Categories
Digital Marketing Google Ads Shopify Shopping

Enhance Shopify’s Google Shopping feed

The following script will allow you to enhance Shopify’s Google Shopping app feed to include:

  • Sale Price annotations
  • Additional Images by Variant: More control over which product images get associated with which variant.
  • Exclude Out of Stock items from Google Programs. If you are paying to advertise, make sure you are only paying to display products you can sell.
  • Exclude Low Stock variants from Google Programs. Exclude color ways that have low size options. Show other color options or products instead.
Sale annotation in Google Shopping
SALE labels and price markdown annotations usually only appear if you provide Google Shopping with both your regular price (compare_at_price) and your sale price.

To add the above functionality, you must create and upload a supplemental data feed to Google Merchant Center.

Step 1
Create a Supplemental Data Feed in Shopify

The first step is to create a data feed in Shopify. We can accomplish this by creating a custom Shopify Collection Template that will output XML data instead of HTML:

1. Create a new Collection Template called collection.google-update.liquid with the following code:

{% layout none %}<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">

{% comment %}
Google Shopping / Merchant Center + Shopify Product Update Feed by Alex Czartoryski
https://business.czarto.com/2020/08/12/shopify-sale-price-google-shopping/

This version: Oct 14, 2020
The latest version of this script available here:
https://github.com/Czarto/ShopifyScripts/blob/master/Templates/collection.google-feed-update.liquid
{% endcomment %}

{% comment %} Settings {% endcomment %}
{%- assign exclude_unavailable_variants = true -%}
{%- assign exclude_variant_colors_with_limited_availability = true -%}
{%- assign ignore_x_smallest_sizes = 1 -%}
{%- assign ignore_x_largest_sizes = 1 -%}
{%- assign minimum_percentage_availability = 50 -%}
{%- assign filter_variantImages_byColor = true -%}

{%- assign CountryCode = 'US' -%}
{%- if shop.currency == 'CAD' -%}{%- assign CountryCode = 'CA' -%}{%- endif -%}

<channel>
<title>{{ shop.name }} {{ collection.title | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</title>
<link>{{ shop.url }}</link>
<description>{{ collection.description | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>

{%- paginate collection.products by 1000 -%}
{%- for product in collection.products -%}

{%- comment -%} Get color option {%- endcomment -%}
{%- for option in product.options -%}
{%- if option == 'Color' -%}{% capture option_color %}option{{ forloop.index }}{% endcapture %}{%- endif -%}
{%- endfor -%}

{%- comment -%} Make a list of Colors to exclude {%- endcomment -%}
{%- assign colors_to_exclude = "" -%}
{%- if exclude_variant_colors_with_limited_availability -%}
{%- for color in product.options_by_name['Color'].values -%}
{%- assign variants = product.variants | where: option_color, color -%}
{%- assign variants_to_process_count = variants.size | minus:ignore_x_smallest_sizes | minus:ignore_x_largest_sizes -%}
{%- assign available_count = 0 -%}
{%- assign total_processed_count = 0 -%}
{%- for variant in variants offset:ignore_x_smallest_sizes limit:variants_to_process_count -%}
{%- assign total_processed_count = total_processed_count | plus:1 -%}
{%- if variant.available -%}{%- assign available_count = available_count | plus:1 -%}{%- endif -%}
{%- endfor -%}
{%- if total_processed_count == 0 -%}
{%- continue -%}
{%- endif -%}
{%- assign percentage_availability = available_count | times: 100.0 | divided_by: total_processed_count | round -%}
{%- if percentage_availability < minimum_percentage_availability -%}
{% capture colors_to_exclude %}{{colors_to_exclude}}#{{ color }}{%endcapture%}
{%- endif -%}
{%- endfor -%}
{%- assign colors_to_exclude = colors_to_exclude | split: "#" -%}
{%- endif -%}

{%- for variant in product.variants -%}
<item>
<g:item_group_id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
<g:id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}_{{ variant.id }}</g:id>
<g:mpn>{{ variant.sku }}</g:mpn>

{%- comment -%} Sale Price {%- endcomment -%}
{%- if variant.compare_at_price > variant.price -%}
{%- assign variant_onSale = true -%}
{%- assign variant_price = variant.compare_at_price -%}
{%- assign variant_salePrice = variant.price -%}
<g:price>{{ variant_price | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:price>
<g:sale_price>{{ variant_salePrice | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:sale_price>
{% endif %}

{%- comment -%} Additional Images by Color {%- endcomment -%}
{%- assign additional_images = product.images -%}
{%- for option in product.options -%}
{%- if option == 'Color' -%}{% capture variant_color %}{{ variant.options[forloop.index0] }}{% endcapture %}{%- endif -%}
{%- endfor -%}
{% if filter_variantImages_byColor %}{% assign additional_images = product.images | where: "alt", variant_color | sort: 'attached_to_variant' | reverse%}{% endif %}
{% if additional_images.size > 1 %}{%- for image in additional_images offset:1 limit:10 -%}
<g:additional_image_link>https:{{ image.src | product_img_url: 'master' }}</g:additional_image_link>
{% endfor %}{% endif %}

{%- comment -%} Exclude Out of Stock Variants {%- endcomment -%}
{% if exclude_unavailable_variants and variant.available == false %}
<g:excluded_destination>Display ads</g:excluded_destination>
<g:excluded_destination>Shopping ads</g:excluded_destination>
<g:excluded_destination>Shopping Actions</g:excluded_destination>
{% elsif exclude_variant_colors_with_limited_availability and colors_to_exclude contains variant_color %}
<g:excluded_destination>Display ads</g:excluded_destination>
<g:excluded_destination>Shopping ads</g:excluded_destination>
<g:excluded_destination>Shopping Actions</g:excluded_destination>
{% endif %}
</item>

{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}
{% endpaginate %}
</channel>
</rss>

Available on github here

2. Create a new collection called “google-update” and choose google-update as your collection template.

3. Preview the collection and copy the url. Your url should look something like this: yourstoredomain.com/collections/google-update

Step 2
Configure your Feed

There are a few options you can configure in your feed, all located towards the top of your template file in the “configuration” section.

Sale Priceautomatic
Exclude Out of Stock Variants
exclude_unavailable_variants

true
Exclude Limited Stock Color Variants
exclude_variant_colors_with_limited_availability
ignore_x_smallest_sizes
ignore_x_largest_sizes
minimum_percentage_availability

false
1
1
50
Filter Variant Images by Color + Alt Text Matching
filter_variantImages_byColor

false

Sale Price

This is automatically included. If your products have a current price that is less than the compare_at_price then the appropriate sale price data will be automatically updated in the feed.

Exclude Out of Stock Variants

exclude_unavailable_variants = true

By default, any variants that are out of stock will be excluded from Google Shopping, Google Shopping Actions, and Dynamic Remarketing. Change the value of exclude_unavailable_variants = false if you want to disable this behaviour.

Exclude Limited Stock Color Variants

exclude_variant_colors_with_limited_availability = true

This setting is intended for apparel products, where you may have many colors of a product, but limited sizes available in a specific product. Setting this value to true will cause the script to attempt to exclude the colors with low availability (so that alternative colors or products can show instead).

There are a few additional configuration items for this setting that you can change:

minimum_percentage_availability
default = 50
Minimum % of sizes available before all variants of this color are excluded.
ignore_x_smallest_sizes
default = 1
Ignore the x smallest sizes in the % available calculation
ignore_x_largest_sizes
default = 1
Ignore the x largest sizes in the % available calculation

Filter Variant Images by Color
and Alt Text Matching

filter_variantImages_byColor = true

Setting this value to true will assign additional images to the current variant where the image’s Alt Text matches the variant’s color. Note that the primary variant’s image will always be included in the feed regardless of Alt text.

Step 3
Add a Supplemental Data Feed in Google Merchant Center

1. Open Merchant Center and go to
Products > Feeds > Supplemental Feeds > Add Supplemental Feed

NameFeed Update Script
Feed TypeScheduled Fetch
File Namegoogle-update
File Urlyourstoredomain.com/collections/google-update

Leave everything else as default values and click Continue

2. Make sure there’s a checkmark beside Content API and click Create Feed

3. You should now see your newly created feed in the Supplemental Feeds section. Click on your feed’s name and then click on Fetch Now to update your product data now.

Testing

It may take up to 30 minutes for your main feed to be updated. It is a good idea to review your products and feed to ensure that everything is coming through as expected, and tweak as required.

If everything looks good, your new sale pricing, variant images, and program availability should now be updated once per day.

Related Reading

Categories
Attribution Digital Marketing eCommerce Google Ads Shopify

Optimizing Shopify’s Google Ads Conversion Tracking

Here are some essential changes to make to your Google Ads conversion tracking after you connect Shopify’s Google Shopping Channel.

STEP 0
Install the Google Shopping Channel

This guide assumes that you have the Google Shopping Channel installed on your Shopify store. If this is not the case, then:

  1. Install the Google Shopping Channel
  2. Connect your Google Account (must be an account that has access to both Google Merchant Center and Google Ads)
  3. Connect your Google Ads Account in the “Smart Shopping campaign” section

STEP 1
Remove Old Conversion Tracking Code

By connecting Shopify to Google Ads via the Google Shopping Channel, Shopify will begin sending conversion data to your Google Ads account. If you were already tracking conversions in Google Ads, then you need to make sure you are not duplicating your conversion data:

  • If you previously had a Google Ads conversion tracking script installed in your checkout, then remove that code.
  • If you were importing conversions from Google Analytics, stop importing those conversions.

STEP 2
Fix Conversion Categories

Log into Google Ads and then Go to
Tools & Settings > Measurement > Conversions

You should see a bunch of new conversion actions created by Shopify. You will also see a warning that your conversion categories are out of date, and that you should update 4 of your conversions actions.

Click Update Now and update the settings to the following:

STEP 3
Conversion Windows and Attribution Models

Although Shopify created multiple conversion actions, you only need to worry about the Google Shopping App Purchase conversion event.

Click on the Google Shopping App Purchase conversion action and update the following settings:

Old ValueNew Value
CountEvery ConversionOne
View-through Conversion Window30 days1 day
Attribution ModelLast clickLinear

One Conversion per click

If you count “Every Conversion” you increases the risk of double attribution across your various channels.

For example: A user clicks on your Google ad and makes a purchase. It makes sense to count and attribute this conversion to Google Ads. If this same user later receives your newsletter, and purchases again, then you probably want to attribute that sale to the Newsletter and NOT to Google. Setting conversion count to “One” instead of “Every” ensures that only the first sale gets attributed to google, and not the second.

Counting “Every” conversion increases the risk of double attribution

Click-Through Conversions

Arguably, you should set your Click-Through Conversion window to 30 days. 90 days seems extremely long, and could increases your chances of double attribution across multiple sales channels.

However, if you are using Smart Campaigns or Smart Bidding, the bidding algorithm can only take into account conversions that have occurred within the specified conversion window. So theoretically, the longer your conversion window, the more data for Smart Bidding to optimize with. So the 90 day click-conversion window can probably stay.

View-Through Conversions

Set the View-Through Conversion window to only 1 day. A longer View-Through conversion window is dangerous, and will lead to over attributing sales to Display Remarketing, YouTube, and Smart Shopping. This will invariably cause you to overspend on those campaigns.

A View-Through conversion window greater than 1 day is dangerous, and will lead to over attributing sales to undeserving channels.

Which Attribution Model to use?

Linear, Time Decay, Position Based, or Data Driven are all better than First or Last click, as they allow you to attribute sales across a wider range of ad interactions, which allows you to spend more evenly across your entire funnel.

I personally usually choose Linear or Position Based, as I like pushing more attribution (and therefore spend) into the top part of the funnel.

Further Reading

Categories
Digital Marketing Google Ads Shopify Shopping

Add Sale Price to Shopify’s Google Shopping feed

As of Aug 12, 2020 Shopify’s Google Shopping app does NOT send compare_at_price to Google Merchant Center. This means that you are unlikely to receive the SALE annotation in your Google Shopping ads when your products are on sale:

Sale annotation in Google Shopping
SALE labels and price markdown annotations usually only appear if you provide Google Shopping with both your regular price (compare_at_price) and your sale price.

To fix this, you must create and upload a supplemental data feed to Google Merchant Center.

Create a Price Feed in Shopify

The first step is to create a data feed in Shopify containing your products sale and regular prices. We can accomplish this by creating a custom Shopify Collection Template that will output XML data instead of HTML:

1. Create a new Collection Template called collection.xml-sale-pricing.liquid with the following code:

{% layout none %}<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">
{% paginate collection.products by 1000 %}
{%- assign CountryCode = 'US' -%}
{%- if shop.currency == 'CAD' -%}{%- assign CountryCode = 'CA' -%}{%- endif -%}
<channel>
<title>{{ shop.name }} {{ collection.title | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' | replace }}</title>
<link>{{ shop.url }}</link>
<description>{{ collection.description | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>
{% for product in collection.products %} 
  {% for variant in product.variants %}
    {%- if variant.compare_at_price > variant.price -%}
      {%- assign OnSale = true -%}
      {%- assign Price = variant.compare_at_price -%}
      {%- assign SalePrice = variant.price -%}
        <item>
            <g:item_group_id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
            <g:id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}_{{ variant.id }}</g:id>
            <g:price>{{ Price | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:price>
            <g:sale_price>{{ SalePrice | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:sale_price>
        </item>
    {%- endif -%}
{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}
</channel>
</rss>
{% endpaginate %}

Also available on github

2. Create a new collection called “google-feed-sale-price” and choose xml-pricing-feed as your collection template.

3. Preview the collection and copy the url. Your url should look something like this: yourstoredomain.com/collections/google-feed-sale-price

Add a Supplemental Data Feed in Google Merchant Center

1. Open Merchant Center and go to
Products > Feeds > Supplemental Feeds > Add Supplemental Feed

  • Name: Sale Pricing Update
  • Feed Type: Scheduled Fetch
  • File Name: google-feed-sale-price
  • File Url: yourstoredomain.com/collections/google-feed-sale-price

Leave everything else as default values and click Continue

2. Make sure there’s a checkmark beside Content API and click Create Feed

3. You should now see your newly created feed in the Supplemental Feeds section. Click on your feed’s name and then click on Fetch Now to update pricing data immediately.

Done

It may take up to 30 minutes for your main feed to be updated. Any new sale pricing will now be uploaded once per day.

Related Reading

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads

Facebook Campaign Structure for Long-Term Success

Evergreen Campaigns

An Evergreen Campaign Structure doesn’t change much year over year: The Campaigns and Ad Sets are continually in use, and only the ad creative is changed.

Evergreen Campaigns add some structure and sanity to your Facebook Ad management. They prevent the typical disorganized Campaign sprawl that plagues most Facebook Ads Accounts. Evergreen Campaigns encourage continuous improvement and optimization, facilitates data analysis, and lowers maintenance costs.

Campaign Structure

The campaign structure is relatively simple: 3-4 primary campaigns targeting 3 main segments: Past Purchasers, Remarketing, and Prospecting.

Past PurchasersRemarketingProspecting
People who have previously purchased from you.People who have interacted with your brand via your website, social media, or otherwise, but have not purchased from you yet.People who have never purchased from you, and who have not interacted with your brand in the past 180 days.
CPA $CPA $$CPA $$$
Budget $$Budget $$$Budget $
Facebook Evergreen Campaign Structure

Audiences

Before you can create your campaigns, you will need to define some base audiences to capture purchasers and website visitors. A full description of the essential Facebook audiences that should be created is available here.

Building the Campaigns

Campaign #1: Past Purchasers

This campaign targets people who have previously purchased from you. Generally your cost per acquisition will be low, and your budget will be a function of how many customers you have.

Campaign NameBuying TypeObjective
Past PurchasersAuctionConversions

Ad Sets for Past Purchasers Campaign

At it’s most basic, the campaign contains a single Ad Set containing all your past customers:

Ad Set NameAudiences
Past Purchasers All TimePurchase 10d
Purchase 30d
Purchase 180d
Purchaser All Time

For high volume businesses that have large amount of customers, multiple Ad Sets could be create, one for each audience to have more granular control based on past purchase date. However, a single campaign targetting all past purchasers is also quite effective, trusting Facebook’s algorithm to take purchase recency into account.

Campaign #2: Remarketing

This campaign targets website visitors and people who have previously engaged with your brand on facebook, instagram, or otherwise, but who have NOT previously purchased from your business.

Your Cost per Acquisition (CPA) will be relatively low, and therefore you should manage to have a relatively large budget while maintaining a profitable CPA.

This campaign actually needs to be setup as two separate campaigns

Campaign NameBuying TypeObjective
RemarketingAuctionConversions
Dynamic RemarketingAuctionCatalog Sales
The Remarketing campaign needs to be split into two: one for regular ads, and another for dynamic product ads.

Ad Sets for Remarketing Campaigns

Ad it’s most basic, the Remarketing Campaign contains only two Ad Sets targeting visitors who engaged with your brand up to 30 days ago, and another for people who engaged with your brand up to 180 days ago (the Facebook maximum)

Ad Set NameAudiencesExclude
Remarketing 30dAdd to Cart 30d
Visitors Top 25% 30d
FB Engagement 30d
IG Engagement 30d
Purchase 30d
Remarketing 180dAdd to Cart 180d
Visitors Top 25% 180d
FB Engagement 180d
IG Engagement 180d
Purchase 180d
Add to Cart 30d
Visitors Top 25% 30d
FB Engagement 30d
IG Engagement 30d

For higher volume sites, you can consider adding more granular Ad Sets for 10, 60, 90 day etc… remarketing audiences.

Ad Sets for Dynamic Remarketing

Ad Set NameAudiences
Product View 30dRetarget Ads:
Viewed or Added to Cart
but not Purchased: 30d
Product View 180dRetarget Ads:
Viewed or Added to Cart
but not Purchased: 180d
Cart Abandon 30dCart Abandon 30d
Cart Abandon 180dCart Abandon 180d

For high-volume sites, or for periods of high sales such as Black Friday, you can also consider creating 10, 4, or even 1 day Ad Sets.

Campaign #3: Prospecting

This campaign will target “brand unaware” customers. People that have never purchased from you, and that have not interacted with your brand or site in at least 180 days.

This campaign will feed your Remarketing campaigns. You can expect your Cost per Acquisition (CPA) to be relatively high and your budgets will need to be relatively low to remain profitable. But the more you can manage to spend here, the more you will be able to spend on Remarketing.

Ad Sets for Prospecting Campaign

At it’s most basic, the prospecting Campaign should target a 1% look-a-like audience (based on the Purchase pixel event).

More advanced campaigns can also target 2%-10% look-a-like audiences, or custom interest based audiences. But it is important to always exclude your Past Purchasers and Remarketing audiences so that there is no overlap with your campaigns.

Ad Set NameAudiencesExclude
1% Look-a-like Purchase1% Look-a-like PurchasePurchase All Time
Purchase 180d
Add to Cart 180d
Site Visitors Top 25% 180d
FB Engagement 180d
IG Engagement 180d

The Big Picture

Once all the above is setup, your Campaign and Ad Sets should look something like this:

Facebook Ads Evergreen Campaign Structure
Facebook Ads Evergreen Campaign Structure

All that remains now is to create ads or duplicate your posts into these campaigns. But that is a topic for another day.

Related Reading

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads

Essential Facebook Audiences

Below is a list of the Essential Facebook Audiences the every e-commerce site should create in their Facebook Ads Account. Even if you don’t plan on using them right away, creating them now will ensure that you can serve ads to these users in the future.

Past Purchasers

Past Purchasers audiences will be used to target users that have previously purchased from you. There are 4 audiences with varying time periods, to allow you to target your past purchasers by how recently they purchased from you.

To create these go to
Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience

Audience NameSourcePixel Criteria
Purchase: 10 dayWebsitePurchase: 10 days
Purchase: 30 dayWebsitePurchase: 30 days
Purchase: 180 dayWebsitePurchase: 180 days
Purchase: All TimeCustomer ListCustomer list upload*
* The “Purchase: All Time” audience will need to be updated every 180 days.

Visitors and Social Fans

These audiences include website visitors, cart abandoners, and people who have engaged with your content on Facebook and Instagram. These are all people that are “brand aware” and are some of the lowest hanging fruit in terms of generating sales.

To create these audiences go to
Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience

Audience NameSourcePixel Criteria
Add to Cart: 1 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 1 day
Add to Cart: 4 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 4 days
Add to Cart: 30 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 30 days
Add to Cart: 180 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 180 days
Site Visitors: Top 25%: 10 dayWebsiteVisitors by Time spent:
Top 25%: 10 days
Site Visitors: Top 25%: 30 dayWebsiteVisitors by Time spent:
Top 25%: 30 days
Site Visitors: Top 25%: 180 dayWebsiteVisitors by Time spent:
Top 25%: 180 days
FB Engagement: 10 dayFacebookEveryone who engaged
with your page: 10d
FB Engagement: 30 dayFacebookEveryone who engaged
with your page: 30d
FB Engagement: 180 dayFacebookEveryone who engaged
with your page: 180d
IG Engagement: 10 dayInstagramEveryone who engaged
with your business: 10d
IG Engagement: 30 dayInstagramEveryone who engaged
with your business: 30d
IG Engagement: 180 dayInstagramEveryone who engaged
with your business: 180d

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences are a good base to use for new customer prospecting. If you target multiple countries, you will need to create a separate set of these for each country.

To create these audiences go to
Audiences > Create Audience > Lookalike Audience

Lookalike SourceEventNumber of
Audiences
Audience Markers
Facebook PixelPurchase40%, 1%, 2%, 5%, 10%
Choose 4 audiences, and set markers at 0%, 1%, 2%, 5%, and 10%

Next: Campaigns

Once you’ve created your audiences, the next step is to create a Facebook Evergreen Campaign Structure properly segmented into Past Purchasers, Remarketing, and New Customer Prospecting.

Related Posts

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads Shopify

Fix Missing Fields in Shopify’s Facebook Product Feed

Last Update: September 18, 2020

If you use the Facebook Channel on your Shopify store, you will notice that some product attributes are missing in the product catalog:

  • Google Product Category
  • Gender
  • Material
  • Additional Images

Below is the solution to add these missing details. This will give you finer control over your Facebook Product Sets and will let you create richer dynamic ads with multiple product images.

Pre-requisites

Before we start, make sure all of the following are done:

  1. Install the Google Sales Channel
    The script leverages some of the metafields that are created on by the Google Sales Channel
  2. Install the Facebook Sales Channel
  3. Setup Empty Field Rules
    This is not actually a pre-requisite, but it’s a good backup in case things break down with your feed. This sets some default values for fields such as condition and availability.
  1. Go to Facebook Business Manager and then
    Commerce Manager > Catalog > Data Sources
  2. Click on your data feed and go to Settings
  3. Scroll down to Data Feed Rules and click on Add Rules > Set Default Values
  4. Create default values for age_group, gender, availability, condition, material, and any other fields that make sense for your business.

Step 1
Create the Facebook Product Feed Template

To create the Facebook product update feed, we will use a “hack” to transform a standard Shopify Collection page into and XML data feed:

  • In the Shopify admin, go to
    Online Store > Themes > Action > Edit Code
  • Under Templates, choose Add a new Template
  • Choose collection from the drop down and name your template facebook-feed-template

Paste the code below into your newly created template file and click Save.

{% layout none %}<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">
{%- paginate collection.products by 1000 -%}
{%- assign useSEOdescription = true -%}
{%- assign additionalImagesForVariants = false -%}
{%- assign filterVariantImagesByColor = false -%}
{% comment %}
This template is used to add additional information to the Facebook product catalog
</comment:title>
{% endcomment %}
<channel>
<title>{{ shop.name }} {{ collection.title | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</title>
<link>{{ shop.url }}</link>
<description>{{ collection.description | strip_html }}</description>
{% for product in collection.products %}
{%- assign GoogleProductCategory = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.google_product_category -%}
{%- assign Gender = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.gender -%}
{%- assign AgeGroup = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.age_group -%}
{%- assign Material = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.material  -%}
{%- assign Color = "" -%}

{%- if product.variants.size > 0 -%}
{%- for variant in product.variants -%}
{%- for option in product.options -%}
{%- if option == 'Color' -%}{% capture Color %}{{ variant.options[forloop.index0] }}{% endcapture %}{%- endif -%}
{%- endfor -%}

{% assign additional_images = product.images %}
{% if filterVariantImagesByColor %}{% assign additional_images = product.images | where: "alt", Color | sort: 'attached_to_variant' | reverse%}{% endif %}

<item>
<g:id>{{ variant.id }}</g:id>
<g:brand>{{ product.vendor }}</g:brand>
{% if useSEOdescription and product.metafields.global.description_tag.size > 0 %}<description>{{ product.metafields.global.description_tag | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>{% endif %}
<g:google_product_category>{{ GoogleProductCategory | replace: '&', '&amp;'  }}</g:google_product_category>
<g:item_group_id>{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
<g:content_id>{{ variant.id }}</g:content_id>
<g:availability>{% if variant.available %}in stock{% else %}out of stock{% endif %}</g:availability>
<g:material>{{ Material }}</g:material>
<g:gender>{{ Gender }}</g:gender>
<g:age_group>{{ AgeGroup }}</g:age_group>
{% if additionalImagesForVariants %}
{% if additional_images.size > 1 %}{%- for image in additional_images offset:1 limit:10 -%}
<g:additional_image_link>https:{{ image.src | product_img_url: 'master' }}</g:additional_image_link>
{% endfor %}{% endif %}
{% endif %}
</item>

{% endfor %}
{%- else -%}

<item>
<g:id>{{ product.id }}</g:id>   
<g:brand>{{ product.vendor }}</g:brand>
{% if useSEOdescription and product.metafields.global.description_tag.size > 0 %}<description>{{ product.metafields.global.description_tag | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>{% endif %} 
<g:google_product_category>{{ GoogleProductCategory | replace: '&', '&amp;'  }}</g:google_product_category>
<g:item_group_id>{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
<g:availability>{% if product.available %}in stock{% else %}out of stock{% endif %}</g:availability>
<g:material>{{ Material }}</g:material>
<g:gender>{{ Gender }}</g:gender>
<g:age_group>{{ AgeGroup }}</g:age_group>
{% if product.images.size > 1 %}{%- for image in product.images offset:1 limit:10 -%}
<g:additional_image_link>https:{{ image.src | product_img_url: 'master' }}</g:additional_image_link>
{% endfor %}{% endif %}
</item>

{% endif %}
{% endfor %}
</channel>
</rss>
{% endpaginate %}

or download from Github

Although the script above will work as is, there are two items that you can configure:

additionalImagesForVariants = false
Setting this to true will upload all your product’s additional images. If you use variants, all your variants will have the identical additional images (their primary image will be as-configured in Shopify)

filterVariantImagesByColor = false
Setting this to true will only upload additional images for a variant IF the ALT text of the images exactly match that variant’s color attribute.

Step 2
Select the Products to Send to Facebook

Now select which products will be included in your feed.

  • In Shopify Admin, go to
    Products > Collections > Create Collection
  • Enter a Title: “Facebook”
  • Add Products to the collection (either manually or using conditions). If you want to include all your products, then add a rule similar to “Inventory Stock is greater than 0”.
  • IMPORTANT!
    Assign the Facebook Feed Template to this collection.
    In the bottom right column of the page, you should see a section called Theme templates. Choose collection.facebook-feed-template otherwise none of this will work.
  • At the bottom of the page, click on Edit Website SEO and enter “facebook” as your collection url handle. (optional – but helps with remembering your feed url)
  • Save and Preview the collection. You should see unformatted text on the screen. This is your Facebook feed. Do a “View Source” in your browser to preview the XML data.
  • Copy the url of this page. It should look similar to https://www.yourstore.com/collections/facebook

Step 3
Upload your Product Feed to Facebook

  • Go to your Facebook Business Manager and go to Commerce Manager
  • Expand Catalogs in the left hand menu and select Data Sources
  • Click on your data source name and then on Settings
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on Update Schedule and choose Hourly
  • Paste in the feed url generated in Step 2 and click Save
  • Click Request Update Now
  • Wait for Facebook to finish fetching your feed

Done

Your products should now have the missing information added. You will probably want to repeat STEP 3 anytime you modify or add new products to your shop.

It’s just a matter of time before Shopify starts uploading the full data specs to Facebook, but until that time, this is the workaround!

Related Reading

Categories
Digital Marketing Google Ads

Essential Google Ads Remarketing Audiences

Below is a list of the Essential Google Audiences the every e-commerce site should create in their Google Ads Account. Even if you don’t plan on using them right away, creating them now will ensure that they can grow so they are ready to be used in the future.

Google’s Built-in Audiences

Before we create our own audiences, we first need to install the Google Ads Dynamic Remarketing Code. This triggers Google to automatically create some built-in Remarketing Audiences:

Audience NameDurationDescription
Shopping cart abandoners30 daysPeople who added products to the shopping cart in the past 30 days but did not complete the purchase
Product Viewers30 daysPeople who viewed specific product pages on your site in the past 30 days but did not create a shopping cart
Past buyer30 daysPeople who purchased products from you in the past 30 days
All visitors30 daysPeople who visited pages that contain your remarketing tags in the past 30 days
All converters180 daysPeople who converted on your site in the last 180 days. Based on your conversion tracking tag. This is not necessarily people who have purchased from you, but anyone who has triggered a “conversion”. (eg: Phone call from an ad)
General Visitors30 daysPeople who visited your website in the past 30 days but did not view any specific products

Additional Audiences

The additional audiences to create follow the same pattern used in Google’s built-in audiences, but with expanded membership durations. The main focus is on Shopping Cart Abandoners, Product Viewers, and Past Buyers.

Shopping Cart Abandoners

Google will have already created a “Shopping cart abandoners” audience with 30 day time window. We will create the following additional audiences for 7, 14, 90, and 180 day durations:

Audience Name:Shopping cart abandoners: xd
“x” will be the duration.
Eg: Shopping cart abandoners: 7d
List Members:Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
Visited page:URL contains cart
Unvisited pageURL contains thank_you
Membership Duration:7, 14, 90, 180 days
* 30 day duration is already created by Google

Past Buyers

Google will have already created a “Past buyers” audience with 30 day time window. We will create these additional audiences for 14, 90, 180, 365, and 520 day durations:

Audience NamePast buyers xd
“x” will be the duration.
Eg: Past buyers: 14d
List MembersVisitors of a page with specific tags
TagsPurchase
Membership duration14, 90, 180, 365, 520 days

Product Viewers

Google will have already created a “Product viewers” audience with a 30 day duration. We will create additional audiences with 14, 90, 180, 365, and 520 day durations.

Audience Name:Product viewers: xd
“x” will be the duration.
Eg: Product Viewers: 14d
List Members:Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
Visited page:URL contains product
Unvisited pageURL contains cart
Membership Duration:14, 90, 180, 365, 520 days
* 30 day duration is already created by Google

General Notes

  • The Membership Durations are somewhat arbitrary. You can get more or less granular, and set your own intervals. It is however best to start with something simple and add granularity later on.
  • A Remarketing Audience needs a minimum of 1,000 members to be eligible to serve. When creating your audience durations, consider how much time it will take to reach 1,000 memebers. eg: How long will it take before your site generates 1,000 abandoned carts, or 1,000 purchases? That will probably be the shortest duration with which you should start.
  • You should generally add all these lists as “Observations” to all your campaigns.

More Reading…

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads

Adjusting Facebook Ad Budgets towards a target ROAS Goal

Here is a simple formula to adjusting your daily Facebook Ad budget towards a target ROAS based on past performance.

NumberOfDaysThe time period for which you want to base performance.
AmountSpentHow much did you spend during the time period.
ActualROASThe ROAS performance of your ads during the time period.
TargetROASThe ROAS target you are trying to achieve.

How I use this

  1. I maintain an evergreen campaign structure so that I can easily measure past performance.
  2. My performance target is generally an ROAS of 4.5
  3. My lookback time period is generally 7 days

Once a week (or sometimes daily if we are in a period of high activity or if we have launched a new promotion), first thing in the morning, I look at the past 7 days and run the above formula for each of my campaigns.

  • If my target ROAS is very close to my actual ROAS, then I don’t bother with the calculation, nor with adjusting budgets.
  • If the results call for a decrease, then I decrease the budgets.
  • If the results call for an increase, then I increase budgets, but usually by no more than 10%.

Categories
Attribution Digital Marketing

Attribution Poaching and Remaketing Fraud

Common Deception Tactics by Remarketing Platforms

View Through Conversions

  • A View Through Conversion is when a user sees your ad, DOES NOT CLICK on the ad, and later makes a purchase.
  • A Click Through Conversion is when a user sees your ad, CLICKS on the ad, and later makes a purchase.

For a sales driven remarketing campaign you should exclusively focus on Click-Through Conversions and ignore View-Through Conversions. The incremental sales generated by an ad display in a remarketing campaign is almost zero.

Remember that we are working with a Remarketing campaign. We are targeting customers that are aware of your brand. Customers who have already visited your site. In many cases, customers that have added a product to their cart and are very close to purchase.

Consider this scenario: A long time customer visits your site, quickly finds the product he is looking for and starts the checkout process. In the middle of checkout, he receives an e-mail from a friend. He opens the e-mail and clicks on a link. That link takes him to a news site to read an article. Since he is in your remarketing audience, that news site shows him an ad and records a “View”. The customer finishes reading the article and returns to your site to complete his purchase. Your remarketing campaign has now taken credit for that sale because an ad was displayed to this customer.

If your customer visits any webpage during the purchase process, or if they have another browser tab open, they will likely be exposed to an ad view. That ad view will get View-Through credit for that conversion.

The number of View Through Conversions recorded in a remarketing campaign can be more than ten times that of Click Through Conversions. It is no wonder that remarketing platforms and ad agencies are eager to include View Through Conversions in ROI calculations. If you include View Through Conversions you will see fantastic performance results. This will cause you to double or triple your budget. It’s easy money for them.

Here is what a fictional remarketing campaign with a typical distribution of view vs click conversions might look like:

 Ad SpendClick ConversionsClick SalesView ConversionsView Sales
 $12,00050 $10,000 400 $80,000

If we use Click Conversions to calculate performance, we lose $0.17 for every $1.00 in ad spend. We have a negative ROI. The campaign is not profitable. We need to DECREASE our bids and budget.

 Ad SpendConversionsSalesCPAROASROI
 $12,00050 $10,000 $240 0.83-16%

If we add View-Through Conversions to our calculation, we come to a totally different conclusion: The campaign is now performing fantastically well. We profit $6.50 for every $1.00 in ad spend. That’s a 650% ROI! The campaign is super profitable. We should INCREASE our bids and budgets. This is exactly what your remarketing platform wants you to do, but is exactly the OPPOSITE of what you should do.

 Ad SpendConversionsSalesCPAROASROI
 $12,000450 $90,000 $26.60 7.5650%

The (unfortunate) reality is that the 400 view-through sales above were not a result of your remarketing campaign. The ad display is simply poaching attribution from your other channels.

Note: View Conversion metrics are valuable and useful in many scenarios. However, in the context of a sales driven remarketing campaign they should be excluded.

Cookie Bombing and Fake Impressions

Compounding the problem of View Through Conversions are fraudulent ad impressions and cookie bombing.

Over 50% of Display Ads never actually appear on the user’s screen. They are fraudulently served in a hidden iframe, or are stacked underneath other ads, or are compressed into a 1×1 pixel image, etc… These hidden fraudulent ad impressions still record a “View” in the user’s remarketing cookie. When that user eventually purchases on your site, that invisible fraudulent ad gets credit for the purchase.

If a particular ad network’s website can generate many conversions for advertisers, then those advertisers will want to spend more with that website. Fraudulent sites engage in “cookie bombing” to maximize the number of conversions they can “capture”. They serve as many ads to as many unique users as possible, so that as many users as possible have their cookie. The more users have their cookies, the more conversions will be credited to their sites, and the more ad budget money they will be paid.

To be clear, these sites are not actually serving any visible ads to any users. They are generating fraudulent ad impressions to set cookies on as many users as possible in order to “poach” conversion attribution (and budget) from your other channels. If a user with their cookie ever makes a purchase in the future, that site will get a view-attribution for that purchase, causing more ad budget money to flow to them.

All these hidden impressions distributed to as many users as possible cause View Through Conversion metrics to skyrocket. As mentioned before, View Through Conversions reported by an ad platform can easily be more than 10 times the number of Click Through Conversion reported. It is no surprise that ad platforms want you to believe in and count View Through Conversions.

New Attribution Models: View Throughs Disguised as Click Throughs

The simple way for an ad platform to fool you into counting View Through Conversions is to simply have a single “Conversions” column and lump all conversions in there. The platforms are however getting more sophisticated at transforming view conversions into click conversions, using new attribution models as a guise:

  • YouTube TrueView Conversion is any conversion that occurs after the user has watched 30 seconds of a video. Even if no click happened. TrueView conversions get counted in the Conversion column in AdWords along with the regular Click Through conversions. This makes it seem like an actual click happened, when none did. What makes this even more confusing and misleading, is that YouTube will still report View Conversions in a separate column. Since there are two separate columns, one tracking View Throughs explicitly, you will assume that the Conversions column must only contain clicks. This is not the case, and if not careful, you will significantly overspend on your YouTube remarketing campaign.
  • Steelhouse’s “Verified Visit” model counts any View-Through visit to your site within 1 hour of seeing an ad as a “Verified Visit”. Any conversion that happens within 30 days of this “Verified Visit” is counted as a Click Conversion (even though, no click ever occurred). Steelhouse will skirt the View Through question by saying that they only count conversions from “Verified Visits”. This will mislead you to think that they only count Click Through Conversions. But that is incorrect. The stats they report definitely include View conversions, which inflate your ROI, and cause you to overspend.

I spent months believing that SteelHouse’s numbers were based solely on clicks and post-click conversions. SteelHouse’s conduct made it appear to perform better than it actually was performing. Toms made spending allocation decisions and marketing vendor choices based on SteelHouse’s inflated performance.

Anna Hordov
former Online Demand Generation Manager, Toms

How to protect yourself from View Through Conversion “fraud”?

  • Insist that your platform report on Click Through and View Through Conversions in two separate columns. It is OK to include View Conversions in a report if they are in a separate column. It is NOT OK to combine View Conversions with Click Conversions in the same column.
  • Validate all data with your site analytics. Your analytics platform should report the actual accurate click through conversion data. Always compare the reports your remarketing platform generates with your own analytics data.
  • Don’t run Conversion focused YouTube remarketing campaigns. There is currently no way to opt-out of the TrueView model, therefor your conversion column will be overstated. Read more about TrueView…
  • Don’t use Steelhouse. Their Verified Visit model is designed to fool you. They also use their tracking pixel to inject data into your analytics. Scary stuff. Avoid.
  • Don’t use Criteo. They won’t tell you where your ads are displayed and their network has much more fraudulent sites participating in cookie bombing than anyone else. Avoid.

Fraudulent Automated Clicks

Fake clicks are an evolution of Cookie Bombing, except in this case clicks are auto generated onto the invisible ads, sending invisible visits to your site, and claiming Click credit for your purchases.

How Fake Clicks Work

  1. A legitimate customer visits your site but does not purchase. He is now placed into your remarketing list.
  2. This customer now visits another site on the internet. That site serves up an invisible ad and automatically “clicks” on that ad.
  3. That click causes an invisible visit to your website, by that customer. That customer’s remarketing cookie records a click and a site visit.
  4. Your legitimate customer now has a remarketing cookie set that says he saw an ad, clicked on that ad, and visited your website from that ad.
  5. When that customer comes back to your site to make a purchases, that ad will take credit for the conversion.

There are two issues here: The first is that you’ve paid for a fraudulent click. The second more important issue is that a conversion has been attributed to that fraudulent click. As a result, your remarketing platform appears to be performing better, meaning you will likely increase your budget in order to buy more of those fraudulent clicks.

Obfuscation and Lack of transparency

Anytime the remarketing network is hiding data from you, that’s an opportunity for them to fool you. For example, Criteo refuses to be transparent with the list of publisher sites where you ad appears and where your clicks and conversions come from.

3.6% of Criteo’s ‘users’ generate 25% of its clicks. Such behavior by real human users is highly unlikely. This behavior is indicative of adware, bots, click farms, or other code created by Criteo or its affiliates to generate clicks and drive up Criteo’s click-count numbers.

Steelhouse

How to protect yourself?

  • Insist on detailed and transparent reports on where your ads were served, and where the clicks came from. If certain sites seem to have unusually high click and conversion rates, dig deeper into those sites to see if they are legitimate or not.
  • Avoid using platforms that lack transparency. Don’t use Criteo for this reason, as they refuse to provide transparent reports of where your ads are served, preventing you from doing a proper audit.

Hijacking Visits and Overwriting Analytics

When you install 3rd party javascript pixels on your site, you give the owner of that script a lot of power. In particular that script can overwrite referral data, popup hidden pages, and generate clicks to your site. It can even directly write to your analytics platform!

You may think that your analytics data is safe, but think again. When you install any 3rd party javascript on your site, you also expose your analytics account for injection.

This is super alarming and you should be very concerned about this capability. Any Advertising Platform that has any javascript installed on your site can be overwriting and modifying your analytics data. They can override referral data for direct and organic visits to make it look like they are coming from their network. They can highjack e-commerce transactions and attribute them to themselves. They can make it seem like they are out-performing all your other marketing channels.

SteelHouse used “malicious code to make it appear as though an internet user clicked on a SteelHouse-placed advertisement, even though no such click occurred.”

Leah Bliss
former Global Retargeting Manager, VistaPrint

Steelhouse, under their Verified Visit model, uses their javascript pixel to generate clicks on ads, visits to your site, and to attribute conversions to themselves directly in your analytics.

How this works:

  1. A legitimate customer visits your site but does not purchase. He is now placed into your remarketing list.
  2. This customer now visits another site and is shown an ad. The customer DOES NOT click on the ad, but the remarketing cookie records a View.
  3. An hour later, the customer revisits your site from an organic source. The pixel script on your site detects that the customer has a recent ad view recorded.
  4. The pixel script loads an invisible iFrame, in the iFrame it loads the original ad and generates an automatic click and visit to your site.
  5. Your legitimate customer now has a remarketing cookie set that says he saw an ad, clicked on that ad, and visited your website from that ad. Your analytics data also says that this customer came from an ad click, and not from the original organic source.
  6. When that customer comes back to your site to make a purchases, that ad will take credit for the conversion.

Worst still, when you look in your analytics, it will appear that your Remarketing Platform is sending you lots of visitors and conversions, which will cause you to spend more with them. The reality is that these visitors are organic visits that were hijacked by the remarketing pixel.

“SteelHouse’s practice of inserting a code into an internet user’s browser to make a view of an advertisement appear indistinguishable from a click on Decker’s Adobe Analytics system is not, in any way, common or acceptable industry practice. Nor should it be because it is deceptive.”

Graham McCulloch
Director of eCommerce, Deckers

How to protect yourself?

  • Insist on an image only tracking pixel. Although this is rarely a viable option, try to avoid 3rd party javascript when possible.
  • Keep your analytics private and hidden. The less they know about your analytics platform and setup, the more difficult it will be for them to inject data. Avoid giving them any access, and ideally don’t even tell them what platform you use.
  • Get a written declaration from the Remarketing Platform that they will not inject data into your analytics, that they will not modify referral data, that they will not generate clicks, nor do anything that will simulate visits to your site or in your analytics.
  • Don’t use Steelhouse

More steps to protect yourself

Be very skeptical

Be very skeptical of all data provided by the 3rd party platform. By default assume they are lying to you and are trying to take your money. Always rely on your in-house analytics data first (although even this can be messed with via 3rd party pixels) and always try to deeply understand how their platform and algorithms work. Explicitly ask what they are doing about ad fraud.

Beware of secret sauces, black boxes, and magical artificial intelligence powered predictive self optimizing algorithms. If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Never ask the barber if you need a Haircut…

The ultimate selfish goal of any Advertising Platform is to MAXIMIZE your ad spend. You are THEIR customer and they want YOUR money. They want you to allocate as much of your budget to them as possible. They are incentivized to fool you.

Therefore be very skeptical with the data they give you and the stories they tell you. I would explicitly AVOID using either Steelhouse or Criteo due to first hand bad experiences with both.

More Reading about this topic:

Categories
Attribution Digital Marketing Google Ads

YouTube Video Campaigns are Over-Reporting Conversions

YouTube Video Campaigns count Conversions very differently from other Campaign types

YouTube Video Campaigns count view-conversions as click-conversions, and include them in the “Conversions” columns of Google Ads.

If you are running a ROI focused YouTube Campaign that is targeting a lower funnel Remarketing Audience, the revenue and conversions reported by Google Ads can be over-inflated by 1000% or more vs what Google Analytics will report.

When running a YouTube Campaigns, always:

  1. Be suspicious and skeptical of the conversion data
  2. Adjust your performance targets. Conversions will be overinflated by a factor of up to 1000%, so adjust your performance accordingly.
  3. Use Google Analytics as your measure of YouTube Campaign performance
  4. Avoid Targeting lower funnel Remarketing Lists with YouTube. Save these lists for campaigns that offer true click-based conversion tracking.
  5. Explicitly exclude low funnel Remarketing Lists from your targeting. This will ensure the attribution poaching is limited.

YouTube Conversion Tracking Explained

Standard Campaign Behaviour

For most campaign types, a conversion is only recorded in the “Conversions” column when someone clicks on your ad and then proceeds to make a purchase. This is called a Click-Through Conversion. If there are no clicks on your ad, no conversion is recorded in the Conversions column.

This is the normal expected behaviour.

YouTube Campaign Behaviour

For YouTube campaigns, clicks behave normally: If someone clicks on your ad and then makes a purchase, that purchase is recorded as a conversion as expected. So far so good.

However, if someone DOES NOT CLICK on your ad, but watches your entire ad, and then later purchases, that purchase will be recorded as a conversion and attributed to YouTube.

As per Google:

A ‘view’ is counted when someone watches 30 seconds (or the whole ad if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or clicks on a part of the ad. A ‘view’ that leads to a conversion is counted in the ‘Conversions’ column. 

Google Ads Help: Understand your conversion tracking data
https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6270625

Essentially, these are View-Through Conversions masquerading as Click-Through Conversions. The ad was never clicked, yet a conversion was recorded anyway. Considering that many ads are only 5 seconds long, most ad views are likely being treated as clicks.

This is NOT EXPECTED behaviour!

Attribution Poaching

Attribution Poaching is when one Channel tries to take credit for a sale that was either going to happen anyway, or for a sale that was actually caused by another Channel.

Consider this scenario

You create a YouTube campaign targeting your Shopping Cart Abandoners with a 5 second video ad.

One of your potential customers visits your site, and ads a product to their Shopping Cart. By adding to the Shopping Cart, they are now in your Shopping Cart Abandoners audience, and will be actively targeted by your YouTube Campaign.

They continue to browse your site, but they are interrupted by an e-mail or text from a friend with a link to a funny YouTube video. They click on the link and watch the video. While watching the video, they are forced to watch your 5s video ad (which they ignore). Since they watched y0ur entire ad, Google considers that a “click”.

They then eventually return to your site, to complete the purchase. Or maybe they complete the purchase 3 days later after receiving your Cart Abandonment e-mail.

In either case, your YouTube Campaign will claim credit for the Purchase, and will count it as a Conversion even thought that customer never clicked on your ad.

Why is Google Doing This?

A video view is much more like an impression than like a click, so why are these conversions being lumped in with click-through conversions?

The simple cynical answer is that Goolge makes more more money this way. By counting view-through conversions, the YouTube campaigns will appear to perform much better than they actually do with just click-through conversions (as much as 1000% better). If advertisers think that YouTube is performing 10X better, then they will allocated 10X more budget. The end result is Google makes 10X more money from YouTube.

A “Video View” is more like an Impressions than a Click

Video-View-Conversions should clearly be lumped into the View-Through Conversion column. If Google wants to explicitly report on Video-View-Conversions separately, then they should create another column type. Don’t lump them in with click-through conversions.

Unexpected Behaviour

The problem with all this is that suddenly the “Conversions” column behaves differently in one campaign type vs another. Suddenly the clean click-through conversion data is being polluted with View-Through conversion data. This makes YouTube campaigns appear to perform much better than they should. Which will lead you to incorrectly increase spend.

To make the matter worse…

  1. Many people have long click-through conversion windows. Often 30 days or even longer. This essentially allows a YouTube to claim credit for a conversion that happens 30 days after a video view.
  2. Many video ads are short – only 5s long. Most of these short ads are probably viewed in their entirety, meaning that they are all being counted as clicks. Often the user is forced to watch the entire 5s ad – again a click. This leads to more incorrectly attributed click-conversions.
  3. Often people target video ads using remarketing lists. Often the lowest hanging fruits for video campaigns are Remarketing Audiences. This shows ads to people who know your brand, who have recently visited your site, who may be subscribed to your newsletter, and who may in fact be currently actively shopping on your site. They are all likely to buy from you regardless of the the video ad, but the video ad will take credit for all their purchases.

This could also affect your Display and Discovery Campaigns

This issue could also affect your regular display campaigns and possibly your Discovery campaigns if they are serving ads on the YouTube network.

My recommendation for Display Campaigns is to try and exclude all YouTube placements: Go to: Campaign Settings > Additional Settings > Content Exclusions and select all of the following for exclusion:

  • Live streaming YouTube video
  • Embedded video
  • In-video

Notes:

  • This should only be an issue if you use Google Ads Native Conversion tracking. If you import your conversions directly from Google Analytics, then this should not be an issue (as Analytics only attributes conversions to the last click)
  • If you are running  a pure brand awareness campaign, this is probably less of a concern for you.
  • If you are an Ad Agency getting paid as a % of ad spend, then YouTube campaigns can make you a lot of money.

More Reading