermWarehouse and many of our clients. I also like this options because it gives the poor performers one last chance to prove themselves before completely shutting them down.

My rule of thumb for the poor performers campaign is that anything with a ROAS of 1.5 or lower, with over 25 clicks gets moved over.  In the screenshot above, all of the products that I excluded were then moved over to our poor performers campaign.

This campaign is set up with manual bidding and I make sure to give all products an extremely low bid (something around $0.50 is a good starting point). This gives them a chance to make a comeback, but also allows me to really control the budget on these products that hadn’t performed well. 

I’ve seen that in this new campaign a lot of the products actually do end up making a comeback. Once they’re in the poor performers campaign, a similar rule applies as above. This time, if they get over 25 clicks with no conversions, the product is paused once and for all.

Learn More: What is a Catch-All Google Shopping Campaign?

In Closing

  • You always want to make sure to give products a fair chance to perform in Google shopping
  • Before taking any rash action, make sure you’re taking all necessary steps to improve product and campaign performance
  • If products are performing poorly, you can either pause them completely or move them over to a poor performers campaign to give them one more chance
  • At the end of the day, let the data in your campaigns speak for itself and don’t hold onto products forever that will likely never perform well

Stefanie Parks

Stefanie is the Co-Founder of The Media Captain. She's currently the CEO of DermWarehouse, The Media Captain's in-house eCommerce brand. Stefanie is an expert on all things eCommerce. She's grown DermWarehouse to beyond $5 million in annual revenue and has a customer base beyond 250,000. Stefanie provides helps with eCommerce strategy development for The Media Captain. She's a frequent contributor onto the TMC blog.

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