Advertising: Google Shopping Campaign Tips with Mark Hammersley (episode 015)

by April Buencamino-dy

Mark is one half of the awesome Hammersley Brothers, CMO of the award winning eCommerce growth specialists smart ebusiness and author of the excellent book ‘The Business Owner’s Guide to Google Shopping’. Which is exactly what he’s here to talk about today.

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Getting Started

Mark started an eCommerce store 15 years ago after leaving his corporate job at IBM. He says he made all the mistakes most people make when they start a business.

The business was a vitamin supplement online store and though it wasn’t the huge hit that would define his career, he says the failures and lessons from that business were what launched his success.

Google Shopping Campaigns

Mark is a Google shopping expert. He says that Google shopping campaigns are becoming increasingly useful and have been converting even better than search ads.

The only caveat to this rule is for brand ads, which still perform better using search. Increasingly, Mark argues that in eCommerce, Google Shopping is a primary tool to test and validate conversion. 

Optimizing Your Google Shopping  

90% of the time, Marks says you need to maintain your Google Shopping ads proactively.

He says that Google is getting better at automated support with their Smart Shopping tool, but looking at the data and being proactive will not only optimize your feed, but will ensure that you have a healthy and robust business that can be adaptable to changing conditions.

Ultimately thought, what’s more important than being good at Google Shopping is having a healthy core eCommerce site. 

Understanding Google’s Smart Shopping

A lot of people think they are using smart shopping when they’re not.

Smart Shopping is when Google actually takes control of all the keywords and does remarketing for you — but everything is done in a black box, so you get no data whatsoever. 

Top Tip for Smart Shopping Campaign

If you are going to use smart shopping, Mark has created a formula to maximize your success. 

Run two smart shopping campaigns:

  1. The first campaign will have all your products set to maximize conversion value with no target ROAS. Let it run for 30 days, when you start to see products that aren’t converting at 50-100 pounds, move it into your second campaign.
  2. The second campaign will be set to maximize conversion value with a target ROAS. By moving products that aren’t converting to this campaign, Google Google will be working much harder for the products that are more difficult to convert. 

Set Up for Success on Google Shopping

The best way to handle Google Shopping is by using a tool in between your eCommerce platform and Shopping Center.

Mark uses DataFeed Watch which allows him to fix any issue that comes up without having to engage a developer. This in between tool allows users to easily tweak and get their feed right. 

Mark says his optimum set up uses SPAGs — single product ad groups. For instance, if it’s a product like clothing that has many variances but the same image Mark will split into three campaign groups — low, medium and high.

All search queries start in the low campaign and work their way up. Mark does this with shared negative lists. He starts by moving up brands to the medium tier by default.

He also moves things like GTN’s and model numbers up by default. Next, he’ll split the campaigns by devices like mobile, tablet desktop. Once they are running well and Mark has data, he duplicates them and targets existing campaigns to run ROAS and leaves the rest on manual.

In the end, he ends up with multiple campaigns all set to optimize results. 

Scripting Tool

Mark uses PPC Samurai Tool for scripting. This does things like find specific non converting ad groups, keyword optimisation and so forth.

He says it also mines the search queries within Google Shopping so that you can move those keywords to your search ads.  

Different Types of Ads

Google is introducing new types of ads all the time — like Google Showcase, but Mark says he tends to stick with normal shopping. With these, you have to do the remarketing side yourself, but the alternative is extremely complicated.

Dynamic remarketing requires really complex coding on the website in order for this to work. Luckily, Mark says, Shopify does a lot of this work out of the box.

If you’re running on a different platform, Mark recommends looking at the google tag inspector to guide your decisions around remarketing.

Support from Search

If you see you convert very well for a specific keyword, bidding on that term for search ads gives the consumer that you’re dominating that niche.

While you might not hit the ROAS, you’ll be front of mind as shoppers are in the search phase.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with ads Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve ads marketing performance?

Find the lever within the lever and check out the lowest hanging fruit first. Find the KPI that is underperforming, because that is the lever that will move the needle the most. 

It’s impossible to improve our marketing unless we’re monitoring the performance – but the list of stuff we could monitor can be overwhelming. So what, for you is the number one ads marketing KPI?

Mark’s number 1 online advertising KPI is add to basket rate. Youre add to basket rate will move up and down depending on what you’re doing. He says you can dive into the add to basket KPI to find issues.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in ads marketing?

Mark says he thinks that Google and Facebook are going to be giving more pushback in the future. Doubling down on your core is going to be even more crucial moving forward. Keep hustling to get emails and have important conversations with customers.

Interview Links

Mark on Social media:

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