Did you know that Google Shopping Ads generate around 20% of the retail paid search clicks?
So, if you haven’t used Google Shopping Ads, you are clearly missing out on a huge opportunity to scale up your eCommerce revenue.
Setting up Google Shopping Ads does indeed require some initial effort, but today we’ll teach you how it works, how to start from scratch and create your first campaign, along with the Google Shopping best practices to optimize the process.
Google Shopping Ads are known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs). They are product-based ads that appear when users search for products across Google and Google Shopping.
They show up at the top of the search results or on the page’s top-right before any organic search results. PLAs can be one of the best ways to generate sales and revenue for eCommerce businesses, if not the most effective one.
While Google has been making significant strides to improve the shopping experience by releasing new tools and ad formats; but, putting the right strategy in place can be challenging, requiring some practice.
Google Shopping is currently available in over 40 countries. It is not the only comparison shopping engine but by far the most popular.
Five components provide shoppers with everything they need to decide if they would like to explore further.
Although figuring out how they work and setting them up can take some time, here are 5 major reasons why you should start using Google Shopping Ads today!
As mentioned earlier, Google Shopping Ads show up even before organic search results and based on the customers’ search queries. This makes it much easier to get noticed by potential buyers who are already interested in your products, which means better conversion rates.
The components that make up Google Shopping Ads like high-quality images, reviews, star ratings, price, and discounts make it more effective at targeting than AdWords text ads. A study showed that Google Shopping Ads generates 26% more conversions than text-based ads, along with a 23% decrease in cost-per-click.
Since Google Shopping Ads are information-rich, they tend to be more visually appealing and help you gain high-quality leads. These leads visit your website intending to purchase as they are already familiar with your product.
Keywords selection and bidding are one of the most challenging tasks for marketers. But, with Google Shopping Ads, you don’t have to worry about that. Instead, Google determines the keywords relevant to your product data feed, saving you time and effort.
Google Shopping Ads is getting smarter by the day about using synonyms. Your products will not just appear to exact matches, which makes the search quite flexible.
The whole process includes two main platforms:
Step 1: First, eCommerce businesses create what is called a “product feed” (more on that later). It is a file that contains all the information useful to describe the products that they sell.
Step 2: This product feed is passed to Google Merchant Center. This is a Google platform that collects and organizes your product feed and makes it available to Google Ads.
Step 3: Google Ads is then connected to Merchant Center so that the advertising platform can receive and interact with the product data.
For setting up your first Google Shopping campaign, you need:
Now that you are getting more familiar with how Google Shopping campaigns work let’s get into details to understand what makes this activity effective.
Here are some prerequisites related to your online store to employ Google Shopping campaigns:
A product feed is a file (.txt or .xml ) that contains all the products that your eCommerce sells, grouped through different attributes.
How to obtain this file?
It depends on the Content Management System, a software that helps create, manage and modify site’s content.
To simplify this step, Google also provides some examples of product feeds in .txt and .xml formats, along with a small guide to using Google Sheets to set up product data.
It is important to fully configure the Google Merchant account as it acts as a link between your site (identified through a product feed) and the Google Ads advertising platform.
Merchant Center asks for some information about the business like location, name, and checkout options upon registration.
Once you have completed your registration on the platform, you can view your account, products and get tips for growth.
The “Products” section contains the most valuable information. Active products (used in ads), disapproved, pending, or expiring products are displayed there.
The “Feed” subsection allows you to upload or update your product feed and make sure it is always available and updated.
In order to increase your click-through-rate and make your products show up for the right search queries, you need to apply the following optimization tactics.
If you are selling a maternity swimsuit for a particular brand, ‘BodyShape.’ You can choose the title “BodyShape Plus Size Maximum Coverage Black Halter Neck Maternity Swimsuit.” This title highlights the brand, the color, the type, the product itself, and one of its exclusive features.
But since Google only previews 35 characters, try to make the first 35 as relevant as possible to what users are searching for in your product.
Inside the Google Merchant Portal, it will only display 75 characters, and the rest will show upon clicking on the product. So make sure your titles are within 75 characters and include target keywords for optimized results.
Note that promotional phrases can negatively affect your performance, and Google’s algorithm does not like them. Avoid adding words like “Limited offer,” “Special Discount,” etc., in your titles.
This helps Google identify which keywords will trigger your Google Shopping ad, so make sure to apply the following:
Although you can write up to 5000 characters, Google Shopping Preview will only display the first 175 characters. So, include the benefits and the best features of your product in the first couple of lines.
Google Shopping takes the featured product images from its respective eCommerce website, so you need to optimize them as follows:
With over 5,400 categories available to choose from, being extra specific will help Google trigger your ads for the right search queries. You can download Google’s taxonomy here.
For example, if you are selling Eyelash Curlers, you can select the category.
Health & Beauty –> Personal Care
But, being more specific drives far better results:
Health & Beauty –> Personal Care –> Cosmetics –> Makeup Tools –> Eyelash Accessories > Eyelash Curler
If your online store is connected to Google Merchant Center via its API (like on Shopify ), skip this step as the data is automatically sent to Google Merchant Center.
If not, you have to do it manually.
Click on Products, then Feed. To add a new product feed, click on the (+) button, and you will be guided through the whole process.
When you’re done, go to Diagnostics to check it out.
On the first upload, most product feeds will most likely have some errors.
Don’t be discouraged and follow the instructions to resolve the most urgent ones (red-colored). Do not postpone this step, as failing to provide any corrections could result in suspending your account.
In addition to uploading the product feed, you must provide Google with your shipping and/or tax information.
Google needs to know shipping costs to make an accurate price comparison with other suppliers.
To set it up in Google Merchant Center, click on the wrench icon in the top bar and then select Shipping and Returns.
There are two ways to do this:
We’re going to show you how to set up your first campaign in Google Ads because this is where you’ll be monitoring and optimizing your campaign in the future.
Once you get your products approved, create a Google Ads account if you don’t have one.
Head to Google Ads dashboard, click on the plus sign on the Campaigns screen, select Create a campaign without a goal, and then Shopping.
Your Google Merchant Center account will be displayed, along with the country you are selling in.
After selecting Shopping as your campaign type, you can choose to set up a Standard or Smart Shopping campaign. Then enter the campaign name and if you need to set up an inventory filter, enable local inventory ads, or change the URL, click on Additional Settings.
Next, select your bidding strategy and set your campaign budget.
Bidding is how you pay for users to view and interact with your ads. Google has a bid simulator tool that will show you how bidding changes could affect your ad performance.
Manual CPC (cost per click) means that you set your maximum CPC for your ads. You can also set up an automatic bidding strategy.
Maximize Clicks allows Google Ads to automatically set your bids to get the most clicks in your budget. You can select a maximum CPC bid limit to limit your spending on each ad.
Next, set your campaign budget. It is the amount of money you want to spend on average each day. Google manages your monthly budget, so you won’t spend more than your daily budget for the number of days in each month.
For example, if your campaign budget was $500 for October. Google understands that you are willing to spend $500 x 31 days = $15,500 in October. Since Google bids on your ads, Google may spend over $500 in a day, but it will never spend more than $15,500 a month.
You can also set up a delivery method for your budget: Standard spends your budget evenly over time while Accelerated spends it faster.
Finally, if you’re running more than one campaign, you can set a campaign priority, so Google knows which offer will be used.
This part determines who will see your product ads and when.
Select the locations that you will ship to and set the start and end dates of your Shopping campaign. Without an end date, your campaign will be continually running.
Ad groups determine the type of ads to run and how you will organize bids for those ads.
There are two types of ad groups that you can run. Product Shopping ads that allow you to promote a single product and Showcase Shopping ads to advertise multiple ones as part of a product ad.
Enter the ad group name and set a maximum CPC bid. If you choose to add more filters to your products, you can create separate ad groups for different categories.
Next, choose which products to advertise as part of this Shopping ad and click save. That brings us to the last step of setting up your first Google Shopping Ads campaign.
Now, let’s have a quick wrap up on the Google Shopping best practices to optimize your ads 2021!
Building Google Shopping campaigns can be intimidating, however, the priceless control and efficiency in exposing your eCommerce products to the next potential customer make it worth trying.