How to improve Google Ads performance in retail markets

Discover the ultimate 3-step guide to help overcome the biggest paid search challenges in retail. Uncover tactics to improve Google Ads performance visibility, get trademark infringements and click fraud under control, and prevent wasted budget on brand terms.


Intro: Prepare to see the entire retail search landscape

Whether you’re a luxury consumer brand that needs to manage reseller and protect equity, a supermarket aiming for the top spot, or an online retailer looking to get more with ad copy – Adthena goes beyond what Google shows you, so you can see every competitor move and shape your strategy for success.

Our award-winning AI driven, whole market view technology gives you visibility of the entire retail search landscape, so you can:

  • Avoid diminishing returns and grow profitably
  • Improve visibility and identify wasted budget on brand term
  • Contextualize performance with informed search insights

In this 3-step Enterprise search guide, reveal how leading retail brands like Estèe Lauder, Selfridges and Crew Clothing can overcome the biggest paid search challenges, and save money while increasing ROI and conversion quality.

1. Optimize Google Shopping and grow profitably

Can’t correlate PLA, data, images and price points with performance?

Ask yourself:

The Adthena Solution

Use Adthena’s Google Shopping report to analyze visual elements used by competitors and successful asset practices observed in the market to create new, relevant images that resonate better with your audiences. With this additional insight, you can conduct meaningful discussions with trading teams and make informed decisions regarding pricing adjustments, ensuring competitive pricing and effective market positioning.

Using Adthena’s Google Shopping report, we can see that Selfridges PLA for a luxury handbag, has appeared on 22 search terms and was shown on 22% of searches.

Adthena's Google Shopping report provided insights into how competitors are positioning their products in ads.

Struggling to identify headroom for growth?

Ask yourself:

  • Do you struggle to determine the impact of store closures, seasonal fluctuations, and competitor movement on performance?
  • Do you have access to competitor data segmented by custom categories, and accurate detail on the search volume for specific queries?
  • Do you understand competitor impressions or clicks?

The Adthena Solution

Adthena’s Market Share report provides the performance metrics you need to help contextualize what’s driving market share for each competitor. In just a few clicks, you can monitor trends and seasonality, including average CPCs in the market, competitor market share, average position, and share of impressions. You’ll also be able to monitor how competitors change their activity in the most valuable trading times and understand how competitors distribute their spend at different times of the year.

Using Adthena’s Market Share Report, we see that holds the majority share of clicks at 67% for mobile shopping ads vs four key competitors.

Using Adthena’s Market Share Report, we see that holds the majority share of clicks

2. Improve visibility and identify wasted budget on brand terms

Is your brand protected from reseller violations or fraudulent ad activity?

Ask yourself:

  • Can you quantify the impact of resellers on costs, traffic, and brand reputation?
  • Can you quantify how often violations are happening and how much is being paid out in unnecessary commissions?
  • Are you manually monitoring the SERP to capture evidence of reseller violations or fraudulent ad activity?

The Adthena Solution

With Adthena’s Infringement Tracker, you can easily monitor resellers and affiliates who are competing too aggressively on your brand terms. By continually mapping and monitoring competitive and partner activity around your brand terms, you can ensure they are using the correct ad copy and are not bidding on restricted terms, and instantly submit trademark infringement evidence to Google.

Adthena’s Infringement Tracker will catch 10x more brand infringements. In this example, we see that there are 32 competitors infringing on Estèe Lauder, across 5,462 instances. is the highest bidder here.

Adthena’s Infringement Tracker will catch 10x more brand infringements.

Wasting budget on brand traffic you should be getting for free?

Ask yourself:

  • Do you struggle to identify when you’re leading organically but still running paid ads?
  • With Google’s SQR falling short, do you lack visibility into search terms under broad match?
  • Can you pinpoint opportunities to reduce CPA at the campaign level and gather insights on competitor text ads and high-performing ads?

The Adthena Solution

Adthena’s multi-award-winning Brand Activator indexes your targeted brand terms to identify when your brand is first for a term in both paid and organic rankings, and no other brands are advertising on that term – we call these “Lone Rangers”. Lone Rangers will then be paused automatically, preventing any unnecessary bids and saving up to 20% on wasted brand spend.

Using Adthena’s Brand Activator, we see here that Zara has identified $18,420 savings during the specified time period by pausing bidding on Lone Rangers and adding them to the negative keyword list.

3. Contextualize performance with informed search insights

Struggling to monitor competitor movements and count?

Ask yourself: 

  • Do you struggle to stay on top of competitor movements and competitor count across the various categories, locations, and search terms?
  • Do you lack visibility on how each of your categories is contributing to your performance and your competitors’ performance?

The Adthena Solution

Adthena’s My Analytics reports compare week-on-week performance to help you identify the biggest movers, and get an overview of different categories compared with top competitors. My Analytics also provides insights into the relative size of your market for each of your categories to understand their contribution to your performance and a competitor count breakdown over selected time periods to help illustrate any patterns.

In this example, is the biggest mover, whilst holds the highest Share of Clicks.

Adthena's Biggest Movers report with My Analytics will highlight which competitors have made gains or lost share by comparing the most recent activity period with the previous activity period.

Limited visibility and control over your Performance Max campaigns?

Ask yourself:

  • Does Performance Max limit your control over whether campaigns appear on brand terms?
  • Does the absence of a Search Query Report in Google create more blind spots?
  • Are you forced to trust Google to optimize campaigns effectively, without a clear understanding of the decision-making process?

The Adthena Solution

With Adthena’s Search Term data reports, you can easily curate and optimize your negative keyword lists and identify which terms your brand is appearing for within the Performance Max campaign. When it comes to competitors, identify phrases that are performing well for them and how they are positioning their products in terms of pricing, descriptions, and product themes.

Adthena’s Search Term Detail report lets you see which terms have the most competitors appearing on them, as well as the volume potential and estimated cost. Here we see that is the top competitor for “womens coats”, with 6,082 estimated clicks and an average position of 1.1.

Adthena’s Search Term Detail lets you see which terms have the most competitors appearing on them, as well as the volume potential and estimated cost.

Case study: M&S save 10 hours weekly on category monitoring

Adthena is a vital tool not just for tactical campaign decisions, but also for our overall strategy. It provides competitive data to validate investments, defend against competitor moves, and steer our strategic decision making in all areas of search. Our team uses Adthena every week, and we can’t get the same level of reassurance for our PPC campaigns anywhere else.

Karen Luff
Marks & Spencer
Paid Search Manager

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