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Revealed: The Ultimate Shopping Ad Funnel Strategy [+Infographic +Video Walkthrough]

The Little-Known Way to Mastering Google Shopping Ads Using Priorities

Why don’t kittens like to go to the mall? Because they prefer cat-ologues. Why don’t people like to go the mall? Because we prefer the internet.

Our preferences around HOW to shop on the internet have changed, too.

Last year, 16.1% of e-commerce sales were assisted by Google Shopping ads – up a whopping 78% from 2015.

If you’re not generating a significant portion of your sales from Google Shopping, you’re missing out. While you wait to take Google Shopping seriously, Google is busy improving click-through-rates and driving more sales for its advertisers.

If you’re short on time, check out this free infographic for a quick and easy explanation on how to hack Google Shopping using priorities.

Google Shopping Priority Funnel Infographic

Today, we’re talking about an advanced tactic to give you a massive competitive advantage on Google Shopping that we guarantee will lower costs and improve returns on your Google Shopping Ads. It might sound too good to be true, so choose where you’d like to start and we’ll break it down for you:


What is a Shopping Ad?

Shopping Ads are ads that appear on top of the Google Search Results page when someone makes a product-related search on Google. They’re unique because they showcase four major product descriptors in the ad: product image, product title, price, and store name.

Shopping ads look something like this:


Instead of the typical keyword bidding process where advertisers choose what searches they want to appear for, Google will display Shopping Ads for products they deem to be relevant based on the advertiser’s description of their product. These descriptions are documented in a merchant’s product feed (learn more about product feeds here).

If you haven’t set up shopping ads already, read our eCommerce setup guide for Google Shopping.

What are the Advantages of Shopping Ads?

There are two major advantages to shopping ads: Visibility and Quality Control.

Visibility: Paid results take up the entire screen for a product-related search on mobile, and better yet, Shopping Ads always show at the top. If that isn’t sweet enough, your ads will have images! These will undoubtedly stand out from the wall of text below it #moreImpressions #moreClicks #moreSales.


Google claims that Shopping Campaigns have helped multiple advertisers double or triple their standard click-through rates.

Quality: A product’s name, a high-quality product photo, and its price are the things an informed shopper needs before making a purchase decision. Shopping ads provide relevant information that expedites the buying process for qualified leads and deters unqualified leads from ever even clicking.

What are the Disadvantages of Shopping Ads?

Setting up your shopping feed can get a little tricky, that is… if you’re not following our Shopping Campaign setup guide.

Another issue is that you can’t bid on keywords individually (but that’s no excuse to not be aware of all the keyword matching options available in AdWords.) Instead, Google selects which of your products show up for certain search results.

The only way you can control your budget preferences is to place your bids on the product-group level. So what you’re doing is bidding on a bucket of keywords that your product might show up for. This means segmenting your bids is a difficult task because you can’t bid higher or lower based on keyword search volume.

Let me explain. Let’s say three search queries were made:

“Running Shoes”
“NIKE Lunar Glide Running Shoes”

If we were bidding on keywords for Text Ads, our campaign performance for each search result would vary. However, with a Shopping Ad, we bid the same amount for all three queries, which means you may be overpaying for generic search terms like “shoes” and underpaying for long-tail search terms like “Nike Lunar Glide Running Shoes.”

Why Long-Tail Keywords Matter

Different search queries indicate varying levels of intent to purchase. For example, someone searching “shoes” is likely looking for any kind of shoe, without a certain brand or product in mind.

However, someone searching “Nike Lunar Glide Running Shoes” knows exactly what they want, thus they have a higher chance of converting as long as your ad provides the information and price that they need.

These longer, more specific long-tail keywords have lower search volumes but indicate higher purchase intent. So naturally, we’d like to rank higher here. BUT, since we can’t bid on keywords with shopping ads, we’ll have to hack the system and adjust our bids through negative keywords and priority settings.

What Are Priority Settings?

As previously mentioned, Google selects the most relevant products within your shopping feed to show up after a search is made. However, you can rank your campaigns by priority. So, if more than one product qualifies to show, the campaign with the highest priority will always enter the auction first, regardless of how much you are bidding.

You can set each of your campaigns to have one of three priorities: low, medium, or high.

How to Use Priority Settings to Segment Your Bids

Let’s revisit our previous example and say we want to sell Nike Lunar Glide running shoes. We want to bid higher on the specific search queries and bid lower on the more generic ones.

The way we do this is by building out a funnel and filtering out more specific keywords via negative keywords.

Start by building out 3 campaigns of the same product, all with different priority settings – one high, one medium, and one low like this:


The first campaign is a generic, non-branded campaign with a high priority setting. As we mentioned before, if all our campaigns qualify, this will be the first to show due to the high priority setting.

Include negative keywords like “running, basketball, or Nike,” which will prevent more specific search queries to match and let Google show the campaign with the 2nd highest priority. Your bids should be lower here, because your chances for conversions on highly-competitive and generic terms are also low.

The second campaign is a more specific, non-brand campaign with medium priority. The only negative keyword we’ll use here is the brand. This campaign will capture more specific search queries, but the branded negative keyword will push down branded searches to the next campaign.

And lastly, the third campaign is a very specific, branded campaign with a low priority. This long-tail campaign has no negative keywords, because it will capture the most specific long-tail search queries after the first two campaigns filter out the more generic searches. The more specific the query, the higher chances for conversions, so we are going to go ahead and bid the highest here.

How a Search Query Moves Down the Funnel

To recap: Let’s say someone searches “Nike Lunar Glide Running Shoes.”

    1. All 3 campaigns qualify to enter the auction.
    2. Google surveys the highest priority campaign for entry.
    3. The negative keywords “Nike” and “Running” force Google to pass and consider the medium priority campaign.
    4. The negative keyword “Nike” prevents the ad to match and pushes it down to the low priority campaign.
    5. The long-tail keyword with high purchase intent matches with the lowest priority campaign, which you bid higher for.

Infographic Explanation

If you’re still stuck, we’ve also put together a quick infographic and tutorial video on how the whole Shopping Ad Funnel segmentation process works. So go ahead and join our Co-Founder and CEO, Todd Saunders, in this whiteboard session and corresponding infographic on how to prioritize your campaigns:

Google Shopping Priority Funnel Infographic

Thanks for Reading!

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, please share it with your friends. If you have any questions, please feel to tweet at us @AdHawk or drop a comment below. We answer every comment!

4 responses to “Revealed: The Ultimate Shopping Ad Funnel Strategy [+Infographic +Video Walkthrough]

  1. I’m just starting to explore the advertising arena and am intrigued and anxious to learn more from the pros! What is the best ad platform????

    1. Hi Jeffrey,
      Facebook Ads and AdWords are both great places to start, but there’s a lot of things to unpack! What are you looking to achieve and who are you trying to reach?

  2. I have been using this method for quite some time, however in the past week all of my campaigns have started not following the priority system and all of my traffic filters down to the low priority branded campaign. Is this an issue others are seeing on their end?

    1. Hi Bob – that must be a frustrating issue to deal with! There are a few potential reasons as to why your campaigns may be acting up, but these are the most common:
      1. Product disapprovals
      2. Negative keyword issues
      3. Campaigns hitting budgets

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About the Author

Journeyman of the wild wild west of Digital Advertising. Also doubling as an unofficial Taco Bell ambassador. Tweet at me @JonJmPark